Friday, December 28, 2012


After we took our kitchen cabinets down I was ready to start visualizing our shelves. I've been pinning open shelves for a while on my Home Inspiration Pinterest board, and the ones I love the most look a little like this.

Short, stout brackets.

Long, lean brackets with trim on the lower ones that could hide under-cabinet lighting.

Pretty teal shelves.

Earthy wooden floating ones that wrap around multiple walls.

YHL ones :)

Shelves under cabinets.

Cabinets turned into shelves with brackets on the ends to make them look more finished.

And a cute little bar for mugs.

The hardest part of picking out brackets was finding them. I popped into Home Depot and they only had one! This guy. Not sure why he's a he, but he is. Brackets just seem masculine.

I didn't love him or hate him, but I also don't want to put something in my kitchen that'll be there for decades if I don't love it. 

Searching for "wood(en) shelf bracket" wasn't yielding much, and I couldn't figure out why. Turns out they're called corbels. Searching for "corbel" was much more fruitful. I found this guy, who was actually in one of my inspiration pictures. He's pretty, but expensive.

This guy is similar to one of the other inspiration pictures, but was also a tad expensive. Plus, I don't think I want to go the short and stout route. 

Then I found this beaut! He's the least expensive and I actually like him the most. No surprise, he's what John and Sherry used in their kitchen...

Next up was figuring out exactly where to put the shelves. It was hard visualizing while the cabinets were still up, so having them down made it much easier. Things to decide included how high/low to put the lowest shelf, how much space to leave between them, how many shelves to put up, and where to end them on the wall.

As a reminder, here's the kitchen post cabinet removal.

The first three of the issues basically come down to two things: aesthetics and functionality. I want it to look nice and not seem to cramped or too spaced out, but I also need to be able to reach them. If I put the shelves low down and close together, they'll be easy to get to but will probably look ridiculous. If I put them high and spaced out, they'll look a little better but I won't be able to reach. I have to find the perfect balance.

Now, where to end them on the wall? Of course, they'll sit with their back against the main wall, but there are two questions here. One, do I wrap them around onto the wall with the laundry room door? Two, the wall on this side of the kitchen takes about a 45 degree turn, so do I end where it makes the turn or take it all the way across?

As far as wrapping the shelves around, I've decided against it. I think it would make it feel more closed in, and I'd also only go to the edge of the counter which would add barely any storage space at all.

Concerning the weird angle in the wall, I think I'm going to take it all the way across. If I didn't, there would be a weird triangle of empty space. Doing this will mean I'll have to calculate the actual angle of the wall and cut out a little triangle from the shelf so it'll fit in. I think it will look much more finished and intentional though, so it'll hopefully be worth the work.

I went ahead and put up some painter's tape to start visualizing where everything will go. The horizontal stripes are the shelves, and the vertical stripes are the brackets.

The extra blue box in the center is where the hood will go (which is basically where it was before).

Part of how I decided where to put the brackets was by looking at where the studs are. The wall wasn't textured behind the cabinets for whatever strange reason, so you can actually see where the screws are that hold the drywall up. Those screws go straight into the studs, and that's where I want my brackets to be so the shelves will be secure. The studs are 16" apart, so we'll space our brackets accordingly.

You may have noticed that on the wall with the fridge, the brackets are not on the studs. The studs actually fall somewhere in the middle of those shelves. I wasn't sure what to do about this, because it would look strange to have a single, uncentered bracket under the shelf. I thought back to what John and Sherry did when they hung their open shelves, and I realized that initially they placed their brackets on their studs but later decided it looked too busy with as many as they installed. They took two brackets out and replaced it with one, but I was pretty sure it didn't fall on a stud. So... I inquired.

Sherry responded!!!!!!!! #starstruck #firsthashtagever

So, now I feel a little better about putting those in the drywall. I'll be sure to use good anchors, and I'm not even planning on storing heavy stuff on that side. All of the plates, bowls, glasses, etc. will be on the other side of the kitchen with brackets going into the studs.

After I had all of my tape up, I needed to check that I could actually reach the top one. So, I made a makeshift shelf. Whachathink of my handiwork?

The trusty Dasani bottle reach test... passed! I can definitely get things on and off of the top shelf.

So, thoughts? Too close together? Too low? Enlighten me. I've been staring at it for hours and can't think straight anymore. I need some fresh eyes and fresh opinions. Help a girl out!

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