Design Ideas: Nook Shelves

Many old houses in Greenpoint have an old chimney shaft sticking out into the room leaving little nooks on each side. My apartment has one closet and not much cabinet space, leaving me no room for a pantry. For a while I stuck an ugly ill assembled Ikea cabinet in the nook, but everyone made fun of me for it.

I decided to put custom shelves in the nook instead. I called upon the impeccable carpentry services of local artist and carpenter Scott Chasse (WEBCATS!) and he came over, took a few measurements and came back and installed these awesome shelves.
From an organizational standpoint, I put all things I need accessible at short human level, with heavier things like canned tomatoes at the bottom. Behind the cans, I hide less attractive pantry items. We have a tendency to come home from the store and just dump everything on this shelf. I find cameras on it, batteries, bike lights, etc. It will get messy, so stay on top of it. But, how sweet is that corona beer koozie?

If you have an extensive cake plate collection, take them out of your closet and put them to good use. I put a spice carousel on top of my pink Fishes Eddy cake plate for easy access, and it leaves space underneath for jars of spices I use more of, like Bay Leaf. Salt and pepper shakers make cute decorations to fill in holes. Old spice jars make cool decorations, too. We found that old Pathmark “Italian Seasoning” jar way in the back of Jon’s parents pantry along with expired cans of tuna from the 70s. We did an impromptu photo shoot and made this poster. Our favorite is the TNT popcorn (bottom right).

The attractive retro tins store flour and tea, but you can shove crumpled half full bags of rice and beans in, too. There is room behind the tins to hide extra bags of sugar and flour.

Third shelf up is where I put cookbooks and bird guides, close to the kitchen and window for easy access. I picked up those ceramic mug book ends at the little shack called The Perfect Nothing Catalog in the back of Domestic Construction (216 India St). The old coffee carafe is repurposed as a terrarium and stacked wooden bowls fill in vertical space.

The old tin cans on the shelf above contain such things as jar lids and pectin for canning and Jon’ weird dried camping food, which we don’t access on a regular basis. Behind is more storage for molasses, syrup, food coloring and other baking items I break out during the holidays. To the right is another large jar turned terrarium with moss we found on a hike in the Poconos. Luxury.

Top shelf is totally out of reach so I use it for purely decorative items or those that I don’t want my evil cat to destroy. I found that sweet metal airplane on the street and picked up that green eagle whisky bottle for $7 in Florida. Another terrarium topped with a creepy doll head sits next to a $1 eagle cookie cutter I picked up at The Brooklyn Kitchen. The race car is from Grandma’s attic.

What is fun about this functional storage space is that it makes organization time feel like decorating time and it’s always changing with new fun stoop sale finds and pantry items.

About Jen G

After living in NYC my entire life, I found the strongest sense of community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Running this blog is truly an honor and the best part is meeting its readers in real life. Everyday I am energized by smiles and inspiring conversations with fellow Greenpointers who tirelessly do and create incredible things that are good for our community and share the same love I have for life here. If you see me walking with my little dog "D" - please say hi!

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