One Room Challenge Week Five: The Built-Ins

It’s week five! Yes, five.



And this week… this week I am sharing my favorite project we’ve ever done.

“Kell… You’ve already said that, remember? The barn wall from week three was your favorite project.”

DIY Entryway Built-Ins: How to Get Started

Well yes, I know I already said that once in this challenge, but wait until you check out what my totally kickass fiancé did last weekend.

He made these absolutely beautiful and perfect built-ins to go around the front window. From scratch. With no plans and absolutely no idea what he was doing. Pretty amazing, huh?

And that’s the reason why this project is my absolute favorite.

Not only do these built-ins look wonderful, but they were created from nothing. And that’s probably the biggest lesson we’ve learned thus far in this home renovation journey.


You don’t know how to do something? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you start.

“But I have no idea even where to start. So how do you begin something if you’re not sure even where to begin?”

Oh good, I’m glad you asked.

I wanted to share how we worked through this and how we began, because that’s usually the hardest part.


For those of you that are more interested in the technical how-to on the built-ins, sign up below for the free tutorial.

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Getting Inspiration

The first step in any project is figuring out what you want it to look like. We took to Pinterest and found various pictures of built-ins that we liked and also what we didn’t like. Brett isn’t a fan of wainscoting and I wanted a few shelves for storage.

Research the How-To

We weren’t able to find plans for exactly what we wanted. Built-ins are pretty specific to each situation and space, so that was understandable. But we didn’t even know what kind of material to use, so we searched for building plans that were similar to what we wanted or contained similar structures.

This helped us get a better idea of what kind of wood and tools people used.

We also needed to figure out how to work around the vent we had right below the window. Brett searched the internet for different ways to work this in and found that we could add an elbow to the vent opening and point the air towards the living room instead of up. Since we had an idea of what needed to be done, we could work that in to the big picture.


Take Measurements and Make a List

We knew where the built-ins were going to go. We measured the width of the space, how deep we wanted it and how tall the bench and two sides were going to be. This would help in finding the right wood widths and lengths.

Draw a Picture

After taking the measurements, I sketched out a VERY rough picture of how we wanted everything to look. This got us on the same page and we were able to talk through the more minor details like if we wanted the right side to go all the way to the ceiling or be the same height as the window.


Go Shopping

Armed with our list, measurements and sloppy hand drawn picture, we headed to Menards and wandered up and down the aisles picking out what we thought we needed. How did we know? Well, we didn’t.

But I want to remind you that the worst case scenario is you have to go back to the store for something else. We ended up visiting Menards three more times that day and once again on Sunday – we basically had a checkout aisle reserved for us. Kidding… kind of.

Make the First Cut

Pick a portion to start with (I would recommend beginning at the bottom…) and just make the cut. You have to begin somewhere, so just pick a spot. If you begin and realize you made the wrong choice, adjust or change direction.

Because nothing is permanent and anything can be fixed.

We’d love to hear what projects you’re itching to start and can’t wait see the results!

Need some more inspiration? Check out the other guest participants for the One Room Challenge.

All our best,


Miss a week?

Week One: The Entryway

Week Two: The Entryway Table

Week Three: Barn Wood Plank Wall

Week Four: The New Lights and Window

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About North Country Nest

Hi, we’re Brett & Kelly! We’re tackling our first home renovation and would love for you to join us on our journey of reno projects, DIYs and home decor tips.

12 thoughts on “One Room Challenge Week Five: The Built-Ins

  1. Oh wow Kelly, the build ins turned out amazing! Brett did such a good job with that. I am so excited to see the final outcome next week!!!

  2. Wow!! These build-ins look amazing, Kelly!
    I can’t believe your fiancé didn’t really know what he was doing – it looks awesome!
    Can’t wait to see the finished room!
    XO! Vanessa

  3. Your built ins look amazing!! So rewarding to build something from scratch with no “plans” or guide to go by. Can’t wait to see the full room!

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