DIY: Anthropologie Bathroom Shelf
This past Saturday my friend Amy and I tackled a DIY project at her condo, which is conveniently located about a half mile from my house in this fabulous old brick building. She loves the “shabby-cottage-chic” look when it comes to home decor and her bathroom totally reflects that. A few months ago she came across these adorable wrought iron wall brackets at Anthropologie and had to have them, although they lacked a shelf to complete them. They’ve been hanging on the wall since then begging to be completed (Amy’s summer sub-letters mistook them for towel hooks which no-one really appreciated) so this weekend we thought it was high time we pulled out the power tools and finally made a shelf.
Our first stop was Home Depot where we opted for a $4.25-per-foot cut-to-order piece of poplar board. It was beautiful, sturdy, and since we only needed 22 inches, the price was right as well. We also spent a few minutes perusing the stain aisle and picked up a can of Chestnut colored Minwax stain. Since we had brushes and sponges and tools at home, we got out of Home Depot for $15. Not too bad.
First order of business was to cut the board length-wise as it was ten inches wide and we only needed it to be 8.5 inches wide. I’ve become quite a pro with the circular saw since I first used it a few years ago, and I managed to accomplish cutting Amy’s shelf without loosing any fingers. After a few rounds with the power-sander to smooth the edges out, we were pretty pleased with how it turned out.
Amy is pretty crafty herself…one of my favorite Christmas ornaments is a tiny felt owl that she hand-stitched for me one year…so the more she thought about it, the more she knew she didn’t want to just stain the board brown and be done with it. Wouldn’t it look much cooler if we could make it look reclaimed? First, we pulled down all my little jars of screws and nails and miscellaneous hardware and went to town hammering them into the wood just enough to make an impression. Our favorites were a large bolt and a chain that you use as a fan or light fixture pull.
Then, a Google search of “How to age new wood” pulled up this tutorial from my favorite DIY blog, Young House Love, so we borrowed some of their tricks when it came to color. In addition to the can of stain Amy had purchased, I had a few small cans laying around from previous DIY projects including when I added shelf inside the armoire in our living room. We spent a few minutes trying different combinations of colors of stain, the “water trick” from the Young House Love video and other ideas before Amy decided she really just loved a single coat of the “Classic Grey 271” stain by Minwax, so that’s what we rolled with.
The result was really beautiful. The grain showed through the stain for some added “texture” and I thought it looked kind of like driftwood. Keith was impressed that we’d “fake aged” it ourselves. He thought it looked naturally weathered which of course was exactly the reaction we were going for. We headed back to Amy’s place and hung the little shelf on its new home on the brackets and it looked great; totally made her already adorable bathroom look completed. Of course, now she’s on the hunt for the perfect accent pieces to put on the shelf….so I guess it’s not technically entirely completed…but really, what room ever is?
If you want to do this project yourself, here’s a quick breakdown for you. While the brackets Amy bought are no-longer available at Anthropologie, they do have two other brackets for sale on their website: the Battenberg Iris Bracket for $22 a pop(which looks an awful lot like Amy’s), or the simpler and cheaper “Wishbone” bracket ($18 each) that comes in a variety of fun colors. Or, for half the price, I found these similar ones online for $12 each. If you like the design but not the color of the third bracket option, keep in mind, you could always spray paint them an off-white color like Amy’s. Be sure you mount them into studs in the wall if you want to put anything heavy on them.
The poplar board we got from Home Depot was 1×10-R/L Poplar Board. It was $4.24 a foot and Skew number was 467-632. It was located on Aisle 16, Bay 002 in our store, although I’m not sure if that varies by location. At any rate, it was in the lumber aisle. The “Classic Grey 271” stain by Minwax, comes in two sizes at Home Depot that run between $4-$8, for a project total of about $40 to $57, depending on which brackets you choose. Also, after we applied the stain, we wiped the excess off with a rag instead of letting it soak in as it dried. We didn’t have to mount the brackets as she’d done that when she bought them, which saved a little time, but including our Home Depot run and the time it took to cut, age & stain the board and hang it, we spent about 2.5 hours on the project. It’s totally do-able in an afternoon.