My DIY: Shelves Shelves Shelves!

When it comes to organizing your stuff via shelving, the potential to overspend can be really insane. Since moving to the farm last summer, I’ve made it my personal mission to not buy shelves, and instead make every single one…and do as many as possible from repurposed and/or reclaimed wood. From our giant kitchen remodel last fall to the shelves I just put up in our newly redone half-bath yesterday, I’m pretty stoked to share with you the variety we have in our home (some self-designed, others totally Pinterest-inspired) and let you know how seriously easy these projects were!

Here’s a look at them all, and below I’ve described each and every one, how they were done, and where the wood was sourced…

  1. Kitchen Base Cabinets + Island: This was definitely the hardest project for me to build, but thanks to inspiration from an Ana White island design, I started with that, using reclaimed cedar 2×6’s found in our barn to build the base of that and the base cabinets, and then investing in some gorgeous reclaimed barn wood procured at Salvage Works in North Portland. These folks go around to properties all around the state and deconstruct old barns that people no longer want, and clean up the wood for resale. These 2 x 10’s were a dream (heavy AF!), and I used a gorgeous espresso water-based, low-VOC stain and equally eco-friendly sealer for them, and Metro’s recycled white paint for the base. On the island bottom shelf, the wood is actually doubly repurposed, as its original location was a fence that came down at our old house in Portland that we’d repurposed into a breakfast nook storage bench…that we decided wouldn’t work in our new home but were not about to dismiss the free wood! Husband helped glue muscle them onto the base but otherwise I owned this project from start to finish and while it’s full of imperfections and lessons learned? It’s functional, it’s super sturdy, it cost almost nothing besides blood/sweat/tears to build, and everything is open!

  2. Collectibles Display Shelves: I’d been wanting to display my collection of old cameras, particularly the Brownie cameras that used to belong to my gram who passed in 2011, as they were the only thing that literally over a year later were still barely unpacked and hiding in a corner of the otherwise-decorated living room. One day a week or so ago, it clicked that in the garage were the three leftover gorgeously thick 12×12″ pieces of wood from the island I’d built that would be perfect for this project, and I grabbed the can of leftover stain and got crackin’. The brackets? Plumbing pipe fittings – I could have bought them at the hardware store but didn’t have the cleaner to get the gunk off, so went to Etsy and found a zillion options to choose from. Woo hoo!

  3. Upper Pantry Shelves: Definitely one of my favorite repurposing and reclaiming projects! I wanted to leave the canning in the lower cabinets and have the ‘immediate use’ dry goods easily accessible (not to mention I love the visual of pretty bottled pantry items, I gotta say) so I cut and painted two pieces of scrap plywood that were in the barn (again, used the recycled paint that Metro sells out here), glued on 1×2 edging (yup, also reclaimed), and then repurposed some old Ikea wooden brackets that we’d had for bookshelves in the old house, painting them and happily getting those pretty items from the bulk aisle up in no time!

  4. Kitchen Open Shelving (upper): Along with the base cabinets and island in the first photo, we also wanted open shelving on the wall for our dinnerware and other immediate-access items like mixing bowls, etc., and being so exhausted from the rest of the kitchen reno, I cheated and went to the big box store for some 1×12 poplar wood and iron brackets, and then did the same water-based stain. Also, got the idea off Pinterest for just screwing in some mug hooks underneath, getting one more thing off the counters!

  5. Extra-long Floating Ledge + Small Art Floating Ledge: Above the sofa, the idea was completely copycatted from Pinterest, and for the smaller one, to hold Irish Eyes by artist Mark Fitz (an Irish lad who was living in Melbourne at the same time as my honey, who we had the good fortune of meeting just before my husband immigrated here), we needed something that it could simply sit on because it’s on pretty delicate reclaimed wood that we didn’t want going right onto the back of it. So I scanned the internet looking at various “ledges” for sale and DIY and, well, it was crazy easy to simply make these at home with three pieces of scrap wood literally glued together, and the bases screwed directly into the wall.

  6. Bathroom Shelves: After finishing the half-bath renovation, I realized that there was nowhere to stow extra TP and didn’t feel like spending $20 on one of those vertical stands for a bathroom we so rarely use. So with that, I noticed that my husband had stashed some leftover wood from our barn door we recently built for our master bathroom, and did a quick cut & paint (Iron Horse is the shade of low-VOC, to match the floor – which is the same color as our bedroom walls, so no new purchases there) before screwing them into the wall. Easy peasy! I may end up swapping one of those shelves for something decorative, but in the meantime? Always a square to spare 🙂

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