Then a light bulb went off in my head, "why the heck can't we transform what we already have"? I couldn't get my graph paper out fast enough to come up with a drawing of what I was envisioning.
This is Miss 80's in all her glory. She was a beauty when we bought her in 1986, our first major furniture purchase.
Then the fun began...
How To Repurpose A Dated Wall Unit Into A Fireplace Mantel and Flanking Bookcases
Step 1: Dismantling The Wall UnitWe removed the middle unit and dismantled it piece-by-piece as most of it was going to be salvaged and repurposed for the bookcases. The vertical sticks of wood are holding freshly glued trim that was salvaged from the door fronts. They fit perfectly across the top of each bookcase without the need to cut - love when that happens!
Step 2: Building The Fireplace BoxThen we (as in Mr. Frugalista) built a plywood box to house the electric fireplace that was formerly on the left side of the wall unit (originally there was a fold down bar in that spot). Next he installed 3" crown moulding and 1 1/4" decorative trim to the top of each bookcase and the fireplace box. 4" medallions were added to the top corners of the fireplace box along with decorative trim that echoes the trim of our interior doors and windows.
Step 3: Tiling The Fireplace BoxWe laid slate subway tiles around the fireplace that match the slate floors in our front entry.
Step 4: Adding Crown Moulding and Beadboard To The BookcasesWe put Martha Stewart Living paintable beadboard wallpaper on the backs of the bookcases.
Step 5: Priming the BookcasesA fresh coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye Primer was applied followed by three coats of Behr Satin Interior paint using a short nap roller. Afterwards, three coats of satin polycrylic were added to protect the finish.
Step 6: Mounting Bookcases to the wallThe bookcases were mounted to the wall with L-brackets to give them a custom built-in appearance. Trim was added along the bottom of all three pieces to unify them. The shelves were salvaged from the side panels of the middle unit that we removed. The new hardware matches our dining room built-ins.
So there you have it, a piece of furniture spared from the landfill and repurposed into a very pretty focal point in our living room! Mr. Frugalista and I feel such a sense of satisfaction when we do that. We're very proud of what we accomplished at a fraction of the cost.
Recently the paintable wallpapered backs were painted green and now everything just pops!
A big Thank You to the following for featuring this project: