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Family Room Built-in - The Base Cabinets

Empty family room

My last post ended with this pic of my family room looking quite empty and ready for the built-in to be installed.

Ha, I had lots of stuff on the shelf that was there, it took me quite some time to remove everything I had on those shelves. Then, the picture frame moldings were also removed. Those were the first picture frame moldings I ever installed in this house... I used glue, which is a big mistake for this small molding, parts of the Sheetrock were pulled up thanks to the glue. :/ Anyways, not a big problem since everything's going to be covered with the new shelves.

The picture below is the drawing of the built-in unit that I also showed you in my last post.  What I didn't tell you is that the entire wall of shelves is not going to be flat.

The entire set-up consists of five shelves - A chunky one in the middle where the t.v. is going to be positioned and two shelves to each of its sides. In between each shelf, I'm using a box that will give more interest. I didn't want this huge wall to be too boring and I guess the boxes and the different depths of the shelves will make it more interesting.

The chunky line at the bottom of the drawing is the top view of how they will look. Shelves 1, 3, and 5 will pop out a couple of inches.

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Built-ins plans

In this next picture you can see the measurements I'm working with. - I know, old style, but that's the way I work, I guess it would be way easier with Sketch-up, but it would take me longer.
the measurements for built-ins

With measurements in hand, I headed to Home Depot to get the material. Mainly plywood to build the carcasses for the base cabinets. I hate to deal with full sheets of plywood, I usually ask them to cut them to whatever measurement I need. My minivan rocks carrying this type of load! :D
Cristina Garay with load of plywood in her minivan

At home, I followed my list to cut all the material I needed to start the building process.
The Kreg Rip-cut along with the circular saw is the set of tools I like to use when I need to make those repeatable cuts without measuring every single time. If you have a table saw, that would make things even easier, but I'm still scared of those.
ryoby circular saw with kreg rip-cut
Kreg Rip-cut  Circular Saw

Once the material was cut, It was time to draw the lines for the bottom shelves. I drew that line at the 7" mark. That line is determined by the type of baseboard you're using. The type of door you use might also need to be taken into account.
Plywood cut for built-ins

I used the pocket hole system to put the cabinets together. The pocket holes were drilled on the bottom of the shelf and 1¼" screws were used.
DeWalt compact cordless brushless drill/driver
DeWalt Cordless Drill/Driver  |  Kreg Jig

Base cabinet carcass in garage

1 x 4 pine material was used at the top front and back and another piece on the top back of each cabinet.
DeWalt compact brushless drill/driver and impact combo


The six boxes that go in between the shelves/cabinets were put together with glue and 1½" brad nails. They consist of 1 X 5 pine and plywood.
Ryobi Cordless Brad Nailer


I built that big base cabinet, there, inside the family room, otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to bring it inside from the garage! It was built with its front-facing down with glue and 1¼" screws. I added two extra supports below the shelf to prevent sagging since is a long cabinet.
Cristina Garay using Compact DeWalt drill/driver to built shelves in family room
DeWalt Cordless Drill/Driver  |  Small DeWalt 10-Compartment Organizer

By this time it looked like all day long I'd only been drilling and drilling screws! And yeah, it was like that, one day I did all the cutting, the other was for building and driving screws! :D

The great thing was being able to use my DeWalt COMPACT cordless brushless drill/driver
My hand was happy with this drill's small size and how powerful it is. A great battery too. Only one small battery was enough to drive all those screws!
How to build the base cabinets for a wall of built-ins

At the end of the day, this is how they all looked. Ready to be secured to the studs on the wall.
An entire row of base cabinet carcasses in family room

Here is a close-up of those boxes. I didn't build them all the way to the back, that would've been kinda wasting material.

And here is a look at the entire space.
Base cabinet carcasses lining an entire wall in a family room

The next step will be securing them to each other and to the wall and then, building and installing the countertop.

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

For more home DIY ideas check these out:

How to make inset cabinet doors

how to build a rustic flat ceiling wooden and white tones

double drawer with spice jars

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  1. What kind of clamp did you use to get all of those boxes so perfectly aligned? Looks great!

    1. Thanks! At this point they were simply standing there against the wall. Still missing the boxes on both ends.

  2. You absolutely amaze me. This is going to be so beautiful and wow, such fabulous storage.

  3. Your mad skills amaze me, Cristina. You say you're afraid of a table saw but even a circular saw scares me. I'd be so OCD about not having floor protection! I could see myself losing control and drilling a hole right through the floor, lol. I know it's going to be a great finished project, and I can't wait to see your vision completed.

  4. I am so excited for this project! Can't wait for the next installment! You are amazing!

  5. I can not wait to see what you come up with.

  6. Hi, I am looking for the hammer drill for my home project. But I am confused to select the right one because there are available brands in the market. Someone suggests me to visit here for this. If you had more insight into it, I would much appreciate it.

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