Open Farmhouse Shelves

The idea of open shelving was something that I loved, and was frightened of!  I was picturing a full wall, floor to ceiling shelving.  I loved the idea of all the storage I could have without making the space feel smaller.  I was frightened by the worry of whether I could keep the shelves looking neat and appealing to the eye, or if it would just end up looking cluttered.  My need for storage won the debate as we live in a small space, open living concept.  I don’t have many kitchen cabinets, of course I could have added them to this wall, but I felt it would make the area feel smaller.

I took the plunge and asked (begged) my sweet husband to construct for me.  He graciously (eye rolls and deep breaths) obliged!

I’m so so so IN LOVE with them!  I think it made our space look larger!  It’s not been a problem to keep neat.  I have a perfect place to display my cook books, Mason jars, and other large kitchen pieces I don’t use too often but takes up lots of space.  I keep my flour, sugar, and cornmeal in containers on them.  I also keep dry goods, like beans, pasta, popcorn in Mason jars on them.  My toaster oven, that is used daily, is on it as well.  I keep my pots I use often, as well as my stainless mixing bowls.  It has freed up so much cabinet space for us!  My cabinets are so much more organized, I honestly don’t know what we did before having them!

As far as construction, we used gas pipe and 10 ft pine boards from Lowe’s.  The gas pipe came from a plumbing supply store.  I drew out a rough sketch of what I wanted, I knew I didn’t want the same space between each shelf.  I wanted some that were short, and some that had much more space between them.  I think it’s more interesting to the eye this way.  It’s also much more functional, as I knew I had some tall pieces I needed plenty of head room for, but if I have given each shelf that much space, I wouldn’t have had nearly as many shelves.  Once we had decided about where each shelf would go, my husband began calculating how much pipe we would need.  You just have to measure your space, know how many shelves you will have and the distance between each.  The guy at the plumber supply store was very helpful with this part, as they didn’t have some of the sizes we needed, so they mixed and matched pieces to get to the measurements we needed between the different shelves.

I had seen where others had used elbow pieces and sat the shelf on top of the pipe.  I worried that they would not be stable enough, so my husband drilled holes for the pipe to go through the shelf on the front, on the back they are sitting on an elbow piece. The pipes were attached to the wall at 4 places on the top shelf, and 4 spots below the bottom shelf, and the pipe sits on the floor.  the shelves did not back up to the wall, just because it worked out the way, which I was fine with.  As far as the boards, we “distressed” them prior to installing, beating them with chains, hitting them with hammers, I used a wood file, to cut notches out of the edges, my 7 y/o son even got in on the fun, taking a hammer to it!  I then used a palm sander and sanded over where I had cut notches to smooth.  I then stained them with minwax stain.  After buying all the pipe and wood, we spent around $400.00.  If you’ve priced buying shelving similar to this, you know you can not buy anything this size for close to $400.  I’ve seen smaller shelving, made basically out of same material, and of course only freestanding for, $1200!  So I was tickled pink with the price!

It’s by FAR my favorite thing we’ve done in the house!


Chandler getting in on the distressing!



2 thoughts on “Open Farmhouse Shelves

  1. Your shelves look awesome, love how you were not only able to describe the process in simple terms (meaning even I knew what you were talking about!) but you also had pictures for every step of the process. Your blog is shaping up quite nicely!!

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