Monday, February 18, 2013

Doing the DIY Thing: Ceiling Shelves

I don't like to mention DIY projects on the blog before I actually complete them. Why? Because I'm afflicted by a notorious lack of follow-through and a chronic case of my-eyes-are-bigger-than-my-wallet. I've been considering painting the kitchen for ages: I've even picked the colour. But the paint chip is just sitting wedged in the molding of our dresser...waiting for the right time to tackle the project. That's why I decided not to mention this shelving project at least until we'd made our trip to B&Q to gather the supplies.

I admit, I've been fretting about this project for weeks now. I mentioned it as an off-hand suggestion to the Husband ages ago, and he was immediately on board with the idea. I felt great! I felt vindicated! And then I thought, 'what if we don't like it?', 'what if it's more hassle than it's worth?', 'what if it makes the house feel cramped and we drill into some wiring or horribly mangle the walls?!' Basically, I had entered full freak out mode.

Then I remembered: the Husband had done the measurements, and he's far more trustworthy when it comes to the technical side of these projects than I am. And we'd agreed to keep the shelves to the depth of the floating shelf we installed in the bedroom last it wouldn't be but so intrusive. And as the Husband kept reminding me: having these shelves would free up a lot of storage space so that we could get more efficient about how we kept the house. And considering how cluttered the place feels even when we've tidied off all the surfaces and thrown away any accumulated junk, it was worth trying to make the space do more to work for us.

I hopped on blog after blog and did numerous Google image searches trying to reassure myself that my genius idea was something we wouldn't regret when we were drilling pilot holes and searching out studs. In the end, a few pictures like these convinced me that we really were on the right track:

via, A Beautiful Mess
via, Life in Apt 214

In the end, we decided to complete the project with the help of our friends. We'd been planning to get together anyway, and after a late-night hang-out session after our day-after-Valentine's date (they babysat E for us), they offered to give us some help with the project in case it made things easier.

The nice thing about ceiling shelving is that it's sufficiently out-of-the-way not to be imposing. But, if you happen to glance up it can create some visual interest in a room...and because everyone will notice it more if it gets cluttered and gross, you have some extra incentive to keep your storage tidy.

The boys and I measured out the distance from the ceiling we wanted to hang the shelves, then marked out where each of the brackets would go. Once that was done, the Husband recreated our measurements on the contiboard shelves and screwed the brackets in with wood screws.
The babies wanted to assist, too. E got in on the screwdriver action.

This is the point where I mention that it's helpful to have a second or third pair of eyes on a project. Tom was good enough to question our decision to have the brackets on top of the shelves rather than underneath (as you can see, the cluster-cuss of door frames in our hallway would have made brackets underneath a challenging task). This meant that the Husband double checked our original plan and made sure that, yes, wood screws in tension with brackets suspending the shelves would be more than sturdy enough for the amount of stuff we were planning to load the shelves with.

Cheesy posed shot!

Just thought I should mention know, because it's not obvious from these photos.

I love a man with a tape measure
I don't yet have pictures of the shelves fully loaded because that part of the project is still a work in progress. Soon, though, I'll have it all tidied up and figured out and you can see what we've done with it.

The whole project has been our biggest undertaking yet, but in the end we went for it because we really desperately need the storage space in our home. With just one hall closet and a few Billy bookcases, we needed to make better use of the space we have in a small place. After all, we're planning to stay here a while longer, which means that at some point this place will have to swallow 4 of us and all of our stuff.

What do you think? Is anyone else doing a bit of DIY? Any tricks for making the most of your small space?

I'll pop back in just a bit with this week's Stylish Little Men post!


  1. Well, I have to say, From what I can see those holes look like they were drilled perfectly. kudos to whomever did that.


  2. Love it! I am going to do this in my son's room! I love how it looks like the shelves are "floating"