Monday, May 11, 2015

Our DIY Open Kitchen Shelves | #PBJreno

oh, hey there!
Yes, I'm still alive.  And I've decided I REALLY need to get back on this... so plan on some awesome updates of the #PBJreno
Seriously though... a whole house renovation DIY style takes so much time and energy, plus my "new" job (I say "new" because I started it in August, but it's the reason why the blog has gone... zzzzz, long commute, busy days... I'm pooped after it all)

Okay, let's get back to the juicy stuff. OUR HOUSE! So we've tackled the kitchen/dining room.  We have a FEW minor projects I've been ... 'tackling' for about 8 months now (seriously) being the cause of why this room hasn't had a full reveal yet. But if you follow me on FB & IG you definitely have seen enough to know what we've done to transform this space.
Now let's talk specifics, I knew the moment I walked into this space I wanted open shelves... and once we started quoting cabinet costs I REALLY knew we'd do open shelves. The layout in the kitchen allows for quite a lot of cabinets, and as a family of four coming from a previous kitchen layout that had a ton (TON) of kitchen storage space I knew we had to be functional with the layout.
With all the necessity for cabinets, our costs increased super quickly. So, it was the perfect solution to this wall that had all upper cabinets and lower cabinets to break it up with open shelves.
And of course, why buy when you can DIY!

That's the before, before we built the shelves, before I replaced the broken pendant light and before I finished the top of cabinet molding.  Hey at least I had installed the hardware at this point. (seriously 1 project no matter how minor still takes like 5 months to finish around here)  What's so great about this is this is the focal point when you walk in the kitchen.  It's dead-ahead and I love that we broke up the upper cabinets with the idea of open shelves.

So of course I go to my go-to girls for ideas how to build the best floating shelves, Shanty2Chic gals. Their plans were the perfect foundation to my plan... which is always best.  Try to make every project you do your own in some small way.  Adapt a template, add a step, change the color - something, do something to personalize any DIY tutorial.

Above are the "guts" of the floating shelves.  The goods that you need to make the skeleton that lives inside the shelves. 

Then you grab your Kreg Jig (why YES I am using our dining room table as my work table... normally I'd NEVER suggest doing that. But (1) I know 100% we're killing that table ASAP so who cares and (2) our garage was freezing in the middle of the winter at this point so I prefer the warmth.

Back to the project - I really didn't plan on doing a step-by-step tutorial, but Shanty-2-Chic gals have a great tutorial anyways... so mine's just for context.  For the inner guts you want to make these "E" shape brackets.  I say "E" shaped, because I was super nervous about only putting one middle support bracket in this shape so I added an extra middles support bar to make an "M" shape.  (Original tutorial suggested just one support piece). 

Once the support pieces are made you'll need to attach them to the wall and it's best to find the studs and attach directly to those.  When you're drilling directly into tile you want to be sure you are using the proper drill bit.  This one is made specifically made for tile/porcelain so it helps reduce the risk of breaking the tile. To reduce the amount of splintering, a quick tip is to use painter's tape directly over the hole too.

Initially I used 3" screws and installed the brackets but could feel slight slag to them so took them down and used 4" screws.  I really wanted to be better safe than sorry.

Once you attached the support structure, you can just attach the cover boards. I just attached one 1x10" on top, 1/2"x10" sanded plywood on the bottom, and then a 1x4 on the front to cover all front facing boards. Initially I was going to make the shelves the same thickness, but once I installed it the bottom shelf seemed underwhelming.  I ended up changing the dimensions of the bottom bracket to make it 4" thick while the top one is 3". 

Then just stain, seal, and decorate. There you go, OPEN KITCHEN SHELVES!

Per usual, I used Minwax Provencial Stain - it's my go-to stain for any wood project.  It finishes SO beautifully, accepts the flaws in wood, accents the wood grain and smooths the final finish.
Way too happy we have this space for decor and useful space now.
What do you think? Would you give up truly functional space in your kitchen for open shelves?



  1. They came out beautifully!! I love your kitchen area.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

    1. Thank you Liz! Really appreciate that!

  2. I just love how the stained wood pops off the white cabinets and backsplash! Great job!

    1. Thanks Mary! I love that too... I debated about painting them white but glad I didn't.

  3. I love how your shelves turned out. I love that you stained the wood vs painting it. Wish I would have done that with our floating shelf in our kitchen.

  4. So awesome lady!! I soooooo know what you mean about living in the land of the never ending reno! Our kitchen reno is taking FOREVAH. Weve litteratlly been living with no holey drywall since August because we haven't gotten around to tackling the backsplash yet. Yes, as in almost a YEAR ago August. I love this tutorial. We will be ripping out our upper cabs and replacing them will floating shelves and this is the perfect step by step for that. They look awesome.

    1. Thanks for the sweet words!!! Sorry to hear your projects are taking just as long too but hey, misery loves company in the DIY reno world right ;)
      Good luck on all your projects, hope they all go well!


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