Shelving Unit

September 4th, 2009

The other side of the living room needed something large. A statement piece I think real designers would call it. Well, I fell in love with the bookshelves in the lobby at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and thought, “hey, I could build that”.

And I did!

We sold the old wall unit and embarked on the master planning of the new plumbing conduit shelving unit. You know, I don’t even know where to begin with a How To. It took over a week, a lot of frustration (with many changes to the original plan) and about $200.

The unit is 8’8″ wide by roughly 7’6″ tall and 11 1/4″ deep

Here is the supply list:
Plumbing pipe and fittings (all at 1/2″)

Supply list:

18 – 90º Elbows
14 – 3-Way Tees
8 – Base Flanges

6 – 12″
7 – 18″
1 – 32″
3 – 30″ (Custom cut at home depot)
1 – 43″ (Custom cut at home depot)
14 – 8″
4 – 9″ (black gas pipe for the top flange connectors)

Wood Shelves
2 – 1″ x 12″ x 10′ pine planks (cut down to 8′8″)
2 – 1″ x 12″ x 6′ pine planks (cut down to 4′8″)

Minwax Stain
1 – Dark Walnut
1 – Walnut
(Mix 1/2 and 1/2 to get the desired color)

Rustoleum Gloss Spray Paint
3 – Black

3/4” Hole saw
Medium grit sandpaper (#120)
Dish soap / water-based degreaser
Ladder or step stool

We drilled holes in the pine planks for the pipe to fit through. We used a 3/4″ round drill bit to allow some wiggle room. Clean all the grease of the pipes (dish soap will do) and spray paint all the pipes black. Then sand and stain the wood.

After that it just all screws together. The hard part was figuring out all the math and prepping everything. The Boy and I assembled it by ourselves pretty quickly and surprisingly easily and then secured it to the wall with some screws through the flanges. That thing is SOLID.

Some in progress installation shots…

I couldn’t resist vignetting it up a bit after it was all installed. I rushed to get it styled up before the sun set.

A super quick and dirty styling job.

Unfortunately the sun set before I finished playing around with it, so of course it’s already styled differently. I will probably need some time to mess around and get everything looking fabulous.

This shelving project is what led me to install those controversial doors on the fireplace bookcases. I knew I wanted a big wall of open shelving in the living room and didn’t want the two areas to compete. I have open shelving in the den, kitchen, dining room and now a whole wall in the living room, so I thought we could sacrifice those bookcases being open – especially since I could never could get them to look right.

Mission C.A.H.L.R.S.P. has been accomplished. Holler!

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  1. Tendo Makko on 09/04/2009:

    Morgan, it has been awhile. One word needed to describe this project, RAD!!!!!!

  2. Benita on 09/04/2009:


  3. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/04/2009:

    It's Tendo Mokko. I know it has, I'm still mad.

  4. Tony Paul on 09/04/2009:

    What a beautiful professional job!
    Your blog is a constant inspiration, the Eames chairs and now this… who needs a fortune when you've got creativity, taste, wit and patience? Everything is possible!

  5. Anonymous on 09/04/2009:

    you have reached goddess status.

  6. Anonymous on 09/04/2009:

    you and the boy need to have your own tv show.

  7. Anonymous on 09/04/2009:

    omg – that is the coolest thing I've ever seen and when I move out of this tiny condo I am going to have my handyman build me one (or maybe I could hire you-it would give you some extra thrifting money)! Complete awesomeness!

  8. Elissa on 09/04/2009:

    Wow! between you and Benita I am feeling positively lazy. Fantastic job! If I didn't already cop out and buy some open shelving for my office, I'd need to go to Home Depot and start buying pipe right now!

  9. Alison on 09/04/2009:

    OMG. Seriously. Seriously?

    You did an INCREDIBLE job. It looks so perfect. And actually, I think I like it better on a plain white wall better than the stone. This is one of the best diys I've ever seen.

  10. Sideproject on 09/04/2009:

    Love it. It looks awesome.

  11. Alicia on 09/04/2009:

    Looks amazing!
    My grandmother had an owl like that on her patio when I was little. She would light candles and put them inside so the light could shine out the holes, try it, it looks nice.

  12. Katie on 09/04/2009:

    this looks great! and thanks for the supply list, very helpful to see what you actually used to put it together. i had seen a similar shelving unit somewhere and thought that it would easly be recreated, yours turned out even better.

  13. a steinberg on 09/04/2009:

    very cool. you top yourself every week. if things dont work out b/t you and The Boy let me know. haha

  14. megan on 09/04/2009:

    again, so jealous.

    i'm with elissa. first benita's coffee table and now this amazing shelving. i think i need to up the ante.

  15. megan on 09/04/2009:

    oh, one more thing.

    i totally agree with your decision to close the bookshelves now. not that you need our approval – you clearly make fabulous decisions.

  16. jamie on 09/04/2009:

    f*ing awesome.

    I had the same reaction when I saw the ace shelves, but now someone else has done it first, and made it that much easier on me!!!

    Q: what kind of rug have you go there? is it kilim? hearts.

  17. DJ Panthor on 09/04/2009:

    i had to do a double take…i thought a few pics were the Ace (Hotel) & not your home.

    those shelves are so money & they don't even know it.

  18. Anonymous on 09/04/2009:

    you got the look i want to know better, you got the look thats all together, working playing day or night, the brick house has the fits that right the brick house look the brick house looook..

  19. The Wife of an Artist on 09/04/2009:

    Seriously? Wow. It's amazing! And I just adore how the spacing is just right to fit some seriously awesome art work.

  20. Jessica on 09/04/2009:

    This is fantastic.
    Unlike your bookshelf doors, I think it will be hard to find a hater for this project.

  21. Yolanda on 09/04/2009:


    You are indeed MIGHTAY MIGHTAY!!!

    An inspiration! Mind if I copy?

  22. K.Line on 09/04/2009:

    This is incredibly impressive – and lovely!

  23. Christina @ Pardon my Vintage on 09/04/2009:

    You're totally right. I mean, I LIKED the doors on the bookshelves, but with all this other open display, it makes perfect sense now.

    Looks great. Can't wait to see it all tricked out.

  24. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/04/2009:

    Thanks everyone, we think its killer.

  25. Julien on 09/04/2009:

    This is stunning Morgan!

    Did you have to thread the shelves through the pipes? How did you do that on the left side when you already had the left side pipe installed before the longer shelves?

  26. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/04/2009:

    I made a holes in the wood beforehand and threaded the pipe through. The left side wasn't installed at that point, just leaning against the wall.

    You just unscrew the pipe from the 3-way tee and then thread the pipe through and screw it back in to secure. Super easy to install.

  27. bethanelbow on 09/04/2009:


    Did you drill into the floor too for added stability? Just curious.

  28. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/04/2009:

    Nope. I really didn't want to ruin the floors.

    After everything is pieced to together and attached to the wall it really doesn't need to be secured at the bottom. It is surprisingly solid.

  29. jen on 09/04/2009:

    it looks sick!! I need to clear a wall somewhere in my house and get my man to make that pronto!!

  30. foodnerd on 09/04/2009:

    It took me a few weeks (my husband thinks I'm obsessed- I am) but I decided to read your blog from the beginning to really feel and appreciate the progress. I felt the frustration when you felt like breaking down a few times (especially with the outside of the house and the bathrooms. I'm living it right now. We're in a fixer upper from 1976. It's our first house and we just moved in April. We're are starting our 6th month. I had major ups and downs (still do) but your blog really helped me get over it and l am reminding myself that patience and determination is the way to go when you don't have the cash!

    About the shelves… I LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! LOOOOVE IT!!!!!! So green with envy!!! I almost hate you but I know that you deserve it. You did great! Love the look. The colour of the stained wood is perfect with that black. It goes very well with the rug… Perfect! I'm looking around my space to see where I can put one! : ))

    I thought I was smart when years ago I walked to my local HomeHardware to get some copper pipes to make curtain rods. Ikea was too far, I had little cash and wanted to make a difference NOW. So I went with my measurements and came back with the perfect thing. It was so cheap and looked so much better than what I had before. Loved when people asked where I got it. Loved it even more when they found out what it was. You just took this to a new level!! Awesome job and to be copied!!!

  31. Juli on 09/04/2009:

    Wowie zowie! Amazing job! I am speechless…

  32. Anonymous on 09/05/2009:

    Hi. Just stumbled across this blog from apartment therapy.
    Wanted to say BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO.

    First for the taste that is at once bold and thoughtfully restrained.

    Second for the text that is hilarious (I laughed out loud at "that's a lot of money for a 15" ceramic penguin") and full of the right kind of obsession and fearlessness that good design requires.

    Third for taking on and talking about design in a way that's direct, open, creative, proud, democratic, serious, and funny–and connecting it to your quality of life and everyday happiness. As an architect I find this incredibly rare, and entirely praiseworthy. Kudos.

    PS: can you get rid of the classical-profile moulding strip along the top of the fireplace mantel? It kills the dream, no…?

    PPS: the giant owl is fantastic and always will be.

  33. Peggy on 09/05/2009:

    Damn girl. I need you in my apartment. Looks fab.

  34. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/05/2009:

    hey anon, thanks so much. i'm still new at all this so its so nice to hear from pros. i keep thinking i might want to do my postgraduate work in design or architecture.

    that mantel is so so so awful. the lines of it have always bothered me. i've been toying with ideas on how to replace it (another project i keep putting off). i kind of want to do a raw slab of wood with rough edges. who knows though…nothing too boxy or ornate, definitely a little rustic or more organic.

  35. Anonymous on 09/05/2009:

    hi brick house. anonymousarchitect here again.

    if you do postgrad work in design or architecture, just make a book out of this blog and it will be a killer portfolio; your clear combination of ability to see and ability to make would be very apparent.

    my advice on the fireplace (one professional to another!) would be just rip off the wood, or whatever it is on top, and don't replace it. instead, just paint the brick or masonry below; you may need to add another layer of bricks to close off the top, or the interior (flush to the horizontal or vertical edge of the rest of the fireplace below). but that would be easy for anyone who can restore fiberglass! this way the fireplace becomes a single strong sculptural object in a single material, rather than wearing a fussy top or mantle, like a bad hat killing a good outfit.

    …also, i had a brainwave for your front porch, to give it more of a palm springs/eichler/modern feeling. may i presume to send you that idea, too?

    again, amazing project, great story!

  36. Jo in NZ on 09/05/2009:

    I am loving me this, and all the ensuing comments, and anonymousarchitect coming to the table. Morgan, you are amazing.

  37. Julia on 09/05/2009:

    I love it! That's fantastic.

  38. maya on 09/05/2009:

    you need to come here and make me one!

  39. Tyler on 09/05/2009:


  40. kate on 09/05/2009:

    amazing. amazing. amazing. and totally inspiring. your blog, and that shelving unit, ROCK!

  41. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/05/2009:

    anonarch – what is your idea for the front? I have a plan but would be curious to hear. wanna email me? morgansatterfield (at) gmail (dot) com

  42. FROM THE RIGHT BANK on 09/07/2009:

    No way. This looks like just like the original! I'm calling my husband over to the computer as I type this to show him what I want him to do to our stone wall. He's not going to be happy with you . . .

  43. Kristine on 09/08/2009:

    Wicked Awesome!! You rock!

  44. Up in the Air Somewhere on 09/09/2009:

    Awesome work! Love it.

  45. makemineeclectic on 09/09/2009:

    Love it! Very awesome!

  46. jessica on 09/11/2009:

    this is too cool. way to go!

  47. Teresa @ good-grace on 09/11/2009:

    These are fantastic! Thanks for the "how to".

  48. Stephanie on 09/19/2009:

    Holy crap that's amazing! I wanted to build some pipe shelves too, but my boyfriend won't let me 🙁 I'm going to try to convince him, because this looks dope!

  49. Brandon on 09/28/2009:

    This is so rad that as soon as I saw it I went to Home Depot to find the materials. I haven't bought any parts or materials yet, but want to complete it this week. I have to ask. Are the pipes copper and did they come threaded? Where did you buy all your materials?

  50. THE BRICK HOUSE on 09/29/2009:

    The pipes are galvanized and the pre-cut lengths are threaded, but the custom lengths had to be threaded in the store. Ask them to do it…we almost forgot.

    I got everything form the Home Depot.

  51. katie on 09/29/2009:

    Well done! Will post on our site asap.

  52. melissa on 10/07/2009:

    love the shelves, but I'm really drooling over that sofa….what kind is it and where to buy?


  53. THE BRICK HOUSE on 10/07/2009:

    oh man, i get this question all the time. It sucks but I'm not sure.

    I picked up off craigslist years ago…there are no tags, and the guy said it was used for photo shoots in Palm Springs.

    It is rad though and 9 feet long!

  54. Anonymous on 10/07/2009:

    I have a couple questions:

    1) is the unit only secured to the wall on the top 4 base flanges?

    2) what happens in when the wood shelving meets the 90degree elbows on the back bottom of the shelves? do the shelves just rest on the elbow?

    3) you say it is sturdy… could it handle some more weight and books without shifting around?

  55. THE BRICK HOUSE on 10/07/2009:

    1. Yes it is anchored to the wall only at the top flanges.

    2. The back of the wood just rests on those elbows.

    3. Yes, it could handle a lot more weight. The way the plumbing is screwed together made it way sturdier than I imagined. It is a solid unit when anchored to the wall at the top. It does not move.

  56. melissa on 10/11/2009:

    I think I solved the couch mystery…I think your sofa is a Blu Dot Paramount in the charcoal color:

    still drooling, thanks for the inspiration.

  57. THE BRICK HOUSE on 10/11/2009:

    oh man, I don't think so. mine has four cushions, less tufting and the legs are very different. They don't have that L shape – they go straight up and have like metal sliders on the bottom….

    very similar though.

  58. tula@whorange on 10/13/2009:

    you are a goddess. wow.

  59. Holyoke Home on 10/14/2009:

    Gah! (Thud)

    I fell over from too much awesomeness.

    Love that!

  60. Anonymous on 10/19/2009:

    Ayeeeeeeeee! I LOVE.

    I am so going to make this one day.

    (sigh) (wanting this to appear magically, right now, in my dining room)
    – Kristin

  61. Jessica W on 10/29/2009:

    Would one of these shelves be able to hold 50 lbs of weight? I'm looking to recreate this system on a wall in my kitchen, and ideally it will hold my cookbooks and microwave (its a hefty 40lb microwave oven).

    Also, I really love this look (hence my stealing of it! mwuha!).

  62. THE BRICK HOUSE on 10/30/2009:

    I think so – the supports are screwed into the two pipes and are super sturdy, but it depends on what the length between supports is and how thick the wood is.

    the small sections could hold it no problem, the longer one would bow a little.

  63. Anonymous on 12/30/2009:

    cool project

  64. Chanpory on 01/21/2010:

    I just went to home depot to take a look at the pipes and fittings. It looks like the tee fittings will add about an inch to an inch and a half to the length of an attached pipe. This means if you’re building shelves from floor to ceiling, make sure to account for the additional length of the fittings or your wall-unit will be too tall!

    Also, I’m trying to avoid having to spray-paint the pipes black. Home depot had black steel pipes, but not in all the lengths I need. So I’m now hunting in the bay area for a good supplier of black steel pipes.

  65. THE BRICK HOUSE on 01/21/2010:

    Yes. I built mine to be 7-1/2 feet tall and they ended up a few inches taller. I wanted some wiggle room for my eight foot ceilings.

    I don’t think you’re going to avoid painting, the black only comes in short lengths that I’ve found. Plus they are all greasy and dinged up…degrease and paint – it’s better.

  66. Chanpory on 01/21/2010:

    I just looked at your measurements and wondered about the 32″ pipe and the 42″ pipe measurements. It seems like the 32″ accounts for the additional length of the adjacent 18″+12″+Tee fitting. But the 42″ inch doesn’t seem to account for the Tee fitting next to it. How did you get the 42″ to fit properly? Thanks!

  67. Chanpory on 01/21/2010:

    Sorry, one more quick question for you! Did you line of the flanges with the wall studs, or did you use anchor screws?

  68. Just saw this on Apartment Therapy – I LOVE it!!!

  69. Lars on 02/04/2010:

    Nice! I’m ripping your idea for a home office (in which I’ll also borrow your book case + doors for hidden storage).

    Quick question — I’m a little worried about shelf deflection; what’s the distance between vertical pipes?

  70. THE BRICK HOUSE on 02/04/2010:

    What do you mean shelf deflection? The whole thing is about nine feet wide, I think it broke down to four feet and then two feet between vertical pipes, with like six inches of overhang on each end.

  71. Lars on 02/04/2010:

    Shelf deflection = bendy shelves. I’ll be piling loads of books on my shelves.

    Two feet between pipes (and shelf supports) means there should be no problem with deflection.

    After I queried you, I googled a bit and found this site (, which features a lot of design/build calculators, including this one ( that calculates shelf deflection based on material and span.

    Thanks for the quick response!

  72. bruce on 02/05/2010:

    I am glad that you could afford a place with level floors.

  73. Robin on 02/06/2010:

    Love this! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  74. Chris on 02/07/2010:

    You could also just buy black plumbers pipe, rather than galvanized, and get a similar yet slightly more rough appearance.

  75. Brittany on 02/16/2010:

    I have the same question as Chanpory: Did you screw directly into the wall studs or use those plastic drywall anchors? Or is there some sort of magical self-anchoring screw? Because 16 anchors seems like a pain in the arse…

  76. Neal on 03/11/2010:

    Thank you for inspiring and guiding my own Brick House/Ace Hotel MCM pipe shelving wall units. I built two recently. One similar to yours and one very tall one with all the shelves the same width.
    A couple of notes I thought I would share for those considering taking a crack at this.
    1. 1×12 is hard to come by in ten foot lengths without spending a fortune. I used mahogany on the wall unit and beech on the tall shelf. Pine doesn’t take stain well in my experience.
    2. Pipe lengths don’t match when connectors are used in one and not the others. eg. A 30″ pipe joined to a 12″ pipe with a tee connector is not the same length as a 42″ pipe. I joined the pipe and had the longer pipe cut to length.
    3. I used 6″ pipes between the top elbows and flanges instead of 10″ that you listed. I like having the hopes for the pipe sit back a couple of inches from the edge of the 11 1/4″ boards.
    4. I noticed the spray painted pipes scratched easily so I sprayed a topcoat of lacquer on the pipes. I used semi-gloss black spray paint and lacquer to minimize the dust factor and I think it looks softer and more mid-century.
    5. The pipes, connectors and spray paint set me back around $450 for both units. The hardwoods were an additional $350. Much more than I thought I would spend initially, but I love my shelves.
    Thanks again.

  77. Maria on 03/22/2010:

    Just built our shelving unit on a smaller scale and it looks AWESOME!! I agree with Neal’s 2nd comment above – we had to go back to get a longer piece of pipe to accomodate for the difference. Thanks for the tutorial 🙂

  78. Erica on 03/29/2010:

    I love, love, love this bookshelf, and will be making one when I move to my new apartment. One quesiton: are the pipes really only 1/2″ diameter? They look a bit “fatter”….Thanks for the inspiration.

  79. Erica on 03/29/2010:

    I truly love your bookshelf, and plan on building one when I move to my new apartment. One question: are the pipes really only 1/2″ diameter? They look “fatter” in the pictures.

    Thanks for the inspiration, and for your generosity in providing a step-by-step.

  80. C on 03/31/2010:

    Has anyone made these shelves so that they’re corner shelves? Just curious as we’re planning on building these, but it would be great to make full use of this corner we have in the office. I was thinking of just building two of these so that one goes all the way into the wall in the corner and the other one would stop at the beginning of the first one’s shelves (if that makes sense). That wouldn’t look as clean as actually building either a continuous shelf into and out of the corner or even cutting the shelves so they were angled and fit against each other in the corner. On the other hand, building two of these would allow us to possibly make better use of them in a different place if we were to move later on, as we wouldn’t be constrained to using them in a corner. In any case, great blog and great DIY.

  81. Kate on 05/03/2010:

    Hey question, So i just went to put my shelf together this week and the stain turned out HORRIBLE on the pine. Did you have problems with splotching/unevenness? It looks like poo i’m so upset.

  82. Adam on 05/08/2010:

    Erica – the diameter listed on pipes is the inside diameter since that’s what you would normally be worried about i.e. how much liquid would be able to flow through the pipes.

  83. Erica on 05/18/2010:

    Thanks so much Adam…so if I ask for 1/2″ pipe at Home Depot, that will get me the correct product?

  84. Pat Lukes on 06/26/2010:


    I’m going to make one of these for my house. I’ve been in love with plumbing parts forever and you’ve just made my shelving dreams come true!

  85. Alex on 07/02/2010:

    Just built one of these this past weekend. It was a learning process for me, and i’ll pass along some, let’s say, supplemental materials to the above directions/discussions. My materials were all from Home Depot. For the stain, apparently pine should be “conditioned” in order to absorb stain evenly. Since pine is a soft wood, its surface is inconsistent and the conditioner (which is diluted shellac i think) tightens up the grain/evens out the surface so that the stain goes on more consistently. Wood conditioner is in the stain section at HD.
    For the drilling, I used a hole saw, which is like a drill bit with a cup around it. This part is somewhat tedious because the wood plug gets stuck in the cup, which you can remove with a screw (google remove plug from hole saw). I would do all my drilling before staining, as the wood splinters a bit.
    On the pipe – Neal’s #2 point is right on. Also, I used “Oil Rubbed Bronze” paint instead of black and am pleased with the outcome. And yes, 1/2″ pipe is substantially thicker than 1/2″ (prob closer to 3/4″-7/8″), as it’s the internal diameter that’s measured.
    On securing them to the wall – I live in an apt building built in 1926. I used anchors screws, and it seems solid.
    Only thing that I am unhappy with (totally my mistake, not the design) was using 2 coats of the stain mix, which evened out the color but made the wood very very dark and obscured the grain.
    Overall very pleased and many people have been impressed with it when they see it. It also matches well with the Koff Designs (Brooklyn) bench/coffee table I have in the same room.

  86. Tom on 07/07/2010:

    Looks great, did you paint the pipe before or after putting it all together?

  87. Diana on 07/13/2010:

    These are beautiful! Did Home Depot pre-thread the pipes? And did you run into any problems with having the threads going the wrong direction when you hooked multiple pipes together?

  88. brett-patrick on 08/09/2010:

    thanks for posting all this info, i am doing something similar for my place in silver lake. this was very useful.

  89. Travis Fitzsimmons on 08/18/2010:

    Great job. I was looking for DIY plans for my next project in my friends place and this is definately an inspiration. Beautiful job.

  90. Ickemixe on 09/08/2010:


  91. Mike on 09/11/2010:

    Just finished making a set of these. I LOVE them. They turned out fantastic (and I’m a total novice at this stuff).

    I made some mods as I plan to use these to actually hold books (and not just knicks and/or knacks). So I built bookends into the pipe frame. I’ll try to post pics with some details later.

  92. Deb on 09/14/2010:

    This is brilliant. Going to give it a try. Thanks for all of the info.

  93. Designosaur on 09/18/2010:

    I noticed there are a few comments on stain. I would try a water based stain like SamaN. It will dry instantly and if it is too dark in areas a wet sponge will take off the excess.

  94. aline on 10/29/2010:

    not my gig but newish article on the pipemasters from acehotel…


  95. Ryan on 10/30/2010:

    Your shelves came out awesome.

    I am planning on making similar shelving tomorrow and was wondering 2 things that may effect the length of pipe needed:

    How tall are the flanges, elbows, & tees?
    How far do the pipes screw into the fittings?

    Here’s a hypothetical description of why I’m wondering and figure you could save me an extra trip just for measuring:

    If you wanted one shelf to have a 12″ gap before the next and the elbow is 3″ tall you’d want a pipe that was 9″…but then you’d also have to take into account how far the pipe screwed into the elbow…you might then have to take off another 1/2″ or so…?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  96. Jeff on 11/13/2010:

    I am currently building this unit in our living room. Are there any tips you can give me? This has been a labor of love so far. Currently I have all the parts, have washed all the parts and have painted half of them. What I am concerned about is the putting together and the drilling of the holes. I notice that some of the pipes do not screw together evenly, and that I need to use a wrench on the painted pieces. Where there some things that you did to get the unit lined up to get the holes just right? I was just going to build it from the ground up and eyeball it. I notice that you use computer plans for other projects. Do you have any computer moc ups of this projects as well.

    Anyway, I have a lot of Q’s. Hit me up if there is anything that you thought could be added to the directions, and or list of items.


  97. Gen on 11/21/2010:

    Thanks so much for generously sharing all your DIY projects with us!
    I just built a similar shelf over the weekend according to your instructions. I wish I could show you some pictures (is it possible to set up a place here, where some of us grateful people can show how you’ve inspired us?), it just looks awesome against my brick wall. (also DIY)
    Thanks again!

  98. Gen on 12/06/2010:

    Here are some photos of my shelf!

    the dimensions are 5’x8’8″x around 12″ deep.
    Instead of using the 1/2″ pipe fittings I used a slightly thicker one, 3/4″. Also, instead of painting over my pipes, I just left it as is – i like the dark greyish, muted tone of the black iron pipes and the connectors. I was also lazy with the wood – i just bought some composite board from Lowes, but I had them cut to the angle of my awkward, useless condo corner – now it fits snugly without any waste 🙂

  99. Seth on 12/08/2010:

    Anybody have the MATH for this already layed out? Much much appreciated

  100. lisa on 12/17/2010:

    This is so cool.
    ?? What is supporting the back of the shelves at the wall?? Thanks for sharing.

  101. PhillyLass on 01/14/2011:

    WOW!! I just discovered your blog by way of Brooklyn Limestone and I’m completely blown away. I absolutely love, love, love this project! Fantastic!

  102. David on 01/16/2011:

    Considering some pipe shelving for my office so I’m planning it out using your excellent blog post. I’m just puzzling out the 32″ pipe(!) 🙂

    Doing the math, it looks like each 3-way “T” adds an inch to the overall height, so the 18″ base+12″ next level + 2 tees = 32″. The 32″ + 1 T = 33″? Hmmm. Planning this out is key. Does each 3-way T add an inch? Thanks!

  103. Karena on 01/16/2011:

    Morgan how cool!! I adore your DIY shelving!

    Come and join my Gorgeous Giveaway from Blydesign!

    Art by Karena

  104. Liz on 01/19/2011:

    I just saw your shelving unit at Adventures in Renovating and I had to get the details. This looks AMAZING. I can’t believe you did this yourselves! Kudos!

  105. Vicki on 01/24/2011:

    As far as lengths for fittings go, a good place to look is the McMaster_carr website (, which should give detailed specs on just about any fitting imaginable. The only thing to worry about is the length you lose when the pipes are threaded into the fittings… and this varies connection to connection.

    A piece of advice: take a steel brush to the threads on your pipes and thoroughly clean the female connections on the fittings as well. You may need to do some touch up painting afterwards, but I think a secure connection is more important than the inconveninece of having to repaint.

    As the individual connections may not all end up the same, even if you “do the math” on thread lengths, etc, I would still leave one piece of pipe in each vertical section un-threaded, and have it cut down and threaded after the fact to make sure the lengths are exactly right. Alternately, you could make up all the sections to the appropriate length, even if each connection isn’t fully made-up, and then use a thread lock compaoud (kind of like super-glue for pipe fittings) to ensure a secure connection.

    One last note on steel pipe DIY in general: standard threads are all “right handed” threads, i.e. you turn the pipes to the right to make them up into the fittings. This is not an issue UNTIL you start to try and build something with a closed loop, e.g. something like a rectangular shower curtain rod for a free standing tub. If you think it through, trying to connect a loop of pipes (imagine four 12″ pipes and four 90-degree elbows to make a square) all with right handed threads means that the last piece of pipe will be unscrewing from the fitting at one corner as it screws into the fitting at the other (righty tighty, lefty loosey, remember?).

    So… either be sure all your designs are open-ended, or else use un-threaded pipe and push-to-fit fittings!

    vicki[dot]scarpato[at]gmail if you’ve got other general pipe-related questions.

  106. Chris S on 01/26/2011:

    In the Readymade instructions it says the “width between each hole will be 2x2inches”. This will leave 2 inches on each side for overlap? It looks like more than that in the picture.

  107. ckritter on 03/12/2011:

    I am starting this project. We have the materials and are prepping pipes and wood. I was wondering how deep into the shelf you drilled the pipe hole? Thanks.

  108. Lunaluna on 03/14/2011:

    So fantastic!!! Just discovered your blog and loving it! Thanks for your fab tutorial on how to clean up wooden furniture and old paintings. When I saw your wall unit on the house tour I thought ‘God I wish I could find one of those to buy’ and whaddya know you MADE it. A girl after my own heart. Bravo!!

  109. Doug S on 03/14/2011:

    @CKRITTER the holes for the pipe go completely through the shelves.

  110. Eric on 03/29/2011:

    We ended up making this shelving unit…and boy was it a pain in the ass! I don’t know if pipe fittings are made more precisely on the West coast but here on the EAST coast it was a real challenge to get everything to (sort of) line up straight.

    Looks great when done…but I don’t want to EVER do that again!

  111. Chrissy Jensen on 04/03/2011:

    Just finished installing our own pipe shelves with all thx to you: We read all the comments here + opted to cut the left-hand long pipe once we had everything else screwed together. Once you wrap your brain around the project, all the hard work’s been done by you guys. We have a smaller wall in height + length, but didn’t have much trouble reworking lengths once we were standin in the shop looking at pipe.

    Couple tips: Our project cost $300. We used pine + same pipe. Pine’s warpy, but it’s for our shop. Flanges aren’t always flat faced. Look them over. If you miss drill by 1/4″ + have to re-drill just a little off, do it on the top board. No one will notice.

    Other than that, I just have to comment that Being on this side of the project, I’m not sure about some of the dire warnings above. It takes time to prep, but after that, installation was a cake walk.

  112. FABIAN NATANOWICZ on 04/04/2011:


  113. Joel on 05/17/2011:


    Im about to start on a project like this in our apt and Im using your DIY as a template from which to work. Thank you very much btw, your home looks great! Im drawing up our plans and materials list and came up with a 3 questions.

    1. did you revise your plan so many times to reduce the amount of custom pipe cuts needed?
    2. i noticed your plans call for 1″ x 12″ x 10″ wood plank. How did the shelf end up to be 11 1/4″? Im hoping that the 9″ top pipes that connect to the wall are long enough.

    Thanks so much!!!

  114. Jillian on 06/03/2011:

    I would totally do this if it didn’t mean drilling holes in our new hardwood floors. Sigh.

  115. james on 06/26/2011:

    “How did the shelf end up to be 11 1/4″?”

    A 12″ width board measures 11 1/4″. I’m having trouble planning this as an 8″ pipe w/ a T and an elbow leaves barely 1/2″ from the hole and the edge of the board. And there are no precut threaded 9″ length nipple pipes. Playing with 3/8″ shorter length pipes and couplers (i.e., 4″+4″+ coupler).

  116. james on 06/26/2011:

    Played around with lengths again at store. 1/2″ 4″ + 4″ + coupler seems like it will work in lieu of 9″.

  117. Маруся on 06/27/2011:

    Хрень какая-то…

  118. Ravi on 06/27/2011:

    Just finished the shelf and have a few words of wisdom to share:

    – You definitely DO NOT need to drill holes in hardwood floors. Just go with original design and put the flanges as the floor bases. They will act as legs. If you are super concerned about your floors, just attach stick-on felt glides ($3 for a pack of 4). The shelf will be solid and non-wobbly as long as you securely attach it at the top to the wall.

    – 3/4” hole saw wasn’t large enough for the 1/2″ pipe (which, oh btw, has an internal diameter of 1/2″ and an external diameter of 3/4″). I had to go up a size and was comfortable with a 1″ hole saw.

    – Total cost was around $350-$400 all-in. This was per NYC Home Depot prices (Flushing, Queens). I think the cost of corrugated steel piping has gone up significantly since Morgan’s original post.

    – Some have asked about placing heavier items on the shelf. It is completely do-able. We are resting our 50 lb flat screen TV on the long-board. How did we do it? Just modify the design to create a cross bar underneath one of the beam segments. The design should look like an elongated letter “I” (one that’s laying flat and rotated 45 degrees) where the wood rests on the steel cross bar. Installing a cross bar will prevent the wood from bowing from the weight of the TV. This is an important precaution as pine is prone to bowing.

    – Pay attention to the height! The T’s add at least 1.5″-2″ (each!) to the overall height of the shelf. Give yourself at least 12″ of wiggle room, otherwise you will hit the ceiling. We ran into difficulties by planning for an 8.5′ finished shelf with 9′ ceilings. There wasn’t enough breathing room and we couldn’t manage the top level. Don’t repeat our mistake. Plan for wiggle room!

    – Take your time. We did it over 3 separate Saturday afternoons — washing the pipe (and removing the adhesive stains from those damn sticker labels that Home Depot puts on each pipe fitting) took a ton of time, spray painting pipes/staining wood in a small NYC apartment doesn’t go as easily/fast as it would if we had a garage or backyard, waiting for the paint/stain to fully dry took time, and installing took time. Don’t rush it.

    – Rustoleum spray paint can go on unevenly. It is better to go with several light coats than a few heavy ones. If you have blotchy patches afterwards, buy a $4 tube of Ebony Rub and Buff, and apply with a paper towel. It’s like magic shoe polish, only for metal/wood. The pipes black paint job will be smooth and even.

    – Lastly, have fun, and thank Morgan for sharing an amazing design (complete with instructions) with the rest of us!


  119. Leilani on 07/07/2011:

    I’ve bought all my supplies…now I’m wondering how well these pipes screw together. I tried to screw a couple of the pipes with the fittings and am noticing that they don’t screw all the way down…is that normal? If so, how do you get everything to screw down the same length? These shelves are fantastic, and I can’t wait to duplicate them. Thanks Brick House!

  120. Inspire Me Heather on 07/22/2011:

    Lovely shelving unit! I linked it to my shelves post too today, for inspiration! Your blog is fantastic too, I love your style!

  121. Shawn on 08/01/2011:

    anyone have any advice on what kind of bolts to use to attach at top of the wall?

  122. Wayne on 08/22/2011:

    @Leilani on July 7, 2011 > Correct. The fittings do not screw all the way in. Typically 8mm or 5/16″ on 1/2″ NB Pipe by hand. Maybe a couple of mm more with tools. The thread is tapered for pressure fittings.

  123. Karla on 09/27/2011:

    Could I use acrylic paint instead of rustoleum?

  124. Rae on 10/12/2011:

    I want to make one of these shelving units but I have a question regarding cutting pipes to length: If a longer pipe is cut down shorter, wouldn’t one end be missing a threaded end, and therefore not be able to be connected into a “T” connection?


  125. Jonathan on 11/16/2011:

    @Rae–ask them to thread the custom-cut pipe wherever you have it cut (presumably at Home Depot).

    @Karla–I’m not entirely sure, but I think you’d want to choose a latex paint so you can be sure it will bind to the metal.

    And thanks for everyone posting their own tips from their experiences building–looking forward to giving it a shot.

  126. Stephen on 11/20/2011:

    This shelving unit is pure sex. Totally building this when I move into my next home

  127. Richard on 11/21/2011:

    Based on this and Readymade, I put something similar together this weekend. Even though my floors are level, something is off. The left-most support bows out, even though each coupling is quite tight. That makes it look bad and means that some of the elbow supports do not meet the bottom back of the shelf. I think I might have been off drilling the holes since I had to push a bit to get one of the shelves down. I used a 7/8″ hole bit. I’d recommend what Ravi wrote above–using the 1” bit to get some more wiggle room. It’s pretty tight with the 7/8 bit and I obviously could have use a slightly bigger hole.

    One other thing I discovered by accident. I did not have enough 8″ inch pipes to support the underneath of the shelves, so I used 3″ pipes in some place. Still enough support and I like the variety of different lengths.

    Cool project.

  128. MP on 12/05/2011:

    Hi, does this have to be screwed down to the floor?

  129. Amanda on 01/18/2012:

    Question: I cannot drill into the wood floors of my rental apartment. Any ideas/suggestions for the base that would still be sturdy, yet non-destructive?

  130. Liz on 01/24/2012:

    I love it! Solved the problem I had with an oddly place brick fire place, we were able to work it in perfectly and now I have the rustic/industrial look I was going for, thanks for the great DIY inspiration!

  131. Kevin - Diy Dork on 01/26/2012:

    Wow. What a great looking shelving unit! I’ve been a huge fan of hardware store materials used in awesome ways. I got interested in ReadyMade mag back in college and have been doing “hardware store decor” projects like this ever since. Definitely gonna add this to my bookmarks. 🙂

  132. Marty on 02/22/2012:

    My sister sent me this from great project! I went for cheaper cdx plywood. found a building supply place in Brooklyn that sells and cuts pipe for really cheap. Total project without paint cost $150.

    The measurements were a little tricky to fit in the space I had. At the suggestion of the building supply worker I ordered some pieces cut first and then made the measurements for the open space. Things fit well enough for me 🙂

    I did start drilling holes with 1″ bit and was surprised when the 1/2″ pipes fit loose. Then I checked the article above and saw the 3/4″ suggestion. I drilled all my holes with 3/4″ bit. HEADS UP ON THAT ONE!! ended up with 3/4″ holes in the back of the wood and continued with the 1″ bit. Might have to switch out the wood if I find the inspiration.

    All in all things turned out great! My living room is a million times more organized. Now I have to take a picture for all the curious employees at the building supply store.

  133. Natalie on 02/23/2012:

    Hi Marty,

    What building supply store did you use in Brooklyn? I was planning on tackling this project and live in the area. Would love to know if you don’t mind sharing the information.

    Thanks in advance!

  134. Bridget Oaks on 02/28/2012:

    I designed something similar 2 years ago and everyone thought I was crazy. I still haven’t been able to get anyone to help me build it. Thank you so much for showing me how you did it. It’s as beautiful as I thought it would be!!!

  135. Jonathan on 03/10/2012:

    @Richard (re: bowing pipe)

    I built some as straight bookshelves, about 9 feet tall, and also initially had some bowing of the pipes. I found that securing the shelves to the wall at a couple of spots near the center of the bowing with a couple set of flanges will help keep everything straight. Remember to mark the location of the flanges at the top *after* you’ve secured the middle flanges.

    Wish I’d heard about the cheap Bklyn building supply before laying out $450 at Home Depot, but still totally worth it.

  136. tadlaw on 03/22/2012:

    Hi, I also want to know where the place in Brooklyn is that sells/cuts pipes cheap – Marty are you out there?

    This is great! I was looking on Etsy to purchase shelving units for my sons’ bedroom. I don’t need a wall unit – just a couple of shelves. I was quoted over $300 for 2 pipe shelves shipped from the midwest.

    I’m going to Lowe’s after work today to get some pipes! I think I can figure it out – my shelves will only be 36″ each. Has anyone only created independent shelves?

    Thanks for a wonderful design!

  137. Erica on 05/02/2012:

    I’m in Austin,Tx and went out to Home Depot to price out this unit. With all the pieces excluding the larger custom pipes it was already up to $225 and I hadn’t even added the paint and wood into the cost of this project! That tells me I’m looking at $350+ to build this unit. Does anyone in the area know of a place to get pipes really cheap?

  138. dimshady on 05/04/2012:

    just bought supplies this week. it’s more like 400 all in. pipe alone (from plumbing store) was 270, and wood and stains etc about 115 at HD. that’s los angeles pricing.

    question though, how deep/far in do i drill the holes in the shelves? thanks in advance.

  139. divine 174 atkins on 05/07/2012:

    nice great work i love it thats what i love about you you put your mind to work when something has to get done im a plumber so i know pipes great job

  140. Megan on 05/08/2012:

    @Amanda (and @everyone else): I would also like to know if there’s a way to do this without drilling into the floor of my rental! Any ideas, anybody?

  141. The brick house on 05/08/2012:

    You don’t need to drill into the floors. Only into the wall. It is incredibly stable that way.

  142. David W. on 05/16/2012:

    I just wanted to post some thoughts for other people trying to recreate this. Buying pipe that has already been threaded and cut will greatly increase your pipe cost, so I found a way to avoid that. Finding access to a pipe cutter and threader isn’t difficult, and you can buy 10′ sections of black pipe for pretty cheap. However, I found a pretty sweet deal at my local Ace Hardware. If I take them a list of desired pipe lengths, they’ll cut an entire order for me and charge me for the total length used, not the number of cuts. So, I was able to get every piece cut to length for about $70 after tax. That’s including some modifications (a side workstation) that require more pipe than pictured. This has really helped make my project more affordable.

  143. Lisa Kimberly on 06/05/2012:

    My husband and I are actually in the works of putting this bookshelf together (which is such a great DIY Morgan, thank you!) and we’re nearly done with all the prep work. But we’re wondering (along with a few others in the comments) how far into the shelves you drilled the holes?

  144. Danielle on 06/18/2012:

    Hello! I just finished building a very similar bookcase!!! I’m so happy with the results, but thought I’d mention mine cost about 2 1/2 times yours did. Just thought I’d give others a heads up to expect to pay more than the listed amount…

  145. hannah on 06/29/2012:

    ok i kinda like it but i just want one wooden shelf unit but i will still give you a b you still tryed your best

  146. thefolia on 07/15/2012:

    You rock! I may attempt this one in my next nest since I will be leaving behind the Herman Miller vintage shelving unit that I have been so lucky to be enjoying in my current rental.

  147. Ove on 09/09/2012:

    I made this today A Sunday in spring….. research for materials took the longest time as there is no Home Depot in australia:( but yes there is Bunnings!! Great idea, very happy with the results:)

  148. ashlie shorey on 09/12/2012:

    I love this design. I will be moving into a rental soon.. is there any way to secure this without having to drill it into the wall? Of course I want it to be sturdy, but not sure if my landlord will appreciate holes in the wall!

  149. SB on 09/27/2012:

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for to finish off my old converted mill apartment!


  150. Amber on 10/08/2012:

    Heya. Really beautiful shelving. I live in a tiny house and was trying to find IKEA shelving to help me make better use of the space when I happened upon your site. I bought all the materials back in February but for a number of reasons, I didn’t get around to building the unit until this week. I have found some flaws in the measurements because it seems you didn’t take into account the size of the tees, which add up to eight inches on the right side. I had figured that 7’6″ could fit my walls, but the until is just over eight feet when finished. I had to take the 18″ pipes in and have them cut to 10 inches (I have a corner moulding post on one side and it also had to be accommodated. Also, the longest pipe has to be 44 1/4 inches, at least on my version to level the top board — again, taking into account the tee. My house is not level or particularly squared–as I found out when putting in crown moulding and new baseboards–but even so, the measurements didn’t quite add up or at least not for me. You may have used a pipe vise to get the pipes tighter than I did.

    Thanks so much for the inspiration. Once I made the adjustments, I’m thrilled! (I also stained the boards honey oak because I wanted them to more closely match my oak floors. Without your help, the project would have been too daunting. I love everything you’ve done in your place.

    I’m not sure about protocol, but I am planning to revive my blog soon, and the first post will be about the shelving unit, among other things. I hope you don’t mind if I link to your blog.

  151. Greg Gauthier on 10/14/2012:

    What I really like about these shelves, is that they’re stylish and simple without being overly utilitarian (like bracket hangers). But mostly: they share visual weight with the objects they hold. The BOOKS and decor items are at least as important as the shelves themselves. That’s the stuff that matters.

  152. Kiwi on 10/14/2012:

    Hi! I really love this wall unit. This might be a stupid question, but do you need to drill holes into the floor? Any way to have some kind of rubber grip foot or something? Putting holes in my wood flooring is really the only thing keeping me from trying this…

  153. Catherine on 10/19/2012:

    What a fantastic thing to stumble upon this morning. Such a great idea and perfect design. So much opportuny to store and display. Thanks so much for your generousity in sharing. I’m in heaven! : )

  154. Scott H on 10/21/2012:

    Just saw this and I have to do it. I really like wood and metal together like this. thanks for the great ideas.

  155. Gabrielle on 10/24/2012:

    Love it! I have just the spot in my gym / den … the industrial look will be perfect and it seems sturdy enough for the heaviest books.
    Thank you!

  156. littlemiss on 10/25/2012:

    Hi there,

    I would love to copy this design but wasn’t sure if if the pipes were steel or pvc piping? Sorry for the stupid question!


  157. Brooke on 11/12/2012:

    Totally off topic, but I’m doing an Aztec theme in my spare room and must have that rug! Any chance you’d share where you got it?

  158. Esin on 11/15/2012:

    We just finished this shelf in a different configuration for our office in Istanbul, Turkey. We were initially really attracted to the project because of its DIY nature. However, it didn’t exactly end up being a DIY project for us. We have no Home Depot (or similar) here, where they sell steel pipes, and thread them for you. We got the pipes cut and threaded in a plumbing store (the plumbers were shocked by the notion of using the pipes as a furniture piece), and got the wood pieces from a wood supplier. The plumbers ended up installing the shelves, and kept on taking pictures. Overall price came to be around 500 dollars…We had some problems with calculating the correct pipe lengths, and some frustrations, but we’re very happy with the result now!

  159. Ayla on 12/21/2012:

    Pure genius, beautifully simple, completely adaptable, just what I’ve been looking for 🙂

  160. Scott H on 12/22/2012:

    Had to build it and I did. Turned a small never used dining room into my favorite room with aqua walls. It is my music, thinking, reading room. The fun part is finding the perfect piece for the shelves. …thanks for the idea

  161. Ariella on 01/01/2013:

    Does the 1/2″ pipe refer to the outer diameter or inside? Did you drill into studs or was anchoring enough? Thanks for the help!

  162. Kate on 01/27/2013:

    Tried to duplicate with pvc pipe, and it does not hold the structure up. The pipes that made up the bottom legs bent in half. I’m going to try metal pipes now.

  163. reed on 03/20/2013:

    did you secure to the floor with screws as well, or only to the wall? This looks awesome, solid, cool and stylish. My only fear might be screwing deck screws into hardwood floors, but maybe it would hold up well enough just secured to the wall.

  164. Marc on 04/04/2013:

    Did you screw into the floor? We’re hesitant to do that but I’m not even sure if it’s necessary. Thanks

  165. sandra on 04/09/2013:

    I love your sofa, who made it

  166. CitizenFrederick on 04/25/2013:

    Jesus H. Christ…this is such an awesome idea. Thanks for giving me my weekend project!

  167. CitizenFrederick on 04/25/2013:

    Jesus H. Christ…this is awesome. Thanks for providing my weekend project!

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  169. venky on 05/07/2013:

    Hey Morgan, the shelving job was superb. Me and my roommate are going to give it a shot. I couldn’t help but notice your couch as well. I have been looking for something similar to that one for ages. Could you tell me where you got yours from ?
    Thanks again

  170. dee on 05/07/2013:

    What kind of screws did you use?

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  172. Mark B. on 05/09/2013:

    I wanted to thank you for the inspiration to build my own shelving unit! Mine is done in the same fashion and is 10′ long and 8’6″ high. Thanks to Alex, Neal, and especially Ravi for very helpful tips. I used a 1″ hole saw for the pipe holes. Each threaded t-fitting adds about 1 1/2″ inches to the height. Take a tape measure when you go buy the fittings & pipes. I found pre-cut pipes in 8″, 12″, and 18″ so the only custom cut and threading I needed was for the four 9″ pieces. I also found that matte black spray paint was more pleasing for the pipes and fittings. Some tips I’d pass along: every step took about twice as long as I thought. It was a little more expensive than I thought (about $510 for all materials and supplies). Some sort of drying rack for the spray-painted pipes and fittings will help you a lot. I didn’t really have anything, but I envisioned just a plain board with several perpendicular dowels so the pipes can dry cleanly. Also it took some calling around and patience to get Home Depot to cut and thread the custom length pipes. Every store I went in had an “out of order” sign on the threading machine. Ask them anyway; it may just be a lazy ruse.

  173. Jason on 05/12/2013:

    Great project.

    I noticed David asked something earlier, but I haven’t seen a response. The bottom left pipe is 32″??

    If the base is 18″, the next pipe 12″, plus the 1″ tee, doesn’t that equal 31′?

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  175. Tristan ward on 05/15/2013:

    Love the shelf idea. I am trying to recreate it here in the UK but am struggling to find the base flanges. Can you give me anymore details on these of some close up pictures?

    Any help would be appreciated

    Many thanks, Tristan

  176. Evan on 06/02/2013:

    I have a space that’s roughly 54Wx82H. Any chance of executing this project within those restraints? I’m a little concerned that the 8″ given away to the tees alone wil make this look tough to pull off without feeling too cramped. Tougher still may even be the width. With each half coming in 2.25′ and the right side only a shade over a foot for each division, that doesn’t sound like a lot of breathing room. Don’t want to spend $300 to be left with something that doesn’t even look all that cool, but functions even less.

  177. Katie Joy on 06/05/2013:

    Hi there!

    I’m recreating a variation of this shelf to update my studio apartment. However, my landlord is a bit uncertain that my walls can support such a heavy shelf. I live in an old 1920s building with mostly lath and plaster walls. Once constructed, how much of the weight is being is being supported by the walls vs. resting on the floor? Before assembling my shelf, I’d love to be a bit more certain that I’m not going to tear down my wall in the process.


  178. rope cutter on 06/14/2013:

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  179. Danielle on 06/16/2013:

    H i- So much beauty!!!!!! Are these shelves capable of holding lots of books or do you think they are display only? I’ve got to find a home for my books and I haven’t found anything I love till I came across your shelves.

  180. Robin on 06/17/2013:

    Hey we used your recipe and built the shelf. It’s awesome, so thanks for the instructions! For some reason, ours cost about $400. Still worth it.

  181. Sam on 06/17/2013:

    How do you know where to place the holes in the wood?

  182. melissa on 07/11/2013:

    Where dis you buy that runner rug?

  183. yolanda on 07/20/2013:

    fantastic! another idea for my new house!

  184. ANKE on 09/06/2013:

    This looks really nice! Congratulations! I have question though, if I’m seeing this correctly from the photos, you only fix the top tubes to the wall. The horizontal supports for shelves end in an elbow which is not fixed to the wall. Is that correct? If yes, why did you put the elbow? Thanks!

  185. Ed on 09/23/2013:

    Anyone know the type of sofa? Someone mentioned blu dot but I don’t think that is correct, help!

  186. Kara on 09/30/2013:

    I’m ready to do this! When I screw my pipe into the fitting it doesn’t seem to screw all the way down. Anyone else run into this? All my parts are 1/2…

  187. Heather on 10/25/2013:

    Love this and I’m planning on doing something similar. I can’t tell from the pictures but did the pipe you used thread into the tees and elbows completely or is there still thread showing? I was experimenting and found that about 1/2 of thread was still showing. Thanks!

  188. Rich H on 11/06/2013:

    Very clean look. Love what you have done. Would look great in any room. Thanks
    Rich H

  189. Steff Reyes on 12/26/2013:

    So awesome! it seems not so expensive. If you are not satisfy the outcome then try contact Touch Point World Wide. They provide a different aspects of any retail environment from the most complex designs, constructed from a rich array of materials.

  190. GATICA on 12/31/2013:

    Thank you for being the only website to actually put a step by step instruction for this project. I looked at web page after web page for one. Beautiful job too!!

  191. Skylar on 01/03/2014:

    Is it possible to do this without drilling into the floor?

  192. krishipolymers on 01/10/2014:

    The CPVC pipes are the best options for your plumbing problems. These pipes are resistant to corrosion and they can be used as hot water and cold water pipes.

  193. helena on 01/22/2014:

    I loved it so much, same question as Danielle. I need it as a bookshelf. Should I setup another set of pipes on the back?
    I need to setup shelves every 1″ 1/4 up to 7 rows. Is that too much weight for the front pipes only?
    Thanks for your advice

  194. Jamie Siever on 01/29/2014:

    Did you screw the anchors into the studs in the wall?

  195. Elena Montano on 04/02/2014:

    Since my bedroom walls are made of drywall, would it be okay to screw the base flanges from floor-ceiling instead?

  196. David on 04/09/2014:

    This has inspired me! I am building something similar this week. Did you screw the feet into the ground? We have a rental appt and were a little hesitant to do so.

  197. David on 06/18/2014:

    Nice shelves indeed!. Any chance of getting a couple of close-up shots? Of the drilled shelves and how they sit on the flanges underneath. And did Home Depot also put a thread on the pipes they cut for you?


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  199. Helen in CA on 07/23/2014:

    Heads up. This project was made in 2009. Helping my daughter do shelves like this and it cost beaucoup more $$. Still awesome, just you’re gonna want an estimate 1st re: cost.

  200. Autumn on 09/05/2014:

    Hi there! This is awesome. I was wondering how big that largest opening is?? I am wanting to do this in my living room and need an opening large enough for the tv.

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  202. Erika on 09/29/2014:

    I love this idea. I’m trying to come up with a solution that would allow some flexibility with shelf spacing. Do you think pipe clamps below the T joints might be strong enough to hold the shelf in place without having to thread the main post? Not sure if that makes sense…

  203. Hannah on 10/18/2014:

    I have to ask where you got that Navajo runner rug. I’ve been looking forever for something just like that.

  204. Amanda Foltz on 12/16/2014:

    Sorry if this has been addressed but I have been wanting this something like this. After looking over your specs I realized it would fit perfectly in my art loft nook. If I take your supply list and follow suit exactly do you think I would run into any problems? How do you like it still? Is there anything I should know before emarking in on this project?

  205. Sandra Fogler on 12/24/2014:

    I’m going to make this to replace the little pine board book case I made when I returned to college in 2001.

    Going to try a hack, of using electrical conduit, instead of iron pipe; partly for cost and also for weight on our hardwood floors.

    Will post a pic when it’s done, and thank you!

  206. Sandra Fogler on 12/27/2014:

    Seller on eBay that has free shipping for orders > $50. When I did a project cost comparison, this was about HALF of Home Depot cost for the pipe and fittings. HD charges for threading, so if you can use the pre-cut lengths in your design, that will save.

    Also wondering if the pipe and fittings can be joined just by using a joint putty, instead of needing threaded ends….that would also save a LOT, as you can get a 10 ft. length of pipe for about $13 then cut it into needed lengths….any thoughts?

  207. Sandra Fogler on 12/28/2014:

    Also, check on Craigslist in your area for an independent lumber contact….I found a guy selling 12″ deep boards for only $1.10 a foot, which again, is about half of the price of Home Depot!

    I’m making a six-shelf bookcase, 54″ wide, not the full wall unit. Total for me to make this, minus stain, which I already have, will be about $120.

    Could barely buy a ready made set for that price, and these will have much more character!

  208. Nancy Dyson on 02/11/2015:

    How much did this project cost all said and done?

  209. Tracy Berry on 03/16/2015:

    This room looks so amazing! Thank a lot for sharing this interesting and helpful article! Regards! Elm Park Carpet Cleaning Ltd.

  210. Dani on 06/09/2015:

    I hope you’ll see my comment! But I would love to use the bottom shelf as my studio space, do you think if I put a wider piece of wood in there so the space I could work in would be deeper make it unstable? Would I need to adjust the size of the pipping?

  211. Jackie on 07/16/2015:

    Trying to understand how the piping lines up with the 3 way ties and elbows? On the far left you have 32 + 43 + 18 (=93 In) with two boards. but on the other 3 posts you have 18+12+30+12+18 (=90) With four boards. Not understanding the math. Can you help?

  212. Andy on 11/04/2015:

    I’m not understanding the math on the bottom row. I modeled this up in Catia using models from McMaster Carr, and I can’t get things to line up.
    On the LHS, if you Take the 32+2.24 (Tee height) minus .53 (thread engagement) =33.18 and compare it to 18-.53+2.24-.53+12=31.18. I am off by 2 inches. For the entire height, I am off by about .64, which I guess you could make up for in how far you screw in the pipe.

  213. Andy on 11/04/2015:

    Sorry…bottow row calc is off by more than 2 inches. S/B 33.71 compared to 31.18

  214. Andy on 11/04/2015:

    Ok, one more shot at this. For the top of the Ts on the bottom row
    32 vs
    What am I missing?

  215. Thomas on 01/02/2016:

    I would like to point out that not only is this DIY pretty awesome, but I am even more in love with how you styled your shelves. I want every single thing you have on there!

  216. Tim on 01/14/2016:

    So inspirational! I’m making one myself, and I’m downsizing it a bit. Thank you to everyone who has built one and is sharing their comments, sure is helpful!!!

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  218. Ryan on 02/25/2016:

    Have a quick question – what were the locations of the holes you drilled? How far from the edge?

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  220. Loren on 12/01/2016:

    I just want to say how impressed I am with your design perspective and follow through. This piece looks absolutely stunning, and while “industrial” looks simultanesly refined – a difficult task indeed.

    I’m debating taking on this project myself, the research phase led me to your blog. It was smart to use thin boards and 1/2 inch piping, it gives it a more modern, sleek look.

    I love your blog, thank you for taking the time to share!

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