Friday, September 23, 2011

Industrial Bookshelves

Did anyone else love the House Beautiful spread featuring Craig Schumacher's Dallas apartment?

It's not my style - too traditional - but I love, love, love his use of layers.  It's something I have been trying to keep in mind while choosing items for the house.  Layers make a space feel collected, not just a random grab bag of things I bought off of Craiglist the past 9 months.  Plus, I think maybe it helps hide clutter a little - you're not going to get away with much in one of those stark modern, all-white spaces.

The above picture made me go back again to the idea of putting bookshelves behind the couch.  The couch is centered on an enormous blank space of a wall and I've had the hardest time settling on what to do with it.  I've been going back and forth between bookshelves and big art.  Both are fairly expensive, but bookshelves do have the added bonus of storage and adding a layer to the room.  And as Schumacher's room clearly illustrates, you can still hang a big piece of art (or a mirror) on the bookshelf  for even more layering.

Ikea Billy bookcases are not going to do for this project.  I am definitely drawn to the industrial metal style of the above - the open backs and sides, the rusted patina finish.  Plus, I have a lot of books (even after recent purgings) and tend to buy more (we live within five minutes of a Half-Priced Books - my own personal crackhouse), and that means a lot of weight.  So I went on the hunt for industrial shelves that I like and quickly found out that buying them at a store is probably not happening.  Here's the inspirations and the DIY versions.  I still haven't settled on any of them yet.

Salvaged Wood Bookcase from Hudson Goods
This one is perfections - except for the $1495 a piece price tag.  (And I'd need at least 3, maybe 4.)  The cheap shopper inside of me instantly thought of those garage shelving systems that usually run about $100, then making salvaged-looking shelves.

The only problem is I can't find a decent one without the holes on the posts - which I can't get past.

Another option would be to build a Parsons Tower from Ana's plan and then paint it to look like metal using Freckled Laundry's amazing faux zinc tutorial.

Freckled Laundry
I would still use the salvaged boards for contrast in this scenario.  However, I am afraid it will just look like painted wood - and since it would be right behind the most used seat in the house, it's not like people wouldn't be looking too closely.  I love this look so much I've even contemplated covering the wood in contact paper, getting someone to weld it, or stalking Craigslist relentlessly until something close comes up. 

Wisteria - $1799

The next option would be to build two (or 3 resized)  versions of Wisteria's recycled pine bookshelf - also with a plan from  They are mostly wood, but would still have a few touches of metal.  But metal casters can really add up, though, so I would have to do the math.

Industrial Mansard Double Book Shelf

The third option would be a version of this shelf from Home Decorator's Collection, the most economical out of the box at only $599. has a tutorial on a very similar look (although I like the Home Decorator's proportions much better).  Once again it would come down to the price of the casters and galvanized black pipe - as well as if I could make it look awesome and not scream total DIY disaster.  Which, frankly, would be a concern with any of the above options, but I've seen too many plumbing fixture shelves go wrong to be overly arrogant.

I'll try not to disappear for another three weeks, but time are little tough right now and I don't have a lot of energy/ideas left for blogging.  I appreciate you guys sticking with me through this dry spell.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pelmet Boxes

I've decided the next area of concentration in the house is drapery.  Even if the rest of the room is hardly what I call presentable, curtains will hopefully make it look like we're at least trying.

We're very lucky as duplex renters that we have big windows that let in lots of light.  Unfortunately, they also present some challenges.

Let me illustrate with some old pictures (before we moved in - notice the lack of junk):

The living room has two windows in the corner that are too close together for two separate rods, so they need a corner rod.  I love the idea of patterened  mustard yellow curtains with brass rods and rings, like this picture:

Debbie Basnett via Houzz
 However, our living room flows into the dining room, where we have our sliding glass doors.

Notice the lovely vertical blinds.  Despite their complete ugliness, they are very necessary.  At dusk the sun lines up perfectly with our window, making it impossible to sit on our couch without getting broiled unless the blinds are closed.  As renters, we can either take the blinds down, store them, and then re-install them before we leave - or find a way to camouflage them.  Which made me think of pelmet boxes.

Pelmet boxes can go ugly real fast, but there's lots of cute ones out in blogland:

From Cozy Little Cave

Both via Katie Rosenfeld
I've posted this one before and really love the trim detail.  Look how nice pelmet boxes work on corner windows - and then you don't have to buy special corner hardware.  They'll even camouflage our venetian blinds.

I was really sold on the idea... until I came across this picture on Houzz:

Marcelo Brito via Houzz
I think this might be the coolest take on pelmet boxes I've ever seen.  I don't know if it's even considered pelmet boxes anymore - or just really cool moulding.  (Did you know there's a "u" in moulding - I literally just found out.)

I'm dying to DIY my own version.  They'll either look super crazy awesome, or really really dumb.  Especially on the corner windows.  So I'm torn.

What do you vote?


Leave a comment and tell me what you think!