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pipe shelf project: how we made an industrial modern desk space

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Our 18-month long, unplanned renovation of our little river cottage is nearly complete. I am so excited to start sharing some of the final details with you. One new addition that we are especially happy with is a pipe-and-wood book shelf that Chad built in a little nook by the back deck doors — the area formerly known as our dining room. This is a look that admittedly is crazy trendy at the moment.  Two shops we love, Watson’s Cabinet in Hudson, NJ and Salvage Style in Maplewood, NJ, have pipe shelves that they use to display their lovely wares, and inspired us greatly.

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Here’s Chad’s step-by-step.

1. Plan the space.
First measure the space and spend some time online looking at various designs.  There are a whole lot of ways to build shelves and you might like one style over another style out there. I chose to make the desk area more open by putting the support pipe in the back, closer to the wall.  One link that I found really useful was this one from Beneath My Heart.

2. Buy the parts.
Iron pipe can be purchased at your local Home Depot or Lowes and it comes in a few different diameters.  You can also buy galvanized steel rather than iron, but it costs almost twice as much. Instead, I chose to use 1/2 inch pipe and spray painted it silver to give it a galvanized steel look.

When you are selecting the pieces of pipe, make sure you choose all the same diameter (it comes in 3/4s or 1/2 inch). I also discovered that Lowes sells the pieces individually wrapped in a plastic baggie, while Home Depot sticks the price tag directly on the pipe which was nearly impossible to remove. Go to Lowes to save yourself a step there!

After making sure you have the right diameter, choose the lengths you want.It all depends on how much space you want between your shelves. I chose a 12-inch height.  Under the shelves, the support is made up of an elbow and a tee and 6-inch pipe. If you want deeper shelves, you may need longer length pipes.  I decided to use 12 inch wide pine and stain it.

Here are some links to parts I bought. (Here’s another hit: Save your receipts!)

Floor flange 1/2 inch

90 degree elbows

1/2 tee

12 inch pipe , 1/2 wide

3. Measure them out on the floor.
Once you get all the parts, you’ll want to measure out your plan on the floor. I started by sketching out what a wanted to build on a piece of paper and tried to think of it as a Lego project, making sure I had all the parts that would fit together.

4. Spray paint the parts.
Do this before you put everything together. This is optional, depending on the look you want. I sprayed paint about 2-3 coats on the metal parts.

5. Start attach to the pipes to the wall and floor.
Attaching your first pipe to a wall can be tricky.  You want to make sure that you are screwing the floor flanges into a stud and not just the drywall.  Since I knew exactly where I wanted each support to go, I had to attach a 4-inch wide board to the wall and use it as my anchor for the supports.

Basically, the board is drilled to the studs and now I can put the supports anywhere I want on the board. Make sure it is level.

6. Prepare to add the wood shelves.
Put on a pair of gloves because little threads from the end of the pipes can cut your fingers when you are screwing them together. When you place the first pieces down, it’s important to use a level and long shelf board to make sure its level both left to right and back to front. If the first  pieces are not level, your whole shelf unit will be wonky. You can tighten or loosen the parts, but don’t depend on that. If your floor is uneven, you may need to put something under the footers to balance.

7. Final touches
I coated the desk and shelves with Polyurethane before putting them together.

When you are ready to apply the shelves, be mindful of where you place them on the pipe.  Measure them first, and carefully drill holes where you want the vertical pipes to pass through. Be mindful of where you want to shelves to rest on the 90 degree elbow supports.

 

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See more of our cottage renovation, here, including a slab-wood counter top for the kitchen, and how we chose our exterior paint color.

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the deal on farmigo: how this online farmer’s market is improving our meals and school

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A few weeks ago one of our friends and fellow elementary school mom had the idea to bring Farmigo to our community. The concept is simple. Order fresh farm goods online through the easy-to-use site, pick up your edibles once a week at her house, and a portion of the sale gets donated to our local school. In the first week, we raised over $600.

Clicking through Farmigo you can find all the staples you need: bread, eggs, milk, meat, and of course, fresh veggies and fruit. Start browsing around and before you know it you are adding things to your basket that whet your appetite and inspire the chef in you. The first week, I admit went a little order-happy and bought more stuff than we could finish off in a week, but now I seem to be in a groove. I found the key is use Farmigo to supplement the trips we take the main supermarket, and the treat is discovering ready-made short cuts that make getting a healthy dinner on the table during the week super simple. We currently have fresh ramp-ravioli and spinach pesto in the fridge.  Today, I’m going to bring a cup of bone broth with me to work as part of my low-cal lunch. And, I can’t wait to eat our fiddlehead ferns! The plan is just to keep them simple, with a light saute of butter and lemon juice.

Benzi Ronen, founder and CEO of Farmigo, told Forbes this week that he thinks his start up will kill the supermarket. I don’t know if I agree with that. The physical act of hand selecting your food with your eyes and hands and nose should never be fully replaced with online ordering. It’s skill set and social ritual that is too crucial to our civilized lives. But if you have a hard time making it to the weekly farmer’s market, and consider buying locally sourced food a priority for you, Farmigo is a no-brainer. The fact that it helps our school with additional funds is only a bonus. We’ll be using the money, in part, to start a vegetable learning garden at our school. How cool is that?

Learn more about Farmigo here. And if you’re already using it, tell us what’s in your basket!

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will this duvet change the way you make your bed?

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The change in seasons always calls for a swap in bedding, to freshen things up and give the illusion of redecorating. We’ve been looking for a new duvet cover to go with our palest-of-lavender walls and black-and-white dot upholstered headboard. Yesterday, I spotted some pretty offerings at Crane and Canopy, but then then I realized that this was so much more than just a sharp looking duvet. They’ve created a new way to make your bed, by rethinking the duvet cover. As you can see from the video below, the company’s new Nova collection doesn’t have buttons or snaps at one end, like you’re probably used to. There’s no need for that top sheet, because the duvet gives the appearance of a perfectly folded down layer. The top of the cover has an accent fabric, and a hidden zipper. Of course once you pick your duvet, you can’t change the accent color or mix up the look much. But it would give you one less thing to think about? Watch below and let me know what you think. Cool innovation, or unnecessary gadget?

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vintage find: mccoy bread plate warms my heart

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I’ve been trying to curb my love for vintage tchotchkes, namely because we are always fighting to keep our house uncluttered. But when I spotted this delightful bread plate at Salvage Style over the weekend I didn’t hesitate to swoop it up. Salvage Style is our local treasure trove run by former This Old House editor Amy Hughes. who has an amazing eye. Her tiny shop is so well curated, with just the right mix of mid-century furniture and decor pieces that both wow and warm your heart. In some ways, that’s what this bread plate did for me. You see, pane is the Italian word for bread. But it also happens to be my grandfather’s last name — though here in America it is pronounced “pain” rather than the proper “pahn-eh.” It is made by McCoy Pottery, a 100+ Ohio company known for its brown drip glaze. This bread plate is not typical, but it sure found the right home now that its mine.

From our partners

this adorable duck family makes me think twice about garden statues

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As rule I shy away from “garden decor.” Who needs things whirling, whizzing and peeking out from your shrubbery? (Though I admit to having a soft spot for garden gnomes, it’s true.) This adorable family of ducks at Uncommon Goods is just charming enough to almost change my mind. They’re made from recycled plastic and filled with clay and newspaper and are quite durable. Momma duck is $35 and each of the little ones is $28 — but wouldn’t it be tragic to break up a family? See uncommongoods.com for more details.

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