Asked on Jan 16, 2019

How do I convert this to a useful built-in?

Roberta RhodesJessica VanderVeenDee
+20

Answered

I'd like your ideas for converting this into a useful 1955 built-in. The upper shelves are deep at 30 inches. The very bottom shelf is at an angle because of the staircase. I'm not fond of the glass sliding doors either. Really need your help !!

q how do i convert this to a useful built in
19 answers
  • Kelli L. Milligan
    on Jan 16, 2019

    I'd take off the glass doors. Add puck lights in ceiling of cabinet, paint, wallpaper or mirror the back, remove wood shelves , rework shelf supports to hold 12" deep glass shelves. Display nice glassware and use bottom shelf as a beverage bar. May add a plug for coffee maker or blender. Don't worry about bottom cabinet, just let it be storage.

  • Landsharkinnc
    on Jan 16, 2019

    I'd remove the glass and find a couple of louvered shutters sets that would work as 'doors' ...

  • I’d just temove the glass doors and then paint the shelves and back. You could do them in all white so the entire piece matches. Might also consider changing the knobs on the drawers if you’re not fond of them. There a tons of styles to choose from. Good luck!

  • Suzy Googoo
    on Jan 17, 2019

    Make a beverage center/coffee bar out of it. Remove all doors, repaint the whole thing white, move drawers up, install mini fridge on bottom, coffee/tea station on top, baskets with snacks on top w/shelves. I’d remove the trim that makes it a closed in look to make it look less like a closet that’s trying to be a built in. That will add value to your house, rather than leaving it as is or just using it as a closet. It will make your house more upscale. Most people only have temporary sight when they do remodels and discover that they’ve wasted money later. Don’t do that.

    • Lifestyles Homes
      on Jan 19, 2019

      When you make it a beverage center, it would be worth it to have an electrician run an outlet there, so that coffee makers, blenders, etc can be plugged into a plug strip.

  • Heje
    on Jan 17, 2019

    I agree with the other suggestions about painting the insides white. It gives the unit a clean look and allows for ease of finding items. Remove the glass doors or find a substitute for them or stencil on them or do a lead glass effect.

  • Tondi
    on Jan 17, 2019

    Thank you one and all !!!!

  • Nancy Peterman
    on Jan 17, 2019

    You are right, 30" is quite deep. If you are going to make the shelves only 12" deep, that would be a great "hiding place" for valuables when you are traveling.

  • Elaine
    on Jan 18, 2019

    One thing you might consider is painting or wallpapering the back of the shelves a color that would coordinate with the rest of the room while making a pretty backdrop for whatever "pretties" you decide to display. Try cutting and painting poster board to try out colors before you put the paint on the wall. I agree that new pulls would also make a big difference.





  • Flipturn
    on Jan 18, 2019

    Where is the nearest electrical outlet to the unit? If not too far away, you could then run either an extension cord, or better yet, hard wire it to a plug inside the upper part where the shelves are.


    Drill a hole in the back of the unit, then plug in a power bar, and use part of the space for a recharging station.


    I like the idea to mount doors, as then all the 'mess' inside will be hidden.

  • Tondi
    on Jan 18, 2019

    Thank you everyone! I think I will remove the sliding glass doors, paint the shelves and use one shelf for cook books, purchase some baskets for the other shelves and get new hardware. Your ideas are much appreciated!!

    • Sea Trace Creations
      on Jan 19, 2019

      There's lots of inspiration in how to style shelving in case you you needed help. Another tip is to cover cardboard templates the size of your wall backing and either wallpaper or mod podge them. That way they are interchangeable and not permanent if it's something you get sick of. Either way have fun with your revamped storage!

  • Fiddledd224
    on Jan 18, 2019

    I would add storage bins--- nothing else. Would hide and store lots of things and yet still look sleek and stylish..

  • Deborah Luchak Nester
    on Jan 18, 2019

    Love all these ideas....

    i would incorporate several ideas in to one unique and custom cabinet for you !

  • Deborah Luchak Nester
    on Jan 18, 2019

    I have been looking for something like this for myself.... in the kitchen , for a coffee bar!!


  • V Smith
    on Jan 18, 2019

    30 inches is too deep for open display or display behind glass doors. If you can, remove the glass and remove the shelves. Then build a new back. I love the idea of secret hidden storage. Perhaps you can reuse the existing shelves by cutting them into behind the back shelves and in front of the back shelves. Depending on your style and what you want to display here, paint, stain or paper the inside.

  • Tondi
    on Jan 19, 2019

    Thank you everyone !! I'm going to remove the glass doors, change that color of the shelves, find some baskets for two of the shelves, put cook books on a shelf and change the hardware.

  • Lifestyles Homes
    on Jan 19, 2019

    Lots of great ideas. I would have the bottom 30” deep “shelf” “covered” with whatever are the kitchen counter tops. That would tie it into the kitchen.

    It could become a Butler’s Pantry.

  • Dee
    on Jan 20, 2019

    Definitely agree with painting the insides white. If you want color put wallpaper or contact paper on the back. Love the 30 inch storage. Use baskets or put in shelf separators. There is so much you can do with this, Take out the glass and leave open or got to Habitat for Humanity and get some doors and paint to match the area.

  • Jessica VanderVeen
    on Jan 21, 2019

    I would take off the glass doors, paint everything white, and use some decorative boxes to store things inside

  • Roberta Rhodes
    on Jan 22, 2019

    Make it a linen closet, media center with a few alterations, or frame around the piece (if you are handy with a saw and hammer) and make your built in piece. My project: I took the top shelf out of a similar piece and put a TV in the top with media equipment in the bottom, music and a DVD. This worked out really well. I also recommend solid doors on the top, new hardware, new placement if you want to frame it in where you could build additional shelving on each side of the unit (you’d want to have the shelves at the same level all the way across all units). This would also be a cute room storage unit for the toys of a young girl or boy, or auxiliary closet/ dresser for a child’s room (adding a clothes hanging rod in the top of unit). Color changes with paint are appropriate according to repurposed use of the piece, although white is great for a bookcase. Good luck!





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