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  • Ryan Bailis

Let's Build Something

This summer was jam packed with things I had to get done. So many different forms and waivers and checklists to complete as prepare to leave home for the first time. I’m so glad that I have been able to focus on the things that really matter –  filling my summer with friends and family and preparing for the next chapter of my life at Bucknell. But, in the spirit of becoming a future engineer and building cool stuff, I decided to dedicate a portion of my summer to helping my parents around the house with different projects. In typical engineering fashion, I partook in building things that most people wouldn’t even consider. But looking back, it was a lot of fun to design and execute these home project.


I’ve always wanted to live in a house that had a personal library, and while that isn’t possible with the size of our house, why not breathe some life into our living room? I started by doing research on “built-in bookcases”. Just a quick google search turned up half a billion results, but the first two examples gave me exactly what I needed: the passion for actually seeing out this idea. Built in bookshelves really transform any ordinary wall to the centerpoint of the house. I the opened up Fusion 360 and went to town dimensioning and eventually rendering what I could come up with. My parents liked the idea, so with a few trips to Home Depot and many hours of building, painting, and assembling, the project was complete. It really worked out well – just as I predicted, it really did transform the space. And it offered my dad a place to store some of his gazillion books.


The book cases would have been enough as a gift to the house as I embarked on my freshman year of college, but I was on a role and decided to bring my energy outside and lay the groundwork for a new patio. We have this nice treeline along our property and this perfect alcove between a few trees that provides a perfect spot to sit back and relax. With many, many trips back and forth between our local nursery and Home Depot, over six tons of sand, screenings, and pavers found a new home. I’m not really accustomed to manual labor, so the process was slow and tedious but the end result was amazing. Aside from a few imperfections (that no one except me knows about!), the end result came out fantastic. And the time spent out there around the fire pit? Even better.


Thanks to my parents for allowing me to build crazy things in their home. After all, everything I build in your house is just a practice run for when I have my own home one day. As I leave for college, I can’t thank them enough for all that they have done for me and what they will undoubtedly do for me in the future. Hopefully taking a book of the new shelf and reading on the patio outside is just one way for me to repay my gratitude.


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