Okay, so it's not all that old. In fact, it's the newest bookcase we have - not that that's saying a whole lot, but still... This one has had more than it's share of abuse, as you can tell from this before photo:
See that shelf just up from the bottom? My hubby was afraid that the weight of the books on that shelf was too much and had done the damage, but I informed him that the shelf's plight had more to do with a certain little person, who didn't want to go get a step stool for reaching books on the upper shelves, than with the weight of the books. I know that this damage couldn't have happened with just one or two occurences, so I'm more than grateful that the weight of all those books managed to offset the weight of the little person climbing on the shelf. I believe I have managed to convince said small person that climbing on the bookcase is a REALLY bad idea.
What you can't see so well is that the other shelves are bowing slightly too. The edging pieces in front of the shelves keep it from being so obvious, but you can tell from the one without the edging that the shelves aren't all that thick. Plus,it's one of those put together bookcases so the back is essentially a thick piece of compressed cardboard. They don't really hold together all that well.
We removed the back and replaced it with a piece of paneling, making the whole thing a great deal sturdier. Then we replace all but one shelf (it was a fixed shelf, screwed into the sides of the bookcase and not bowing) with thicker MDF, sanded it down and painted it white (because we couldn't decide/agree on a different color). Here's what it looks like now:
I also readjusted the shelves so that there's a shorter shelf down low for the books most apt to gain the small person's attention. :)
I may put some cute, lacy shelf edging up later to cover the the edges of the shelves, because upon close inspection you can see that they kind of look like sawn MDF - which, of course, is what they are. But then again, this bookcase is almost exclusively for school books and sees alot of activity. I need sturdy more than I need cute.
Now, on to the "find".
We moved the room around (which is what prompted this revamping project anyway; after all, why not fix it while we have all the books out to move it?) in order to make room for Ri's new sewing table.
Please ignore the fact that I obviously can't take a straight picture and instead focus in on this darling little table hubby and I found for Ri a week or so ago. We went to my favorite second hand furniture store to look for a table or desk for her and when I first saw it (behind a door and with stuff on top) I thought it was a desk. I zeroed in on it mostly because of the drawers - I knew drawers would be handy for a sewing table, and low and behold, when I got closer I realized it really was a sewing table. If you look closely you can see the groves where the pieces move/come out for the sewing machine to be mounted in. We are going to see about having it mounted inside sometime later though. As you can tell, it's an older table so the holes for the mounting screws don't exactly line up right, but we think that can be remedied. It will allow her to raise the sewing machine up when in use and lower it again later if she wants to use it as a desk. I'm so glad we found that little table and Ri seems pretty tickled with it too. As you can see, she has her whole area all set up with a covered bulletin board for sticking notes and pattern pieces and a shelf for holding things. She picked one with a rod so she can hang things there too. Kind of like mine, where I have S hooks holding all my scissors within easy reach of the sewing machine. She already has a couple more sewing projects there that she's working on.
BTW - I know you can't tell it from the first and last pictures, but I really do know how to center furniture on a wall. It's just that we have deliberately set furniture more on the left of that short wall in order to free up the doorway a bit more. We have tables, bookcases, cabinets and the like on every wall in that room and since some of it's close to the door it doesn't take much to make it feel cramped. Setting it off to the left helps it not feel so closed in.
Now, to put all those books back...