DIY Iron Display Shelves

DIY Iron Display Shelves

Oh boy, am I excited about today’s post!!  I had this idea months ago, and I am so happy to have brought it to fruition, and I am even more happy to finally share it with you!

The story begins on a trip this past summer to see a good friend of mine who lives in Northern California.  She took me to the most amazing restaurant in St. Helena called French Blue.  (I wrote about it here)  The food was amazing, but I was completely swept away by the decor.  It was light and bright and organic feeling, and at the time, we were just finishing the 300 square foot addition off of our kitchen that had a similar feel as far as natural light and lots of windows.  I fell in love with these shelves, and it is hard to tell from this photo, but they are made of an iron grid material.

Shortly after I returned home from this trip, I emailed French Blue and asked about the shelves.  I wondered, “Could I order them?”   The reply was swift and disappointing, as everything was made on site specifically for French Blue.  Super kind of them to respond back to me though, right?  

I thought I could order the iron material, but after a little research, even that was a little out of my price range.  Since I had splurged on lighting (see here and here) more than planned (totally worth it by the way), I knew I needed to make this happen on the cheap.

And then, my friends, the DIY stars aligned, and I found two eight foot pieces of iron in a local salvage yard for $30.  It was a complete surprise, as I was looking for something totally different.

Side Note:  My husband, when previewing this post, called the above photo “Inspiration” and the below photo, “Desperation”, ha!

Now to most people, these pieces probably look like bad locker room shelves, but I knew they could make shelves just as amazing as the ones at French Blue.  The problem was the sizing.  They were 24″ wide, and I needed them to be cut down to 12″; therefore, cut in half.  (The two pieces would make four shelves, which was what I was wanting.)   I also needed them to be six feet long, instead of eight feet long.  And because of all the cuts, the iron would probably need some extra strips of bracing.  Now I’m pretty handy, but welding, I cannot do.  Lucky for me, there was a guy that worked at the salvage yard that told me he could do all of this for $40.  Done and done.

A couple of weeks later, I went to pick them up, and that’s where the fun began.  Painting these babies.

Getting paint to stick to this material is no easy feat, so it was imperative to get a good metal primer on there.  Unfortunately, painting these shelves turned out to be quite the fiasco as my paint sprayer broke during this project, so I picked this cheapie one up at the store as a quick fill-in.  PSA:  Do not buy these, they are terrible.

 I tried hand painting these for awhile, and as you can imagine, that makes for a loooooooooong process.  These shelves need to be sprayed, I tell you!  I mean, take a look at what we are dealing with here.  Can you imagine hand painting all of this detail?

For the brackets for the shelves, I picked these white metal ones up from Lowes.  I liked how they were heavy duty as I knew these shelves would be heavy.

Then I got to paint them.  : )

Since these shelves were going up in the Addition, a new part of the house, I didn’t have to worry about hanging these on plaster walls, and bought this pack of drywall anchors and screws.

The wall before looked like this.  I’m still super happy with this antique french buffet by the way.

The brackets went up, then the shelves.

The shelves were attached to the brackets by using washers, nuts, and flat bottom screws.

washers, nuts, flat bottom screws

Everything feels really sturdy and has held up well.  I have many precious items on these shelves, so there is no way I wanted to take a chance on anything being wobbly!  The hardware used to secure the shelves to the brackets was painted so it blended right in.  (By the way, the shelves and brackets were painted the same color as the room, a custom color match of the original trim color in the house.)

The shelves were evenly spaced to take up the whole height of the room.  It is so nice to be able to have a place to display my pretty (and colorful!) pieces.  Many of these things had been in boxes for nearly three years, so it was great to get them out.

I have collected all of this over a period of years via estate sales, thrift stores, and Ebay.  The yellow opaline goblets are the most recent addition to my collection.  I am also especially fond of the pair of blush pink candy dishes.  They are the perfect example of buying something you like, and then finding another one!  That’s kind of how collecting goes.

In fact, all of my blue opaline has been pieced together over time, and so has my jadeite and gold cutlery.

I still really love the parquet pattern on top of the buffet.

And of course, I always like to include some sentimental items when I style a space.  The bird lithograph was a gift from the estate of a lady very special to me, and looking at it always makes me think of her.  (I will tell you that story at some point, it’s a good one.)  The hand was made by my husband when he was two years old.  I treasure it, and I am so thankful his Mom let me have it!

This is an area of my home that always makes me happy when I see it.  It’s almost like looking at a story of sorts.

These salt dips were a wedding gift.  The set of china plates with blue banding were found at the Alameda Antique Fair near San Francisco this past summer.

Nearly every piece has a story, a memory.  “I used this for ___’s bridal shower/bachelorette party/baby shower/sip & see, I got this on this trip, I found this at this place, I dug and dug and then I found this, ___ gave this to me and I was so excited, can you believe I bought this for __ dollars?!”

With all of the projects that we seem to constantly have going on, sometimes it’s nice to complete one and enjoy the view.

Know what I mean?

Written by Grace

  • Emily
    Posted at 06:46h, 10 March Reply

    You are just TOO cool! Really, this is just stunning, and I love that you did not just throw up any ordinary shelves. They have a great story, and they are really perfect. Dontcha just love a good inspiration?

    • Grace
      Posted at 16:51h, 10 March Reply

      Thanks so much, Emily! It was worth the work, I think. It really is my favorite space in the house – until the bathroom is finished probably. 😉 xo, G

  • Emily
    Posted at 06:46h, 10 March Reply

    okay, how many times can I use the word “just” in one response? Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself! Ha!

    • Grace
      Posted at 16:52h, 10 March Reply

      HA!! I take that word out of my writing all the time! 🙂

  • Cathy
    Posted at 06:56h, 10 March Reply

    Amazing! Love to see the evolution of an idea with you, the end product is beautiful and well executed, even better than the inspiration!

    • Grace
      Posted at 16:53h, 10 March Reply

      Cathy, thank you so much! I am working on more efficiently executing plans in my own home. I start LOTS of things but them get tied up in other homes or just with life in general. So i really appreciate your words. xo, G

  • Londen
    Posted at 08:16h, 10 March Reply

    This is gorgeous Grace! I love the mix of the traditional buffet and shelves. The story of how you found your shelves is so great, I love when it all comes together like that!! The mix of all your treasures with their stories is wonderful and fun. You are an inspiration.

    • Tara
      Posted at 11:07h, 10 March Reply

      Wow what a beautiful way to display your collections. Love the white metal shelves paired with such pretty colors. And of course, that light fixture looks amazing!

      • Grace
        Posted at 20:44h, 10 March Reply

        Tara, thank you so much! I’m so glad you noticed the light. 🙂 I am so happy with it, it was worth the splurge! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. G

    • Grace
      Posted at 16:54h, 10 March Reply

      Londen, how kind of you! Thank you so much for your comment, I am really enjoying my treasures being on display. To be honest, I think it has made me be more choosy too when I find things. I know what I have, so it helps me curate my collection a bit better. So glad you are reading, G

  • emily
    Posted at 12:06h, 10 March Reply

    oh my! they look amazing, and so perfectly styled. i love the bright colors against the white backdrop. gorgeous!

    • Grace
      Posted at 16:55h, 10 March Reply

      Hi Emily, thank you! The pops of color makes my heart sing, I will admit! xo, G

  • Tracy Laverty
    Posted at 12:23h, 10 March Reply

    So beautiful! I love how you styled these shelves. Where do you find all your Jadite and blue pieces?

    • Grace
      Posted at 16:56h, 10 March Reply

      Hi Tracy, thank you so much for your comment. I mostly have found them on Ebay, estate sales, and thrift stores. My saved searches on Ebay are imperative for my more awesome finds! Hope that helps! Thanks for reading, G

  • Debbie Morgan
    Posted at 12:26h, 10 March Reply

    Grace, this is amazing but a lot of work DIY. Wouldn’t it have been easier to find something similar in a hardware store that didn’t need so much cutting, painting,,,, just thinking??

    • Grace
      Posted at 17:00h, 10 March Reply

      Hi Debbie, great question! I did search several different places and online to find the look I was wanting, and when I did, it was simply too expensive. Also, I needed the iron to be pretty heavy duty since I knew these babies would be holding a good amount of weight, not to mention my collections. Like I said before, I really needed to make this cost effective since I spent more on lighting than planned. I’m glad I went this route though – not only is it personally satisfying, I think it looks more interesting in real life. Thanks so much for your comment – I’m so glad you are reading. G

  • Kat
    Posted at 13:52h, 10 March Reply

    This is my favorite. I love everything about it.

    • Grace
      Posted at 17:00h, 10 March Reply

      Kat, thanks so much for the comment. You were someone I was most excited to show it to – I knew you would especially appreciate it. 🙂 xo, G

  • Kristin Jackson
    Posted at 20:17h, 10 March Reply

    This project makes me so happy. The before & after, the styling & your gold flatware collection. So jealous 😉 xoxo- Kristin

    • Grace
      Posted at 07:14h, 11 March Reply

      Kristin, me too! Thanks so much, friend. Next time I find gold flatware, I’ll ship it to Atlanta. 😉 xo, G

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY
    Posted at 20:20h, 10 March Reply

    BEAUTIFUL, Grace!! Love it so much =)

    • Grace
      Posted at 20:58h, 10 March Reply

      Hi Carrie, thank you so much! It does make me happy to look at this space. 🙂 I so appreciate you commenting! xo, G

  • Jen
    Posted at 23:03h, 10 March Reply

    Oh my word, your shelves turned out so divine! What a great find! And beautiful styling my friend!

    • Grace
      Posted at 07:15h, 11 March Reply

      Jen, thank you, friend! It is one of my prouder moments. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment! xo, G

  • Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door
    Posted at 09:15h, 11 March Reply

    I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with things that have a story or meaning behind them, and you do this perfectly. I love the bright and cherry colors and just how personal the space is to you. It couldn’t look better!!!

    • Grace
      Posted at 09:31h, 11 March Reply

      Elizabeth, totally agree! Thank you so much, sweet friend. xo, G

  • Virginia @ LiveLoveDIY
    Posted at 11:31h, 12 March Reply

    Grace, just stumbled upon your blog, and I’m in awe! What an eye you have! I love every little detail!

  • Ashley
    Posted at 13:23h, 13 March Reply

    I am madly in love with your light fixture and it would go perfectly with my DIY lucite curtain rods. 🙂 Do you mind telling me where you found it?

    Amazing work!!

  • Stacy P.
    Posted at 14:05h, 11 April Reply

    Stumbled upon your blog via Instagram… weird, I know! I was just at an antique market looking for Jadite with no luck. 🙁 So your amazing collection is drool-worthy! 🙂 Is there anything close to your wall color available? BenMoore White Dove?

    • Grace
      Posted at 11:47h, 15 April Reply

      Hi Stacy, I’m so glad you found me! It is a custom color match of Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White. So basically it is that color plus a little creaminess. If you want the exact color, email me, and I will send the formula to you. Thanks so much for reading, G

    • Grace
      Posted at 11:58h, 15 April Reply

      Also, good luck finding some jadite! I would look on Ebay and search your local CraigsList. It has taken several years for me to gather my collection, and it has been a piece here, a piece there, kind of process. Good luck! Also, when searching Ebay or CL, note that some people spell it “jadeite”. Hope that helps!

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