DIY, Objects

Design Within Our Reach: Pimp My O’Brien

July 24, 2007

Love the looks of the DWR parallel shelving that I just blogged but can’t afford either the white-lacquered $1,700 version, or the $2400 find in oak? No worries. Order the sturdy Thomas O’Brien bi-fold bookcase for $239 (74H x 72W x 11.75D) from Target and pimp it! It has great customer reviews, and since I examined this bad boy in person, I know it’s nice and would be fun to alter a little with a mere can of paint.

Design Within Our Reach: Pimp My O'Brien
You can white-lacquer your hearts out, or paint it bold red, black, or leave it alone because the wood is an appealing color in person. You can even do a little two-tone magic on it, like the bookcase shown above from a back issue of Living Etc magazine. Sure, the design is different, but it’s the paint job we’re focusing on here — the lovely two-tone style in white and wood. Oh wait… You see this bookcase and like it so much for it’s compact cuteness, and want that one instead? Well, this is a no-brain situation because you can order the Remsen bookcase as-is from West Elm for $399.

So my friends, we do have affordable options sometimes, ones that don’t involve lumber yards and power tools. Just add paint!

(images from target, DWR, and living etc)


  • Reply Jess July 24, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    These are great finds! And affordable! Thanks!

  • Reply rina July 25, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Hi, just your average, lurking design neophyte here. I love reading your blog; it’s full of inspiration! This post was very timely as I’ve been searching for an (affordable) open shelving unit for my new studio apartment. The O’Brien’s too wide for my space. I *love* the bookcase in Living, Etc., but that’s not exactly like the Remsen. The Remsen actually seems a little heavy and clunky to me. Do you know who makes the bookcase in the picture? Thanks!

  • Reply decor8 July 25, 2007 at 2:47 am

    Jess – Thanks for stopping by!

    Rina – No, it’s definitely not exactly the Remsen, but the lines and a lot alike, size, and of course, being two tone. The bookcase is by Russel Pinch for Benchmark (UK) and goes for around $1,800. I wrote to them about shipping a few months ago and they never responded, so I’m not sure if they ship to the states or have a showroom here or what.

    Here’s their website:

  • Reply rina July 25, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Oh well, $1800 is way out of my budget anyway. Thanks for the information, though!

  • Reply gregg July 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Does anyone know where i can find the thomas obrien shelf? I have one already and want the double wide, or another single, or both.


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