Let’s face it, sometimes houses have weird, little nooks that make you wonder what the builder or contractor was thinking.  We have one in our basement.  One of the previous owners had the basement finished and created a strange cavity between a support post and a closet.  Ever since we first looked at it, we thought “That nook needs some shelves.” Our plan for this section of the basement is to make a bar area, so we thought the shelves would be a good place to store the growlers we’ve been collecting from our favorite breweries.

We also inherited a TV from my Dad.  It’s the only other TV we have besides our projector, and its on the smaller side, so we figured the shelves will also be a good place for a TV.  A bar needs a TV, right?

Carolyn found some “pinspiration” from these shelves, but couldn’t find a tutorial, so we decided to improvise.  She loved how they had a slight rustic, but built-in look to them, without actually cutting into the walls.

First, we measured everything and decided how many shelves to build.  We decided to go with four shelves, which would comfortably fit the growlers and the TV on top.  We went to Lowe’s and looked at the standard size pine boards and decided that it would be much cheaper to buy a sheet of 3/4″ plywood and cut it into sections for each shelf.  I had them cut the shelves to an approximate size because we brought our smaller car that day.  I over-sized the cuts by 1/2″ in each direction because although their cuts are super straight, their measurements aren’t always accurate in the store and I could easily do the final trimming at home.  If you don’t have a table or circular saw at home, you can have Lowe’s do all the cuts for you, but you’ll want to double-check the measurements before and after cutting.

Our design was a floating shelf so we wanted to see as little support or screws as possible.  To hide the screws I used pocket-hole joinery, a technique used in woodworking to join pieces of wood together with a screw drilled in at an angle. The screw can even be covered by a wood plug.  This was a perfect practice project for the Kreg Jig Kit that Carolyn bought me for Christmas.  The Kreg Jig is a tool to make pocket joinery simple. The kit she got me is amazing and is a bit of overkill for this project, but I plan to do a lot of built-ins with it in the future.  Kreg has plenty of jig optionsto match any budget.  Even the Mini Kreg Jig Kitcould get this job done. No, our tiny blog is not sponsored, I just really love their tools!

So the first step of installation was measuring, cutting and installing the supports.  When dealing with a drywalled section like this, the walls are never quite straight, so each shelf needs to be measured out separately.  Installing the supports was just a matter of marking the studs, drilling out the pocket holes, and screwing them into the wall.  To drill the holes with the Kreg Jig, you adjust both the tool and drill bit to the marking for the thickness of your wood (in this case, 3/4″). You don’t need to drill a pilot hole through the wall or stud, just hold the support in place and screw it in.  There was only one accessible stud to the side supports so I joined each of them to the back support.

Drilling The Back Supports

Drilling The Back Supports

The supports are in place with the sides joined to the back.

The supports in place with the sides joined to the back.

Next I had to cut the shelves from the plywood.  Again, the walls aren’t quite straight and the angles aren’t always perpendicular, so I measured the back and front sections, and used the protractor from my Kreg Crown Molding Toolto measure the wall angle.  The left side wall ranged from 91-94 degree angles at each height, which makes a big difference in the shelf’s fit.  I didn’t want any gaps between the wall and shelf so I traced out the wall shape and cut carefully.  Once I got the shelves cut, I just dropped them on top of the supports and screwed them in from the bottom.

Installing the first shelf

Installing the first shelf

Testing out the shelves

Testing out the shelves. No front covers yet to hide the support.

The final touch on the shelf construction was a cover for the front. The cover is multi-purpose; it covers the ugly sides of the plywood, hides the supports, and makes the shelves look chunkier, like one thick, solid piece of wood. The front piece could either be installed with a nail gun or pocket-joined with the Kreg Jig.  I chose to use the Kreg Jig again, so there are no visible screws or nails at all on the shelves.

My favorite little helper

My favorite little helper

Stay tuned for part II where we’ll talk about staining the shelves and show the finished product! And don’t forget to follow us on instagram @hamsathome and check out our bonus video showing the Kreg Jig in action.

Do you have a nook that is in need of shelves or built-ins? Tell us about it!

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