Our family room has gone through quite the remodel.  Here’s a little before action from when we were walking through the house to refresh your memory…


The room just felt so closed in, dysfunctional, boring, and blah.  I always envisioned built-in shelves around the fireplace, with our television mounted above, but I reallllly didn’t want to hire it out.  But there was a problem– we had never built shelves before.  Not that it has ever stopped us before.  We are an ignorantly confidant bunch around here.  So, we naturally dove right into DIY Built-ins (and they include an IKEA hack!).

After much scheming and planning and thinking, our hesitance came down to one big problem: the cabinet bases.

Building cabinets is super tricky.  Trying to get the doors to function properly and line up exactly right is extremely difficult.  Then while walking through IKEA, I had an epiphany: use Ikea cabinets as the base.

I originally thought kitchen cabinets, but once I started looking around, I knew two IKEA Besta Units would be purrrrfect.  We purchased doors for them, and they were the launching pieces for the project.

Building built-ins, a mantle, adding moulding detailing, painting, and styling them took many steps, so I’ve broken this project into three parts: this first part is demo and building the skeleton. the mantle, and the wood detailing above the fireplace.  I think video teaches in a way that still images just can’t– you can actually see us putting this project together which if you’re wanting to do it yourself, is invaluable.  I did most of the shooting for these videos, as we were often working on them late at night.   James rounded out the shooting and edited it all together.  Thanks James!

A few more tips: building the mantle was actually a bit easier than we anticipated.  We essentially built out a wood box, then added moulding detail to it.

All of the lumbar was purchased at Home Depot, with the exception of the crown moulding.  We bought that at a wood mill called Heutter Mill.  We wanted something a little beefier, and a specialty wood mill has a bigger selection.

We hired out the tile work on this job because we were frankly just too swamped to do it ourselves.  I chose this marble subway tile from Home Depot, and we laid it in a herringbone pattern on the angle.  If I’m being honest, I was gone when it was installed and the angle is not what I thought was happening, but I actually liked it a lot once it was in.  I think it looks fresh and modern.  What a happy accident.

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Watch for part two of this project next week!



  1. says

    I looooove it Jen! The herringbone is gorg! Im planning a herringbone tile installation for our kitchen backsplash and I cant wait. Leave to Ikea to be the base of yet another amazing built in situation. Cant wait to see it all done:)


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