Built-in Desk & Bookcase

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Project by Henry Mowry posted 1683 days ago 8928 views 8 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When my oldest son moved out after his wedding … that gave me a room to call my own! I wanted a home office, and I needed a place to showcase my book collection (Easton Press 100 greatest books) ... so I designed and built this desk & bookcase unit.

Took about 3 months of weekends in the garage to build the 6 pieces, finish, transport upstairs to the new office, and install. Detail work (drawer construction, molding, lighting, etc) took a little longer; it was 6 months before I was officially “done.” November – May, 2009. The 6 pieces: 1/Left shelf unit, 30” wide; 2/Corner shelf unit, 24” wide; 3/Right shelf unit, 54” wide; 4/Bridge unit over the desk, w/a cubby & 2 mini-drawers on each side of the desk; 5/Drawer unit & work space; 6/Desk & cabinet

Little did I know that when I finished the project, I would have left my job of 21+ years and accepted a position where I would now be working from my new home office!

Construction is red oak, with a small bit of oak plywood in the cabinetry and backing.

2 file drawers and 6 smaller drawers are to the left of the desk. 2 storage shelfs are tucked into the corner under the desk. To the right of the desk is a cabinet with printer and scanner on pull-out shelves.

Lighting is very important to me; I installed dimmable puck lights at the top of the unit, and there’s a circuit of small LEDs over the workspace to the left of the computer.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

26 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2786 days

#1 posted 1683 days ago

oh it’s lovely! A book-lover’s dream.

now…....since your use of the room has changed a bit are you “already” wishing for things to be different?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View NBeener's profile


4806 posts in 1799 days

#2 posted 1683 days ago

Beautifully done. What a great looking addition to the room.

Many happy years’ use out of it, eh?

-- -- Neil

View nailbanger2's profile


958 posts in 1769 days

#3 posted 1683 days ago

This is quite nice, and will be favorited so I can “steal” some ideas when I’m ready to do mine. Keep up the great work!

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Henry Mowry's profile

Henry Mowry

231 posts in 1692 days

#4 posted 1683 days ago

Now that I’ve worked at the desk for several months, I am pretty happy with it. One compromise I made was to keep the vertical space above the desk at a minimum to maximize the book shelf space above. Result: computer monitor height is limited. Works, but life is full of compromises! I also need more filing space, so a combination entertainment center; filing cabinet is one of my next projects, hopefully later this year.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View dhg's profile


197 posts in 2337 days

#5 posted 1683 days ago

Super job, I like it…

-- Talent on Loan from God - Rush Limbaugh

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2447 days

#6 posted 1683 days ago

Henry, this is a beautiful piece of furniture. I could not imagine a better way to showcase your books and give you office space than to add something like this to the room. I am sure this is focal point of the room when anyone enters it. I know the first word I would say would be, “Wow!”.

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

View KayBee's profile


1000 posts in 1871 days

#7 posted 1683 days ago

Very nice library. Like the cubbies, most people don’t make them. Great books too : )

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Lenny's profile


1248 posts in 2152 days

#8 posted 1683 days ago

I’ll say it: “WOW!” Henry, what a beautifully designed and executed project. I am a big fan of red oak and this project reminds me why. The grain really pops and I love the tone. What stain and finish did you use? As for the books, wow again. I just love the look of them. I am jealous. I started a similar collection many years ago (Franklin Mint) but we had a falling out. Kids came along and I decided I couldn’t afford to keep buying books. I have about 10 books and I still love to pick them up now and then just to feel them, smell them, etc. It’s almost, but not quite, as good as a piece of lumber. Again, wonderful work!

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View AJJ's profile


75 posts in 1773 days

#9 posted 1683 days ago

Great looking office, you did a wonderful job.

-- AJJ, Eugene OR

View stefang's profile (online now)


12869 posts in 1959 days

#10 posted 1683 days ago

Wonderful work Henry, a bit lucky too with the timing. That red Oak looks beautiful and warm.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Henry Mowry's profile

Henry Mowry

231 posts in 1692 days

#11 posted 1683 days ago

Stain was Minwax Red Oak. That’s my standard go to in finishing … something I am hoping to expand in the coming years.

The cubbyhole on the left has 2 shelves for paperwork on top of the two drawers.

The cubbyhole on the right has a shorter shelf, with space for a cable chase and external hard drive behind it. A USB hub lives in that space, too. Above the shelf is a pull out shelf for my laptop and cooling pad; I use the new company laptop instead a desktop computer. Mobility is key!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2619 days

#12 posted 1683 days ago

Great job, Henry!

What a pleasant environment in which to work. Custom designed to meet your needs. That sure beats going down to Office Depot and trying to find something that “works.”

How did you attach your shelves? Are they dadoed into the sides or did you use biscuits? Thanks in advance.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View huff's profile


2795 posts in 1910 days

#13 posted 1683 days ago

Henry, Great job on your office space!..Looks like it would be a real pleasure to work from. Very nice.

-- John @

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 2399 days

#14 posted 1682 days ago

Looks good. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View johnnymo's profile


309 posts in 1831 days

#15 posted 1682 days ago

Beautifully done! A home office and a library! Great combination.

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

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