Fireplace Built-Ins Pt 1

Friends a couple of weeks ago, a big dream that I’ve had for this home finally came true. I began working on my fireplace built-ins.  Every year for the past three years, in November I’ve made an update to this fireplace wall. Something about the holiday season and the fact that we use this room SO Much more during cozy season, always leads me to want some change here.

When we bought the house

Please excuse the lines on our ugly popcorn ceiling--we had planned on a ceiling treatment and then changed our minds, but a new ceiling is soon to come.

Anyway, I’ve been planning and visualizing this built in since day 1, but had some reservations because the fireplace was basically flush to the wall and I didn’t want bookcases that stuck out too far from the wall, especially since the room is shallow at only about 12’ deep and 20 feet wide.

So I finally decided to just make it happen. I came up with the plan for 8” deep shelves, which technically ended up being approximately 9” once all was said and done (with the 1” facing of the shelves). But 9′ is the perfect depth for average sized books and medium to large vases, so that was all the mattered to me.

I approached the building of these bookcases much like I approached the built-ins at our last house .

 What I did:

My husband scored some 1/2” sand-ply plywood on clearance for only $32—which was half off-SCORE!!! So I brought it home and ripped it down on my table saw.  I ripped it down to get5 -8″x8′ pieces. for the sides, top and bottom of the shelves.

I attached the sides of the bookcases at the bottom, to a support (in this case a 2×4) using 2 1/2″ screws. . .

And then used a piece of plywood for the top of the bookcase, which I attached with wood glue and screws, and a 1×2 as a support for under the top piece and secured the sides of the shelves to it, and then secured the 1×2 to studs in the wall.

Next, I added the bottom shelf . . .and also added an additional 2×4 to support the back of the shelf.

and then a piece of plywood to the front of the shelves to further secure it.

I also secured the bookcases to the sides of the fireplace using my nail gun and screws.  (Bottom line, they aren’t going anywhere!)

Next, I added 1x2s as shelf supports, and 1/2″ plywood ripped down to 8″ for the shelves.

I decided on 4 shelves per side.  I don’t have a ton of books, so these shelves were made mainly to add interest to the space, and I think having too many shelves to style can make a space look cluttered.

Rather than bother with crown molding, I made some faux crown molding like I did here and here,  using a 1×4 and and a 1×2. We are either having our ceilings scraped or planked so I couldn’t fully secure the “crown” quite yet.

Then it was time to cover up the unfinished edges. I used 1×2″s and secured them to my bookcase frame, and then added some baseboards, using 1×4 boards, mitered at the corners and nailed them to the 2×4 support with my nail gun.

Next it was time to add trim to the top front board, I used 1x2s here as well, but trimmed out the inside of the rectangular box with the same small colonial trim that is used on my fireplace surround.

Okay, so can we talk about my favorite feature of these shelves???? It’s how I decided to turn the bottom left shelf into a vertical wood storage cubby.  By adding a simple 1×2 as a piece of strapping to hold the wood in place (similar to how I created this plate rack wall in my kitchen way back in the day.)

Nori’s always in the mix

This little cubby is not only aesthetically pleasing, it also clears up some much needed floor space by allowing me to eliminate my wood storage caddy.  I also plan to store my fireplace tools on the bottom shelf on the right, also allowing me to clear up some floor space—Winning!

Next, it was time to think about paint–I should probably mention that I caulked, filled nail holes and sanded before this, unfortunately I don’t have photo of this though.  I decided to use Behr Sculptor Clay for the shelves and the wall-It’s a perfect warm greige.  the previous Fireplace color was Smoked Tan, the color of our foyer.

Unfortunately, I have to wait until the ceiling is done to secure the tops of the bookcases, but I’m pretty obsessed with how this has turned out.  Stay tuned for the full reveal.

Spread the love


  1. Cindy
    December 30, 2023 / 4:18 pm

    You are so talented. It’s perfect. Can’t wait to see it styled. Have a Happy New Year!

  2. Mary
    December 31, 2023 / 9:49 am

    You are amazing! Eager to see the finished project.

  3. Kris Lindquist
    January 11, 2024 / 7:59 am

    Incredible. I am in awe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin with Carli

Follow on Pinterest