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The Shelf/Wall Unit

For the past two years, I’ve shared a 600 s.f. studio apartment with my husband. I placed “build a wall between the living room and bedroom” on my to-do list as soon as I moved in. This project has been gestating in my mind since then, taking on different forms in countless iterations (see some of my renderings below). For my own sanity, I put the pencil down and started building.

First step: figure out where to learn woodworking and find a shop open to the public in Los Angeles. I called up my architect buddy Jonathan who referred me to Knowhow Shop, a new fabrication cooperative in Highland Park. Without their expertise and access to their woodshop, I would probably still be designing and redesigning into the next decade. I purchased my walnut plywood and europly birch plywood at Anderson Plywood in Culver City and my acrylic at Gavrieli Plastics in Burbank. One minor setback involved a windshield that cracked en route to the shop from Culver City – what a drag.

Under guidance from the nice folks at Knowhow Shop, I built my shelf using biscuit joints over the next few weeks.

Afterwards, my husband and mom helped out during a ten hour installation marathon. We were probably extra cautious about structural stability because of the quake in Japan.

Before the installation:

After the installation:

Because of the lack of space, each square inch in our apartment is packed with an efficiency and utility rare in a city like Los Angeles. In addition to providing a visual and physical barrier between our bedroom and living room, the unit replaces a couple of shelves, a side table, an overhead pendant light, and a headboard. It also acknowledges a need for shared space through an open top shelf and punctures in the shelving.


  1. Danzig

    Wow, so that’s what you were up to in wood shop. Glad you were able to achieve your dream.

  2. Pingback: The Guitar Crib «

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