Music Room Pocket Door Bookcases – Basic Build Complete

I’m finished with the building phase of this music room bookcase project. Here’s how it looks so far…

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Of course, I still need baseboards and crown moulding, but I’ll add that at the same time I add baseboards and crown to the whole room.

When I left off yesterday, I had one bookcase built. If you missed that, you can see those details here.

music room built in bookcases - the basic build complete on the first bookcase

So yesterday, I started by building the second bookcase on the right side to match the first one. Then I ran the wire for the lighting from the first bookcase to the second one. I used wire staples above the door to hold the wire in place.

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Then I just drilled a 1-inch hole in the back of the top section (the section that will be covered completely) and poked the wire through.

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With the wiring in place between the bookcases, I could build the middle section to cover the door hardware between the bookcases. I started by ripping down a 1 x 2 piece of lumber so that it was 7/8-inch wide, and I attached it to the side of the right bookcase so that the bottom came to the bottom of the metal door track. I attached this with wood glue and lots of 16-gauge nails.

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Then I repeated that on the side of the other bookcase, but on this bookcase I also added a temporary support just underneath the vertical piece.

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The temporary support piece allowed me to place my ladder on the right side, place the MDF piece on top of the temporary support, and nail it in to place (i.e., into the vertical piece) on the right side. Then I could move my ladder to the left side, nail that side into place, and remove the temporary support piece.

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Here’s what it looked like with the temporary support piece removed.

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The reason I ripped those vertical pieces to 7/8-inch wide is because I wanted width of the vertical piece (7/8-inch) plus the thickness of the MDF panel (5/8-inch) to equal exactly 1.5 inches. That way I could use a 1 x 2 pre-primed MDF board attached to the bottom to cover the edge of the MDF panel and the vertical pieces. Even though it’s very narrow, this 1 x 2 basically acts as the top door jamb

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Then on each side, just under that top 1 x 2, I added three 1 x 2’s. I added them one at a time, and nailed each one in place separately.

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You can get a better view of that here.

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The whole purpose of this was to give me room to create a door casing. I didn’t have room to create side casings as wide as the casings on all of my other doors, but I thought a narrow casing was better than nothing.

Then I ripped down an MDF board to fit right on top of the three 1 x 2’s, leaving about a quarter inch of the inside 1 x 2 showing, just like on a regular door casing. I repeated that on the other side of the doorway.

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And then on top, I added the same top casing that I’ve used on all of my other doors – a 1 x 6 sandwiched between two 1 x 2’s. (I’ve decided not to make changes to my door casings. That’s more work than I want to take on right now.)

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And then I just needed to run one more wire from the junction box on the right bookcase to the outlet on the right wall of the bottom shelf on that same bookcase, and then add the very top and bottom rails to the right bookcase. You might notice that I also replaced the top rail on the left bookcase with a taller board. I’m still not 100% sure how I want to finish off my ceiling so I didn’t want to take a chance of having a big gap at the top of that rail.

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So about the lighting…

I didn’t want to crawl through the attic, run wire to the breaker box, and install another switch somewhere on the wall in this room for those lights. So instead, I decided to pull the power for the lights from the outlet that’s on the right wall of the bottom shelf of the right bookcase. I used an extension cord, cut off the end with the receptacle and kept the end with the plug, and then ran the wire through a hole that I drilled in the top right corner of that bottom shelf, behind the bookcase, and out the top to the junction box. Then there’s another wire (the same kind of extension cord, but with both ends cut off) running from the junction box on the right to the junction box on the left. The lights will be turned on and off at the outlet, and I purchased an adapter that has a switch on it. So I won’t have to plug in and and unplug these lights. I’ll just have to flip the switch on the adapter. I also bought an adapter that has a dimmer rather than a switch, so I’ll try them both out and see which one I like better.

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I love how this is turning out so far. I think the door casings give it such a finished look.

Several people wondered if there was room between the kitchen doorway and the wall for a bookcase. There was just barely enough room!  🙂 Once I get the door casings installed on the kitchen doorway, there will be three inches between the outside edge of the casing and the front of the bookcase.

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And finally, here’s how it looks from inside the kitchen.

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Now all of the finish work begins. That’s my least favorite part. I could build stuff all day long every day and be perfectly happy, but when it comes to all of the finish work (wood filling, sanding, caulking, priming, sanding and painting), I dread it. But it must be done! 🙂



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  1. I’m going to buy a house next to you. While you’re at my house building awesome things for me, I’ll be at your house wood filling, sanding, caulking, priming, sanding and painting for you. 🙂 🙂 But seriously, this project is beyond amazing. So excited for you. LOVE IT!!!

  2. WHOAAAAAA. I have nothing other to say than WHOOOOAAAAAAAAAAA. Maybe WOOOOOOOOOOW but I’m still picking my jaw up off the floor.


  3. Be very careful using extension cord like that. Fire hazard and definitely not up to code. Otherwise a great save.

    1. I don’t know how it could be a fire hazard. If I were trying to power an appliance with it, it would be a problem. But it’s two lights, and it’s the same wire that’s used on table lamps. If this is a fire hazard, then it seems like all table lamps would be a fire hazard also.

      1. Your comments (or replies) really come off as bitchy sometimes. I get it if people are being rude, but if it’s just something like this, I really don’t understand the need for the attitude. The majority of people really admire you and leave wonderful, praising comments but you pass those over to respond to these comments. I don’t get it.

        1. What you are adding intonation to is just really her stating the facts. Maybe you need to work on your attitude that you are seeing an informative post, although straightforward, as angry. Maybe the anger is coming from inside of you.

  4. I must admit that I didn’t quite get how this was all going to work out. I thought the bookcases would detract from your beautiful door. But now that I see it…..I love it! Love how they seem to frame the doors. Once again, you’ve created a beautiful space! You are amazing!

  5. Love it I just have one question. When you put crown above the center are you going to end up with an inch or so of drywall between casing and crown ? Will you paint that part black ?

    1. Ugh…I’ve been wrestling with that very question. 🙁 That’s how all of my doors are, with just about three inches of wall space between the door casing and the crown moulding, but none of my other doorways are flanked with bookcases that are painted white. So I really don’t know how that’s going to work out. I’ll start off painting it black, since that’s the “correct” way, and if it looks ridiculous, I’ll resort to Plan B. I’m just not sure what Plan B is right now. 😀

      1. I love what you’re doing to the place and your hands on approach to everything never fails to amaze me! Have you considered doing a box header above the doorway similar to your inspiration pic?

        1. I did consider it initially, but the ceiling in the room in that inspiration pic are much taller, and the doorway is much taller. My ceiling is only 8-foot high, and my doorway is only 81 inches high. I was afraid that a box header above my much shorter doorway would make the whole thing feel very closed in.

          1. Hahah well I’m sure whatever you decide will look beautiful in the end. It looks amazing now! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

  6. Could you please add a photo of the room from your front door? I really wonder how it looks behind the French doors.

  7. Every time you post about a new project, idea, change to an existing project/idea, and I see the results, I am amazed. Truly. You, lady, are AMAZING!!! I won’t open your post emails on my phone anymore and rush to my computer so I can see the work in all its glory. Thanks for taking us along with you on this ride. 🙂

  8. It’s coming along great!

    I think I would have found a way to get that wire behind the bookcase and into the plug box through the wall (even if it meant punching holes in the drywall behind the right side-panel or in the ceiling above the book cases) and then used one of those outlets with a rocker switch on top and an outlet on the bottom designed to fit in a standard outlet plate. It’d just look cleaner. It’s probably a moot point now, since the book case is built in place and can’t be moved.

    Some day, I’d love to buy one of those drill bits on a long bendy wire that electricians use to drill holes through studs and sill plates inside the finished wall. They’re kind of pricy though. 😉

  9. If I read this correctly you are connecting Romex electrical wire to extension cord wire in those junction boxes above the bookcases. If so, I believe this violates the electrical code. Heck the electrical code doesn’t let you connect 12 gauge Romex to 14 gauge Romex–the gauges have to match. Just check with an electrician friend before you complete your remodeling effort.

    1. No, I’m not using any Romex wire. I bought two of the same extension cord (i.e., two cords of the same gauge) and used one from the outlet to the first junction box, and the second cord (with both ends cut off so that I was left with just the wire) from the first junction box to the second junction box. I’m not mixing types of wires or gauges of wires.

    2. I love this! It’s going to look perfect. I can envision a couple of nice brass picture lights at the top. But I too questioned the wiring when you mentioned the extension cords. I’m pretty sure that’s not to code. You are joining electrical cord wire to the romex in your junction box. Please check this before you go much further.

        1. We all love you and just want you and Matt to be safe! 🙂 I think the safety issue is because the extension cord wire, not being standard for wiring inside walls, is not accessible behind the boards of the bookcase. If you could figure out how to run romex from the existing outlet, there is a combination outlet and switch that could replace the existing receptacle eliminating the need for the adapter. Which, by the way, I didn’t know about those adapters and think they are brilliant and definitely going into my reference file! And I haven’t stopped drooling over the overall look of that wall of bookcases and doors… jealous!

  10. Last night after I was in bed, I finally “got” how this was going to work. I’m happy to see the almost finished product. It’s a great idea and it’s beautiful!

  11. I love how this has giving these a more polished finished look! I always love the doors, but never like way looked by themselves on that wall. This is just what they need to look like a complete idea!

  12. You provided more balance to this room plus made use of the area on either side of the doorway that would have been dead-space. Ingenious! I keep telling my husband I wish I had the ability to think a process through the way that Kristi does. You really amaze me!

  13. I love how this looks! Can’t wait to see it complete. (Bet you wish you had a dollar for every time I’ve said that, right?)

  14. Just. Wow.

    I have to say, I wasn’t so sure about those bookcases…but only because your doors are so spectacular I wouldn’t want to hide them even if they’re open.

    BUT…the bookcases frame them so beautifully that the doors became even more of a focal point.

    Additionally, music rooms seem so hard to decorate, but the shelves will give you lovely accessorizing and storage options.

    You continue to amaze and inspire! (Your brain must be huge, lol!)

  15. Dear Kristi,
    I adore how you think about a problem. You just never give up and that is your genius. Great job on the doors. I love them and if my house were bigger I would do something like that or rather have Hubs do it!
    Really excited to see what you do next!
    All the best!

  16. I LOVE this sooooooooooo much!!!! It looks so good next to your kitchen too, it really balances it out. So genius!!!!

  17. Oh My Heck! Are you for real! You have mad skills girls and I love, love, love what you do! Thank you for taking us along! You are brave and talented beyond belief. I’m so girl crushing right now…. Come to Tucson. It’s warm and dry and lovely. I will house you. And make you coffee and dinner. And then put you to work!

  18. Kristi, I so enjoy your posts, they are so inspiring! Haven’t seen the cat in the pics lately….. cuddling with Matt? Your home looks terrific!!

  19. Love it! It’s looking so great!

    I do have a question. This seems so out of character of you to take a short cut. You are taking so much time to make sure the detail work is done right and is perfect, why wouldn’t you take the needed time to do the right and best thing with the electrical? You said you didn’t want to get in the attic, run wire, etc… But, wouldn’t that be the right and safest way? I don’t know, I just don’t foresee any electrician’s that would use extension cords with ends cut off, nor do I think county permit offices would say this is the right and safest way. I do know you hate the attic and it scares you, but you typically don’t take short cuts.

    1. I guess it is a shortcut, but it’s definitely not one that’s unsafe. I’m basically wiring two light bulbs (dimmable LED bulbs) that are 12 watts each and together will pull no more than 0.2 amps when fully on. It’s basically like wiring a two-bulb table lamp, but the only difference is that my wires are going behind bookcases and my lights, rather than sitting on a table, are attached to the front of my bookcases. If you’ve ever bought a lamp wiring kit, you know that it comes with a wire that’s basically an 18-gauge extension cord with the receptacle end missing (i.e., plug on one end and bare wires on the other), and you simply wire the bare wire end to your lamp. I could have gone that route, and it would have been just fine (because again, I’m just wiring two light bulbs), but those kits are about $1o each and come with a bunch of parts that I didn’t need, and I would have needed two of them. Instead, I opted for two $4 16-gauge extension cords (which are heavier duty wire than you get with a lamp kit, and are rated for up to 13 amps, which is 65 times more than what I need to power my two light bulbs) and used those in the same way that I would have had I been wiring a table lamp. It’s a shortcut, but only because I feel like that’s all that is needed in order to power two light bulbs. Going through my attic, running Romex to the breaker box, and/or having to tear up my wall in order to get power from an existing outlet to run Romex through the walls to the lights and to a new switch just seemed like overkill to power two light bulbs that, quite honestly, will probably rarely be used. I’m unashamedly a form over function person, and I thought that sconces would be pretty on the bookcases, but quite honestly, I doubt they’ll get used very often.

      I’m not often a shortcut kind of person, but I will take shortcuts when I think I can do so safely, and when it won’t have a negative impact on the outcome of the project. This was one of those times. 🙂

      1. I think this is exactly the same situation you have when you have a china cabinet with a light inside. It’s wired more like a piece of furniture would be.

  20. Hi Kristi, someone mentioned picture lights. Is that what you are going to use? That will look very cool. I missed reading a day or two of posts since I have been so busy, but the bookcases look great and now your have a music/library in your home. Make sure you stage those shelves perfectly! Blessings

  21. Looking good! Looking gorgeous, in fact. It’s transforming what was a very awkward space. I’m dying to see it all painted and paneled!

  22. You’ve done an absolutely beautiful job of making those look like actual pocket doors..which, in a manner of speaking, I’d say they now really are. Great work, wonderful skill.

  23. I LOVE THIS! This seriously has me smiling–this totally makes the space! You must be a terrific Lego builder–wood-building ideas-turned-projects are like Legos for adults.

  24. Aaaahhhhhhhmazing !!!

    I am a huge fan of your site (I check in daily) and have been inspired by almost all of your projects but this is my first comment. I’m so impressed with this idea, and by your vision!

    WAY TO GO !!!

  25. You make this all look so easy! I feel like a slug because I can’t even seem to get my house in order. let alone do renovations which are greatly needed! HAHA Seriously, this is AMAZING! Can’t wait to see what lights you use. I am beyond WOWED!

    1. Me, too, Angela—I have a lot on my ” get the house ready to sell” list but have to hire tradespeople because I have no building talent, let alone the tools needed. Oh well, I’m stimulating the economy… :/

  26. Just… Wow!!! I knew as soon as you told us about your bookcase plans that it would totally work but this is even better that I imagined. Great job;)

  27. Hi Kristi,
    What about a piece of frosted glass (or plexi) above the doors. You could use the glass painting technique you have done before to give the illusion of seeing through or leave it frosted. Compliment the glass in the door and solve the three inch problem of what to do with it. Could do a complimentary wood insert horizontally to go with the doors. You definitely have more ideas than I do, can’t wait to see it finished.
    P.S.- I like the dark doors, makes the whole thing pop.

  28. Well another morning to read about you wonderful progress in your Music Room. Absolutely admire the bookcases framing beautiful doors. Once the book case is dressed and objects placed,this will be a transformation to be be green with envy. All I can add is woooooooow!

  29. You totally amaze me with your talents and skills. I enjoy watching step-by-step all the changes to your home. I wish you were closer; I could use ideas and help, lol. Great job.

  30. I think you’ve outdone yourself this time! I want to steal this idea. 😀
    Thank you so so so much for sharing your adventures with us!

  31. I think the bookcases are nice and the doors are beautiful, I just don’t like them together. I feel that side of your room looks too busy or full and heavy now. I also think the bookcases take away from your gorgeous doors you built, which I cannot for the life of me understand why you want to cover them up. Please do not try and explain it to me, this is just my opinion and will not change. Now the only time you’ll see those awesome doors is when they are shut and cannot admire them as artwork in the room all the time.

  32. I wanted to suggest an adapter with a timer for your lights. I have one that turns a table lamp in my living room on and off automatically and it’s so nice to have that ambient lighting without having to think about it. But I did see you say above that you don’t think the lights will be used often.