We are renovating our house and I have asked the contractor for custom built-in bookcase and shelves in our living room. Our designer recommends paint grade maple, our contractor says it will be hard to find 18" maple (which will be needed for sides of middle of bookcase). I grew up in CT and am accustom to cabinet makers using the best quality products. I didn't pick this guy, my boyfriend did, I don't want him to make our built-in cabinet, but after 1 year and 2 months its that last thing he needs to do and then I never have to see him again EVER. He used poplar wood for our wainscoting, after I told him numerous times to use oak or an oak veneered plywood, so I am less then impressed. After we move in I am going to have the wainscoting redone by someone else. But, the bookcase has not been built yet, so I just want to make sure the right wood is going to be used, at the very least, because I can't really afford to redo that again just so we are polite.

We will be painting the bookcase, so I understand it will be paint grade wood. I would very, very much appreciate suggestions on real wood type and grade recommended to use for a real wood built-in bookcase. If I have seen exactly what I want and like in every New England state, NY, NJ, Pennsylvania, I really have a hard time believing it doesn't exist in Illinois or can't be shipped here.

Thank you very much for your time and suggestions!