The following Maple, Face Frame Crown style, white-painted entertainment system was put together using a combination of bookcases, a center entertainment console, and a bookcase bridge. Here is how this was put together to create a cascading wall unit with varying depths and heights.

Entertainment System

Entertainment System

The central piece is a CN4 entertainment console 84″W x 36″H x 24″D, painted white with raised-panel doors. It has deluxe base moulding that wraps around the sides and is mitered to meet the moulding on the adjacent units.

The piece above the TV is a BR2 bookcase bridge 84″W x 12″H x 16″D set above the other bookcases with deluxe crown moulding wrapped around each side.

The bookcases on each side are stepped back, with the first 16″D, then 14″D, then 12″D. They have deluxe crown moulding that is wrapped around to meet the bookcase next to it. The pieces next to the center have a mini-miter so that the crown moulding overlaps the face frame of the bookcase bridge. On the outer side, they have a partial wrap with a mitered cut to meet the moulding on the next piece. The next piece has an inside miter cut to meet that crown, and so forth. The result is a seamless flowing sequence of moulding that appears built-in and connected. In reality, these were ordered pre-built to fit the design.

Had the homeowner wanted to go all the way to the ceiling, we could have used base units with tall hutches, but since this is a very tall ceiling, it probably would have been overkill.

The diagram below was used to specify how everything would fit together.

Entertainment System Diagram

Entertainment System Diagram

AWB FFC Entertainment System

Entertainment System

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Here are detailed drawings for a nifty swinging-bookcase hidden door. by Gary M. Katz.

I drew this detail of a hidden bookcase door swung on a Rixson pivot hinge. It works easily. I was asked to show how the trim would work/look for a fluted-casing/rossette detail. I forgot to include the plinth blocks, but they’d be split, too. I was also asked how a swing-in book case might work, and whether an offset Rixson hinge would work. Those drawings are included at the bottom of the page.

Bookcase Front View

Bookcase Front View

Front view (above)

Bookcase Front View Open

Bookcase Front View Open

Front view opening (above). Pivot case just clears head casing. If the bottom of the pivot door isn’t swinging over a hard surface level floor, then a toe-kick should be added to the bottom of all the units and the case should pivot above the toe kick.

Front View Opening

Front View Opening

Looking close at the top head casing: Leave a 1/16 – 1/8 in. gap between the head casing and the top of all cases. Install a small 1/2 in. ogee nosing on all top shelves, but hold it down 1/16 in. everywhere, on flanking cases, too, so it will cover the head gap but not interfere with the swing.

Bottom View

Bottom View

Bottom View (above), case just beginning to open. Split in casing must be located precisely where bead meets fillet. I’d cut a test piece first, about six inches long, tack each side to the cases and open the door a few times… all the way.

Bottom View Beginning to Open

Bottom View Beginning to Open

Casing opening a little more (above).

Casing Opening a Little More

Casing Opening a Little More

Casing clears flanking case, but not by much (above).

Casing clears flanking case, but not by much

Casing clears flanking case, but not by much

Bottom view with case swung to 90°

Bottom view with case swung to 90°

Bottom view with case swung to 90° (above).

Strike side viewed from top

Strike side viewed from top

Strike side viewed from top (above).

Strike side, viewed from top and opening out.

Strike side, viewed from top and opening out.

Strike side, viewed from top and opening out (above).

Plan View, with hardware layout and trim dimensions on hinge side.

Plan View, with hardware layout and trim dimensions on hinge side.

Plan View, with hardware layout and trim dimensions on hinge side.

Plan View: Strike side with clearance dimensions.

Plan View: Strike side with clearance dimensions.

Plan View: Strike side with clearance dimensions.

Strike side requires 1 3/8 in. clearance

Strike side requires 1 3/8 in. clearance

Strike side requires 1 3/8 in. clearance

Rixson Center Hung Pivot.

Rixson Center Hung Pivot.

The hardware in the example above is a Rixson Center Hung Pivot. A Center Hung Pivot is the only type of pivot hinge which isn’t visible. There are several grades of Center Pivots. I’ve used the Model #370 frequently for doors of many sizes. It’s rated up to 500 lbs. But for a heavy bookcase, the H117-3/4 will support up to 1,000 lbs. Dorma also has a line of pivot hinges. Often they’re less expensive than Rixson hinges. I’ve used several Dorma pivots, including the CP440 (440 lbs) and the CP 660 (660 lbs).

Swing In Bookcase on Center Hung Pivot

Swing In Bookcase on Center Hung Pivot

Swing In Bookcase on Center Hung Pivot

Swing In Bookcase on Center Hung Pivot

Swing In Bookcase on Center Hung Pivot

You can reposition the pivot but no matter where it’s located, the strike side of the case is going to hit the other case, which requires a beveled or stepped construction.

The step in the 'jamb' case would have to be about 1 1/4 in.

The step in the ‘jamb’ case would have to be about 1 1/4 in.

The step in the ‘jamb’ case would have to be about 1 1/4 in.

And no matter where the center hung pivot is located, the hinge side would hit its flanking case, too.

And no matter where the center hung pivot is located, the hinge side would hit its flanking case, too.

And no matter where the center hung pivot is located, the hinge side would hit its flanking case, too.

Not by much, but enough to require a step in the construction of that box, too.

Not by much, but enough to require a step in the construction of that box, too.

Not by much, but enough to require a step in the construction of that box, too.

Swing-in Bookcase on Offset Pivot Hinge

Swing-in Bookcase on Offset Pivot Hinge

Swing-in Bookcase on Offset Pivot Hinge

Swing-in Bookcase on Offset Pivot Hinge

Swing-in Bookcase on Offset Pivot Hinge

The offset hinge would work even better on a swing-in case. The front hinge-side edge wouldn’t hit the casing or trim on the front of the units. And the back would clear without cutting a bevel or step into the flanking case.

But the strike side would still hit.

But the strike side would still hit.

But the strike side would still hit.

But the strike side would still hit.

The step in the strike-side flanking case would have to be about 1 1/4 in.

The step in the strike-side flanking case would have to be about 1 1/4 in.

The step in the strike-side flanking case would have to be about 1 1/4 in. (it actually measures 1 1/16 in. so 1 1/4 in. should clear for sure, but I’d mock up the hardware and check that before building the cases).

Reprinted with permission from Gary Katz Online, a comprehensive educational community devoted to trim carpentry, finish carpentry, and architectural millwork, and hosted by nationally recognized author and finish carpentry specialist Gary M. Katz.
– See more at: http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/HiddenPivot_Bookcase_Door.html#sthash.pdqJzgQ6.dpuf

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October 5, 2006
Eight Rooms, Well, Nine, but That’s Their Secret

By MATTHEW SUMMERS-SPARKS
Winnetka, Ill.

ON a recent Saturday morning Cami Beghou, 13, pushed the right side of the tall, white bookcase that is built into one of the powder-pink walls in her bedroom. The bookcase, holding rows of books, a stuffed dachshund and a volleyball, silently swung outward, revealing a tiny, well-lighted room. Containing a desk, a chair and a laptop computer, it serves as her study area.

Cami Beghou swings open a bookcase to reveal her study area.

Cami Beghou swings open a bookcase to reveal her study area.

Cami, an eighth grader, considers the hidden room the best thing about her family’s five-month-old French colonial-style house in this Chicago suburb. “When I heard that I could have a secret room, it sounded like so much fun,” she said, noting that the room initially conjured images of secret passages from Scooby-Doo cartoons. “My parents told me, ‘You could just put curtains over the doorway,’ but that wasn’t nearly as cool.”

Since March, when the Beghous moved into the house, Cami estimates that she has had about 30 friends over. Not one was able to detect the bookcase’s secret without guidance. “Most people don’t even recognize that it’s there,” said her father, Eric Beghou, who owns a consulting company with his wife, Beth. “When the home inspector came by to examine the house, our builder shut the bookcase, hiding the room. The inspector went up and down the stairs a couple times — he knew that something was unusual — but he couldn’t figure out what was there.”

Soon, however, inspectors and other guests may get wise to hidden rooms like the Beghous’. Although hard data is not available, architects report an increase over the last five years in the number of clients installing concealed rooms.

During roughly the same period, at least four companies have come into existence producing doors that range from the very basic to the highly mechanized.

The Beghous’ architect, Charles L. Page, who is based in Winnetka, said he had designed seven other houses with hidden rooms since 2001, after designing none in his previous 40 years as a residential architect.

“Absolutely, there has been an increase,” said Timothy Corrigan, an architect and designer in Los Angeles, who noted that he has been practicing for 12 years but was not asked to design a secret room until four years ago. Since then, he has created five.

Although highly fortified rooms have become more widespread — and the idea reached a large audience with the release of “Panic Room,” a 2002 movie that starred Jodie Foster — many of those adding hidden rooms are more concerned with creating a sense of wonder than defending against a home invasion. “I think people like the mystery of them,” Mr. Corrigan said.

One popular trick is to hide a room behind a bookcase that looks like a standard built-in but is equipped with hidden hinges, rollers and handles, as at the Beghous’ house. Contractors can either build the bookcases themselves or buy a piece from a growing collection of companies, including Niche Doors, the Hidden Door Company, Hide a Door, Secret Doorways and Decora Doors. Prices range from about $800 for the most basic models to more than $10,000 for custom-made versions.

Steven Humble is the owner and chief engineer of Creative Home Engineering, a two-year-old business in Tempe, Ariz., that specializes in mechanized doors that conceal rooms or safes. He echoed others in the business in saying that his customers are evenly split between those who plan to use their hidden rooms for security (either to hide valuables or to hide themselves in an emergency) and those who just think they are “really cool.” His company has built about 25 customized doors, bookcases, safes and assorted pieces, for new and remodeled homes, including a fireplace with a rear wall that swings open to reveal a room beyond, for a house in Arkansas. Prices run from about $5,000 to $25,000.

Last month Mr. Humble installed a pair of hidden doors in a house in a town north of Sioux Falls, S.D., for ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” “Whether it’s for home security or people’s images of living like James Bond, it seems to be something people respond to,” he said.

Louise Kircher raises the staircase in her home in Mesa, Ariz., to reveal the secret room behind it.

Louise Kircher raises the staircase in her home in Mesa, Ariz., to reveal the secret room behind it.

James Bond, or Herman Munster. When Louise Kircher, a retired teacher, and her husband, Dennis, a former accounting manager at Boeing, moved into their year-old, 4,300-square-foot contemporary home in Mesa, Ariz., in January, the staircase in the master bedroom was “something extra that came with the house,” Mrs. Kircher said, and reminded them of something out of “The Munsters.” It rises to reveal a hidden room, where she and her husband store an antique bedroom set and a replica of a gilded mummy’s coffin. “The ceiling is only five and a half feet in there,” she said. “I think it would make a great playroom for grandkids.”

Secret rooms speak to the homeowner’s sense of playfulness and perhaps to something deeper. “When we started the company we thought we were going to only attract eccentrics,” said Krystal Strong, co-owner of Hide a Door in Humble, Tex., whose doors’ average cost is $1,600. “But I think everybody is on the eccentric side; they want to make their home unique.”

To Sarah Susanka, a residential architect based in Raleigh, N.C., and author of “The Not So Big House,” a hidden room is “a way to individualize your house.” She said, “For a house to feel like a home, people have to put more of themselves in their house.” She remembered a woman in St. Paul who asked for a room hidden behind the rear wall of a closet. “She said she wanted a secret room for her art studio,” Ms. Susanka said. “She was a very introverted person, and she had to hide in order to let this expressiveness out.”

A concealed room can also function as a direct passage to childhood memories. When David Lee and his wife, Daphne, moved into their house in Plano, Tex., in March, they found themselves with too many unused bedrooms. Mr. Lee set up a workroom with tools, a computer and a workbench in one of the empty rooms. But it did not take long for the couple to decide to install a bookcase door, at a cost of almost $2,000, and turn the space into a secret room. “I always wanted one,” he said, “since watching Scooby-Doo way back when.”

David Lee of Plano, Tex., got a bookcase door to hide the mess of his workroom, but also because he had wanted a secret room, he said, “since watching Scooby-Doo way back when.”

David Lee of Plano, Tex., got a bookcase door to hide the mess of his workroom, but also because he had wanted a secret room, he said, “since watching Scooby-Doo way back when.”

Hidden doors have their complications. Cami Beghou said that while the books stay put when she opens her bookcase door, the volleyball once rolled off, and she generally leaves the door open unless she is expecting company. Jon Coile, chief executive of a Maryland realty company, said that he has had some problems with the magnetic latch on the bookcase door at the house he shares with his wife, Wendy, in Crownsville, Md., and that they secure the objects on the shelves to make sure they stay put.

Ray Sullivan, a manager with a financial services organization based in Phoenix, has two hidden doors in his house and is working on a third. But he ran into a potential problem. One of the doors, a motorized bookcase, can be opened either by using a remote control or by knocking in a particular rhythm. “One time I accidentally left the remote on the other side of the door and forgot the knock code,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Fortunately for him, the hidden room has another entrance, so he took a circuitous path to get back in. He has since memorized the knock sequence. “It’s one of those things you do once, hopefully, like locking your car keys in your car,” he said. “After you do it, you won’t do it again for a long time.”

For Mr. Coile, building a home with a secret room was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Behind a bookcase in the library of his house is a compact spiral staircase that connects to an upstairs writing area overlooking the library and to a downstairs home theater as well as to a nondescript room with a view into a bar through a one-way mirror.

They have shown the setup to so many friends that its secrecy has evaporated, which Mr. Coile said is fine with him.

“What use does this have?” he said. “Absolutely none. My builder’s eyes rolled back in his head when I told him I wanted a secret room. What can I say? I watched too many Disney movies when I was a boy.”

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by Wade Shaddy

Create illuminated space in any bookcase using a light bridge. This type of lighting is installed below any shelf using simple ambient lights to add depth and character to the bookcase. Typical light bridges illuminate objects other than books such as vases, flowers pictures or keepsakes. They serve to open up the bookcase by providing light between rows of books on on either side. Typical light bridges are installed in bookcases that have three sections, with the middle section receiving the light bridge. It’s fine to add a light bridge to any shelf for the same effect.

1. Measure the length horizontally across the top shelf of the bookcase. Purchase a light bridge that will fit between the two vertical sides of the bookcase. The light bridge doesn’t need to fit tight flush on either end. For example, if the shelf is 48 inches wide, use any light bridge fixture measuring between 18 and 36 inches.

2. Stain and lacquer the front of the light bridge if needed. Lots of light bridge fixtures have a single piece of molding across the front. Choose a molding profile that matches your existing trim, and apply stain that matches the existing bookcase.

3. Locate the nearest power outlet. Use a drill/driver and 1-inch Forstner bit to drill a hole through the back of the bookcase on the side needed to access the power outlet. Drill the hole one inch diagonally from the back corner. If the bookcase is installed to the wall, it’s OK to drill the hole through the side of the bookcase, one inch diagonally from the back corner on the side needed.

4. Place the light bridge fixture under the top of the bookcase. Center it flush with the front edge.

5. Hold the light bridge with one hand. Use your other hand to place two 5/8-inch screws in drilled holes on either end of the light bridge. Screw the screws in tight to secure the light bridge to the bookcase.

6. Pull the cord straight back from the light bridge fixture to the point where the shelf contacts the back. Use a hammer to tap one horseshoe nail over the cord to secure it to the back of the bookcase. If the bookcase has no back, or the back is no thicker than 1/4 inch, tap the nail into the underside of the shelf to secure the cord.

7. Insert the end of the cord through the 1-inch hole. Pull it snug. Tap two more horseshoe nails into the cord to finish installing the light. Plug it in. The switch to turn the light off and on may be on the cord or the fixture itself, depending on the model.

Things You Will Need

  • Stain (optional)
  • Lacquer (optional)
  • Light bridge fixture
  • Drill/driver
  • 1-inch Forstner drill bit
  • 5/8-inch screws
  • Hammer
  • Horseshoe nails

You can also place the light bridge on the back of the shelf, which is not recommended because the light is dampened — or you can place it under any shelf to illuminate the shelf below it.

If the top of your bookcase has a decorative trim piece across the front that’s greater than 2 inches wide, you don’t need a light bridge. Purchase hobby lights to fit behind it for the same affect.

Warning: Be careful when drilling through finished wood. Drill from both sides to prevent splintering. Wear safety glasses.

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By Robert Robillard
Bookcase and Mantle

Installation

This post provides an example of how to install a bookcase, fireplace mantel and the panel above the mantel.

Earlier we prepared the blue stone fireplace mantel and brick corbel supports in order to install a shorter mantel to accommodate a flat screen TV. A new Somerset Mantel will cover and hide the torn off corbels and a larger panel will cover the exposed brick.

In order to get the panel to cover the brick we had to fur out the wall above 3-1/2″ to match the face of the brick. We used 2×4 lumber on edge and Timberlock type lag structural screws to lag the studs to the wall.

We took care to install all of the lags in the same spots on each stud.

The measurements were then recorded for when the TV wall mount is to be installed. There is nothing worse than drilling into a brand new piece of custom work and hitting a screw or lag.

Planning For A Flat Screen TV:Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

The electrician ran all of the HDMI, cable and power wires and we fished them to the top of our furring strips for easier access later. He will come back and mount boxes for all of the connections. These boxes will be hidden by the TV.

We purposely designed the new bookcase 3/4″ smaller than the one we were trying to match. We did this so we could fur out the wall behind the bookcase to accommodate future speaker or audio visual wires.

Prior to installing the bookcase we also cut out a rectangular slot in the base cabinet to make getting wires from the base cabinet to the rear of the bookcase.

Installing The Fireplace Mantel:

After furring the walls we set the mantel in place. We attached 3/4″ birch plywood scraps to the face of the brick with 2-1/2″ Tapcon screws. The plywood scraps will allow us to nail the mantle to the fireplace.Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

Both base cabinets had return molding touching the brick so we had to cut the mantle profile out in this molding.

We used a Japanese saw, utility knife and a sharp chisel to carve out the molding and then slid the mantel down.

With the mantle in place we cut installed the panel. Typically a panel this size would have been done as three smaller panels but it was decided that it would be better to have one panel since a large TV was being installed. The panel sits on top of the mantel shelf and was attached with finish screws.

Installing The Bookcase:

The bookcase was then installed. I purposely made the far right side of the bookcase trim larger to accommodate for an uneven or plumb wall. We scribed the wall and used a jigsaw to cut a bevel cut. Bevel cuts help the unit slid in place and are also a lot easier to make miner micro adjustments with a hand plane.

Once the bookcase was in place we secured it through the left side into the panel stud and along the top of the case, and through the back panel on the far right side. Pre-drilling and counter-sinking are important and We filled the screw holes when done.
Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

All nail holes are then filled and sanded, the entire project is vacuumed and then we caulked the seams. We then installed the shelves and re-installed the existing crown molding that we had saved.

Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

Installing A Custom Bookcase And Fireplace Mantel

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By Robert Robillard

Bookcases and built-ins can transform a room.  Not only can they be aesthetically pleasing but also functional as well. Many times people choose to have a custom built in made to fit into a specific spot.
Bookcase Installation

In this case the homeowners had  a built in desk area that they wanted to transform into storage space. At the same time they wanted something that would add to the details of the room and not take away from them.  they decided that they wanted a deep bookcase in it’s place.

This desk area and closet also had an unfinished top and the homeowners wanted us to install finish plywood and a molding to clean up the top space. Once this built-in was in the room several things  needed to be done before it could “slide” into place.

Installing a built in cabinet:

1. Remove baseboard trim and any shield or desk trim that was in the way. One thing I’ve learned over the years to try not to

Bookcase Installation

destroy the trim during removal. Many times this trim can be used to tie in the new built-in to the existing trim.

2. Scribe the unit to fit or shim if needed.   Using a 24″ level I determined that the floor pitched back 1/2″ from the front edge of where the bookcase / built in would sit.  In order for the built in to sit plum I needed to cut the bottom to match this uneven floor.  I

3.  Using a jig saw I cut the built in bottom to match the 1/2″ out of level floor.

4.  I then slid in the bookcase until it touched the baseboard trim.  I used a sharp pencil to mark the baseboard and trim intersection and then used my Fein tool to cut the baseboard at that line.

Bookcase Installation

5.  I slide the built in cabinet into place and secured it to the surrounding framing with 2-1/2” nails using my Paslode 16 gauge, angled, finish nailer.

6.  Fill the nail holes with wood putty and sand flush.

7.  The closet top received finish plywood and some molding along the edge to clean it up

Bookcase Installation

Bookcase Installation

Bookcase Installation

 

 

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