DIY Floating Kitchen Shelves and Tutorial | Kitchen Update!

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He said I couldn't paint I took them down :) 

That's essentially how this story unfolds. I've lived with these cabinets for almost 14 years now, and have hated them. I keep being told that they are beautiful and don't paint wood, etc. And I would agree with that to an extent. They are beautiful, but I was never a fan of them paired with the black counters. The counters made them appear way to orange. Changing out counters are not in my budget...and haven't been for those 14 years. So, instead...I've made as many small changes as I could without "painting" the cabinets to get the look I wanted in here. Here's the before....mainly because you have to see this first to appreciate the after :) 
And here's the after! 

Many projects have happened in here....slowly throughout the years, to get this how it is today. My husband has always said, "don't paint the cabinets". When he was gone at SWAT school for a week a couple of years ago, I decided to paint the island. What did he say? Pretty much nothing. For reals. Which I'm not sure was a good thing or a bad thing. It's just how he is. But, it seriously made the biggest difference in here....until I wanted more :)

This past spring I decided to add some faux brick to the wall under the cabinets. I actually loved it. It was a simple and cheap change that helped me not completely hate the space. A couple of years ago I had an idea to take down one of the cabinets and add open shelving. The idea didn't go far, since I couldn't convince my husband of taking down that much storage....until one day, somehow, he said yes and that he would even help me take them down! When he said yes so quickly, I decided then why not take both of them down :) 

So, without hesitation and fear he would change his mind and that I would end up doing it myself another week that he may be gone...I hopped on the opportunity. Here's the after of this space real quick, with a similar before angle below:
Little did I realize how domineering these cabinets were! They were huge and taking up a lot of visual space. I never realized that then, but sure do notice the difference of having them gone now. 
Here's the look with one of the cabinets taken down. You would be surprised and how not a ton really holds the cabinets up :/ .... at least mine! This little cabinet on the right had two large screws into studs, and then 2 screws into the left cabinet. That's it. The amount of stuff I had in the cabinet was intense, so it's surprising that it never fell! ....and likewise for the big cabinet on the left. That held all of my coffee mugs, bowls and plates. This one had four screws as you can see below...that's it! 

You can see from this picture the original color of the wall. Those cabinets with that color, was just awful. I painted the wall white about 9 or so years ago in hopes it would take out the orangeness of the cabinets...and it did a little.
Another interesting find that I seriously never noticed. Is that even though this left cabinet jutted out about 3 to 4 inches from the right one, it was actually the same depth. (my mind was seriously blown) I always thought that cabinet was deeper and that's why I had my plates in it....never even tried once to put them in the other cabinet. The left cabinet's screws went into these 2x4s, which were in the studs. That's what gave it the illusion of being a deeper cabinet. 
So, now I was left with this mess. I wanted to see how the faux brick wallpaper would look all the way up before I went with something more permanent. So, I had to start from scratch with it again, and take this all down.
Even though this will be changed in the near future, it has brought a ton of character and texture that I have been wanting in here. Also, on that note, my husband and I have yet to agree upon a backsplash. He mentioned he would like white washed brick at one point, so I took it and ran. That's how this wall paper came see how I liked it, and to see if he would say anything about it :) I think eventually I'll add some vertical shiplap here instead now that the whole wall is exposed.
Okay...getting back to the diy floating shelf tutorial. These are very similar to the ones I made in my bathroom years ago, but instead, I used a 1x10s for the top and bottom, and 1x3s for the "apron" around it. I don't need to mention how expensive this was compared to how cheap my bathroom ones were years ago seeing that wood prices have shot up. But, I had sticker shock. Each of these 1x10s were about $20 each and it pained me to pay this much when my bathroom floating shelves were like $10 total.
After cutting the 1x10s to the wanted length which was about 53", I cut the side 1x3 pieces and secured them to the ends of the 1x10 with wood glue and 1 1/2 brad nails. 
I then took the the length of the whole piece from 1x3 to 1x3 and cut the front 1x3 to the size. I secured it in the same fashion. So the two sides and fronts have a 1x3 but not the back. The back is empty and will got against the wall.
And how did I put them on the wall? Well....a little different way than I have ever done. I wanted the shelves to not be so thick, and I knew I would need to make an adjustment on how they hung. So I ultimately decided on these little guys after trying two other ways. These are 8" designed to hold shelves up to 10". 
I placed one in every stud along the wall and slid the shelf onto it....
...that being said...I wanted to add more security so I even had one placed on the wall to the left. The only stud was rather tight to the corner. So since I had already made the shelves at this point with that 1x3 at the end, I ended up drilling a hole in the same location that the hardware would go through.
I then just pushed it through the whole and slide the shelf on down. I did this to every shelf. The bottom shelf even got two since it seemed a little wonky on the left. 

Once I was happy with the look. Yes, after I put them up :) I took them back down and sanded them and painted them to match the cabinets as closely as I could. This helped tie the shelves into the rest of the kitchen.

Now for reference for those of you looking to do this. I had no idea how much space I wanted or needed between the shelves or where to start above my counter. So, I just guessed. Here's what it ended up being. The bottom shelf is 19" from the counter. The distance between each shelf is 12". It ended up working out nicely, although there was one thing that wouldn't fit and would have it it was 13" instead. But that was okay to give up :)

As much as I wanted to paint the shelves white. I didn't. My husband even told me I should paint them white. I still didn't. I didn't want these to appear out of place. The stain wasn't much, literally. When I was applying it, I was wondering if it even changed the color at all. Once they were up, I noticed that much it did it was totally worth it.

So many people have told me, even my kids, and I totally agreed that my kitchen didn't match the rest of the house when the cabinets were up. I feel like this has helped tie it in a little bit :) Here's the corner view from my dining room.
Now for what is actually on the shelves. Everything on here was hidden in my cabinets! I knew when making this decision that my dishes would look great out here since they were all pretty much white anyway. I did have to move the color kids dishes to my corner cabinet, but I just pulled out other white dishes from there for the switch. Also, all the dishes on here are things we use. Sometimes these shelves are a little bit more empty when there's a full load in the dishwasher....or a full sink :) That is the reason why I did add a few decor pieces. So, when the dishes are dirty, the shelves still have a little something pretty on them. 

Underneath the shelf, I added my crock full of wood utensils along with a cutting board. I found this french mustard crock at a vintage shop and moved it over here. The vintage inspired marmalade crock was a recent find. It came so much bigger than I had anticipated, but I'm still happy with it. It now acts like a secondary utensil holder. 

I added these vintage inspired framed canvas paintings to help make these shelves feel a little more like an English kitchen. I wanted to add the darker paintings to tie in the black counters (links below picture). 

I found this awesome metal plate rack a year or so ago, and never had a place to use it...until now! I am putting it to good use holding almost all of my plates. This took some weight off the shelves and also just makes it easier to grab a plate!

We cut our boxwoods in the backyard, so I decided to grab some of those sprigs and sprinkle it throughout the shelves in vases that are only occasionally used. 

Here's the entrance into the kitchen now. Along with the shelves, I also added some antique furniture elements above the sink. I'm not sure what they are, maybe an old table apron or from a crib? Either way, I love them up here. From the very first photo of the before, you can also see that I added a pendant light. No electrician needed :) That light just plops right into the current can light. I have them a couple of places in my house, and love them! You can see all of types of lights here >>>

Here's another view into my dining room from the kitchen. The shelves definitely opened up this space so much where before the cabinets just seemed so big!
So here's a list of updates that have happened in here since I moved it....14 years in the making!
Wall and ceiling painted white.
Valance switched out with ruffle valance 
Pendant light added
Board and batten added to island
Faux brick backsplash added
Floating shelves installed

Although this may seem like a big change from the before and after, it really wasn't. Just a few diy projects that got me here! And you know what's next??? Well, believe it or not, I'm pretty sure I got the go-ahead to painting the bottom cabinets white. :) Yeah, I know. What?! So, I'll be going with the two tone look from a little bit. White on bottom, wood on top. What do you think? I may also just try to tone down the yellow/orange in my current cabinets to blonde or medium brown. ....feel like I'm talking about hair here! lol

I snapped this at dusk the other night, and just love the lamps glow in here now! 
This kitchen has been the most hated room in my house for so many years. When the American Farmhouse Style featured my home in their Christmas issue a few years back, I hated that I didn't have a kitchen magazine worthy! Serious. It was the only common space in my house not in the spread. So, getting it just that much closer to at least match the rest of my house and be happy when coming in here is a big improvement! I wish I could just go in and gut the whole thing and start over, but I can't and I won't. Some people can do that, but I'm just one of those people who take what they have and improve upon it little by little until it's something I'm happy with :) 

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happy DIYing! Alicia