Built-in Desk & Bookcase

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Project by Mr M's Woodshop posted 01-10-2010 06:27 PM 11931 views 7 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When my oldest son moved out after his wedding … that gave me a room to call my own! I wanted a home office, and I needed a place to showcase my book collection (Easton Press 100 greatest books) ... so I designed and built this desk & bookcase unit.

Took about 3 months of weekends in the garage to build the 6 pieces, finish, transport upstairs to the new office, and install. Detail work (drawer construction, molding, lighting, etc) took a little longer; it was 6 months before I was officially “done.” November – May, 2009. The 6 pieces: 1/Left shelf unit, 30” wide; 2/Corner shelf unit, 24” wide; 3/Right shelf unit, 54” wide; 4/Bridge unit over the desk, w/a cubby & 2 mini-drawers on each side of the desk; 5/Drawer unit & work space; 6/Desk & cabinet

Little did I know that when I finished the project, I would have left my job of 21+ years and accepted a position where I would now be working from my new home office!

Construction is red oak, with a small bit of oak plywood in the cabinetry and backing.

2 file drawers and 6 smaller drawers are to the left of the desk. 2 storage shelfs are tucked into the corner under the desk. To the right of the desk is a cabinet with printer and scanner on pull-out shelves.

Lighting is very important to me; I installed dimmable puck lights at the top of the unit, and there’s a circuit of small LEDs over the workspace to the left of the computer.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

26 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5212 days

#1 posted 01-10-2010 06:33 PM

oh it’s lovely! A book-lover’s dream.

now…....since your use of the room has changed a bit are you “already” wishing for things to be different?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4225 days

#2 posted 01-10-2010 06:43 PM

Beautifully done. What a great looking addition to the room.

Many happy years’ use out of it, eh?

-- -- Neil

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 4195 days

#3 posted 01-10-2010 06:48 PM

This is quite nice, and will be favorited so I can “steal” some ideas when I’m ready to do mine. Keep up the great work!

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

426 posts in 4118 days

#4 posted 01-10-2010 06:51 PM

Now that I’ve worked at the desk for several months, I am pretty happy with it. One compromise I made was to keep the vertical space above the desk at a minimum to maximize the book shelf space above. Result: computer monitor height is limited. Works, but life is full of compromises! I also need more filing space, so a combination entertainment center; filing cabinet is one of my next projects, hopefully later this year.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View dhg's profile


197 posts in 4763 days

#5 posted 01-10-2010 06:54 PM

Super job, I like it…

-- Talent on Loan from God - Rush Limbaugh

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4873 days

#6 posted 01-10-2010 06:55 PM

Henry, this is a beautiful piece of furniture. I could not imagine a better way to showcase your books and give you office space than to add something like this to the room. I am sure this is focal point of the room when anyone enters it. I know the first word I would say would be, “Wow!”.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4297 days

#7 posted 01-10-2010 07:14 PM

Very nice library. Like the cubbies, most people don’t make them. Great books too : )

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Lenny's profile


1690 posts in 4578 days

#8 posted 01-10-2010 07:18 PM

I’ll say it: “WOW!” Henry, what a beautifully designed and executed project. I am a big fan of red oak and this project reminds me why. The grain really pops and I love the tone. What stain and finish did you use? As for the books, wow again. I just love the look of them. I am jealous. I started a similar collection many years ago (Franklin Mint) but we had a falling out. Kids came along and I decided I couldn’t afford to keep buying books. I have about 10 books and I still love to pick them up now and then just to feel them, smell them, etc. It’s almost, but not quite, as good as a piece of lumber. Again, wonderful work!

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View AJJ's profile


75 posts in 4199 days

#9 posted 01-10-2010 07:29 PM

Great looking office, you did a wonderful job.

-- AJJ, Eugene OR

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4385 days

#10 posted 01-10-2010 07:34 PM

Wonderful work Henry, a bit lucky too with the timing. That red Oak looks beautiful and warm.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

426 posts in 4118 days

#11 posted 01-10-2010 09:03 PM

Stain was Minwax Red Oak. That’s my standard go to in finishing … something I am hoping to expand in the coming years.

The cubbyhole on the left has 2 shelves for paperwork on top of the two drawers.

The cubbyhole on the right has a shorter shelf, with space for a cable chase and external hard drive behind it. A USB hub lives in that space, too. Above the shelf is a pull out shelf for my laptop and cooling pad; I use the new company laptop instead a desktop computer. Mobility is key!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5045 days

#12 posted 01-10-2010 10:58 PM

Great job, Henry!

What a pleasant environment in which to work. Custom designed to meet your needs. That sure beats going down to Office Depot and trying to find something that “works.”

How did you attach your shelves? Are they dadoed into the sides or did you use biscuits? Thanks in advance.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4336 days

#13 posted 01-10-2010 11:52 PM

Henry, Great job on your office space!..Looks like it would be a real pleasure to work from. Very nice.

-- John @

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 4825 days

#14 posted 01-12-2010 03:19 AM

Looks good. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View johnnymo's profile


309 posts in 4257 days

#15 posted 01-12-2010 03:45 AM

Beautifully done! A home office and a library! Great combination.

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

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