Want a happy wife? Build her a library!

My wife loves books and reading.  How much, you ask?  This much:


We bought a house a year and a half ago and loved it right away.  The one thing missing was a place for all of our (read: her) books.  Solution: build her a library.  My father-in-law, an ex-cabinet maker, came out to visit us, see the new house, and hang out in the mountains.  We naturally put him to work helping me build this behemoth of a home library in our finished basement.

I didn’t have a lot of tools, so he showed me a lot of short cuts and helper guides to make the most out of every saw and drill I already had.  Expert guidance is better than any tool in my opinion.

All-in-all the library came out great.  It’s personalized and big and ours, so we love it.  When we finished it, we only had enough books to fill about a third of it.  A year later, it’s full.  Nature hates a vacuum as much as my wife hates empty bookshelves.  Now, we (read: she) wants to share the home library with the neighborhood, city and world.  How do we do that?  Little Free Library, of course.

Sidenote: Not familiar with the Little Free Library movement?  Basically, book loving people build or buy little libraries and put them in public accessible places so others can take, read, and share books.  We see it as a way for us to share our love of books with our neighborhood to help bring us closer to the people around us.

Step one: find designs and pick one.  Pintrest was perfect for this because there are hundreds to choose from.  My wife looked through a board I built and she picked out her top three for me to get “inspired.”

Little-Free-Library10 Little-Free-Library13 Little-Free-Library16-e1340563032961

Step two: size.  I got my wife a stack of books and asked her “how many and what kind of books do you see in your library?”  She set out hardbacks, kid books and mass medias, so I had a lot of sizes and shapes to account for.  I took my measurements and went to the shop to start designing.

Step three: build it and they will come.  This is where things get started.  I took the measurements, plywood, table saw and mental image and went to work.  Here’s what came out:


Step four: finishing touches to make it ours.  In addition to the “adorable” touches I made (the old garden hose door knob and the interior yellow stripes), I wanted to do a wood shingle roof.  This turned out to take three times longer than building the library itself with the added bonus of feeling like I was going to lose my fingers for almost a week.  Look for an additional post just on the shingles.

Lessons learned from this project:
1) Children’s books are BIG.  After everything was built and put together, the children’s books didn’t fit because of the slope of the roof.  I should have put the gap for the kid’s books in the center instead of on the side.  That way, there would be a lot more room for them.
2)Always, and I mean always, go the extra step.  When I was painting the yellow stripes, I figured I didn’t have to paint the underside of the middle platform.  After I put it together, I should have painted it just to keep the look consistent.

This entry was published on May 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm. It’s filed under Construction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Want a happy wife? Build her a library!

  1. Awesome – I’m sure Elise will be wanting one soon!

  2. Sally Boudreaux on said:

    I think I love your writing as much as much as the finished products😊
    What a good team you two make❤️

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