Sunday, July 21, 2013

So You Say You Want A Built-In.

There are a few things every house should have.

Smoke alarms is one.  A working toilet-- that's another.

Annndddd a built-in.  That's a definite.

And we all know how much I love a good built-in.  And I have too many.  And I solemnly swear NOT to put 

Unless I move. Then all bets are off.


First thing you need to know before you man up and start cutting into drywall, here:

--You only get the depth of a stud.

If your house is a normal house, that is.  In normal houses, you're only going to have a space that is about 3-1/2" deep.

What does this mean for you? 

It means that if you don't want it sticking out of the wall, then you've got space for little tchotckes, but nothing massive.

Still ready to cut into some drywall??!?!?!! 

Great.  Let's get started.

TIP:  Don't pick the wall with the breaker box on it.
If the wall is free of electrical outlets of any kind, it's probably free of wiring.  PROBABLY.

Unless you are me and you hit the jackpot like I did last time.


You're going to be supremely careful when you cut into the drywall, even if you're "soooo sure" there's nothing in the wall. 

This is how I do it.  First, find your studs with a stud-finder, and mark 'em.  All my built-ins are between studs-- I don't want to bother with taking one out. 

Keep in mind!  Normal houses are 16" between studs.

See my spice shelves?

(You talk about my "EAT" sign being off center, you lose a nut.)

It's pretty big, right?  It's between two studs.  Molding covers the stud, giving it the illusion of being one piece. 

Kay.  So.  You've found your studs.

I always get my handy dandy drill out-- oh gosh. My drill needs a name, doesn't he? Of course he does. Let's call him "Phil the Drill".

Phil here, has a circular drill bit. Biggest one I've got that I took from my dad and haven't given back yet.

I very CAREFULLY drill into the wall between studs, then I stop, wipe off the drywall dust from my hands and clothing, and get a flashlight to take a little look-see inside. 

See what we've got going on all up in here.

When I know the coast is clear, then I get out the handy dandy sawzall.  I won't name him.  Don't let's be silly.

Said it before, 'n I'll say it again: you will feel like Ahnuld with this tool.  It's totally "Commando", and you've just exited your raft, in your speedo, and it is thee only time I would ever approve the speedo, and you are packing heat ev.ery.where.
Dudes, this thing is like a machine gun.  You're mowing down bodies by the second.  In fact, I recommend that you yell whilst "firing". 

No seriously be careful this bad boy can get away from you.

So cut out your drywall, and do your very best to smooth out your edges against the studs.

Can you believe all this talking I'm doing and the cutting out your drywall really only takes like 15 minutes?

Now, you are going to build a box that sits inside this new hole you made.  Doesn't need to be fancy-- you're going to cover it with moulding, anyway.

TIP: Measure the hole, and then make your box at least 1/8" and up to 1/4" smaller all around.
Just trust me-- every dang time I've done this, I think the box will squeeze in with ease, and then I'm having to tap it in with a mallet to get it in there, because it's so tight.

Check for level, of course! And attach to the studs on both sides. I've done brad nails. I've done screws. Whatever makes your skirt fly up.


Our built-in is nearly done.

Now comes the fun part: you get to trim it out to your liking. (Aw. . .there's the Daddy-o.  Hi Daddy-o).

You can always come on over and check my moulding stock out in the garage.

Heaven knows I've got a little of everything you'd find at any hardware store.


Mana said...

Makes me wish I owned my house. I would have built ins everywhere!


Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

I love your built-ins. We did some of the same 'exploring' behind our drywall and found an entire cavity in the back of a cupboard (I had an inkling it was there by the layout of the walls and roof). The cavity was about 3 feet cubed so we drywalled it and it became a little hide-out for the kids to play in. They loved it.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

I think built-ins like these add so much character to a house - all those cool nooks and crannies - I love them! Thanks for the tutorial, and now I'm going to walk around my house and find one that I can cut into without electrocuting myself :)

Mindi@MyLove2Create said...

This is SOOOO AWESOME!!! Seriously!! Totally loving it! Pinning, and great tutorial!

ZoZo's Mama said...

What did you use to make the cuts in the sides where the shelves slide in?
Thanks. Love this blog...your sassiness (is that a word?) makes me laugh.

Julie Kolb said...

This is what I want to do in the bathroom. Lots of 'em on one wall, no electrical, and like destroy the 'closet' in there and put a shower. Then I can have a real soaker tub thing instead of the combo. oh and like really make it MY bathroom. Yeah the only bathroom in this little house. But hey, the guys only just like shower off and they don't spend time in there. No they know nothing about quality time in a high end bathing facility. Yeah. That 's what I want. :D Showing to the ONE asap. heh heh, after I tear out the dry wall and go shopping for wood. I can do that.

Dria S said...

So loving these! Wracking my brain to see where I can squeeze one in, in my kitchen now ;) Fantastic job on these!