Kitchen Storage: Part III (The End)

First things first: WE PASSED OUR FRAMING INSPECTION TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the beginning of the final stages of our build out. Still a long way to go but now we have clear sailing until the grand finale – no more inspections until walls are all buttoned up and fixtures are set. It took us 2 tries to pass plumbing… 4 tries to pass electrical (just passed last week)… and only once to pass framing! The crazy part is we’ve been ready for the framing inspection since May but, because they require a sign off on electrical before framing, we had to wait. And wait. And wait. If you want the inside scoop on that fiasco, give me a call or send a message. That one is too complicated for the blog.

We went out for sushi tonight to celebrate. We had a yummy roll with spicy tuna, avocado, mango and kiwi. “Sweet and spicy” is such a great combo! But the celebration was a little lack luster because we were both too exhausted to really commit to the fan fare. We’ve spent the last 2 days wallpapering the rest of our kitchen – a great tie-in to the current string of posts I’ve been writing. We did that first wall in May and now we come full circle with a final banner of wallpaper on our higher walls in the kitchen (tile will go below).

So, this post is the third part in my series about our kitchen storage – the engineering segment of the project.

Shelves + Papered Wall = Great Storage but… only if attached to said wall. Now, these shelves are 12 feet long and pretty heavy in and of themselves, not to mention the additional weight of items to be stored. We wanted both lateral and vertical/ground support so we devised a system of shelf brackets and pipes.

Taking what we learned from building the espresso bar (See “Raising the Bar”), we decided it was too risky to use 8+ feet long pipes and send them straight through 5 shelves. The likelihood of missing on a hole or two (or five) was too high… we were lucky enough to somehow make it through 2 holes 16 times at the espresso bar. Let’s not press our luck. Instead, we chose smaller pipes and sunk them a little into each side of the shelf, building a ladder of shelving from the floor up.

Seemingly easy, right? Wrong.

This is not easy if (1) your floor is not level and (2) the pipes aren’t evenly cut. Both were not our fault. (1) is the fault of time and gravity. (2) is the fault of Home Depot. But, at this point, we are pretty adept at finding solutions for “not perfect.” Fitz said yesterday his mantra of the project is “close enough”. And my dad has always said what you don’t notice in the first few seconds of walking into a room doesn’t matter. This is also the man who spent countless hours – days? – obsessing over drywall and refinishing all of the wood trim in my childhood home. The end results were always beautiful. So, though I hear these men saying “good enough” is good enough, I know – we all know – there is still the “I have to make this perfect” phase FIRST… saved in the end by a reprieve of almost perfect is just fine.

Thus, we set out to right the wrongs and find level on each shelf.

This starts with spotting the hole on both the top and bottom of the shelf by measuring in from the side.


Then determining the depth of each hole. Our standard was 3/8″ but, if a pipe had been cut a different length or if we reached the area where the floor sloped, we drilled either more or less in 1/8″ increments. To accurately measure these depths we made a “mini yard stick” out of the end of a paint brush.


Each mark represents 1/8″. Fitz drilled a little and then I’d check the depth, making sure the hole was drilled evenly and to the correct depth.

First one on! And it fits! … And it’s level! Now just repeat a few times.

DSCF9727But – actually – we did take a tiny break after the first shelf….

DSCF9738To go to San Francisco! Yes! Our first visit since we moved to Northampton. I’ll post more about the whirlwind trip to the Bay in my next post. But it did add a layer of complicated to this project because we had to pick up the thread on this when we returned – and had, of course, forgotten everything (even though I made notes before I left!).

And finally…

Just like the picture! See bottom of page for hastily circled sketch - 1 of many configurations considered... a glimpse into the magnitude and frequency of design decisions we've made on this project to date!

Just like the picture! See bottom of page for hastily circled sketch – 1 of many configurations considered… a glimpse into the magnitude and frequency of design decisions we’ve made on this project to date!

One final touch: “trunk corners” to give a little pop to the edges!


The final product, already in action!




  1. Jo

    Love the detail of the corners. Very creative. The mix of posh paper and rustic shelves is very appealing. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  2. Hein

    Wait, were you just in SF without me?

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