Bookshelf or Fireplace? I Couldn’t Decide.


Materials: Two full-size and one narrow Hemnes bookshelves

I had a spare wall in my living room, but wanted both a lot of book storage and a fireplace. I checked the dimensions of the Hemnes bookshelf, and discovered an electric fireplace insert that fit with just a little extra space. I used this AKDY 28 inch unit. Others may work, but it’s IMPORTANT that the warm vent out the front, and not the sides of the unit.

I followed the directions to assemble the Hemnes cabinet until I got to the step where you were supposed to put the back on. Instead, I stood it upright, leveled it, and put the fireplace on the bottom shelf. I then framed the top and sides using 1×4’s that I’d cut to fit and sprayed with decorative paint. These side pieces screwed into the flanges on the fireplace and I connected the top of the frame to the sides using flat right-angle braces. I then pushed the fireplace unit forward as far as it would go and centered it.

I was ready to drill another set of holes so that a shelf would fit right on top of the framing, but there was one right there. That shelf also needed to go in before the back went on because, with the fixed shelf above it, I had to slide it in from the back.

From there all I had to was drill holes in the back for the cords. I added a power strip to the top for my bluetooth speaker (but I may put a 32 inch flat screen in there someday). Once I leveled the whole thing again, I attached the back, pushed the bookshelf into place, and put in the top shelves.

Jules Yap