The Kitchen Shelf Elf

Not yet having kids, we don’t yet have any need for an “elf on the shelf.” (I don’t think these were around when I was growing up, but I am intrigued by the things people have been pinning on pinterest this time of year). But the good news is, we now have a new shelf (two, actually) on which such an elf might poise himself to observe the pre-holiday goings-on.

Pretty neat, huh? Of course, I’m still working on the things I want to display and how to do so. The top shelf will definitely contain some of my more frequently-used cookbooks held up by an adorable white owl bookend that I found at TJMaxx. And the other shelves will contain things that are used somewhat often but are especially attractive to display–things I don’t want hiding in a cabinet. Like my yellow tea kettle, some mugs, and miscellaneous kitchen tools. And I’d like to eventually purchase, make, or assemble some art pieces to showcase in further personalizing the kitchen. It will continue to evolve, I’m sure.

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to see how this wall of the kitchen has evolved, shall we?

When we moved into the house, this wall contained a corner cabinet. While it was utilized for some storage, part of the cabinet was unusable because it extended so far back accessible from a skinny door. What I mean is the cabinet on the right hand side that is perpendicular to the double-door cabinet that’s facing you in the photo extended all the way to the wall behind the front facing cabinets, which meant if I wanted to store anything back there, I risked spraining my wrist trying to reach back there to locate it. Not super functional. (Oh, and remember that red wall color?)

Remember that in the original setup, there were two under-cabinet fluorescent lights? We decided they would look kind of funny sticking out from the edge of the cabinet and sort of floating in space against the wall, so we removed them. And then we were left with the problem of the wires. Alex and my dad safely secured the wiring into junction boxes. Small pieces of drywall were located to fill the hole and the spackle/sanding process began so that the wall could be painted its new blue color.

Well, after the wall got painted, we hemmed and hawed for quite some time about what exactly we wanted these shelves to look like. In fact, three and a half months passed before we reached a decision (oh, yeah, and we got married during that time too…) Some of the things we debated? Should they be an ‘L’-shape or just extend the full length of the longer wall? Should they be thick or thin? Traditional or modern? What type of brackets would hold them up against the wall? Should we use wood or something else? Will the studs be in the right place? Will they be able to hold enough weight? You get the idea.

We finally reached a decision, opting to buy two 2×12 wood boards from Lowe’s, cut to size, which we sanded, primed, and painted to match the white cabinets. (Yes, only the top cabinets are painted white right now. We’re getting to the bottom cabinets slowly but surely). We also found some wood brackets what were not plain jane folk-art types of brackets but also not super ornate. In fact, they kind of match the new cabinet hardware we picked out. But those too had to be sanded, primed, and painted.

And then, about 4 hours later by the magic of the kitchen shelf elf (AKA my clever husband), we had two beautiful open shelves in the kitchen! His tool box is not currently equipped with all the tools that one might ordinarily use to install some shelves. A level, yes, thankfully. But some other convenient tools, no. Still, he did a pretty ingenious job making do with what we do have to assemble these shelves securely. And they’re awesome! I love how I still get to use them for purposes of storage but it doesn’t seem to weigh down the kitchen quite so much as the cabinet did. It helps the kitchen to feel more open, which is more in line with the open floor plan of our first floor living area anyway. (See at the left edge of the above photo you can peer into the living “room” with the fireplace?)

What do you think? What do you store on your open shelves? Or if you don’t have any, what would you display if you did have open shelving as part of your kitchen space? Am I wrong to think that I don’t yet need the Elf on a Shelf to display on these shelves? Do tell. I can’t wait to show you what I come up with for these shelf displays as part of the final kitchen reveal.

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4 thoughts on “The Kitchen Shelf Elf

  1. Carrie says:

    Looks fabulous!!! Wish I had space for open shelving in our kitchen. Happy holidays!

  2. [...] free from its corner counterpart which once found its home in our kitchen (but which had since been replaced with open shelving, leaving the cabinet sitting awkwardly on the floor of the office, in prime toe-stubbing position by [...]

  3. [...] Recall that as part of our never-ending kitchen makeover, Alex and I tore down a corner cabinet unit and my handyman husband installed open shelving (read more here). [...]

  4. [...] when we installed the open shelving in our kitchen, I had an idea to pay tribute to Julia Child by including some artwork, or a [...]

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