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Family Room Built-In - Installing The Top or Header

a wall of shelves being constructed

Well Hello!

I wanted to pop in today with a quick progress report on the family room built-in.
I took Thanksgiving and Black Friday off from working on this project, but for the most part, this is the place where you can find me at any given time.

I haven't posted anything to my social media channels because it takes time and I don't have it at this moment. I'll probably make some updates this week.

That first picture was taken last night. But, let me tell you how that top part was closed in. →
This next picture is how the built-in looked at the end of my last post.

*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
shelves being constructed with lots of power tools on them

When I built the shelves and the long columns, I didn't trim the extra amount of material I had at the top. I assumed that extra part was going to be covered, just the same as I did when building the dining room shelves. However, I had trouble with the columns. The front face of those columns had to be flush with the header or top part. So, I needed to trim the front part of those columns.

My cordless DeWalt Oscillating tool saved the day! 

Do you have an oscillating tool? 

You need to have one! Oscillating tools are problem solvers. Every time you run into a problem they kinda get you out of there. I love this DeWalt because is cordless and it's powerful and changing the blades is super easy.
DeWalt Oscillating tool trimming top of shelves
Well, I started with column number 1 and in no time they were all done!
Cristina Garay trimming top of columns with DeWalt Oscillating Tool

Then, I built seven frames out of 2 x 4s. These are the supports where the header would be nailed to. 

Using the Ridgid angled finish nailer I set them in place. They were installed one on top of each column and one extra support in the center of the entire built-in.
Cristina Garay building with Ridgid angles finish nailer
When building and installing those frames/supports make sure they are set at the proper depth. You have to account for the thickness of the front board and any extra moldings you need to install next.

Before closing that space, I asked Mr. RLC to run the electrical for some sconces I wanted to install at the top of each shelf. Oh, and he also run the cable for a light in the center of the room.
The electrical - Adding lights to built-ins - Mr. RLC
As soon as he finished running the electrical, I went ahead and closed that space up there. I used 1/2" plywood. I run out of plywood and had to use 1/2" MDF on that first shelf.
For the shallow shelves, I had to add extra supports to secure those front boards onto them. Those extra supports were vertical pieces of wood nailed to each side of the 2 x 4 frames and one horizontal piece nailed on the top edge of the shelf. Remember to install those extra supports back, so the front of the board is flush with the shelf.
Closing top part of shelves
The next step was to install the crown molding. I first installed it on the side and center shelves. Then, it was installed on the push-back shelves, coping those angles.
Installing crown molding
As you notice, I also added a 1/4" lattice on each column, and the rough edges of the shelves were covered with a 1/2" x  3/4" parting bead.

The final step was to set up the tv-wall in the center of the built-in. Using my Bosch Daredevil spade bits I opened the holes on the countertop to run the cables from the tv to the equipment on the base cabinet. And I also installed the 2 x 4's to create a false wall to hide all the cables.
 19PC BOSCH DAREDEVIL SPADE BIT SET |  RIDGID 18-Volt OCTANE Cordless/Brushless 1/2" Hammer Drill/Driver

This has been a big messy room these past weeks.

Sawdust, tools, and materials were a constant sight. Luckily, my Ridgid Vac was a huge help in containing all the dirt and picking it up quickly. This thing has a huge suction power!
RIDGID 12 Gal. 5.0 -Peak HP Wet/Dry Vacuum
After cleaning and removing everything from the shelves, this is how they look:

There are still some moldings missing and I need to install the front board on the tv false wall. But overall, this big wall of shelves is ready for some caulking, sanding, priming, sanding, painting, sanding, painting... Oh, and doors.

I'm gonna try spray painting this project. I'm closing in the area and protecting anything I don't want to be painted in this room. Hopefully, it's going to be easier than using a brush. 🤞

Here are the links to all the work done for this built-in project:

*This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. You slay me. I'm sitting here wishing you could work your magic at my house. Looking so fabulous, Cristina. Hang in there...almost at the finish line. XOXO ~~ Susie from The Chelsea Project

  2. When I check my emails and see one from you, I smile and think 'oh, good, it's her!'. You are so incredibly gifted and talented! Beautiful!

  3. Amazing. I love this unit it is amazing. Can't wait to see it all finished, the details are gorgeous.

  4. Wow! I love this look ... what an eye catcher! I've plans to do built-ins on either side of a window ... may be messaging you lol

  5. wow, it is really looking good! And huge, so much storage/display possibilities! All the caulking, priming, painting and sanding are tedious, but this is going to look so good, this is totally changing the room.Good luck with the rest!

  6. It looks amazing and I can't wait to see the finished product.

  7. SOOOOOO impressive! Can't wait to see it painted! It's gonna be stunning!

  8. What color did you pain the built-in bookcases

    1. Hi, they were painted BM White Dove in a semi-gloss finish.

  9. I have just came across this. a little late.. but this is beautiful.... I am wanting to do something of this sort in my basement entertainment room.... but struggeling onhow to even begin... do I tape off first??? do I just uild shelves

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