Bonus Room Built-in Unit

By Lisa, 21 February, 2017

DIY built in

I have been so excited to share this project. We started it back in December and put the finishing touches on it by mid February.

My husband and I were talking about all the projects that we want to tackle in 2017. It just so happen we were upstairs and my husband pointed out a dead space area. He said "This would be a perfect area for a built-in, right?" Of course I did not disagree. My organizational mind kept thinking of all the possible items this thing could hold. Well, to break it down, we were able to eliminate two small (3 shelf) bookcases. Their main purpose was holding board games and old VHS that we cannot just bare to get rid of. We also eliminated a "stand alone DVD rack." We also eliminated a "shot glass cabinet" which was a really great place for it (out of the way.)


So here is the space beforehand, it was the home of our infamous shot glass collection.

32056231061_1b123bd80d_o32026020042_2a77b90d87_oThis will give you a better idea of the dead space that my hubby pointed out. Originally, we wanted to make an access door to our attic, but unfortunately this is where all the AC ducts meet together on the other side of the wall.

32055994501_e08ca510cf_oHere is the space cleared out, perfect area for a built-in right?

My husband drew up the plans himself for the built-it. He measured the area to figure out the size the unit had to be. We wanted it to fit perfectly flush in this alcove.

Step-by step:

We started by cutting the 4 sides of the built-in.

32210657885_c2500f5974_oWe used the Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System for making the pocket holes. We use this tool a lot in most all our projects. It gives it a more professional look around the screws.

After each piece of wood was cut, I sanded each piece. The wood itself was not too rough, but we noticed a difference with our Pantry Renovation with sanding each piece of wood. When the painting was completed the wood was very smooth, with no blemishes.

32091761441_fba9aa2dab_o(1)Next, it was time to clamp the two pieces of wood together. So that we could screw the 4 boards together. We used the Kreg 90 degree Corner Clamp, it really helps with aligning the wood and making sure it is even. Note, when we clamp it, we usually test it out with a level to make sure it is level before we screw it together. The clamp helps keep the wood together while you are putting the screws in.

31834793630_dd65ef530b_oOnce the piece was level, we started screwing it together

32172173366_7e38823036_o32061677262_7a373c01ff_oNext step was installing a base frame, this is so that all the support would not be put on the walls but it allows the unit to sit on the floor. My husband also added small triangle cut outs and placed them along the bottom of the unit. This would give the bottom of the unit casing a little more support.

32060997742_ce2b67dccb_o31368588794_789993be57_oOnce the unit was put together, it was time to add the pin holes for the shelving that would be eventually placed in the unit. We used the KREG KMA3200 Shelf Pin Drilling Jig. Highly recommend this product, it seriously makes your life so much easier. Instead of measuring out (on your own) where all the holes should be, this tool does the whole job for you.

31369005464_e3c6059c11_oNow, it was time to test the unit upstairs, this was a lot of fun trying to get it upstairs and hoping that the unit would fit. If it did not, we would have to take the top and base off and shave the wood down for the perfect fit. Fingers and toes were crossed!

32171661516_4cc251fd4d_oIt fit!!! You can see how tight of a fit it was by the picture below. We scuffed up the walls a little but thankfully the unit fit perfectly.

32060870492_ea1c3c29be_oNext step, we had to paint the unit, first with a base coat of primer and then with the semi-gloss as the finishing paint. It required 2 coats of semi-gloss. It is starting to look more like a built in from here!

32149616010_19901714eb_oNext step was cutting the shelves. We originally thought that we would need 6 shelves. So I painted (base coat and 2 coats of semi) to all 6 shelves.

32149755690_904c18cea8_o31716555753_6f6a33c691_oWhen we placed the shelves in the unit and added our items to them it turned out we needed more shelves. So in total we made 8 shelves, if you account for the top and bottom it would total to 10 shelves.

32405944471_1b523e6428_oTo incorporate our "shot glass collection" into the unit, my husband cut a few extra pieces of wood to showcase the glasses. It created a "stair-like" appearance to the shot glasses.32405973951_bceaa0a5ff_oWe still had to come up with a top piece to finish the built-in and give it a more "built-in" look. So we purchased crown molding and cut it the same size as the top of the piece. My husband had to cut some support triangles so that he could have a little more support when it was time to attach the molding top to the top of the unit. We used a nail gun to attach the molding to the top of the frame.

There was still a pretty large gap between the ceiling and the molding top, so we purchased "backer rod" into the gap along the top of the unit. Then we finished it off with caulking around it. It was too large of a gap to just caulk.

IMG_1922You can see in the below photo the large gap between the ceiling and the unit.

IMG_1931IMG_1924Here is a photo to show you the backer rod that was installed (you cannot really see it.) From here we caulked over the gap (which is now manageable to do with caulk.)


From here you can see that the caulk sealed the unit off pretty well.

And here is the finished product! We are so pleased as to how it turned out, and the unit holds so much storage. That is a huge plus in my book!








Your built-ins look so nice! Aren't kreg tools amazing!? I just bought my first kreg jig this month and I built some shelves with it (coming on my blog soon). I loved how strong the joints were. You guys did a great job on this project, it looks professional to me!


Thank you so much for checking out our built-in! YES Kreg tools are amazing, we swear by them! We are working on another Kreg related project (coming soon) I cannot wait to see your shelves! I am sure they will turn out beautiful!