in defense of open shelving + styling tips

 

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I’ve gotten a lot of questions and comments about our new open shelving in the kitchen. Many people have called us brave to replace a whole wall of cabinetry with a collective 17 feet of reclaimed wood. “What about all of the dusting?!?” “But you can’t just close the cabinet door and forget about it!”

We knew open shelving would work for us because I really really love hyper organized spaces – hyper organized in a livable and functional kind of way. There was very little that we were hiding behind cabinet doors, so the loss of the cabinetry hasn’t been an issue. It’s been about 6 weeks since we finished our 10 day impromptu kitchen makeover and the dust really hasn’t been an issue and I have some ideas as to why.

TIPS FOR MAKING OPEN SHELVING WORK

Issue: Keeping it Clean

  • Location, location, location: Our shelving is on an opposite wall from the stove so we don’t need to worry about grease splattering up from cooking. If we did, then we’d seriously need to reconsider our cooking technique.
  •  Filling up the space with items you use regularly and not having it be purely decorative is key. This avoids large swaths of open space that would act as big dust collecting areas. With daily use items like dishes and glasses, there just isn’t much space for the dust to settle.
  • Our glasses are turned face down, so no need to worry about rinsing before use.
  • We don’t worry about our plates getting dusty, because we’re continually using them and thus cleaning them, so it’s a non issue. The larger serving pieces that don’t get regular action, do need a quick wash or rinse before they’re used, but that’s something I would do regardless of where they’re stored so it’s not extra work.
  • We chose reclaimed wood, which I think was exactly the right choice from a dusting perspective. I treated the wood with a light sanding and two coats of polyurethane so it is easy to wipe down when needed, without snagging on splinters. On the flip side, it’s not a high gloss white shelf that would be a magnet for dust.

 

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Some day the rest of this cabinetry will go, but some white paint and the open shelving has entirely changed the space! More details here.

 

Issue: Styling/Clutter Control

  • Before the cabinets came down and shelves went up, I took stock of all the items that I would rather hide behind a cabinet door. I was able to find a home for all of these bits and bobs in the cabinetry that we still have.
    • Plastic cups from baseball games and what-have-you.
    • Less than attractive kitchen items like a chopping device and super boring mixing bowls.
    • The collection of mismatched beer glasses from different breweries. Because if you’re drinking a Two Hearted, it needs to be in a Two Hearted glass, of course.
    • Kiddo plates and cups.
      • {ORGANIZING TIP! I moved these to drawers that the boys can easily access to help them with independence. Although little G, being a typical 18 month old, just loves to empty the drawers and randomly throw stuff back in, so they are typically a hot mess, despite my best efforts to keep them organized. Sometimes you just have to go with it, right?}
  • I was really excited to style these shelves, in large part because it created an opportunity to showcase the our dinnerware that I’m obsessed with along with some other special pieces like my Grandma Jayne’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, vintage cook books from my mom and Grandma Bunny and a French poster the hubs and I got on our trip to Paris.
    • {SIDE NOTE: Dinnerware obsession. I spotted the Vietri Incanto dinnerware at the Home Show event at the Merchandise Mart probably 11 years ago – i.e. well before the hubs and I were engaged. I grabbed a flyer and tucked away, then hunted down a boutique that had an online registry for the dinnerware when we got married several years later. They have some new items that I think I need to get my hands on!!}
  • When it came to styling the shelves, I started with those pieces that I knew I wanted to feature and spaced them out in a way that I thought was pretty but also functional. {i.e. no plates on the top shelf; where is it easiest to grab a glass? etc.}
  • From there, I added serving pieces and just placed them in a way that felt balanced and visually appealing. After that, there were some big areas that were still open, so I went into our storage closet and grabbed the box of stemless wine glasses and mason jars that I only used for entertaining. Now these forgotten pieces are all out and getting daily use.
  • It’s worth mentioning that I kept the color palate consistent across the shelves and spaced out the white, pops of color and glass so that it feels balanced.
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Everyday items, serving pieces and a sentimental reminder of the little book sellers along The River Seine.

 

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These are a few of my favorite things! Complete with cookbooks and a framed recipe from my grandmas.

 

I know I’m not crazy for wanting to add this design feature, because I’m certainly not the only one. Open shelving has been all over Pinterest, social media, blogs, magazines, etc. and for good reason. It really opens up the space and adds endless amounts of character because in styling your shelves, you can change it up while keeping your favorite items showcased. Don’t be deterred if you want to jump on board the open shelving train. It’s a fun ride!

xoxo

 

friday faves: paint it gold

 

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What a difference a little paint makes!

When we were building our addition and picking out hardware, our contractor said “brass is deader than disco.” BUT… I think brass and tones of gold can be wildly versitile as long as they’re done well. Picking the right shapes, tones and pieces is key to not having it come off dated. Gold and brass are having a moment.

It’s hard to find the right tone of gold and it’s all about preference. For me, I like it to have some warmth to it and to be a bit deeper and even skewing into the copper/rose gold family. The shape and style of different pieces makes a huge difference – again, this all comes down to preference. My preference is for pieces that have clean lines and geometric elements. I also love mid-century modern touches and I’ve been looking for the right kind of baroque mirror for one of our bathrooms. Reading all of those likes makes my home style sound a bit all over the place, but I think that’s the best kind of style. Style that includes elements from various areas and blends them all together, so the end result is something that feels true to you and makes you happy! I’m not a buy-a-matching-set kind of gal.

Sometimes you might find something that’s the right structure but the color is off. That’s where my new favorite thing comes into play. Gold spray paint! When I have that can of paint in my hands, look out. I mean really, in the last two months, this is what I’ve painted gold:

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Bookshelf

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Fireplace Screen

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Previously silver brackets for reclaimed wood shelving in mudroom.

Of course, also on this list of items I’ve painted gold of late are the brackets for the new open shelving in the kitchen.

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Brackets used for the open shelving in the kitchen.

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Completed kitchen shelving and brackets.

Like most of my projects, I didn’t want to make this spray paint thing too complicated, so I just popped over to the paint aisle at Lowe’s during a trip for something else and checked out their options. I grabbed two options, because they were the only shiny gold options on the shelf and did a test to see which I preferred.

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The Contenders

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Left: Rustoleum; Right: Valspar

Between these two options, I definitely prefer the depth and richness of the Valspar gold on the right. The outdoor light in the photo featuring the options in the grass, above, doesn’t accurately reflect the true look of the Valspar can. Thus…

I should mention, when you’re picking up the spray paint, you’ll want to grab some rubber gloves because it is a total pain in the ass to get this spray paint off your hands and when you’re spraying, it tends to blow back onto your hands. I was starting to get a bit of carpal tunnel from holding down the trigger on the spray paint, so I grabbed this little device, which helped a lot with that. It also helped with the amount of paint that got on my hands. It dries really quickly, so I would wait about an hour between coats and then after I installed the pieces, there was just a bit of touch up from scuffing. For most of the touch ups, I sprayed some paint into the cap of the can, then took one of Henry’s paint brushes from his art set. The paint brush was toast afterwards, so don’t do this with something you hope to wash and reuse.

All of that said, I still love the glint of silver tones of nickle and pewter, so you’ll find a lot of mixed metals throughout our home. Every room in our house has some tone of gray in paint or furniture, so it acts as the perfect backdrop to the warmth of the gold, blended with cooler silver metallic tones with the mixed metal vibe.

But… I think I might need to paint the starburst on this mirror next, even though the hubs doesn’t want me to. {I’d keep the center as-is and just paint the starbursts and the little rope frame around the mirror. Should I do it??} After all, the hubs also didn’t want me to paint the bookshelf or the fireplace screen and I think we can all agree that I was right!

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Next up?

xoxo