A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Bookcase Progress

It seems like our progress on the fireplace remodel has been super slow, but considering I had to stain about 50 feet of birch plywood, I guess we’re not doing too badly.

We’ve had to hold off on the tiling the mantel section until we install at least the bottom bookcase sections. We added the pencil trim pieces around the firebox and that finishes it nicely. I can’t wait to grout and get that part over with!


We decided to use a wide piece of birch plywood on either side of the fireplace that would also serve as one side of the bookcase. It’s notched at the bottom to sit on the framing, which in turn sits on the baseboard radiator.

On the left-hand side, we had to notch it at the back to route around the air intake vent for the fireplace. Too bad it was placed where it is because there was enough room to go straight back along the firebox. We’d have to replace brick and cut a new hole through the face brick exterior to do that, so we figured out a workaround for the bookcase instead.


To hide that duct we’ll make the bottom shelf shallower, about 9″ instead of 12″ deep, cutting a backer piece to fit the inside of the bottom shelf and secured in front of the duct. It’ll be a tall shelf too, about 14-15″, so I’m not sure if I have tall skinny books to camouflage that, but I’ll figure something out.


The girls are not going to be happy when they lose their cozy little den. We’re going to put radiator screening at the bottom and trim it with woodwork to allow heat to escape.


Last weekend we finished installing the right side, and I’m hoping to finish the left side plus the upper sections today. It’s coming along!



  1. Sharon on January 19, 2016 at 12:43 am

    That’s looking great.

  2. Chris on January 19, 2016 at 8:45 am


    This design looks very attractive and is a good use of the space. If you choose to put in metal screening at the base, I hope you can find a design that resonates with your bungalow. Of course the cats will miss snuggling up to a warm baseboard in a protected environment.

  3. Jan Hunyady on July 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I miss reading your blog. Did you finish the bookcases?

    • denise on August 1, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Aw thanks Jan! I know, I’ve been very bad with the blog this year! Yes, we did finish the bookcases! I’m hoping to have a bit more free time very soon, so I will post some updates asap. Thanks for checking in; I really appreciate it!

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