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Kim’s coastal bedroom | installing the built-ins



The room makeover for my mom and dad is finally nearing completion!  I am planning to photograph the finished room later this week.

We finally got over the biggest hurdle in the room, the built-ins.


I have assisted Jeff with building cabinets and shelves and I felt like it was something my dad and I could tackle, even though it was a bit ambitious.

I drew up the design and, over several weeks, many of us worked together on the building, finishing and finally the installation.



It was a huge learning process for my dad and I, but we are so pleased with how they turned out.

They’ve been sitting in five pieces in my parent’s garage, each waiting their turn to be painted and finished.  Now, you know I like to use milk paint for just about everything, but we opted for primer and latex in order to keep these looking consistent with the trim in the rest of the house.  It just made sense in this case.

The cabinet tops are made out of cherry and those were the only pieces we had worked on by a professional.  Jeff and I glued the smaller planks together, but we don’t have a drum sander in our shop large enough to run the pieces through, so my dad took them to a professional cabinet shop to have them sanded smooth and also route the edges.

My dad finished the tops with MMS Tung Oil, which has unfortunately been discontinued, but he loves the stuff and we still have a stash of it.

Now that the finishing work was done, we were able to install them.  The base cabinets were custom cut along the back, so they would fit tight against the wall around the baseboards.  The upper shelves sit on top of the cabinets and were then screwed into studs to prevent them from tipping.



The center (floating) shelf was screwed into the shelves on either side and also through the back supports into studs.  That thing is screwed into studs with 3″ screws in nine places, so you can tap dance on it.


We finished off the top with crown molding to tie the three units together.


Since my parent’s just have a mattress and box spring on a frame, we clad the wall behind the bed with tongue and groove planking.  My mom was nervous about holes in her wall, but my brother and I talked her into it and she really loves it.


The cabinet on the right side of the bed (pictured above) has a little secret.  The door on the left actually opens up away from the bed for easier access.  We designed it that way, so my dad can store his c-pap machine in there.  It’s on a pull-out drawer that slides out when in use and easily stows during the day.

There’s still a bit of finish work that needs to be done, like caulking, filling the holes, touch-up painting and covering the screws with wooden plugs, but the hard part is done.


I could hardly wait to start styling them.  We mostly used books from their library, family photos and collected items that they already had.  This gave us an idea of what we needed to purchase, if anything, when we went on our final shopping trip for accessories to finish off the space.  (Obviously lamp shades were on the list!)


I’ll share all of the sources and room details in the final reveal.  If you can’t wait, you can find the sources for the fabric, bedding, rug and wall color in THIS POST.



My mom told me that as they were getting ready for bed last night my dad said, “This room is so nice, it feels like we’re spending the night in a magazine.”


High praise, indeed.


If you’d like to see how far this room has come, you can catch up by clicking the links below…

part 1 | the concept

part 2 | the before pictures

part 3 | selecting a wall color

part 4 | the walls & built-in plans

part 5 | the bedskirt & the built-ins

part 6 | the non-chippy milk painted-cabinet

Related posts:


  1. What a beautiful room! I admire all of your carpentry skills as the built-ins are wonderful. The style is so peaceful and refreshing at the same time. Brilliant job!

  2. I love how this room has taken shape. What a gift for them. I helped my mother in law a few years ago with repainting her room- getting new night stands, bedding and drapery. My in-laws have been in the same house for over 35 years- and she “hated” her room that had become a dumping ground. It was so fun to be a part of giving them a relaxing, thought out space! I am sure your parents feel similarly. Sometimes it just takes a little push and some extra hands :-) well done!

  3. Leah Prevost says:

    The built ins look amazing in their room! What a great thing to be able to do for your parents. There’s something almost magical about falling asleep in a room that you LOVE. And I think your parents have that feeling now ❤❤❤

  4. Really impressive, the built-ins look amazing. I can’t imagine taking on such a precise project with my Dad, talk about stress!

    Lindsay |

  5. Bridey says:

    Room is beautiful. LOVE the tip for the cpap. My hubby has been using one since we were first married and still not really sure what do with it.

  6. Sylvia says:

    Great job. I would love this in my master bedroom. Could you, please, show photos of the cabinet with the CPAP pull out shelf? My husband uses a CPAP and I have been stumped to figure out how to manage it with built ins.

  7. Susan says:

    I’m curious about the “secret” cabinet for the CPAP. I can’t quite picture it from the description. Could you show us a photo of it open? I can’t believe you created those cabinets from scratch. Wow! So nice. What a wonderful gift to your parents for all they do to support your creativity and your business. Looking forward to seeing the whole room reveal.

  8. I love the blending of your style and Kim’s. What a sweet gift they will both enjoy everyday! Following along these last few weeks, inspired me to take a look at our bedroom to transform pieces of furniture to a bit of a haven.

  9. How beautiful! What a special gift you have given your parents. I can hardly wait to see the final reveal. They must be thrilled with the final result. The built-ins are gorgeous!

  10. Just gorgeous!! Wonderful job!

  11. I am a firm believer that your bedroom should be a haven…no work, no crafts, no projects. The first place you clean! You should feel at peace when you crawl into bed and it should make you smile when you wake up! This space is indeed a “haven!” Beautiful!

  12. I love your Dad’s comment :) the ultimate compliment I think – Dad’s are great, can’t they just do anything they put their mind to – love it!

  13. Love those built-ins and the restful colors. Looking forward to the big reveal!

  14. Denette says:

    I love the paint color. When I went to the store to look at it it seemed a lot more intense, especially the large 5 by 7 paint card. Did you do it full paint or is it not full strength? I read the links to paint and didn’t where you only did a percentage but in your photos it just seems lighter than the large sample in the store.

    • marian says:

      That is the color at full strength. It doesn’t seem bright to me, but very soft and serene.

      • Denette says:

        Thanks for clarifying. In all of you pictures the color is great, it does look very soft and serene. The large sample looks more intense. It must just be the difference of not seeing it in context of a full room. Thank you.

  15. Janice says:


  16. Colette J says:

    Oh my it’s looking gorgeous. I just adore the built ins!

  17. I love it, what a wonderful gift to give your parents. It looks like a beautiful yacht, now they will always feel like they are on vacation when they come into this room!

  18. Teresa says:

    Gorgeous and functional. What a wonderful gift!

  19. Carol says:

    What a sweet comment from your dad! Very coastal and relaxing!

  20. MaryS says:

    WOW!! Another stellar job! You’re a great team.

  21. Oh, my, what a HUGE job! The room is really coming together nicely.

  22. Audrey Bretz says:

    How did you handle electricity for the beside lamps? And any other electrical things, like alarm clocks?

  23. Serene. One of my favorite bedrooms was very similar in color and my bed skirt was (is) nearly identical to your mom’s! I loved being in that room. Your mom and dad must be thrilled with theirs!

    Great work on the cabinets, shelving, headboard and everything else!

  24. Donna Doble-Brown says:

    This room is GORGEOUS! I love the colors, on the walls, the bedding and overall vibe! Can I move in ??? I don’t take up much room . . . Lol

  25. Patti says:

    I really like this room – the color, the bedding, the built-ins, the styling of the shelves – Great idea for hiding cpap! Beautiful!

  26. Kathleen W. says:

    Well done ! It gives me some inspiration for my room.

  27. Please thank your parents for letting us share in this journey. It is restful and personal. So sweet to be able to have your Ddad strong and able to help!!! I loved his remark at the end–unexpected!! I thought–hotel? So I giggled!!!

  28. Robin Leach says:

    It’s breathtaking!

  29. Cindy in Oklahoma says:

    So pretty! …. and your Dad’s comment brought tears to my eyes..

  30. B Folk says:

    I see your dad is a Civil war buff (or, at least, Robert E. Lee). I enjoy reading about our country’s history, too. Not really the military strategies, but the cultural aspects.
    Like how you leaned the baby photo on its side, looks great that way. The room looks more beautiful every time you show a piece of it. I’m also curious about how the C-pap cabinet actually looks/works. What a great idea!
    Nice to have this wonderful memory of time spent working as a team with your dad on this special project just for him and your mom.

  31. What an awesome thing your dad said, bet it makes you feel awesome!! Love what you all did to this bedroom, absolutely love it!!

  32. You’re dad’s comment is correct – they ARE in a beautiful magazine room! Wonderful job – the finished room is going to be so fabulous. The cpap cubbie is great (when you custom-make, you can make special needs part of the design)!

    Love that your dad has been part of the DIY project – don’t we love things we make even more?

    I have a QUESTION about your built-in design choices. I’m wondering why you decided not to build the cabinets wall-to-wall? Is there a reason you didn’t extend all the way to the window wall? It looks like it could be done, but maybe the window would get in the way – though it doesn’t appear that it would. I thought you said not much (or any) drapery since there were shutters, so I didn’t think it was to fit drapes. Just wondering about your reasoning — could help inform our own design choices.

    • marian says:

      We actually couldn’t take the cabinet all the way to the window wall, because it would prevent the shutters from opening to clean the window. I doesn’t go fully to the other wall, because my dad didn’t want to cut out the baseboard and didn’t want to cut out of the cabinet, either. The cabinets are independent units, so they could be used elsewhere if they move or decided to switch things around down the road.

  33. Barbara in CT says:

    I am now on the hunt for a cabinet that I can modify to hold my CPAP. Your solution is brilliant.

  34. Oh my goodness, this is stunning! Wonderful job!

  35. Addie says:

    Dad….just the cutest!!!

  36. sharon says:

    Awwwwwww! i love your parents.. that brought a smile!!! high praise….indeed! x

  37. MaryLisa Noyes says:

    Looks so amazing! I am sure they are loving it and so proud of you!

  38. Naomi S. says:

    Very lovely, Marian. Can you fit my living room in pretty soon? Just kidding! But it sure would be nice to get your take on what needs to be done in that room.

    Congrats on finishing up the project for your Mom and Dad’s bedroom. You can rest assured that they will both enjoy it for a long time, and even more so because their baby girl took time to do it. With a little help, of course!

  39. Beautiful!
    No more tung oil?? :( That’s one of my all time favourite finishes!

  40. Hannah says:

    Your parents must be so proud of you! How wonderful to be able to do something like this for them.

  41. It looks amazIng Marian! I cannot believe you guys built those cabinets. Really impressive! And I love the boards behind the bed, what a great idea!

    And I just want to say that the comment that your dad made to your mother was so precious. How sweet of him! I imagine that would make ALL the work worthwhile:)


  42. beautiful on so many levels. gosh your folks must be proud of you.

  43. Wow, that is gorgeous. Nice job.

  44. Noelle says:

    Can you share your source for the blue velvet pillow on the bed? I love everything about this!

  45. Krista says:

    The room is so pretty & serene. I love the built-ins! Can’t wait to see the finished room. Your dad’s comment was so sweet!

  46. I thought you had throw pillows of the same material as the bed skirt…….???

  47. Rebecca C says:

    Gorgeous! I’ve been wanting a similar look, but without built ins since we’re renting. Almost all of my inspiration photos are built ins, so I’m having a hard time convincing my other half that it’s do-able! Love the white with the natural wood top that you did, very nice. :)

  48. Carma says:

    We are looking to build something similar to flank either side of our fireplace but my husband isn’t sure about the lower cabinets, especially the door. Will you be giving a tutorial of this? Please! I think it’s the scariest part of building these and keeps a lot of DIYers from doing this.

  49. Ohhh pretty! I love the wall color and the different shades of blues in the pillows, especially the dark teal blue in the mix.!


  50. Wow AMAZING job Marianne & Helpers!! That looks great and I can’t wait to see everything all finished together, definitely achieved the beach/costal feel for sure!

    Lauren | Lovely Decor

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