Help with Designing Built In


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Old 01-06-15, 07:09 AM
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Help with Designing Built In

I am starting to plan out out some built in bookshelves or our office in our new home. This will be my first project of this size so I figured I'd come here to ask for some help since I've always gotten great help here in the past!

Here is the picture of the wall that we want to put the built-in on. We're thinking some simple bookshelves painted to match the trim in the room so I am leaning towards just using some good birch ply and some decent trim. The wall is about 10' wide and the ceilings are 9' tall. (I forgot to measure the distance from the window casing to the wall, but will do that when I get home).
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What you don't see in the first picture is the cold air return that is on the leftmost side of the wall (it's behind the mid-sized bookcase that is pulled away from the wall so the air still gets in). Here is a picture of the left corner of the picture above. The cold air return is 32"x8" and uses the drywall cavity as the "duct."
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So the first question I am trying to figure out before going down the path of a design is what to do about the cold air return. The way I see it is I have a few options.
  1. Leave it where it is an build the shelves around it so that is remains clear for airflow. (Low amount of work by may make design strange)
  2. Move it high on the wall and build the built-in to maybe 8' and have the return in the last 1' above it. (low amount of work but puts a big return vent above a nice built in and prevents the built in from being floor to ceiling)
  3. Move the cold air return into the floor and perhaps do 2 of them. (moderate amount of work as basement is accessible, but means floor vents that can get things dropped in them, etc.)
  4. Move cold are return to another wall. (lots of work and not really worth it I don't think)
  5. Somehow figure out a way to get 1.7sqft of cold air return in the kick plate of the new built-in and routed to the existing returns.

Anyone have any thoughts on what might make the most sense? I know this might be an HVAC question as well, but I figured I would start here.

Thanks in advance for all your help and reading the post!
 
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Old 01-06-15, 12:54 PM
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Why not leave the air return where it is but extend it out to the front of the cabinet?
 
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Old 01-06-15, 01:07 PM
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I could do that. Just afraid it will mess with the symmetry of the shelving unit and it's all about symmetry :-)
 
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Old 01-06-15, 01:18 PM
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Maybe we are on a different page I was thinking cabinets along the bottom with shelves above.
 
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Old 01-07-15, 08:56 AM
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I could do that. Just afraid it will mess with the symmetry of the shelving unit and it's all about symmetry :-)

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/fu...#ixzz3O9g3dAzI
A friend had a similar situation-he wanted to build cabinets/shelving along a wall that had a heating vent (not a return). He, too, was bugged by the possible "asymmetry". His solution, to provide the symmetry, was to add a "fake vent", actually a hole in the cabinet face with a matching grill.
(He also mentioned that it provided a good place to hide valuables!)
Good luck with your project.
 
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Old 01-07-15, 09:59 AM
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I'm thinking about maybe doing louvered doors all the way across the bottom. That might make it look like a design feature. Got that idea from another message board.
 
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Old 01-07-15, 10:18 AM
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Sounds like it's all about symmetry, but I would go with Mark and just create a plenum out front, attaching return grille to front (maybe a more elegant grille, such as brass).
It wouldn't be symmetrical, but all the other shelves would be similar in height and width.
This to me would be a professional appearance.
 
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Old 01-07-15, 10:22 AM
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I could also build a wood grill or something as well. My thought on doing louvered doors across the bottom is that it gives me a nice dividing line so I can still use 8' ply for the upper shelves rather than having to do something a bit more elegant to get to the 9' ceiling height.
 
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Old 01-07-15, 10:49 AM
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Yeah, That would look nice. You have a good set up there and you can't go wrong.
I like shelves. If you want to break the bank, how about a moveable ladder??
 
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Old 01-07-15, 10:56 AM
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Yeah I think we'll skip the ladder. My wife and I have to share the office so the extra space needed might not be doable. The one down side in general is that I am going to have to stop the shelves short of the left wall because the window is too close to the wall :-( They didn't install it where I asked them to when we built the house and I never go out the tape measure to check.
 
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Old 01-07-15, 05:19 PM
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I would move the cold are return to the top of the wall. Leave the crown on top of the cabinet short of the ceiling leaving a gap as small as possible for return air to pass over and to hide and grills or openings. A 1" gap would probably do the trick, but do your match. Now the issue is having a hole in the wall big enough for the return. If it allows, leave the back of the cabinet forward of the wall to allow enough area for the return air to flow. This way you maintain the look of the bookcase without the ductwork intruding.
 
 

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