For those of you not familiar with the Château Enginerd story, our brand new home was designed with a few low cost features that were poorly executed and not to our liking. The wireframe pantry we got, which was small to begin with, wasn’t optimized for storage so we decided to give it a cheap makeover to improve function and style. The finished product was more on the country style side than modern/contemporary but it fit well with the industrial style decor. We gained 44″ x 4″ extra storage space per shelf too which doesn’t sound like much but made a huge difference.
The makeover required that we reuse as much of the pantry’s existing brackets and rails as we could. To achieve this goal we removed the wireframe catch ears from the back of the shelf brakcets to get a nice smooth surface for the new wood shelves. Because the depth of the shelves had to be 16″, we purchased 3/4″ oak plywood and had the Lowe’s staff rip it for us from a 4 ft x 8ft sheet. Bad idea! The bandsaw ripped through the wood nicely but it chipped the edges of the wood veneer layer. The fix would require a couple of extra cuts with a 100 circular saw blade which would rob us of coveted surface space. Ugh. For the sake of saving time we went another route: Dollar Tree Contact Paper.
I bought a roll for each shelf to cover the sides and top leaving the wood exposed on the bottom. The winter weather made staining it a no go, and since I was in a hurry we opted for this option even though it wasn’t perfect. The only place this strategy bit us was with the top shelf but we had extra contact paper and fixed it! (Flipping the coated shelf works too if you don’t want to cover the entire shelf with the paper.) We screwed the brackets onto the wood with 3/4″ wood screws in two places, 3 brackets per shelf, and added a few Ikea drawers to use the open space underneath the top middle shelf. We had wire baskets too from Ikea but the brackets ate up the real estate we needed to make them fit. 😦
The cost came to about $50 bucks for a 3/4″ oak plywood sheet. If you get a thinner material it will save you some buckaroos. The Ikea drawers were $5 each and the contact paper was $1 each (we used 5). Shelving brackets can range between $2 and $$$. If you don’t have an existing rail system you can purchase one or find used ones at Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity for cheap!