Gussying Up the Master Bookshelf

Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Furniture Makeovers

If you have been here a little while, you might know I am in the slowwww process of redouxing my Master Bedroom.  If this were evolution, and I was measuring my progress by ages, I would be in the Bronze age about now.  I am hoping to make the age of industry before the end of the summer (finis that is).

So far we have painted the walls Mindful Grey by  Sherwin Williams .  I shared this little sewing table turned nightstand with junque planks I put on top.

I redid this Country White Dresser to fit our modern/vintage look we are aiming for.

And now….I tackled the beast of the room.  The Built in bookshelf.  Mark and I are big readers, we have books coming out our ears.  We have several bookshelves crammed and we are constantly “editing”.  We also love to collect books as we add them to our reading list.  We used to have books stacked up in piles next to our bed, not a recommended decorating look.  We finally decided to splurge and have a bookshelf built in right under our big picture window.  The walls were formerly pale blue…..what to paint the built in?  Coral of course?!   Isn’t this everyone’s go-to color?

This falls under the heading of “what was I thinking”.

Once it was painted, I liked it for about a week.  We have lived with it this way for two years now.  The last few months the built in and I were barely on speaking terms and I was starting to not like my books for hanging out with it either.

I finally did something about this.  I began by painting the entire piece CeCe Caldwell’s Hershey Brown.  Two coats was all it took to almost erase all the coral.  I didn’t mind some of it showing through as it would provide some red tones I wanted to preserve.

Next I used Modern Master’s Colorant, “Coffee Bean Brown”. I happen to really like this product, but any really high quality acrylic paint, with high pigmentation will work. I did a heavy “dry brush” technique with the colorant.  Meaning I loaded up a chip brush, but not as much  as I would if were painting, I then lightly brushed the colorant all over the bookshelf, giving the piece dimension and a “stained” look.  I used that quite a bit when I shared how to make anything look like wood in THIS POST.

I did another small piece of furniture with this same technique, will be sharing this on Wednesday, so stay tuned.

When this was dry, I finished the entire piece off with a dark wax and buffed.  Oh yes, I also knocked out two of the shelves.  It was making my built in look all choppy.  The only thing that would fit in those places were all cheap paperback novels.  (I put all those away for the photo shoot………..)

Now I have room for our “smart” books, and my fertility guy from Hawaii.  Hey, it worked didn’t it?  I have twins.

I added baskets I had on hand to the bottom shelves.  These are holding our books that we will “some day” read.  This is my side.  (The Dreamers book I read occasionally after a night a “très étrange” dream).  Sort of insightful, like why I keep dreaming about suddenly finding myself living in a town right on the ocean.  Wishful dreaming.

The only thing that used to be on the top of the built in was extra books, and a water color, unframed, laying there sadly, done by my Great Aunt Sadie.  Sorry!  I will frame it this week, I promise!  Oh yes, and a sort of red tinted Pumpkin Holiday candle.  (No clue why this was still here, it sort of blended into the entire piece and literally became part of the furniture). I added Mark’s Birch Bark canoe (a gift from me some years ago, no I did not make it, I am crafty, but not of the birch bark kind).  Some favorite pictures, and the roses just came from our yard today.

I am so thrilled with the finish.  I went from a Miami Beach Cabana (not that there is anything wrong with this look), to a distinguished grown up bedroom look.

And my books and I are now living happily ever after.  The End.


  1. Shelly Andrade

    Very cool Karen! Some magazine or talk show host is going to be featuring this room by the time you’re finished with it. Love the finish on your bookcase; you’re absolutely right ~ the color and finish change the entire look.

  2. Heidi @ Decor & More

    Wow, Karen! Awesome redoux — love the rich color. Bet your books are doing a happy dance. 🙂

  3. Jill Flory

    Looks great and like it will go really well with the whole look you are going for! Yippee!

  4. cassie

    ooh yes! totally fits the look you are going for! you are on a roll! let’s butter you up! 🙂

  5. Shannon Fox

    The re decorater strikes again! It does not even look like the same piece, the transformation is so dramatic. Love that wood grain technique you have perfected my little pixie painting ninja!!

    Now, come to my house 😉

  6. Mandy

    I soooo need to “gussie” up my master bedroom bookcases! You have inspired me to do that this week. Thanks Karen! Can’t wait to see your bedroom with it is done.

  7. Bliss

    My fav CC color is Hershey brown, so of course I love the redo. Please be careful with the fertility guy, he looks like he still has plenty more where that came from!


  8. Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    Great Aunt Sadie would be proud! And glad to see you didn’t paint right over that candle (since it became embedded in the bookshelf after all that time)!
    Love the new look – very sophisticated and cerebral – (must be from all that reading)!

  9. Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

    Hahaha, you did go from Miami beach cabana to a more sophisticated look. It’s like you graduated from spring break to relaxing private island vacation. 🙂

  10. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    It looks very high end now! Way to work your magic!



  1. Makeover Monday, A little Franglaise for the day - Redoux Interiors - […] can read about that technique HERE and another example […]

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