As our bathroom renovation came to a close, we could begin focusing on more of the smaller details, such as what to put on all the walls. Our newly converted linen closet to cabinet has plenty of storage but I liked the idea of using our now wide open wall for additional storage.
Idea #1: Our first idea was to find a unique piece of furniture with shelves to put against the wall and butt up against the shower glass (opposite side of the shower door). We found this beautiful piece on a trip to Canton, thinking it would be the perfect solution.
Well, we got it home (it miraculously fit in the car) and hauled it into the bathroom. Unfortunately, it looked massive in the bathroom and did the exact thing we had just spent a ton of money to fix: made the bathroom look cramped and tiny. It had to go.
Idea #2: The biggest problem with the piece of furniture was that it was boxy and took up too much room. I still liked the idea of open concept storage so decided wall shelves would be just the solution. Open shelving has become the new hottest thing for kitchens and bathrooms and I couldn’t wait to incorporate it into our space. But first, we had to find shelves.
Well, spoiler alert, we couldn’t find any that were the right depth to store towels yet short enough, taking up minimal space. So guess who’s newest task was to make me some shelves?
But before he goes off complaining how another project was completed 100% by him, let me show you my involvement… by way of these beautiful brackets.
I didn’t want ordinary floating shelves. I wanted something unique that would be visually interesting. I love the look of old corbels for shelves but those can get expensive. Our local architectural salvage store usually has them priced at $50 and up each. And I needed four.
Luckily, I found these iron scroll brackets at Hobby Lobby for $7.99 and, of course, bought them on a day they were 50% off. For 16 bucks for 4, it was quite the deal.
Now, cue the carpenter.
Once we finished the bathroom, Julie announced that we needed to “finish everything,” which apparently meant that we needed to put some sort of storage piece on every wall. On the wall backing up to the closet, Julie wanted to put up some shelves but “couldn’t find” exactly what she was looking for, meaning I knew what she was going to say next: “do you think you could build some?” It turns out that for the first time ever, what Julie wanted was actually… simple. So yes, yes I could build them.
What I was going to build was pretty straightforward: a board set atop two iron brackets. Luckily, Julie wanted a “bulky” look, which meant I was able to use plain, cheap, run-of-the-mill (no pun intended) framing wood- a 2×8, to be exact. $5 and one cut later, I had two shelves.
Now, this wood was meant for ceiling joists rather than shelves, so I had to do a little sanding. I smoothed all the surfaces and rounded all the edges and corners, partly because I didn’t want it to look like it was fresh from a lumberyard, but mostly because Julie would inevitably run into it and I didn’t want any hazardous edges:
Next, I stained them to match the color of the floor. I used Minwax Dark Walnut wood stain and didn’t wipe it off to achieve the darkest color possible. I then sealed it with a satin urethane, mostly for waterproofing.
My only real challenge was convincing Julie that, despite her greatest wishes, drywall could not support an infinite amount of weight, and shelves made of iron and solid wood would have to be mounted to the studs inside the wall. This meant that along that particular wall, they could only be placed in two places. Additionally, the brackets had to be placed exactly 16″ apart, as that is the distance between the wall studs. After a few minutes of debate and deliberation, Julie reluctantly agreed to place the brackets where I knew they had to be. We measured everything out and mounted the brackets, and the boards literally just rest on top of the brackets, no hardware or anything.