Wednesday, November 16, 1988


April 1988

When the house was built, the first room off the front entry way was the "living room". I planned to use this as an office. And because I have a fair number of books, I wanted to make it a combination office and library. Since I didn't know what I wanted for books shelves, we left the room empty, but I did ask them to raise the ceiling as high up as they could go. Because of the way the roof was laid out, this meant we could take it up to 10 feet, an extra 2 feet over the normal 8 foot ceiling height.

Now, two years after the house was built, I ordered some built-in bookcases. Preliminary inquiries showed that I couldn't just go to a cabinet maker and say "I want built-in bookcases, floor to ceiling, in my office." I needed an actual plan of exactly what I wanted. So I had spent some time looking at books and movies and designed my own bookcases. Then I took those to several places and asked if they could do it, would do it, and how much it would cost.

I picked Daniel Musselman, working under the name of "Interior Woodworks" on Todd Lane, in Austin, Texas. He did an excellent job! I signed an order on 21 April 1988 and finished the job on 23 June 1988 by installing the bookshelves in the house. These were pre-finished (two coats of polyurethane), solid wood (oak) custom bookcases, costing $4184.00.

The shelves stretch across one whole wall, and then extend out on both of the adjoining walls, basically 5 sections 3 feet wide, 15 inches deep, and 10 feet high. (So there must be a 15 inch by 15 inch square of unused space in each of the two corners. The shelves are all adjustable, except for two fixed shelves at 34 inches and 90 inches from the floor (for strength and rigidity). On the left and right sections, the bottom area (below the 34 inch fixed shelf) have cabinet doors. They were made as just frames, and I purchased two pieces of "glue chip" obscured glass from Renaissance Glass, $42.88, to fill the frame, on 1 August 1988.

There are three electrical outlets behind the book shelves, and I cut holes to allow them to still be used. I bought Myrtlewood outlet covers for these three outlets in Oregon (3 for 2.75 each = $8.75). These blend in nicely. (It's sometimes difficult to find the outlets, they blend in so well.)

One issue, of course, is getting to the books on the top shelves. For that we need a ladder. Not just a ladder, but a rolling library ladder! In October, I ordered a custom made "#1 Straight Side Oak Rolling Wood, Track Mounted Ladder with Natural Finish" from the Cotterman Company in Croswell, Michigan. The order was placed on 3 October 1988 and it was shipped on 31 October, with delivery on 16 November 1988. The ladder was $303.50 plus $57.67 in shipping costs.

Once the ladder was delivered, I installed it.

These bookcases fit perfectly with the hardwood (oak) flooring. The only problem, long term, that I have had with them is that I keep filling them up with books! I have thought about extending around the room, but doubt that I could get as good a job as these.