from dresser drawers to bookshelves.

i’ve been dreaming of making our own version of thomas wold‘s chockablock creations for oh, about a year and a half.  this month we finally took the time to find all the necessary materials (read:  thrift store dressers and desks, robbed of their drawers and left standing there naked) and connect them together.  once the paint had dried (barely) and the books had been separated by subject, they were added to the new wall of bookshelving, and i am proud to present my own woldian design:

please excuse the grainy ill-lit photography, but in the flurry of creating our fairytale monstrosity, all i had time for in documenting was grabbing the iPhone from time to time.  below we’ll walk you through our process, step by step.

trying out arrangements

for a couple days, i tried out different arrangements for the eighteen drawers and four shelves we had at the ready to build our shelving.  that sounds like a lot, but that came from two desks, two dressers, and shelf pieces from a friend’s basement and our own.  i’m sure you could put out an apb for old dressers and shelves to your friends, or drive around neighborhoods with lots of apartments at the end of the month and find all your supplies free, but honestly i had been putting this off for so long i just wanted to spend the big bucks and get some at thrift stores.  so, all told, the project cost us $50 plus leftover paint.

beginning the build

once we were certain about at least the bottom half of the construction, we began connecting our pieces, in place at the wall where they would later be permanently affixed.  we needed to make sure that things like stereo cords and such could make their way to an outlet.  at some point we realized we wanted something to highlight the fact that our bookshelves were actually made of drawers, so we left two of them flat facing out, rather than put on end like the rest.  drawers started to be connected together, simply with a couple screws.

nearly done

the first half was much easier than the second, as the higher you go the fewer options you have for where things can fit.  because i specifically chose drawers with funky nobs, those quickly proved to be an obstacle to being able to attach them to one another.  so… in a flash of genius, i thought to put some of them facing inside the drawers where they wouldn’t get in the way.

you’ll notice that quite a bit of the design is symmetrical, i.e. the same on both sides, but there are a few parts that are different.  i wanted to offset the peaceful feeling so some drawers are out from the wall further than others, and a few of the outside pieces are balanced but not the same.

can you believe he was a naysayer until about an hour before this photo?

that’s my patient husband, celebrating the finished product.  well, at least the part where it was a two-person project was finished.

freestanding and painted with the same paint as the trim

we really wanted this to blend into the room, so we used paint left over from painting the trim in the room.  you’ll notice once all put together, it is able to be freestanding.  however, we didn’t know how well it would do over time once heavy books were added, so just to be safe we used a few “l” brackets in hidden places to secure it to the wall.

finished and in place, ready for books!

since filling with books, i’ve also found some inexpensive bubble-shaped vases/candleholders of varying sizes, and they’re along the top, giving a nice organic balance to all those straight lines and 90 degree angles.  i’m sure that will soon be taken over by all books, but for now we have room to display some decorative pieces along with our books.

front view of the finished product

the finished finished product

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “from dresser drawers to bookshelves.

  1. Brilliant.

    Hey, whatever happened to the Holly bed?

  2. bechirih

    ah, the Holly bed. well, my uncle came up with the plans for my design ideas and it was featured on the front cover of workbench, october 2008. i had hoped after the photo shoot that it would be passed on to me, but alas, looks like we’re going to have to build it ourselves. which we can easily do, since the design is intended for folks free of any power tools except perhaps an electric screwdriver.

  3. Unique and beautiful. I LOVE it!

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