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.
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?