Hello and happy Monday to you! Oh my goodness, there has been a lot of activity around our house in the past week. It’s (mostly) wrapping up today, and I may have mentioned one time or 45 how giddy I am about the progress.

So here’s the thing – the biggest project I’m excited about is something we weren’t planning on doing just yet. Actually, it’s been planned forever…I’ve had it in my head for a year now. I have been thinking all that time about how I could make it happen, myself. Or at least with Dad’s help.

You see, there’s a HUGE wall in our basement that has been crying out for some awesome storage since day one. Well, since before day one – I imagined it even as we were finishing the basement last year.

It’s this big honkin’ wall that the TV and toys are on:

basement carpet

I eventually moved the two plastic shelves together off to the side so the toys were all in one spot. We’ve been planning to move ALL of the toys in the house down to the basement (there’s still a few upstairs and in the family room) but it’s been stalled out because there was simply no place to put them. There wasn’t a good spot for the ones we have down there and it has been a thorn in my side for months.

I got donate-happy when we finished the basement and got rid of those plastic shelves that had been all over the basement for years. I donated one too many, and I didn’t have a spot for the toys.

Well you know how you feel like “If I could just ‘X’ space done and organized, I could get ‘Y’ space decluttered” and it goes on and on? That’s how it is around here anyway, but that’s a whole other post.

This spot was one of those for me, in a BIG way. I had been dreaming of ways I could DIY a wall of built ins, and first was leaning toward trying to make something from IKEA work, like Jen did on her family room wall. But when I measured, the bookcases weren’t going to fit right, even with some trim added in.

I figured Dad and I could do it, but considering how fast we work (NOT. If you were along for the library built ins ride you know how funny that is.) I knew it would take FOREVER.

So the guys who finished our basement were here working on a project and I just kind of threw the project out there…and they they were low on work for the week so they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I tried. :) I mentioned it to my hubby and he even said sounds good, let’s go for it.

There are no more romantic words coming from my man, let me tell you. Happy Valentine’s Day to ME!

So the process started, first with a base:

built in cubby storage

At this point I was thinking that maybe Dad and I could have done this project…but then they kept going.

When they took three trips to their workshop to cut down everything on a huge table saw, I knew it was best we hired this one out:

built in cubby storage

I wanted the built ins a certain depth to hold the TV components, so every piece of wood had to be cut down to custom measurements.

It took three guys working and they got it done by the middle of the second day:

built in cubby storage

Next up was priming and painting, but I had a little project I wanted to do to the top. I wanted a butcher block look like we have upstairs on the big built ins, but I reeeally didn’t want to drive two hours to IKEA to get them, or spend the cash.

So I came up with a new plan. I took a trip to the hardware store and grabbed some one by six’s – which aren’t really one by six, I’ll never get it. :) I needed seven of the eight foot boards total because this beast is 17 feet long.

I cut them down into three, four and five foot lengths (give or take) and started by figuring out the layout – I wanted them to be staggered across the top:

DIY butcher block counter

I grabbed my wood glue and put some down (I added a bit more at the edges):

DIY butcher block counter

And then used my nail gun to nail them all down. The majority of the time was spent figuring out the layout, and even that wasn’t too bad. Actually installing them when supafast.

I gave it all a quick sanding (I think I used a 180 grit?) just to knock it all down a bit, especially where the boards met up:

DIY butcher block counter

I never fill holes by the way, you can’t see them when you stain anyway (if you get the stain in there).

I may have mentioned along the way that this spot was going to be a GREAT one to display all the Bub’s Legos, so the boy was happy to help the process along.

We wiped all the dust off together:

DIY butcher block counter

And then it was time for the stain! Ohhh, the glorious, rich stain. The folks at Rustoleum had me and a few other bloggers out for an event a couple weeks ago that I still need to tell you about, but I tried out their stain there and was hooked.

I used the dark Kona color and went with that for this project:

rustoleum kona stain

They promise one coat coverage and being able to poly over it in an hour…and I’m the most impatient DIYer ever so this was right up my alley.

I applied it like I showed you here, with a foam brush:

rustoleum kona stain

It was then that I realized just how HUGE this thing is, because I had to go back and start wiping it down at one end before I was done staining. I never have to do that -- it really does dry fast!

Isn’t that color beautiful? One coat and done!

We finished it off the built ins with three coats of paint and primer:

And then I got busy prepping it for the TV stuff. I drilled a few holes in the bottom and sides of a few cubbies:

drilling holes in wood for plug

See all that dust back there? Yeahhhh. It’s insane.

Here’s a quick tip if you’re ever taking apart your TV components – use painters tape (I used my trusty FrogTape of course) and write down where each cord goes. I do this every time and it SAVES my sanity, fo sho:

label cords with painters tape

We have a sound system down there and I marked those cords long ago:

label cords with painters tape

It only took me about 15 minutes to put everything back together, which is much better than the two hours full of pouting, foot stomping and perhaps crying that would have happened if I hadn’t done it. Maybe those things would have happened. Who knows?

I also put the TV bracket up last night and we got that hung:

installing tv mount

I just love the look of a TV up on the wall instead of the stand. It’s cleaner looking to me – I’ve done it with all of our TVs.

I am SO STINKING EXCITED about this being done!! Here it is as it looks right now:

 built in cubby storage with DIY butcher block top

It still needs baskets and lots of organizing (and hiding those cords, eww!) before I’m calling it done, but I couldn’t wait to show you!

Here’s the lovely dark top – I forgot to mention I finished it off with a coat of satin polyurethane:

DIY butcher block

This sucker is LONG and it is GLORIOUS. Seventeen feet by about 16 inches deep:

 built in cubby storage Isn’t it AWESOME???

Here’s a look at the whole room a few months back:

Mohawk carpet honored tradition

And here it is with all the beautiful storage!!! ACK! I die:

 built in cubby storage

Now we are going through the toys and purging big time. They will go in baskets, and then games will fill the shelves too. Ugh, I am thrilled about this!

You can see the Bub already started displaying his Lego creations. ;) That wall will get a huge redo too – I have big plans for it that include floating shelves, stenciling and fun art.

Can’t wait!! For now, I’m hugging my big cubby built ins every chance I get. For real, if I knew I wouldn’t fall off I’d totally sleep on it. Love.

 
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