Built-in Bookcases & Mantel (Fireplace / Family Room)

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Project by Rick Sergi posted 10-23-2009 03:14 PM 21040 views 6 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The fireplace in our family room was brick from floor to ceiling with recesses on both sides. We wanted to spruce it up and create some usable storage on each side. The result was 2 built-in bookcases and a mantel in red oak. For the bookcase backs, I created individual strips that fit together with tongue/groove rather than a plain, flat back. This gave the bookcases a bit more visual appeal. Shelves are all adjustable and made with oak plywood with solid oak strips applied to the front both for strength and to cover the edge of the plywood. Once the bookcases were in place, I covered up the top part of the fireplace with “floating” plywood which was attached only to the bookcases, not actually to the brick at all. The plywood gave me a substrate to apply wallboard to yet it can be removed in the future if desired with no damage to the brick. The “floating wall” (plywood covered by wallboard) is additionally held in place by molding on all sides. An “arch” theme was used for the top of the bookcases as well as the tops of the doors. Recessed lights were the final touch.

-- Rick Sergi - Bethlehem, PA

9 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#1 posted 10-23-2009 03:16 PM

This looks great Rick well done

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3216 days

#2 posted 10-23-2009 03:22 PM

Adds a nice balance to the room. Can’t go wrong with oak, great job! The only thing I would change is putting the same size crown over the mantel as on the side walls. But that just me just my two cents worth. Something to be proud of.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3193 days

#3 posted 10-23-2009 03:41 PM

Warm and inviting apeal.
Nice work.

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3222 days

#4 posted 10-23-2009 03:46 PM

I thought you said you wanted to spruce it up but it looks like you oaked it up. LOL

Looks great.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3849 days

#5 posted 10-23-2009 06:18 PM

Rick, this is a nice addition to your home. The fireplace is now a beautiful focal point for the room that immediately gets your attention. You put a lot of detail in these, such as the onlays, fluted columns and arched rails/panels, that give the bookcases visual interest.

Nice job.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3700 days

#6 posted 10-23-2009 06:36 PM

Nice work, Rick.

View Oscar Rodriguez's profile

Oscar Rodriguez

5 posts in 3235 days

#7 posted 10-23-2009 07:45 PM

Wow, simply beautiful…

-- Oscar

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3312 days

#8 posted 10-24-2009 01:38 AM

Very nice Rick, you difinetly accomplished your goal. Nice addition to the room.

-- John @

View kimball's profile


323 posts in 3324 days

#9 posted 10-15-2012 06:26 PM


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