I made a New Year’s Resolution this year to show more during pictures.

KariAnne I said.  There is a whole lot of before and aftering going on around here.

There are tons of befores.

And tons of afters.

But sometimes.

Just sometimes.

People want to see what happens in the middle.

So on the eve of June, I wanted to take a moment to honor that New Year’s Resolution I made a short six months ago when 2018 was young.  I wanted to show you what the upstairs landing looks like now.

Here’s the before.

There were desks and chairs and cabinet doors pretending they were artwork.

Here’s a pulled back view so you can see more of the layout of the space.

The upstairs landing is the cutest mini-room.  It’s always so happy to see you when you get to the top of the stairs.  The challenge?  It’s also a little awkward.  It’s about 10 feet wide—big enough so you know you need furniture—but it has doors on each of its walls so it makes furniture placement challenging.  So I came up with the brilliant idea of built-ins.  Built-ins are substantial enough to take up visual space on the landing while leaving enough space to walk around.

Here’s the same view of the upstairs landing now.

The built-ins are installed and ready to paint.

Doesn’t it make such a difference?

Here’s the view from the top of the landing.

I love how they wrap the back of the landing and make the space feel intentional.

And having the built-ins go all the way to the top of the ceiling draws the eye upward and makes the landing feel bigger.

We had a friend of our families who just happens to be one of the most amazing carpenters on the planet build them in.

He started with these off-the-shelf cabinets from Home Depot.  Each cabinet has a shelf inside behind the doors and a drawer at the top.  The cabinets were about four inches short on each side, so he build a faux front and sides to give the appearance they are built-in.

He also added a piece of plywood to the top of each cabinet.

Then he framed out the edges.

And mitered the corners.

Next, the sides of the bookcase were added.

Each shelf is stationary with a cleat.

There’s also a hole drilled in the back of each cabinet so I can add a lamp on each side.

Crown molding is added to the top and quarter round to the bottom and more molding to the sides and everything has been sanded and caulked.

One more time.

Here’s the before.

And here’s the during.

Now I just need to paint.

I was thinking about white (obvi).  But then?  Then I had a brilliant idea that a gray like SW Mindful Gray might be a fun way to add a little dimension to the landing.

I painted the downstairs hutch that I got at a thrift store SW Mindful Gray.

So you can see how the color looks with the existing paint color and white trim.

What do you think?

I’m going to prime it first with white primer, so I’ll get an idea of what white might look like and I think that will help to make the decision.

I’m painting this weekend and next week I’ll post the finished built-ins.

Thank you my friend.

Thanks for listening.

Thanks for following along.

But most importantly, thanks for helping me celebrate my New Year’s Resolution. 🙂

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  1. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Awesome vision you have! LOVE built-ins and wish I had your carpenter near me:) Mindful Gray is good and you can add color on the shelves (at least a little blue maybe:)) Show us the "Your Home is One of a Kind" please-I love it already!

  2. Image for Cindy@countyroad407 Cindy@countyroad407

    I LOVE those built-ins. They are going to be perfect up there! I've always thought deep doorways were so cozy and you make one just by adding the built-ins. Kind of like when you walk under the stairs to your office. So cozy!

  3. Image for david david

    I applaud your "in the middle" vow - very helpful. That area is going to be beautiful! And a smart use of what could have just become dead space. Also, I'm going to steal the idea of using the HD cabinets for my makeover of my living room built-ins (I did them when I first moved into my house and my carpentry skills were....enthusiastic?.....but not quite up to speed.)

  4. Image for Terry Terry

    What about Mindful Gray in a shade or two darker? The darker tone would add more contrast and draw attention to the beautiful built-ins!

  5. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I have a similar landing in my house, and my dream has been built-ins for AGES!!! There's like a square part, and then a narrower part, that would hold an amazing amount of shelves. Then a lovely chair and reading lamp in the corner for those "I can't sleep" nights when all you can do is get up and pray, read, or play solitaire! Beautiful, beautiful!!

  6. Image for Jan Jan

    I love following all your creativeness. You are so talented and always have a great vision. Now if some of that would spill my way. Happy painting🌸

  7. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I’m always a fan of matching built in colors with the trim...but perhaps the mindful gray on the back of each cabinet to add depth??? I’m sure whatever you do will be thoughtful and great. Happy painting!

  8. Image for Mary Meusburger Mary Meusburger

    I actually think I would paint them white with the grey on the back of the shelves. I think that would give them a cohesive look with the rest of the trim in that area, but with the depth of the grey in the back. No matter what you do, it will be lovely.

    1. Image for Jackie B Jackie B

      I meant to say I love Leslie Watkins idea of white with the gray in the back of the shelves. Like you did with the navy in the living room.

  9. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    I think white would be best, to match the adjoining door surround, crown molding and baseboards and look like it's been there all along. Maybe paint the backs of the shelves with the grey or a contrast color, and/or stain the flat tops of the cabinets to match the caps on the stair railing??? Just my 2 cents' worth...

  10. Image for Ann C Ann C

    I like Jolyn’s idea of staining zontal to match wood. Only problem with that is the dusting! White or light grey won’t show the dust. I’m curious as to the thought process in deciding on stationary shelves rather than adjustable. I’m always concerned that I won’t have the necessary space if I can’t move the shelf.

  11. Image for Bonnie Rand Bonnie Rand

    Love the shop your house page! Thinking of getting the striped armchairs for my living room. I was wondering how comfortable they are.

  12. Image for beverlee lyons beverlee lyons

    going to be perfect. I like the white with the back in grey. But, you will choose what is right for you, and we will all love it. My big question is....how do you keep that big white rug clean? I have white rugs, but they are manageable in the washer. I love it.

  13. Image for Linda Pinion Linda Pinion

    I know that everyone loves gray and therefore I am in the minority. I love the neutrals and love color as well, just not gray. I use a neutral called WaterChestnut and I love it. It's one of those colors that really looks classy, and can go traditional, farmhouse or modern. It's not white, it's not beige, it's not khaki. It looks great with white trim and hardwood floors. Take a look at this color and see what you think.

    1. Image for Sue Sue

      Linda Pinion, I am with you. I have never been a fan of gray for a home color and am SO tired of seeing it everywhere. Karianne, your house is gorgeous! While I love it, I can't live without color and was so happy to see your blue and white this week. I'd put a wow color behind the shelves but I know it wouldn't work in your house. I know you'll do something beautiful that makes a cohesive look in your house.

  14. Image for Anna McWilliam Anna McWilliam

    Please not white ! Long for colour in your home it's just too 'decorator ' perfect .... grey good but please break out and go mad with a bit of colour somewhere ! Looking far too tasteful , sorry ! X

  15. Image for Nancieann Nancieann

    Gorgeous! Wish I could hire that carpenter! SW Mindful Gray would be perfect! But, It's up to you! Love your home!

  16. Image for Evea Evea

    I love your style! I agree with white for the bookcases with a contrasting background for the back of the shelves. You could use the same shade of blue as in the plates you've recently displayed. You collect white ceramic/glass and they'd stand out with the blue background.

  17. Image for Julianna Hodulick Julianna Hodulick

    Whatever you do will be beautiful! You have a gorgeous home! However, I think if you paint the bookcases white and put a patterned (removable) wallpaper on the backs it would bring some color and make the landing a beautiful focal point!

  18. Image for Marjorie Marjorie

    I was so sure when I saw your post that my mail was out of whack!! New Year wishes 😊. Love it! Okay my vote is for the gray but I’m sure whatever you do will be beautiful.

  19. Image for JC at the uncommon pearl JC at the uncommon pearl

    These look great in the space. I like your idea of getting an idea of how the white will look by priming. With a few views from across the landing, along with some head tilts, the final color will come to you! Looking forward to the final reveal.

  20. Image for Laura Ingalls Gunn Laura Ingalls Gunn

    I am such a fan of built-ins and yours are amazing! We finally finished The DIY Home Planner bathroom. It's up on the blog today if you want to take a peek. There's also a giveaway for a really GREAT book. ;)

  21. Image for Robin Schmidt Robin Schmidt

    I would do white to match your woodwork. I think it would make it seem as if the bookcases had always been there and give a cohesive look.

  22. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    You get awfully excited about painting, ( I used to when I was young!) That's a lot of corners and bottoms and tops and gee I can see my hair now!!! Lol Go for it mama!!!

  23. Image for Cristie Cristie

    What a difference!! I love love love them. I think I’d stick with white myself.. but the gray will make more of a statement. I can just see a small cost chair there in the corner by the railing, making a perfect reading nook... just me dreaming... Cristie

  24. Image for PJ PJ

    Love, love, love the built-ins! I use white paint and then add color through accessories, perhaps the blue and white that you are embracing with a pop of pink or orange flowers?

  25. Image for RW RW

    If it were mine, I would do this per Jolyn (?): "I think white would be best, ... (snip)... and look like it's been there all along. " I really like "been there all along." Then, pattern and color and excitement in the contents of the shelves and artwork on the walls. (And possibly backdrop of the shelves.) But what do you want your eyes to rest on or bounce off of as you look from below? From the stair as you climb? Draw the eye? Compete with the light and stairs? Fade into the background? I am learning these questions. :)

  26. Image for Jane Jane

    I love the built ins, KariAnne. I never would have come up with that idea, but that's why we love you, your inspiration! I think Mindful Gray is a great color, I have it here in several rooms at the lakehouse. Keep up the 'durings'! Also, I'm wondering where you got the downstairs runner in front of your pretty cabinet, and if you remember the name of it. I am so in love with it! Jane

  27. Image for Katie Heidinger Katie Heidinger

    Built-ins -Brilliant!! I agree with painting it white with a pop of color in the back. But it really depends on what you plan to put on the shelves. mindful gray would be my second choice. Have fun painting, can't wait to see it finished.

  28. Image for Sandi Sandi

    I just love built ins! Can't wait to see how you decorate the shelves so let the paint cure and then decorate before you post! I agree with the Sandy with the 'Y', I'd love to see the cabinets white/grey inside the shelves!

  29. Image for Pam Clark Pam Clark

    I’m all about the white when it comes to trim and built-ins......like icing trim on a delicious birthday cake 🎂

  30. Image for Sherry Sherry

    Luv the built-ins around the doorway AND am excited to see all the decorating you always master on the shelving.

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