From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop: Barrister Bookcase Liquor Cabinet

While I’ve been busy making endless drawstring/project bags, my partner John has been busy building his first barrister bookcase to replace the shelves in his bar in our downstairs entertainment area.

John has always been handy but he got into woodworking a couple years ago and really started focusing on it during the early days of the COVID pandemic. He also had a section of our basement framed out and removed the carpet to have walls and a door put up to create a workshop for himself (see post From the Woodshop to see how it looked when first built..he has since done a lot of upgrades and added in an air filtration system and sawdust collection system). Part of our basement was rarely used so it was a much better use of the space to make a “studio” for John!

A lot of good things have come out of John’s woodshop such as a remodel to my sewing studio:

Our bedroom dresser:

If you’d like to see posts I did on his projects, see my blog category – From the Woodshop for links to the related posts.

For a quite a while, John has been fascinated with barrister style bookcases. If you’ve never heard of them, here is a little background on them from Apartment Therapy:

This old staple, also referred to as a lawyer’s bookcase, comes in many shapes and sizes. However, all barrister bookcases feature glass panes to protect books and trinkets from dust. I think what I like about them most is that they offer both old-school charm and a sense of regality.


Below is an image from the Apartment Therapy article: If You’re Not Using a Barrister Bookcase for Storage, You’re Missing Out


John found plans online to create barrister bookcases and taught himself via YouTube videos and online resources how to make them!

Here are photos from his building of the bookcases:

And here are the completed bookcases mounted as his new liquor cabinet in our bar:

To add an extra feature to the bookcases, he installed lights into the first two rows of cabinets:

Here is what they look like with the doors open (the doors lift and glide into the top of their section:

John has curated a nice collection of Whiskeys, Bourbons, Ryes, and Scotches including those he purchased during a Bourbon Tour of Kentucky he went on with his friends a couple years ago. Now he has a nice place to display them!

I tease John that after a while he will run out of things to build and he will just have to build us a new house!

45 thoughts on “From the Woodshop: Barrister Bookcase Liquor Cabinet”

  1. I see the Maker’s Mark! My personal favorite. My knitting books are held in a barrister bookcase but I never knew that was what it was called. I found it at a yard sale for $20. I love the glass front doors.

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  2. They look fantastic, Tierney. Loud applause from me to John! As carpentry is not something i aspire to do, I am blown away by people like John who produce such bespoke pieces.

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  3. Well done John! True craftsmanship. One of my favorite bookcases in my grandparents house was the “lawyer’s bookcase” that housed their books. As a child I was fascinated by the glass “doors” that had to be lifted and slide back to access the books. As soon as that was accomplished I would get a wonderful whiff of their old books. A few of those volumes sit in my house now while the bookcase now sits in my parents house housing videos & DVD’s for the grandkids.

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  4. You tease – but a house might be on the list!
    And those bottles do look great in the barrister shelves – also like the variety of images to see them evolve and how they open bottom up!

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  5. John is definitely a keeper and taking the time to work out the plans and then build himself a great cabinet – like the way the “doors” glide into the shelves for much easier access…

    As for running out of projects, I doubt that will happen – as he will find that something needs upgrading!

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