Turning a Bookcase into a Closet

Here is the story of finding space in our house, which was built in 1920 and has ZERO closest space. Did these people even have clothes/stuff in the past? I have no idea how storage use to work in this house because we are busting at the seams.

During early trimester melt down mode, I came across this idea. And I thought genius! I have a bookcase, I’m handy, and I’m cheap. I can do this! So…I did.

You too, can get this lovely piece of furniture for less than $50.  And honestly, you can PROBABLY get it for less than $30, I just don’t have patience and when I find what I like, I go for it.

Supplies: Bookcase, Spray Paint, Fabric, Staple Gun, Hammer, Closet Rods

The bookcase was an IKEA Billy bookcase (which I bought off of Craigslist 3 years ago for $15):

It was a brown color, so I painted it white:


And then it sat there for a long time because I didn’t know what to do! White was soo boring. The back of the bookcase is just a piece of cardboard. My idea was to paint stripes or something but paint barely stays on, and when it does it looks like crap. And I’m better than crap.

So, I turned to Pinterest. The more I searched, I decided that fabric is the way to go. I found this idea from the folks at The Blissful Bee. Which I thought “oh! easy! Find some fabric. Connect it to cardboard and slip it in”. Except the bookcase is 12-14 inches deep. Inserting cardboard wasn’t going to be an option because then I wouldn’t have space for the hangers, or shelves. So then I found another idea from Fable Lane. She just suggested to glue the fabric to the back panel. And I was all set for that. I figured that was a no brainer, but I definitely would need to measure thrice, and cut once.  (disclaimer, I didn’t show you what to do with fabric, but make sure to measure the space and buy a little extra just for mistakes. I think I ordered about 2 yards and have MORE than enough).

And then my genius husband came in. And saw me trying to measure fabric to just glue inside. And tsk, tsk. Originally, I didn’t want to take the back off of the bookshelf because everything I had read talked about how hard it was to put back on. Well, those people are liars. Or they don’t have Phil for a husband. With the help of a staple gun and a hammer that’s what we did.

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Removing the back: There are probably about 25 nails all over the back and the cardboard sometimes pulled the nails out, and sometimes just popped off.


Measure the fabric over the back and leave about an extra 2 inches on all sides. Trim the excess once it’s on. No sense in trying to be super neat and cut to fit now. (This is where that whole measure thrice, cut once advice comes in REALLY handy).


First make the fabric tight across the back, and then staple. Staple the top and bottom first, and then work on the sides. Once the fabric has been stapled, we re-stapled the back and then renailed the back. The process took about 5 minutes.

Finally, we had to hang the clothes bar. This was one of my biggest concerns, because every website said just get an extension rod. Well. Have you ever bought an extension rod? Sometimes they slip depending on the weight, so I did a lot of research and ended up getting one from Home Depot that could hold up to 250 lbs. I doubt we will have 250 lbs of baby clothes, so I think we are safe.


Originally, we were going to hang two bars but there didn’t seem to be enough space. So we went with one bar and three shelves for baskets, books and stuff.

And then we were done. Here is the finished project:


I think it’s a HUGE improvement. I even had extra fabric left over, and once I figure out how to work my sewing machine, I’m going to turn the scraps into curtain ties.

Total Cost:

Book case: Owned
Paint: I used Rust-Oleum Universal Paint and Primer in one spray paint (It seriously is the best spray paint!) $5.53 (times three so, $16.59)
Fabric: Amazon, 2 yards, $24.47
Closet Rods: $6.98

Total: $48.04

I know that the fabric could have been A LOT cheaper if I had maybe gone to Jo-Ann, or Wal-Mart and used a coupon. Same for the paint, I’m sure I could have used coupons but..I just wanted to get it over with. However, $50 for a fully functional closet is a great success!



Phil and I took vacation this week. Normally, we go off jet setting to Peru, San Francisco, Delaware..but this time we stayed home and did A LOT of work. I feel like I need a vacation from this vacation.

Yesterday, My in laws came up and Phil and his dad painted our rooms, while Mimi and I made home made pita bread, and grape leaves.I’m officially turning Greek! I was (and I think everyone else was!) pretty impressed with the pita bread. But we’ll see when I try it again in a few months if it stuck with me. Fingers crossed!

We also finally moved the changing table/closet/bookshelf upstairs. Which means, we built the closet. Phil is improving a target $5 mirror into something a little more appealing on the eyes , more on that later.  I feel like we’ve been like the writers of Young, House, Love this week!

Tomorrow we head off to Charlotte, NC for his college roommates wedding. I’ve never actually met any of his college friends so I’m interested to see how it will go with me being sober at a wedding. I’m pretty sure I’ll do fine 🙂

Also, our dog trainer came over today and helped us prepare for baby. I’m so glad we did this with 20 weeks left instead of trying to do it a month before the baby came. We now have plenty of time to get them fully prepared for the big changes in their life. I’ll write a post later on what she said, some of it blew us away but how little we knew!

I know you guys really care about the baby so here are some baby updates:

  • We can officially feel the baby moving this week, like outside of the belly. Not just me feeling the roller coaster things. Monday night was the start of it. Phil was able to feel it and Mimi felt it yesterday when she was here. From what I’ve gathered, the baby is active at 7 am and 10 pm. Right when I finally lay down. Sometimes when I’m laying down I can make out BBWheezes head. Which is really weird!
  • Cravings this week: Lemonade. I can’t get enough of it. And I saw a commercial for Jell-O pudding, I want that bad. I actually just want all sweets all the time. We made brownies and a dump cake this week and I still could eat more.
  • Baby is the size of a mango.
  • My stomach is the size of a burrito:
  • Belly Sept

I’m sorry it’s been so long!

Don’t worry everyone, this has been on my mind too. It’s not that I started this blog and got bored with it..it’s that for lack of a better word, I’ve got some things happening in my life and I don’t want to anyone to find me on the internet. As of right now, this blog doesn’t come up in any searches and I’m afraid if I post more it will. But–I guess time is running short!

So in the past three weeks let me do the fastest update known to man:

1. We picked out paint colors for the bedrooms. Our bedroom is going to be Mushroom Bisque . I’m going for neutral colors, since we will have to put the house on the market. I’d rather just paint it once–not twice. The guest room/nursery is going to be French Silver.   Same reasons as previous, plus it’s neutral for..a neutral room.

2. We picked up two pieces of furniture. The dresser/changing table. It was $80 on Craiglist, and I bought these cute red knobs from Etsy to give it some life. The other piece of furniture isn’t finished yet, so I’ll update that later–no it wasn’t a crib! (**Update it’s finished, you can read about it here**)
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3. We had our last appointment with the Doctor on Tuesday. Warning, it’s a 3d picture and the BB is a little bit scary looking! But it has my nose and Phil’s chin. It’s about 10 inches long, and 10 oz heavy.

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It’s a real baby!

I’ve only gained five lbs so I don’t have much of a bump to show. But…I promise within the next week or so I’ll be a little more consistent!! Thanks for your patience!

Love you all!

She was 16, going on 17…

I can’t believe it’s September! I’ve officially entered my fifth month! I wouldn’t say time has been flying, but now that I feel a little more organized it’s either going to go by so fast or so slow.

We spent the holiday weekend hosting a crab picking party. I did not make the crabs, that was Arielle’s job.

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There were more crabs than shown, we just ate them all.

I made pie. I have declared myself queen of pie, and have decided that I am hands down the best pie maker in all the land. It’s summer time, so obviously it was time for a peach pie. My grandfather would have been proud of that pie.  I may have even come very close to mastering Yia-Yia’s pie crust recipe, which is the best pie crust (according to my in laws, and now me). I’ve always been very good at fillings, but not crust, and I think I’ve come VERY close to it. Also, Hi. I’m not humble about how good my pie is.

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Monday, Phil and I registered for the baby. As soon as I became pregnant, my friend Raven bought me the book Baby Bargains . If you know anyone that’s pregnant, I strongly suggest it! It’s really helpful in explaining why Graco is an Okay stroller–why you should stay away from Chico, and why you should go with Britax. Phil and I looked like huge nerds in Babies R Us with our book looking at everything, but honestly, it helped us so much. We weren’t left wondering around aimlessly like “Huh? That could be nice? What do you think? Well let’s add it to the list.” We ended up only scanning a few things and then going home and doing the rest online.

We decided to register at Babies R Us and Amazon . We went with Amazon because many of the big ticket items we have found were considerably cheaper on Amazon compared to Babies R Us.

A long time ago, I saw a pin for Lucie’s List. She’s a registered nurse, first time mother. Her items are the best of the best and it was a big help! The list tells you what is important, not so important and what can wait (bottle warmer!).

Phil and I were quite proud of ourselves because the two items we are really stoked about (the Britax B-Agile and the Mamaroo ) we found on our own. We then looked into the reviews and they were the top choices! So basically, we’ve got this parenting thing DOWN. The other item we picked over the standard pack and play is the 4moms Breezeyard. This is a bit more expensive than the pack and play, BUT much simpler to put together, and easier for travel. I then stalked some of my friends registry’s and added things that they had that I didn’t have. I’m sure I’m missing some things, but I feel like we got a bunch of it covered (for now!). I have a few moms who are going to check it out and tell me what I’m missing. And I’ve been told not to register for certain things because you can just steal them from the hospital. This is another reason I’m very happy about not finding out the gender, we won’t be stuck with clothes/outfits because no one wants to buy you nipple cream. But people..these are the things we need!

I also found this really great website for babies that are born in the winter. The main thing I grabbed from that was a room thermometer. Our house can get so drafty and what’s cold/comfortable to us, might be too cold for a baby!

BBWZL Updates:

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There’s that bump!

P.S. I feel really bad for not taking any cute maternity pictures of the growing bump. I’ll try and work on that.

How Far Along: 16/17 weeks.
Size of Baby: Size of an Orange! About 5 inches long. That’s A LOT!
Total Weight Gain: I’m on the one pound a week track. I actually downloaded an app to make sure I was getting enough calories (which I was!), so I think if I stay on this track I should be good! So far about 3 lbs.
Symptoms: Sleeping is getting to be a problem. Sleeping on my left and right side is causing major pain in my lower back. I don’t know how much longer of stomach sleeping I have!
Eats: Pie. My pie.
Best moment of the week: Registering for the baby!
What I’m looking forward to: This weekend is Arielle’s engagement party, so it will be a nice weekend away with the girls. We didn’t finish our thank you cards. We started on three of the big ones, but didn’t finish. Maybe I’ll get that done this week.
Milestones: Baby’s fat formation begins–little chunkster. The little heart pumps 25 quarts of blood a day and he/she can finally taste the food I’m eating. Maybe that’s why I like pie so much this week?

Phil is a Carpenter

I would always consider myself to be sort of handy–into projects. I’ve never really been into the build it yourself stuff, but refinishing projects and getting crafty has always been up my ally. And thanks to Pinterest, I’ve had a number of light bulb ideas these days.  Whenever I have an idea for a project I usually run it past Phil, get some push back, do it anyway, and life is great.

However, every now and then he gets a DIY bug. When he gets it, I’m not going to turn it down because a) he’s so detail oriented that I know it won’t get messed up, and b) he really can build/fix anything. He’s incredibly handy and c) if I tell him no, he might not ever do it again!

So as I mentioned in my last post he got the idea to build a headboard (I’ve been asking for a bed frame for a while) and he found a great “how to” from the DIY Network Folks.

He showed me the picture, and I said okay!

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First stop, a trip to Lowe’s. I think* the entire project ( wood, stain, poly, everything else) only cost us about $120. Our headboard cost $120!! Kind of shocking when you look at the cost of furniture these days. I do have to thank my Dad for making me learn patience at a young age. I use to have to sit for hours in airplane hangers while he fixed and tinkered. It was endless hours of boredom.  I did this without an Iphone. I tried to do Lowe’s without an Iphone, but that was impossible. How did I use to entertain myself?? The most tedious aspect was picking out wood. We had to ensure that there were no curves so that they would all be flush with each other. That probably took two hours.

Next Assembly:

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It was raining the day we bought everything, so Phil but it together right on our living room floor. While I watched a marathon of Snapped on the Oxygen channel.

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Just about finished project!

Now, I should have been a better photographer and took pictures of the staining, and polying process. But I forgot, got tired, didn’t think about it. We choose Dark Walnut as our stain, because I don’t like the look of Oak, and I feel like Dark furniture can sometimes last longer. It won’t “tire” as easy as a light wood.

Phil drilled some holes into the bottom so it would connect with our bed rail and ta da:

We have a new bed!

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I have to remove the pictures because they don’t fit behind the bedframe anymore. And now my next craft is to find better bed side tables. The ones I currently have were my Uncle Charlie’s, and they have gone from black, to white, to me and my Dad refinishing them (current condition). They are sturdy and have lasted MANY moves. But I’m tired of them. They don’t go with my current motif, and I don’t think I can get them to a motif that I like.

Next big project will take place in 3 weeks: Painting the upstairs.

Next refinishing project: Turning a bookcase into a closet. (**We did it! Read about it here**)