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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pipe Dream

In our small 100 year old home there is a definite shortage of storage in the kitchen and that has made me crazy for years.
I took a couple of extra days off around Thanksgiving with one goal in mind....I was going to build a pantry near our back door.

A few weeks before, I had created a kind of schematic of what I wanted to build with measurements and part numbers.  I had decided that a black pipe shelf would be really cool but there is nowhere to go to be able to easily customize the piping for my particular space.  I had to create the whole thing myself.

I am always up for a challenge and this one was pretty fun.

First, the schematic...isn't it artistic?

I spent a lot of time measuring pipe fittings at Home Depot and I am proud to say that I really only messed up on one measurement and it was not a critical one, so it all worked out without having to recut, rebuild or scrape the whole idea. 

I had to get all of this pipe cut and I discovered that the major hardware chain stores DON"T CUT PIPE!  Home depot would make 5 cuts to pipe that was no larger than xxx and they couldn't thread it for you either.  Crap!  To the rescue?  Small neighborhood hardware store with a little old guy in the back who cut things for you; keys, pipe, glass, etc.  Joe rocked!  I handed him that schematic and the cut chart I had made to make the most efficient use of 10 foot lengths of pipe, keeping my cost down.  Joe and I discussed the project and Joe did not seem very positive about how it would turn out.  "I am having trouble picturing this in my head."  Joe was a bit of a serious guy.  When he decided that he was going to cut all of this for me, I said, "I'll just wander the store till your done." and he looked at me with horror.  "Ha! I am just kidding, Joe!"  Poor Joe.  He obviously got over it because 2 days later I got the call that Joe had finished cutting all that pipe and when I got there to pick it up, he had carefully wrapped and labeled groups of pipes based on my drawing.  I think I shed a tear in that moment.  Thanks Joe!

Next, the prepping of the space began. I had to remove the coat hooks and the board that they were attached to and clean up the disaster that was the backdoor area.  Here it is after I had striped it down.  I start with this photo because I would NEVER show anyone the true mess that it was before.  I mean, I tried not see it so I just can't share that much shame!

I cleaned the whole area and decided that it needed a new coat of paint so I painted the walls and added a header board to help to make the whole thing more sturdy.  The header board was screwed into the wall studs and the pipe standards were screwed into the header board and the floor.  I used 4 screw flanges to screw the standards to the wall and floor.  These standards are bomb proof!  I also found some old trim that matches other trim in our house and used it to cover up the ghastly mess that the former coat rack left behind.

Next was the shelving and I used 1/2 plywood to do the job.  All I did to it was stain it a dark stain.  I was very impatient waiting for the shelves to dry.  You know how when you get into a project and you really just want to finish it?

The shelves took the rest of the night to dry completely so I had to resist the urge to fill the shelves.
The next morning I popped out of bed and began to rearrange the kitchen and fill the pantry.  What a beautiful thing. Pots, pans, tupperware, pantry foods, mixers, blenders all fit in my HUGE new pantry.

This is where I put the coat racks, more near the back door so that little feet are less likely to track into the house and everyone has a nice seat to sit and take off their shoes.

All in all this was an unbelievably easy way to create a really sturdy, custom shelving unit.  It essentially took me one day to do the whole thing including waiting for the shelves to dry.  If this looks like something that you want to do, give it a try!  If I can do it, most anyone can.

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