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Design & Build; Floating Shelves

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

A hallway linen closet is the best place to add a little character and a great way to maintain organization. Closed, narrow and deep closets usually aren't the best for storage. Many items are hard to see, reach and easily get disheveled. To keep things contained and organized, large baskets are great for blankets, sheets, backpacks and miscellaneous items. They are also easy to grab, pull and slide. Most importantly, building out sturdy shelves to support any added weight is essential to having a functional closet.

This was our small quarantine project. The interior of the closet was already wallpapered and the opening was trimmed out prior to COVID-19. So, just like everyone else who was stuck at home, we decided to finish a home project.

Our linen closet is in a short and tight hallway where it felt like door, door, door, door. I wanted to break up the monotony and create the illusion of a wider hallway by removing the existing 18" closet door. We then used the left over wallpaper from our entry to cover the interior closet walls floor to ceiling. This not only connects the two spaces, but also creates a beautiful vignette.



As a designer, I needed to have a plan..and an elevation. I knew I wanted 3-4 shelves, but in order to figure out how many shelves I needed and the appropriate height of each shelf, I needed to know what size baskets I was going to use. I chose these large woven baskets from Magnolia Home and used those dimensions to determine the placement of each shelf. I also measured the interior of the closet to create a plan drawing of the top and bottom faces of each shelf, which we then used as a template when cutting each shelf piece.



Based off of the measurements and drawings, we created a material list and got to work. We started off by using 1x2's to build the frame of the shelves. To ensure extra strength, we made sure to screw the frame pieces into the studs. We also rounded the back corner pieces so that any sharp edge wouldn't tear the wallpaper.

After installing the frames, using our shelf plan template, we verified all dimensions and cut the top and bottom faces of each shelf using a large sheet of plywood with a red oak veneer. We cut, labeled and test fitted each piece so that they fit nice and snug.

Since the top and bottom faces of the shelves are being sandwiched in between the frames, we used 1x6 solid red oak to finish the front faces of each shelf. We also routed out a rounded edge for a smooth finish.

Our next step was to sand and stain the finishing pieces. We used a handheld orbital sander, two coats of MINWAX Mocha and one coat of polyurethane. Once dry, our last step was to secure the finishing pieces by using wood glue and brad nails.

The shelves are strong enough to hold about 50 pounds. From bottom to top, I have my linens, health essentials & medicine/first-aid kit, blankets and extra backpacks. I can easily reach the top basket and everything is in its place. I love that it's minimal, but it makes a big impact in a small space.



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