Dave & I were super stoked about the built-in bookshelves in our new family room. But as you can see here, we can fit all the books we own on 3 of the 15 or so shelves so we didn't really need all of it for books. Nor did we need it for DVDs since we don't even own a TV. So we decided the best use for this space for our household would be to turn it into a home office, our command center, so to speak. There's already a knee hole area and desk drawer in the center so it's perfect for this.
So we started adjusting/ removing shelves, etc. and working on setting up the computer there. And then we hit a little snag.
The bottom shelf in that middle section (with the scalloped edge, in front of Dave) was not adjustable. It was seriously the only shelf on the entire unit that was fixed. How ironic! Grrr...That was precisely where we needed to set up our computer monitor/keyboard/mouse/etc. to make our home office / command center a reality. This fixed shelf normally wouldn't concern us, but considering we're renting the home from Dave's parents, we were kind of stumped for a bit. We didn't want to do anything to tick them off literally the first week we moved in. So we considered giving up on our ideas and leaving that shelf there, and moving our office elsewhere. But after much discussion, we decided we'd like to make ourselves at home and make this house work for us in the best way for our family, etc., so we went out on a limb of outraging his parents and Dave very, very, very super carefully removed that shelf, salvaging it so that if they ever do want it put back, we can do it. Underneath the shelf was also a fluorescent light. Salvaged that too.
That's when we hit our other snag. Behind this shelf the wood was not stained or polyurethaned. And neither of us wanted to bring it up with them to find out if they still had their stain/poly from the 1970s.
So we sanded the area smooth (there were a few globs of poly that had dripped in behind the fixed shelf) and then we carefully brushed on a couple coats of water based polyurethane that we had on hand from Levi's dresser project to protect the bare wood and help it blend in better (noting that where other shelves had not moved in years, there were similar lighter spots).
Below you can see that it blended in much better after just one coat (that little unfinished 1" square area was all Dave had left to do when I snapped the pic).
In the end we have a super-functional built-in "command center" in the midst of our family room. I'm still working on organizing / containerizing / stylizing everything. And the printer we have is giving us all kinds of headaches, etc. But for now this is what it looks like. We are keeping our files in boxes inside the lower cabinets, along with all our board games. And other random stuff.
Someday when / if we buy the home, I'd consider getting rid of the scalloped molding at the top and adding some beefy crown mold (like in our Indiana kitchen) and possibly painting the entire unit white or gray or something but we'll wait on all that.
For the time being, I might discretely thumb tack some fabric on the back of a few shelves or redecorate our bulletin board or something to add a little color and brighten it up.
So what do you all think? Any ideas for further beautifying our command center? Or organizing tips? I've never been a fan of open shelves but I'm trying to branch out and make them work now.
Anyone else renting out there? How do you personalize your home without upsetting your landlords? Any tips?