Project House Video Series: Built-in Bookcases in an Antique Home
We met up with Mike Maines at his 1830s Greek-revival home just in time for him to show us how to install a new fireplace surround. Mike is building all of the pieces he needs on site, mostly using tools the average remodeling carpenter would have on hand. The built-in features two symmetrical cabinets on either side of the fireplace, with bookshelves extending upward to the ceiling, and a mantel shelf connecting the two sides. Simple molding ties everything together and covers all of the seams. Mike, with the help of FHB editorial director, Justin Fink, constructed every piece for this project in an adjoining room he used as an on-site shop space, which streamlined the process, saving him time and money.
This video series will give you a glimpse into what Mike does to use his time efficiently and effectively. Mike’s technique to create a shop space on site can be applied to any job, allowing you to step five feet over to install your newly built desk, chair, table, etc.—instead of driving five miles from your garage. Starting with how to build the bookcase boxes, the techniques Mike and Justin employ can be used on any box fixture, whether it be floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a low-standing entertainment center, or an armoire. It all starts with the box frame. The two then use a domino tool to create the cabinet doors, which streamlines the process of connecting the five separate pieces that make up Mike’s cabinet doors rather than working with grooved edges to join the pieces together. Where some people might get tangled up measuring for a perfect fit in the space between the two bookcases, in episode four Mike shows how to use a stair jig to get exact measurements without any trouble. Mike’s fireplace surround, design-wise, is a great example of how to maintain the classic look already present in Greek-revival architecture while making a home feel a little more modern and fresh.
Read the companion article: A New Approach to Classic Cabinets