Bookcases Transform an Unused Wall
A bedroom wall with two closets gets a boost in utility with custom cabinets.
Synopsis: In many households, there can never be too much storage space for books. To accommodate clients in a Manhattan apartment, carpenter Brent Benner used the space between and near two closets to install shelving space for reading material. Benner took measurements on site but built the frames in his shop. Using SketchUp, Google’s design software, Benner imported a photo of the space to be renovated and was able to develop a design. After the bookcases were built, he brought them to the apartment for installation, taking care to ensure a proper fit while dealing with slightly uneven concrete walls.
I like books, the kind with paper pages and dust jackets, and I hope they survive the rise in popularity of electronic books. But then, I spend my days building cabinets, not computers. And lucky for me, although e-books might be diminishing the need for bookshelves, there always will be a demand for attractive, efficient storage spaces and quality construction.
This project started when my clients realized that they needed more storage space for books in their Manhattan apartment. The target area was a wall in the bedroom that had two closet doors. The challenge was designing the bookcases around the steel door jambs and between mechanical chases and irregular plaster walls. Because I would build everything in my shop, I had to have accurate site measurements. I figured that making both horizontal and vertical story poles was the best way to avoid mistakes. I marked on the story poles the door locations, plumbing chases, and spaces needed so that I would have room to scribe the bookcases to the walls.
In general, it’s a really good idea to measure the walls where a cabinet’s face frames will intersect, not back at the corner. (This was especially true here…