Alma Update: Media + Storage

May 9, 2011

Hey everybody, hope you moms had a relaxing Mother’s Day!  Last week, I spent a few hours constructing a media and storage center for our Alma Project.  I struggled for weeks on how to accomplish this task, at first scouring thrift stores and Craigslist for bookcases with no luck.  Why is it so hard to find two solid wood matching bookcases these days?  I contemplated either going to IKEA or having them built, but the bid came in at $400 which I was not willing to spend. 

My parents came to the rescue.   They moved all their belongings last week and they happened to have two solid bookcases they didn’t need anymore since they’re downsizing, so they generously donated them to this project. 

To create the new media center, I reused the existing TV stand and paired it with the donated bookshelves, one on each side.  Then I purchased two new pressboard shelves for the top and between the bookcases.  I primed the pieces, then assembled them all together and painted it all white to create one large wall unit.  And we did it all for under $60 dollars.

Here is what the family room wall looked like a few weeks ago:

tv wall before media


Here is the wall after we constructed a new media and storage center:

alma media storage center

Fantastic right? 


In the garage, I primed both the bookcases and the existing TV unit with my favorite primer, oil based Zinsser ‘Cover Stain’ while I chatted it up with the kids. 

primed cabinets in garage


To the top and in between the bookshelves we attached pressboard shelves ($20) cut to our measured length, and secured the entire unit with ‘L’ brackets. I later painted the brackets to disguise them.   

level and brackets


We trimmed the rough edges of the pressboard with wood molding, which cost me another $8.  I primed and painted the entire unit with a new gallon of white paint ($25).   I painted the back of the bookcases the same color as the wall to make them feel more open and airy. alma new media center

I also secured the entire unit to the studs in the wall so that any curious or climbing toddlers won’t be in danger of falling bookcases.  It’s all very sturdy and solid which gives us great piece of mind, especially in earthquake territory.  

Since we saved so much money on assembling the entire wall unit, I spent another $75 on baskets for storage at Michaels (they were 40% off).

baskets at michaels


A group from our church generously donated dozens of books to this project.  Thank you Nina and Chris for rounding up such a wonderful library !

kids library


With baskets and books, the three families now have a place to house many of their belongings, and extra reading material for the younger children. 

baskets and books on shelf


Haille is the oldest of the six kids living at our Alma House, here she is helping to install the butterfly motif above the entire unit.  Haille is an amazing girl!  She and I had a chance for a long talk while I primed the cabinets.  She has excellent grades and wants to go into law enforcement, I am so proud of her!

haille helping


The hub and I are so happy with the way this media center turned out. 

We took this . . .

media before


. . . and made this wall unit for under $60!

alma house media storage center

Next week, another family is donating a flat screen TV for the house to complete the unit.  I was going to reattach the doors to the TV cabinet, but the moms in the house preferred the open shelving, so I left them off for now.

We’re so proud to have joined up with our local COTS (Committee on the Shelterless) to help improve the lives of these families with a new project we tackle each month.  We thank each and every one of you who have generously donated to our Alma Project

We’ve discovered a new problem with the foundation which may require up to $1,000 to fix, so any contributions to our project are welcomed! 

More Alma House home improvements to come next month.

Thanks so much for all of your support!


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