On Tuesday night, I thought I had finished my bookcases in the music room, other than crown molding and baseboards. They looked like this…
But I realized that with this design, I had created two problems for myself. The first problem was my ceiling. The design that I had in mind (wood slats in the center with the area around the perimeter dropped slightly) works much better with a square/rectangular room. But with the bookcase design, I had create an area around the bookcases and doors where the ceiling design wouldn’t be square. Instead, it would jog back about 12 inches over the door. I was afraid that would look really strange with my planked design.
But that wasn’t the biggest issue I had. The biggest issue was that the area over the door was technically wall, and would need to be treated as such. That means that once the dropped perimeter of the ceiling was in place, and the crown molding was installed, there would be about two or three inches of wall between crown molding and the door casing. And the walls in this room are going to be painted black.
So if I treated that area as wall, which is what it is, then I’d have a three-inch strip of black wall above the doors, while everything else on that wall (except for my doors) would be white. It would look like this (just imagine the bookcases white).
That would look ridiculous and distracting, so I took inspiration once again from this room…
…and decided to build a boxed header between the two bookcases. I had ruled out this option earlier because I pictured it being right above the door, like in the picture above. I thought that would make that area feel way too short and boxed in. But then I realized that if I kept the taller top door casing in place, and put the boxed header above it, it would only drop down from the ceiling seven inches. That’s not much, but it would be just enough to solve my two design issues.
The fix was very quick and easy. I simply glued and nailed a brace to the side of each bookcase, leaving just enough room below for the 5/8-inch MDF panel to slip between the brace and the top of the door casing.
And then I nailed the MDF panel to the braces and attached a 1″ x 6″ piece of lumber to the front.
Quick and simple, and within about 30 minutes, both of my design issues were resolved.
With the ceiling squared up again, I could finally work on finishing my ceiling. I had planned to drop the perimeter down about two or two-and-a-half inches to create a kind of tray ceiling. But in the end, I decided that two or two-and-a-half inches was too much. When you have eight-foot ceilings, every inch counts! So in the end, I decided to only do one inch.
To do this, I started by attaching 1/2-inch MDF strips around the perimeter of the room, and around the edge of the planked wood design. I used construction adhesive and a lot of 16-gauge 1.75-inch nails to do this, and I made sure to nail the strips into ceiling joists at every point where they crossed over ceiling joists.
And then I attached 1/2-inch MDF to those strips, making sure to line them up as perfectly as possible long the inside edge (i.e., the planked wood edge).
And again, because I was doing this by myself, I had to come up with a way to hold one end up to the ceiling while I was at the other end with my ladder and nail gun. You can see in the picture above how I did this. I used a scrap piece of MDF, and nailed it into the piece of MDF that I had already installed going parallel to the bookcases. This brace extended into the section that I was installing (the piece perpendicular to the bookcases, against the wall). So I put my ladder on the left side of that MDF piece, slid the piece between the brace and the ceiling, and it held that end in place while I nailed the left side into place. Then I could easily get down, move my ladder, and nail the rest of the MDF board into place before removing the brace.
Here’s how that corner looked once the brace was removed.
I didn’t quite get all of the perimeter pieces in place, but I think you can tell where I’m going with this, right? 🙂
I will attach decorative molding along the inside edge of the perimeter pieces (i.e., on top of the wood slats, right up against the perimeter pieces), and then the wall edges will have crown molding. And of course, the bookcases, ceiling, and trim will all be painted white. Right now it looks very dark (MDF has a way of sucking light right out of a room), but it’ll brighten up considerably once it’s all painted white.
I’m so excited that things are finally moving along on this room! I felt stalled for so long, and I just had such a hard time having a vision for the room. That bookcase wall changed everything for me.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.