Update: This post was approved by my loving husband, who is now home and pretty much safe.
Let’s just say that my husband is glad he is in California right now. I was finally ready to start painting the built-ins today, when I discovered this.But I’m going to flashback and make you listen to the whole story of me building them before I tell you why they’re leaking. Kinda like that new show How to Get Away With Murder. Except no one is going to die in this scenario. We hope.
In my last post I told you that we bought a ridiculous amount of stuff at IKEA (more to come on my recent IKEA drama in a future post) two weekends ago and I showed you that I assembled 6 BESTA shelves but wasn’t overly thrilled with them. Well my friend Kelly convinced me to keep them because she knew I’d figure out a to make it work. Aww. So I did. The project started like this.
I built a base using 2×6 lumber. And because I’m me, I had a few 8′ 2×6’s lying around. The wall spans 14′ so I really built two bases and connected them. I left the base molding in place on this wall, which gave me a little something to screw the base into.You can see I have 2 obstacles to work around. I’ll have to add a vent in the shelves to allow access to the air return. And I’ll have to add an outlet inside the shelves because there’s already one in the wall. I did some research and apparently there are extender things (says discontinued online, but I just bought this at HD the other day) used just for this purpose. I don’t touch electrical, but my engineer husband is handy enough to replace outlets and light fixtures. Here’s the view from the other side. Remind me to tell you the story of why that outlet has a black mark on it one day.
You can’t really tell in the picture above, but the floor slants down toward that far wall. About 3/4″. Totally not cool considering I am going to tile the floor myself.But on the upside — I made a decision about the tile. Since everybody thought the other tile I was looking at (post HERE) was wood grain (it wasn’t) I decided to go with an actual wood grain tile. I’m using MARAZZI Montagna Rustic Bay 6 in. x 24 in. Glazed Porcelain Floor and Wall Tile and I love it! It’s $1.99a square foot. We need 530 square feet. So I took the Lars, with his strong muscles, pickup truck, and military discount, and headed to Home Depot. My new BFF Julio talked me through the slanted floor, although at first he would only address Lars with all his directions, until I told him I was going to install it. We needed 20 boxes of tile and couldn’t find all the same lot number, so Julio got a new pallet down for us and even loaded it in the truck. Thank goodness because I haven’t been hitting the gym as much as I should be. Ok not at all. Then up went the cabinets to work on the spacing. I had to figure out a plan so I could go buy the wood trim pieces that were going to tie the shelves together.
I liked the spacing, but hated the fact that you could see all the peg holes and metal attachment pieces. I tried filling in the holes and covering the metal with spackle, but didn’t like how it looked. So I decided to turn the cabinet walls inside out. The outside was nice and smooth and pretty — and will be totally wasted because you will never see the outside of my cabinets. It was easy to switch the sides around because the hardware works either way. I wasn’t worried about making the necessary holes for my shelves because I did that on my office bookshelves. The bigger problem was the routed bit for the flimsy back piece to fit into. I was convinced I’d mess it up if I tried to make my own channel on the other side. I’m not so close with my router yet. The alternative was to cut off the portion behind the channel and just attach the flimsy back where I made the cut. So I tried it on one piece.Although the cut was fine, the back piece still didn’t fit on well. So I gave up. I just want to be finished with this project so I can move on! To ensure I didn’t change my mind again, I nailed the bottom shelf of each unit in place. It defintiely made things sturdier, especially since I added a piece of scrap baseboard to the back for extra support.This is a good time to admit that I was messing around with making videos of my projects. I have two from this project so far. I know — I need to talk with my hands less. Much less. This first one was filmed by Smart Jr. who is 12. So you might want to take some Dramamine before watching it.
Moving on… I had to attach the shelves so that my 2 5/8″ trim fit perfectly to the inside edge of two bookshelves. The bookshelf sides are 3/4″ each, so I needed a 1 1/8″ filler piece. Um, good luck with that. I had a ton of 3/4″ scrap (mostly from my board and batten project) but one piece was too thin and two were too wide. Luckily the depth of the 2 5/8″ trim piece is 3/8″, so together with the 3/4″ scrap I had exactly the right size. I didn’t have much trim left over, so you’ll see those are the much smaller pieces added at the top, middle, and bottom. I attached the pieces to each other with Liquid Nails first, then when that was dry, I clamped my creation between two cabinets and nailed the trim to the front.It looked like this when I was finished. Those random wood squares I made for another project in this room came in handy when I decided to add more supports to the back of the bookshelves and had to pull them out to do so.It was time to add the wider trim pieces. I used 1×4 for this (which is really 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ you know).This was much trickier because these pieces were going to extend up toward the ceiling. But once I got the spacing right I was able to plan out the electrical. I was in charge of placement of the outlets. I cut the holes and put an outlet box in each of the 3 new outlets. I used the old work type of outlet box because it has the nifty little wings that pop up behind the bookshelf wall, which give you something to screw into, because there aren’t any studs back there.I also measured where the one existing outlet would fall inside the shelves and cut a hole for it, making sure the extension box I mentioned earlier fit. Lars (aka hubby) does all the wire stuff.We were working together because he was home on Columbus Day. Our conversation regarding this outlet went something like this…
Me: Do you want me to call Ian? (the electrician who fixed his last mistake, just saying)
Lars: No I got this. Where is the other extension box?
Me: You already put it in the wall. Do you want me to call Ian?
Lars: It’s not in the wall. Where is it. I can do this myself.
Me: Maybe I should call Ian.
That was Monday. He realized at some point on Tuesday that he was in fact using 2 extension boxes (in addition to the original outlet box). OMG I told him that yesterday. You can see both of them in the picture above! I asked a few more times about calling Ian. But he eventually got it all wired up and now I’ll show you the second video. I made this one Thursday morning using my tripod. Hubby also left for California early that morning.
I secured the shelves to the wall with L-brackets. Ikea provides plastic pieces to anchor these to a wall, but you have to put an ugly screw through the visible side of the shelves, so no thanks. I used the included spacer as a shim for my really un-level floor. You probably don’t care, but I’ll mention because you can tell in this picture, that I turned my cabinets upside down before adding the shelves. The only difference between the top and bottom is that the bottom has a place to screw in adjustable feet. It’s a great feature, but one I didn’t need. It’s such a good feature, that you are able to adjust the height of the feet from the top (so much better than trying to reach underneath), but that meant there were visible holes in each corner of the bottom piece. No holes in the top. So I switched them.Then I took my Daisy Girl Scouts bowling. It’s part of my Mom-Onset ADD. They had fun.After the kids ate dinner I spent my night adding the larger 1×6 trim pieces between the double shelves. This meant I had to be ready with my ceiling situation. I decided to use a 1×4 along the top of the built-ins so I could get as much usable space as possible out of that top shelf. I don’t like to rely on measurements when I can put two pieces of wood in place and mark them accordingly, which is how I planned to determine the height of the 1×6 trim. To add the 1×4 to the ceiling I marked the studs in the ceiling and the corresponding position on the 1×4. Then I added scrap 2×4 pieces perpendicular to the 1×4. What’s that? You need a picture? (Don’t get confused by the other random wood I have lying around.) For the same non-measuring tape reason, I had to add the horizontal piece along the bottom at this point because my vertical pieces will rest on it.Oh, did you notice I added the new vent cover on the bottom right? So much better, right. Then in a crazy feet of balance I held the ceiling trim piece on top of the vertical trim piece with one hand and screwed one of the 2×4 brackets into the ceiling with the other. But it didn’t happen on the first try. I had to pre-drill the hole (yes I should have done this anyway, but I was being lazy) and switch my old gigantic Ryobi Ni-Cd battery for a smaller, lighter, Lithium+ battery. I wasn’t strong enough to hold the heavy one in such a precarious position. And of course clamps are a girl’s best friend.Disclaimer: Although flip-flops are a girl’s other best friend, they do not make suitable footwear in this instance. Do not do what I do. Find the proper way to stand on a ladder and don’t leave air compressor hoses all wild like below. Bottom line — don’t try to blame me when you hurt yourself or jack something up. Just saying.
You would think that the second 1×6 would be easier, but I totally jacked it up. I cut it too short. Told myself I was going to go cut another piece and then totally forgot and nailed the too short piece to the bookshelves. So yes, we all make mistakes. I’ll fix it.
I added 3 horizontal 1×4’s as well. And thankfully I realized before I attached everything… I want to add a “ceiling” to the top shelf (the one above the BESTA bookshelves) because I think it looks better when the bottom of the molding is flush with a surface, it looks more build in, and because you would see my 2×4 brackets otherwise. I have two pieces of luan I plan to use for this, but if I close off the front it would be nearly impossible to get the luan in there. That is why the top piece is still clamped in place. It does have that one screw, which keeps it from toppling down on me. Oh and there’s a ceiling vent that will have to be addressed too. Are you still reading??? You deserve a prize! So now it’s Friday morning. I’m feeling good. Planning on finishing up the last 4 pieces of trim. You can even see in that picture that I have wood filler and caulk all ready to go. And then this happens.I am freaking out because there is no logical explanation. And I totally don’t want to pull out the shelves to find one. So I measure from the kitchen wall to the center of the puddle. 9 feet. I measure down the hallway behind (but not directly) the wall. Nine feet brings me to the bathroom sink. So I empty everything out from below the sink. Not wet. What the? Lars calls a few hours later and I tell him a long (but not as long as this one!) story about the water and that I have no idea where it’s coming from, but that we are going to open the wall from the bathroom side because I’m not touching my bookshelves. In about my 5th explanation of WHERE the leak was, I used the words, “It’s to the right of the outlet.” The line goes quiet. He says in a soft, but not really apologetic voice, “Oh… it may have been from when I took a sawzall to the con box because I never listen to my wise and beautiful wife.” Well maybe he didn’t say that last part, but he just gave the first part verbatim. He has one Golden Rule of DIY: Do not make any saw cuts or drill holes in ANYTHING without prior consultation with the wife. Oh, you think that sounds harsh? Believe me when I tell you we have this rule for a reason. Countless things have been ruined because only one set of eyes looked at a problem. Countless. From flower pots to $45 pieces of plywood. We’ve been down that road a million times. So I get that we all make mistakes, but OMG don’t violate the golden rule!
So using my powers of deductive reasoning, and my TV detective skills, I came to following conclusions. Unbeknownst to me, hubby decided to remove the existing electrical box by cutting the nails with a reciprocating saw (I’m not a fan of the term sawzall). In doing so he cut the sink drain line. I know this because the water is not constant. The spot dried in about an hour and when it did I conducted two experiments… flushing the toiled, which produced no water, and then running the sink for a minute. Bingo! More water from under the shelves. It’s good that it was the drain line, which is not under constant pressure, and once we stopped using the sink no more water could leak. The bad news is that we need to take part of the wall out in the bathroom to get to the problem. The scariest part, in my opinion, is that the leak is right next to the electrical outlet. I couldn’t turn the breaker off because that outlet is daisy-chained to the refrigerator outlet (totally like that when we bought the house) and I didn’t want to have the refrigerator off all night. I did, however, have my 5 and 6 year olds sleep with me last night. We were the only ones home.
I got over my near-fear of plumbing and removed the sink and vanity last night. But that, my dear friends, is a story for another night.Thanks for stopping by. I have big plans to finish the built-ins tomorrow and start prepping for the new tile. Woohoo!
Here’s what’s been happening with the family room:
- Ladies Demo + Wine Night
- Family Room Can of Worms
- Family Room Gets Wired Up
- Making Progress on the Family Room
- Design Choices for the Family Room
- Family Effort this Weekend
- The Built-in Bookshelf and Why It’s Not Finished <<You are here
- Built-in Bookshelf Using IKEA BESTA
- Self-Leveling Concrete
- Tiling Herringbone Floor
- Grouting the Herringbone Floor
- New Step into Family Room
- Lego Coffee Table
- Under Couch Lego Storage