Better than Billy

Before today’s post, Stephen and I both wanted to extend a huge THANK YOU to everybody who commented on our little HGTV announcement yesterday.  You are a huge part of the reason why we shared our bathroom makeover in the first place, and your support means the world to us!


I typically don’t talk about our work life on the blog, but Stephen’s job sometimes requires him to travel.  Since his company consults for a huge retail chain, his trips usually take him to exciting destinations like Indiana or Louisiana or Texas, where he spends 10-12 hours a day inside said retail stores, fixing issues with their refrigeration systems.

His most recent trip took him to Dallas, and since Dallas fits the “6 hours or less by car” criteria, he rented a car and drove instead of flying.  I call it fate that he got upgraded to an SUV instead of a tiny little rental car on this particular trip.  Can you guess why?

Dallas happens to be the closest Ikea to us, and my sweet husband took time out of his busy schedule to pick up a few Ikea goodies while he was in town!

His most exciting purchases by far were three of these.


If you’re an Ikea addict or if you’ve just been listening to us ramble on about built-ins and bookcases for entirely too long, you’ve probably guessed that those boxes contain 3 new bookcases for our living room!

We chose the Hemnes Ikea bookshelves in white because we loved their subtle style. They give the look of built-ins without all the work, and they’re solid wood.  Nothing against the ever-popular Billy bookcase, but we didn’t want particleboard since these shelves will be getting a lot of use.  We’re hoping the solid-wood versions will last a really long time!

Clearing the wall, assembling the shelves, and moving them into place was a breeze. First we moved all the furniture.

Left Side Loveseat

Can you believe how different this side of the living room looks without all that stuff?

Living room wall empty

Next Stephen got to work assembling the first bookcase while I organized all the nuts and bolts and read the instructions.

Working on Base Bookcase Assembly

The instructions tell you to raise the bookcase up on books before attaching the top piece. Stephen thought you’d get a kick out of seeing which four books we used.

Cal Book being Helpful

Nerd Books

I can’t even pretend these textbooks are all Stephen’s. Two of those are mine. Nerds!

There were just a few bumps along the way, most notably that one of the holes for assembling the top of one bookcase wasn’t drilled out. We spent probably five minutes trying to figure out why that screw wouldn’t go in!

Missing Hole

After we got the process down for the first shelf, it only took about 45 minutes total to assemble the next two.

One shelf.

One Bookcase

Two shelves.




We took these photos at night so they’re not the best, but I couldn’t wait to share!  You know we’ve been having lots of fun organizing all our books on these shelves since we finished them.  Once we’ve got an arrangement we like, I’ll show you the fully finished result.

What do you think of our new shelves so far?

The little epilogue to our story is that Stephen’s trip to Dallas to pick these bad boys up will be his last work trip with his current company.  Yesterday he accepted a new position with an energy consulting firm which starts in two weeks, and he gets to work from home!  I’m so proud of him!

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16 Responses to Better than Billy

  1. Morgan says:

    Your bookshelves look great! I’m loving them! They are so pretty. And congratulations to Steven on his new job! That is so exciting! =)

  2. casacaudill says:

    Oh, very nice!

    We currently have two shelves in Alan’s office but we’ve been looking at “upgrading” to a Billy wall unit. I hadn’t considered the Hemnes before, but seeing these three together makes me reconsider the original plan.

    PS – congrats to the husband!

  3. Laina says:

    LOVE those bookshelves i can’t wait to see how you decorated them!!

  4. They look great! I just spent time putting together my Expedit shelves. One of the boards was damaged, I was bummed, but put them together anyway. I didn’t feel like shlepping everything back.

  5. The bookshelves look really good! Love how they fill the wall and will provide so much space!

  6. First of all, AMAZING about Stephen’s new job! That’s so great that you’ll both get to work from home together – Jason and I absolutely love it, and I hope you do too. Secondly, LOVING those bookcases!

  7. Congrats on the bathroom! How awesome!!
    The bookcase are fab, looking forward to see what ends up in there! 😉

  8. Katrina says:

    Love the new bookcases! They look great 🙂 I can’t believe Ikea is six horus away yikes! And I complain about driving 20mins to ours! I’m hanging my head in shame, no longer will I complain. Now hurry up and post after picks!

    congrats to your hubby on his new job!

  9. YAY!! Can’t wait to see them once you’ve got it all styled.

  10. Jenny B. says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow! I’m SO excited for you guys! Both about the shelves and the new job! I’ve had my eye on those very shelves for a while now, and it is so helpful to see you put them together. I’ve been trying to decide if they would be worth the trip. How big were the boxes? I’m fairly certain we would have to rent a Uhaul if we went. I don’t know if I could make it out with ONLY the shelves. 🙂 I totally missed your HGTV announcement, so I’m off to read that post! Exciting!

  11. nora says:

    Congrats to Stephen too!

    We have the Hemnes bed frame and we really like it. I want to do built-ins for our dining room and Hemnes would be a good option! One of our favorite Ikea loading games is “Watch the college students try to put a ridiculous box into their camry/honda/too-small-sedan”. I am so spoiled by our close Ikea and pick-up truck. I guess that’s the trade-off for the nearest World Market being over 8 hours away!

  12. Pingback: Brimming with Books | Welcome to Heardmont

  13. Joelle says:

    This post is quite a bit old, but perhaps someone will reply. How did these cases hold up and did you run into a design flaw with them? I have read quite a bit about people having to hack them to keep the shelves in place. I want to be something that is not particle board and this looked like it was it until I read the troubles others were having. =(

    • Stephen Heard says:

      Joelle – they have held up OK. We had a couple of incidents where the shelves (full of books) slipped off the supports and dumped in the floor – once almost on our daughter. I have since screwed through the sides of the bookshelves into the shelf panel to permanently secure them in place. We also anchored them to the wall using a brass angle bracket screwed into a stud. Which those modifications they are very sturdy. I would not recommend using these bookshelves to hold heavy books or other loads without permanently fixing them in place. Hope that helps.

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