On the surface it seems pretty straightforward, but I spent almost as much time on the shelf design as the entire house. It's amazing how many decisions have to be made... How deep should the shelf unit be? How many shelves? How far apart? Should there be a face plate? What trim to use? How to light the shelves? How will the weight of the shelf be handled? What materials to use? The trickiest part was the geometry of the swinging of the shelf. The width of the room was set, as was the width of the mantle. Dividing the remaining wall space in half and then subtracting the width of the doorway still left only a few inches on either side of the opening for trim, and, more importantly, the width of the shelf when opened. My dad, who helped with the project and supplied the majority of the woodworking tools, wasn't convinced I had it all worked out until we actually screwed the hinges onto the wall.
It works!