TORONTO | LITTLE BUNGALOW

lack hack

a few years ago, still in the apartment, we’d bought three floating lack shelves from ikea (two black-brown, one white) for the wall that separated our everything else-room from our kitchen. they worked out perfectly for us, holding keys, a wooden menagerie from africa, and tea-lights that were never to be lit lest they set fire to the shelf above. they must have looked pretty nice too, because shortly after our annual apartment-inspection, we spotted our superintendent’s wife pulling her own floating shelf set out of the back of a taxi.

after moving into our house a little over a year ago, the white shelf went up above the clothing rod in our bedroom closet and the two black-brown ones went downstairs as i toyed with the idea of craigslisting them.

see, normally i don’t hang on to anything i’m not using — whether i’ve inherited that trait from my father (who throws away anything not nailed to the walls or floors), whether it’s a byproduct of spending a number of years living in a one-bedroom apartment, or it’s just my contribution to the war on clutter, i couldn’t tell you. but when we decided to attempt to makeover our mudroom without spending any money, i was sure glad i’d decided to hang on to these.

the shelves are the 43 1/4″ wide variety, and the real estate between our masonry wall in the mudroom and our back door is 46″ so they fit perfectly. but before pierre hung them i wanted to customize them for the space and paint them black to match the kitchen door. (because they were black-brown before, which just wouldn’t do.)

ikea hackers recommended a shellac-based primer, so i picked up a quart of b-i-n shellac-base primer by zinsser for $16 at home hardware. this was the only money we spent on our mudroom makeover, and i already have a handful of other projects that can make use of the leftover primer. and then i primed with a small roller:

two coats of black satin on all sides and the shelves were ready to hang! i plan on adding our third shelf (still in our bedroom closet) to the wall in the mudroom for additional shoe storage eventually — probably once the weather is warmer and we pull our summer shoes out of the basement.

i have also seen a lot of rooms where people have painted their lack shelves the same colour as the wall they’re mounted to, to great effect. i didn’t try that in here because i love the black paint and also thought black would be the most forgiving colour for storing outdoor shoes on the shelves, but we have two of the smallest floating white lack shelves (11 3/4″ wide) acting as nighttables in our bedroom. when i get around to painting our bedroom later this year i think i will prime and paint the small shelves to match the wall colour and see how that looks.