Big, beautiful, industrial pipe shelving unit.
When we moved into our second (and current) home, we got to work on making it our own pretty quickly. It was one project after another; installing hardwood on the upper level, painting the entire house, decorating all the bedrooms, redoing fireplaces, etc., etc., with a whole bunch of small decorative projects in between. But when it came to the main wall in our living room, I was stumped. It was wide and tall and I had no idea how to make it interesting. I didn't want to hang a painting or art piece because that is so typical. We did not want to install a television there because we're not big TV watchers and if we do want to watch some tube, we prefer to do it in our basement, which we have cozily set up as our TV area. I wanted something a bit different but didn't quite know what that was.
We lived with this huge, bare wall for a long while before one lazy evening I was clicking away on the computer and stumbled upon this industrial pipe idea. I saw it and I knew this was it. My hubby loved it just as much. We did not waste any time and got working on the plans right away. This was actually my very first industrial pipe project and I've been in love with anything pipe ever since!
As we worked on our plans, we knew we wanted the unit to fit the entire height of the wall, but not the entire width. Having the unit extend a little more than halfway down the wall, just reaching a bulk head in the ceiling, would give visual interest and also would provide a space for a nice green, leafy plant that I wanted to keep in the corner of the room. We liked the look of mixing long and shorter shelves as opposed to having them all the same, so we worked two shelf lengths into our plan. Finally, we wanted to use thicker wood for the shelves instead of the 3/4" thin planks that are commonly used, so we worked with 2" thick construction lumber in place of finished pine planks. We also liked the lumber better because it was a bit rougher, and looked more rustic than the smooth, finished pine. Once the plan was finalized, it was time to purchase all the supplies. We got everything we needed at our local home reno store; all the pipes (which were cut and threaded to size at the store) and fittings, lumber, stain, spray paint, and screws and wall plugs.
I began the project by spray painting all the pipes and fittings in flat black. I cut the lumber to required size and distressed it to make it appear more like reclaimed, rustic, old wood. To distress the wood, I experimented with various household object, but a few became my favourite; a fork to imitate worm holes, a serrated knife, the edge of a potato masher, and long screws to give unique indentations, a sharp knife for shaving off perfect edges, and a hammer for denting. Once the distressing was complete, I stained the wood shelves in medium-dark walnut and drilled holes in locations corresponding to where they would be threaded through the vertical pipes.
We planned the locations of the vertical pipes such that two of them on opposing ends of the unit would screw into studs near the ceiling (with one little human in the family and more in the plans, we wanted to ensure that the unit was securely attached to the wall, just in case those cute monkeys decided to climb it!). This meant that these pipes would not be evenly spaced out, but we liked that irregularity and the whole structure felt very secure and stable.
What a great project! We really enjoyed every step of this build and are thrilled with the final result. This shelving unit is a perfect accent to the modern decor, it is unique, and has character. Being filled with our favourite books, photos, and art, it also adds warmth to the space. It's exactly what we wanted.