What Have I Undone?

by Josh on March 10, 2006 · 2 comments

in Projects

It took much less time and labor than I expected to remove the built-in bookcase from the wall in my home office. Behind the bookcase were the two windows I expected and some ugliness I should have.

But before I completely give away the ending, here’s how the deal went down. First I pulled out the removable shelves and sliding doors.

bookcase without shelves

Then I pulled a window zipper around the edge of the bookcase to cut through the caulk and paint in the seams.

window zipper

After that, I pulled the nails from two metal brackets that connected the top of the bookcase to the wall. With the brackets gone, the bookcase felt a little loose. I used a prybar and some shims to gradually pull the bookcase away from the wall. To my surprise, there was no additional hardware holding the bookcase to the wall and I was able to wiggle the whole unit free.

bookcase free from wall

Now that the bookcase was officially removed, I wanted to peek at what I’d gained in the trade. Here’s what I can see of the windows by peering around the corner of the bookcase:

formerly hidden windows

I have no idea how long these windows have been hidden behind the bookcase. I thought the bookcase may have been the work of the most recent previous owners, but there appears to be only one coat of paint on the “hidden” windows and there is some pretty old wallpaper on the walls. I would be surprised if the room lasted in this condition until just 14 years ago, so maybe the bookcase was built earlier. I’ll have to ask the POs about that.

Speaking of wallpaper, it’s not only old–it’s really ugly. Yes, I should have expected this, but I had a naive dream that there might be unpainted wood or a pile of money behind that bookcase. Instead, I have this lovely wallpaper to enjoy.

old ugly office wallpaper

I will have a better idea of exactly what I’m working with for the walls and windows once I get the bookcase out of the room. I hope to get that done by the end of the weekend. I’m not exactly sure how I will get the bookcase apart while still retaining some future value for me or someone else. What have I undone here?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin March 10, 2006 at 12:33 pm

Darn, a pile of money would’ve been nice. The windows look pretty, though. Good luck!


Caty July 7, 2015 at 4:43 pm

Hi Josh,
I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for sharing!
I’m in the process of restoring my wood windows and saw your post with the window zipper. It looks like a good tool.
Do you know where I can buy one? I’m searching on the web and couldn’t find out where it’s sale.


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