Things have been slow, socially, the past few days.  A lunch here, a Thai lesson there, but not much that is blogable.  My cousin Kari’s high school friend Sarah arrived from New York with her husband and another couple in tow.  We met them for dinner last night at Cafe de Laos and then drinks on the rooftop Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel.  But the week was pretty unblogable.  Until the bookshelves arrived on Wednesday.

Some of you may recall this sketch I did before the remodel started, showing what I had in mind for the living room.  A pair of pocket doors with traditional Victorian bookshelves built in on each side.  All along, I thought this was the basic design that Tawn and I were working towards.

Modified Living Room

In fact, the design had made a left turn some ways back but it wasn’t apparant to me.  Somewhere along the road, Tawn showed me a picture from an issue of Martha Stewart Living (a woman whose name is starting to haunt me) and asked, “What do you think aobut this design?”  I took it as a question relating to the china cabinet that we want to put near the kitchen and dining table.  Not realizing that it was related instead to the design for the bookshelf, I said that it was okay.

So on Tuesday the cabinet makers arrive with the “bookshelves”.  But as they go to put the top halves up, they discover that the entire piece is physically too tall.  They’ve mis-measured and the ceiling is two inches lower than the height of the bookshelf.  To top it off, they depth and width are both just about a half-inch to an inch too big to fit into the space.  It seems that baseboards and window frames were not taken into consideration when measurements were made.  (And the measurements were not made by us, I’ll point out.)

Below: Tawn discusses the options with the handyman (left) who installed our toilet paper hanger vertically because, he says, I told him to, and the general contractor’s son.  Note the height of the top border on the cabinet.


The workers left the shelves, drawers, and doors behind and took the top half of the cabinet back to the shop.  They returned on Thursday and installed the new, slightly lower bookshelves.  Width and depth issues have not been resolved but we’ll see about that later on.  Notice that the border on the top of the cabinet is now narrower.


P1030381 The problem is, because the shelves are still so tall and weren’t built with the correct width and depth, the top corner of the door hits the light fixture when you open it!  (Collective sigh and roll of the eyes.) 

So what do you think of the shelves?

Personally, I think the design is nice for a china cabinet, which is what I thought the design was originally for.  But as a bookshelf?  I don’t know about that.

One of the biggest problems is that the shelves in the top half are made of untempered glass and I’m not convinced they’ll hold the weight of the books.  Especially since they have no supports in the middle.

I also have mixed feelings about the glass doors and sides, which has a diamond pattern etched into them.  If you’re going to have glass shelves, shouldn’t you have doors that allow you to display the contents?  The whole point of glass shelves and doors is to show off your plates, platters and teapots, right?

There is a little pull-out drawer, a feature I really like as it makes for a good side table or console… on a china cabinet.  But not for a book shelf.

Also, I really expected that there would be a gap of about 10 inches between the top of the shelves and the ceiling.  That’s why we installed the little spot lights, to highlight the objets d’art we would display there.  I’m not sure if it is realistic to slice off several inches of the cabinet, maybe all of those small drawers?

Another option, which Tawn isn’t as keen on as he likes the cabinets, would be to try to sell them on Craigslist and use the proceeds to build another pair of bookshelves.  Or, should I say, “to build some bookshelves” as I don’t think these are bookshelves?

So just when things were seeming a bit na beua they became interesting again.


6 thoughts on “

  1. Hate to cause any more discord in the family, but These are not book shelves. They are china cabinets and beautiful ones at that. Sorry Tawn, but I agree with Chris. I would vote for Craigs list and try again. The bottom part looks pretty good, but the top is really not going to work. ;-D

  2. Yup, Chris. Beautiful china cabinet. Books need open shelves for easy access to reading material. I’d keep one for your china cabinet, if you both agree on that (the one that fits) and begin over again with the bookshelves. Back to your original design. Mom

  3. Can you remove the doors and replace with good glass ones and have this as a china cabinet?  Perhaps you have another area where you can get the book shelves up. Its too bad that the misunderstanding is such a costly one…. but it truly looks like a china cabinet. Yeah, like above, I have to say ‘sorry’ also, Tawn.
    Good luck with your decision.

  4. My two cents regarding the inability to open the door…Caint ya just bust the light globe? Bare bulbs have that lovely “Appalachia” look and can really brighten up a room!Hillbilly Martha

  5. Sorry, Tawn, I agree with Chris. They’re lovely as a china cabinets, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable stacking heavy books in such a beautiful cabinet. And I’ve had experience stacking books on untempered glass. They won’t hold much more than a row of paperbacks. I really like the lower cabinets though, worth keeping.I also agree with the awkward amount of space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. They need some more breathing room.I agree with your mom about keeping one of the cabinets for your china cabinet. They really are lovely.

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