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A Compact Bookcase for a Tree House Turntable

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick Home

counter stools | kitchen | leaning bookcase | turntable | speaker

Much like our Chicago condo, our little Tree House has a pretty compact footprint. This fun (let’s call it) restriction has us back into the habit of measuring things down to the inch when we consider bringing a new piece into the home. We really love this part of designing small spaces because it forces us to look for a few square feet of real estate that might go otherwise unused. Case in point: We knew we wanted a turntable at Tree House, but finding a place for it was a bit of a challenge. Even so, with a little creativity and a some leftover MDF, we made it work!

We’ve been using our Marshall Stanmore bluetooth speaker since before we owned Tree House. It’s great for streaming from our phones, but we knew it was time to finally get a turntable up and running so we could really, really utilize our favorite speaker to the fullest. We have music playing pretty much constantly and realize that our setup might change down the road, so something with bluetooth connectivity was necessary. After falling down the research rabbit hole (for which we are painfully guilty of), we landed on this Audio Technica. It’s handsome and available in a few colors, and it even starts and stops automatically to cut down on wear and tear. Nice!

Now that we’d selected the perfect turntable, the battle of inches to find the perfect bookcase to house it was in full swing! We’d seen the Sawyer line of compact leaning bookcases at Crate & Barrel a few times in-store, but not until we really dug in to all of the specifications online did we realize that it was the perfect solution for the funny little corner we had in mind for our audio setup. The goal was for a custom, built-in look, and the 24.5″ wide Sawyer was almost perfect. (It also comes in an 18″!) The only challenge was that the its deepest shelf was shallower than the turntable and wouldn’t allow for the lid to open. Ugh! This gave us flashbacks to the space constraints in our condo, and it dawned on us – we need another turntable pull-out shelf!

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick Home

What We Did

We picked up these drawer slides and a remnant of 3/4″ MDF that we had in the garage, and we got to cutting on the table saw. We made the shelf 1″ larger than the turntable on each side to allow for a bit of wiggle room, then drilled out a 3/4″ finger hole to allow for easy sliding. The whole thing was given a quick sand and the edges of the hole were eased a bit to eliminate rough edges.

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick Home

After a quick coat of primer, we hit the shelf with same Valspar Satin Ultra White that we’ve used on all of our trim throughout Tree House.

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick HomeUsing 5/8″ wood screws, the slides were mounted to the shelf first, then the whole assembly was screwed onto the second-lowest shelf of the Sawyer bookcase. The drawer slides are intended to be mounted on the sides of an actual drawer, but the turntable shelf only weighs a few pounds and we’re very happy with how sturdy it turned out with the slides mounted underneath the shelf.

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick Home

The finger hole is centered under the front of the turntable for a clean, subtle look. We (read: I) decided that Ween’s 1996 masterpiece 12 Golden Country Greats (on brown marble vinyl)was the perfect way to break the new equipment in. It was glorious.

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick HomeTurning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick Home

Once the albums are playing, the lid can be closed and the shelf can be slid back into place to free up space and allow the door to our bedroom to close, if we’d like.

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick Home

Above, you can see that the bedroom door clears the leg of the Sawyer by about 1/4″. Talk about a custom feel!

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick Home

The vertical spaces between shelves measure about 12 1/2″ tall and allow for vertical album storage. A few records are held in place with the help of these beautiful vintage bookends picked up from our friends over at MegMade.

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick Home

There was still one other challenge with our leaning bookcase. Since the bookcase is backless and leaves nowhere to conceal cords, we needed to find a way to hide the cords for both the speaker and turntable. We picked up some simple stick-on cord covers and painted them the same color as the walls. In the photo below, you can kiiind of see them peeking out behind the records. Once the shelves were loaded up, they’re almost invisible!

Turning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick HomeTurning a bookcase into turntable storage | via Yellow Brick Home

We’re incredibly happy with how this little nook turned out and even more excited to get our speaker up off of the floor! Eventually, we think this corner would be absolutely perfect for a tall, skinny gas fireplace, but we could be years away from realizing that dream. In the meantime, this bookshelf setup is just what we needed for our music needs and offers some nice vertical interest without weighing the space down. We’ll chalk it up as a win on all counts!

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  • Emily Brown11.13.18 - 8:05 AM

    What a perfect little nook! I just placed an order for this bookshelf yesterday for my nursery to fit a space between two windows… down to the inches to make sure it would fit too :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.13.18 - 8:06 AM

      It’s a great bookcase for small spaces! We love that it comes in two sizes.ReplyCancel

  • Alison | Deuce Cities Henhouse11.13.18 - 8:34 AM

    Hey! I love the turntable pull out shelf! What a great solution, it’s hard to find places for those record players to live. We must be breathing the same fresh country air, because the post I have scheduled for today is all about cabin turntables too. Love it.ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.13.18 - 6:51 PM

      Great minds! ;) LOVE what you have going on!ReplyCancel

  • Lori11.13.18 - 10:29 AM

    I love that sliding shelf solution! So creative! I might need to do that for some of my kitchen cabinets to keep things from always getting lost in the back.ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.13.18 - 6:50 PM

      Great idea! Rev-a-shelf brand also makes some readymade awesome options.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda11.13.18 - 12:35 PM

    Awesome use of space!!ReplyCancel

  • Shira11.13.18 - 2:48 PM

    About using it as a location for a gas fireplace: did you take that into account when installing your fridge? I’m curious if you insulated the tiny wall in between since refrigerators need to reject heat and having something that generates heat so close could potentially lower the refrigerator’s efficiency. Then again, maybe the wall alone is enough of a barrier?ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.13.18 - 6:49 PM

      Ooh, that’s a great point. If we do need more insulation, we can always open up the wall from the bookcase side. We would definitely look to a professional for that opinion! We’re also not totally counting out an electric fireplace. I feel like there are so many options nowadays, but we’re probably a year or more from making a decision!ReplyCancel

  • Susannah11.13.18 - 2:57 PM

    Woah! Bluetooth turntable! How is the signal strength/quality without a pre-amp? Our turntable, receiver, pre-amp (and the requisite million RCA cables) has been a particular challenge design/wire-wise. It all feels worth it now that our 18 month old says “PUSH! PUSH!” when it’s time to flip the record and push the start button. We pick her up and she pushes the button and then says “Crackle Crackle” when the needle drops. My heart! Is that all of the records you keep at the treehouse? If not, I’d love to see how you’re dealing with record storage :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.13.18 - 6:48 PM

      There’s a built-in preamp on the turntable! Scott’s a bit of a snob and would have preferred to have the unit plugged in, but we were both totally blown away by the quality of the music since the speaker connection is only a foot away. We couldn’t be happier!

      As for more record storage, we only want to have our VERY favorites up here (we have too many at home!), and we like to keep a really tight collection of things we love. That said, we have a plan for more record storage with a piece of furniture we’ll be building soon… More to come!ReplyCancel

  • Frankie11.13.18 - 3:35 PM

    This is so clever!! What a thoughtful solution! I’m loving watching the Treehouse come together!ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa11.13.18 - 6:00 PM
  • Ryan11.14.18 - 3:13 PM

    It’s great to find a recommendation for a turntable that doesn’t have a full receiver/amp setup. I’ve been wanting to get a new turntable as the setup that I inherited from my dad takes up a lot of space and the receiver needs to be replaced. I have a vintage record cabinet that we store liquor in but I can still fit a low profile turntable and speakers in the flip-up top area.

    Your shelf looks like a great flexible storage solution for such a tight corner.ReplyCancel

  • Vivian11.22.18 - 9:40 AM

    How well does the Valspar Satin Ultra White match the bookcase? We have one of the Sawyer line desks, and it’s gotten chipped. I want to fill in the chips with paint, but it’s so hard to match white!ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.23.18 - 9:34 AM

      The Ultra White is a little brighter, but I think ANY white paint would work for chips. Just use a cotton swab and lightly dab on any area that might have chipped a little, and it will look 100000x better.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie2.24.19 - 10:45 AM

    Hey guys, on the topic of music, can you suggest any great digital fm radios by any chance? Bonus points if it’s goodlooking and/or can save/program a couple stations? Love you guys!ReplyCancel

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