Our Basement Family Room's DIY Bookshelf Cabinet


Like any one who has just moved into their new home (for us, that was 3 years ago πŸ˜†), there would inevitably still be unopened boxes in storage.  With my staging business in full swing, I currently use some of our basement storage for my staging supplies, and the need for additional storage space has become even more pressing.  To make space for my staging supplies, the Mr. moved our unpacked boxes out to the basement's finished area...  and the basement became an eye sore:

storage problem.jpg

Having these boxes out in the open triggered the Mr.'s OCD, pushing him to move forward with our planned DIY storage cabinet...  which otherwise might have been put on the back burner.

This rendition below was the planned furniture layout for our basement family room.  The bookcase is the DIY storage cabinet, which is to be located beside the all-purpose table area.  (You can read more about our basement layout here). 

family room view to eating.jpg

In my post about the basement layout plan, I asked readers if you would want to see a built-from-scratch cabinet or an IKEA hack with the Besta.  The results were overwhelmingly for a build from scratch cabinet.  Well, with the venting holes on the wall of either side of the bookcase, it would be more work for the Mr. to hack the Besta than to build from scratch.  That was an easy decision for him.

We loved the design of our previous home office's DIY cabinet, and re-used that with some tweaks.   The new unit is not as wide as the previous unit, so instead of 3 columns, it would be made of 2 wider columns.


The Mr. worked too fast sometimes that I couldn't capture his progress in photos.  I put together a video with whatever photos I have of his DIY progress.  It always blows my mind how much planning he puts into each build, and of course, all his hard work in actually building the unit.  

I love how this storage unit turned out!  Not only is it a much needed storage cabinet, but it also allows us to display our family momentos.  Well, and the Mr. is just relieved that it's done so we could unpack those boxes!  After another round of purging, those boxed items are now residing in the bottom compartments.   


Now that those boxes are gone, our basement family room is finally a space that we can truly enjoy.  Even with nothing to watch on TV most nights, the Mr. and I still prefer to hang out on the couch down here.  


We would like to send a big thanks to Homesense, who have been so generous in sponsoring some accessories for styling this bookcase (and the rest of our family room)!  


Check back soon, as I'll share tips on how I styled our bookcase!  

Annual Review of Home Projects

New House Home Projects | Classy Glam Living

After a mostly sunny and hot summer, it's like payback time now in Toronto.  I can count the number of beautiful crisp Fall days maybe with 2 hands.  Fall also marks the beginning of a busy season for our family, with weekends now being taken up by hockey practices!  The Mr. barely has time to continue or start any new projects around the house now.

As we planned out project after project, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of our accomplishments.  Having just celebrated our one year anniversary at the house, it's probably a good time to do an annual review of our progress thus far.    

With downsizing to a smaller house, our top priority has been tackling storage needs around the house.  From addressing what drives us (me) absolutely insane to storage that incorporates beauty, here's a list of the Mr.'s most accomplished DIY projects around our house this past year:


The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it was naturally the space in the house that got the most attention from the get-go.  With it being used practically on a daily basis, it has the highest potential to drive us insane if it doesn't function well.  This was what our kitchen looked like when we closed the house last year:

New House Kitchen Before | Classy Glam Living

Terrifying, isn't it?  Since then, we've replaced the countertop, sink, and faucet.  

New House Kitchen | New Superwhite Countertop Kohler Karbon Faucet | Classy Glam Living

This was when we finally installed the integrated range hood (hidden inside the cabinet above the range) and replaced the solid doors with glass doors.

New House Kitchen | Glass cabinets | Classy Glam Living
New House Kitchen | Glass cabinets mirror back cabinet hardware | Classy Glam Living

When I was making too many one-pot pasta to avoid crawling into the pots and pans cabinet, the Mr. built some drawers in lower cabinets.

New House Kitchen | DIY pots and pans drawers | Classy Glam Living
New House Kitchen reveal | Classy Glam Living

Our kitchen has come a long way from its ugly duckling beginnings.  It may be small, but it has functioned really well for us.  Even when both the Mr. and I are in the kitchen, we never seem to be in each other's way.  Cooking isn't my forte, and I'm not an organized cook at all.  When you think making one-pot pasta sounds as easy as can be, I can still manage to spread out everything onto the 4 countertop spaces around the stove, ie. both sides of stove, plus both sides of the sink.  The Mr. can laugh all he wants about it, but we both appreciate all the counter space our integrated appliances (fridge/ freezer drawers and microwave drawer) have freed up.  We still think it's the best design decision we've made for this kitchen.


New House Dressing Room reveal | Folding table station | Classy Glam Living

Another space in our house with a humbling beginning was our DIY custom closet/ dressing room.  As mentioned in my previous post, we made a video of the building process and there have been 15,000+ views as of writing.  

I'm so proud of the Mr.'s ultimate build of my dream closet; it's both beautiful and functional.  The pull-out folding table gets the award for beauty in function.  It has made all the folding more bearable, as I've taken the Marie Kondo* route to organizing my closet.  The Mr. was also worried that I wouldn't have enough room for my clothes in this shared closet, but I'm happy to report that I still have extra space even after some shopping 😁

You can see more photos of the dressing room in this post.

If you missed last week's post on the YouTube video, here again is the video:


New House Playroom reveal | Classic Gray work building bench | Classy Glam Living

I can stand my own mess (oh ya, anytime), but this is one room where mess can actually be hazardous (imagine the pain of stepping on a stray piece of Lego!).  Little man doesn't actually have much toys, but for some reason, the floor was covered with so much stuff at one point where I had to part the Red Sea to get to his desk.  

Thank goodness the Mr. came to the rescue!  He quickly whipped up this table top part of a storage bench that I designed.  It's been a great spot to store and display some of little man's Lego collections.  He has also used it as a building table; this ottoman is just the right height for him to work there.  

New House Playroom Reveal | Gallery wall Classic gray work building bench | Classy Glam Living

As for the storage part, the pieces of wood for the drawers that go underneath the bench have been cut...  just waiting for the Mr. to stain them and put them together!  That's the main (and most important) missing part of this playroom!!  (Can you tell I can't wait for it to be done by my exclamation marks? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I've sourced out decorative items that are suitable for a playroom, namely a low pile rug, vinyl-front frames for the gallery wall, caged light fixture instead of one with exposed bulb, just to name a few.  You can see my playroom design board in this post, and the reveal here.


Basement Family Room

The Mr. and I started working on the basement family room design, which I wrote about in this post.  The walls have been painted to a more neutral colour, which is more pleasing to the eyes than the original too-yellowish cream colour.  

New House Family Room Layout Plan | Classy Glam Living

We had a poll for our basement DIY storage furniture - to build from scratch or do another IKEA hack?  You can submit your choice here!

Laundry Room

New House Laundry Room Design Board | Classy Glam Living

Oh, our laundry room can definitely use some storage help.  Back at our previous house, I used to store off-season decor items in our cabinets, which were of abundance.  I would love to clean up the laundry room once and for all, with the cleaning supplies hidden behind closed doors!

Here's the post of my laundry room design, which I hope will come into fruition one day!

Master Ensuite Vanity

Well, if you've been following along, then you would know how much I love (LOVE!!!) drawers.  Currently, this is our master ensuite's vanity situation:

New House Master Ensuite Bathroom Design Plan | Classy Glam Living

Yup, not drawers, and that means lots of wasted storage space inside the cabinets.  I know I need to purge some products, as they're now carefully sitting on each other like I'm building a pyramid.  That's what happens when I'm not working with drawers πŸ˜“

Ideally, these cabinets will house two drawers under each sink.  One would be for products and the other our linen drawer.  Between the Mr. and I, there should be plenty of room in each drawer.

This is one of my inspirations for our vanity.  You can read more about my bathroom design plan here and colour choice here.

Between work, family commitments, and other minor home projects, I think the Mr. has done an excellent job around the house.  He's meticulous with his planning (measure twice and cut once!), never rushes through his work, and gives his projects an amazing finish. I would give him an exceed expectations for his grading πŸ˜‚  There're still loads of work to be done in our house, and they're enough to keep the Mr. busy for a long while!  

It's been fun to look over at the before's and after's of the projects.  You can see all these and some other projects on the Mr.'s honey-do list.  Yup, he'll be a very busy man!!

Plan for Our Basement Family Room

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

Now that Summer is over, and Fall is creeping up on us, the Mr. is itching to start with getting our basement entertainment area ready.  I guess he envisions that's where we'll curl up for some weekend movie nights in the winter months.  Love it when he plans ahead!

We asked our builder to finish the basement as our family room, so that we can banish our TV downstairs.  It was the best decision we've made for this house, allowing us to live in peace upstairs without TV distractions, and actually be more productive with our after-dinner activities.

So back to our basement... When the Mr. has the itch to get the basement done, I need to help scratch it by getting the design nailed down.  If you're following me on Instagram, and has seen my IG stories, then you would know that he has already painted the walls in Benjamin Moore's Intense White!

I'm so glad I've recently discovered iHomeRegistry.com as my design helper!  It is an online 3D home designing software.  I've never been professionally trained to use the CAD softwares for interior design, and yet I find iHomeRegistry very easy to navigate.  Best thing was, I can custom size everything, down to each piece of furniture!

Armed with my "drawings", I held a design meeting with the Mr.  (The following drawings were all prepared with iHomeRegistry.)

We wanted to maximize the TV viewing distance in the entertainment area, so naturally, this layout below made the most sense, with the couch and TV setup lengthwise across the space:

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

This is my inspiration of the wrap-around media unit:

One of my pet peeves in decorating is working around the TV unit. However, with this being our entertainment room, I have no choice but to comply with it. Another challenge with this layout is the ducts and vents on the walls, which we can't block in case we need emergency access to them.  

That means we had to change our whole furniture placement to accommodate for these ducts and vents.  So, we moved things around.  Here's the new furniture placement layout, with the view from the stairs:

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

As much as I hate coming down and staring straight at the TV, this layout allows us to accommodate for the wall ducts and vents.  Our couch stays on the left wall, and armchairs are now on the right.  Behind the armchairs, the Mr. will build a storage unit, similar to one at our old home office.  I'm still at a loss as to what should be done at the TV wall. 

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

Here's what reality of this new layout looks like, after the Mr. has painted the walls and moved the furniture pieces around (did I tell you he's a visual person?):

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

On the right side of the storage unit will be our eating/ crafting/ gaming area:  

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

For this all-purpose area, I'm planning to pair the IKEA Ingatorp extendible dining table:

... with the 4 chairs that the Mr. reupholstered last year:

On the left side of the couch, we'll create a bar area:

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

My inspiration of the bar unit with brass and glass shelves is from this pantry at Chicago Restoration Hardware's 3Arts Cafe:

Basement Family Room Layout | iHomeRegistry | Classy Glam Living

It's the first time I'm using iHomeRegistry to play around with layouts, and it's so much fun and so easy to use, I'm hooked!  It's a great communication tool for the Mr. and I, because I can't draw for the life of me to get my design across to him, but he's a visual person who needs to SEE what's in my head πŸ˜†   This has helped me stop pulling at my hair when we sit down to talk design πŸ˜‚

So to tally up our new furniture pieces, the Mr. will be building 3 units - the media unit, the built-in bookcase, and the bar cabinets.  I requested that the door fronts be of the same style for all 3 units (with varying widths), so that they have a sense of coherence even though they're far apart.  Now the question is, does he build from scratch again (like he did for our DIY closet) or hack an IKEA cabinet (like our first IKEA hacked dressing room)?

And my question to you is, which one would you like to see? Build from scratch or another IKEA hack?
Please select one: