As long as we live in the city, space will be an issue. Yes, yes, I know, people in New York – I have no right to complain about this, but I just did. And so it was time to deal with the big blank wall opposite our kitchen. Because our house in narrow, we had to keep any organizing system from jutting out too much. The way I saw it, our two options were a Julia Child inspired peg board wall, or shelves. I worried that a peg board wall could look messy, but floating or bracketed shelves seemed like a safe and unobtrusive choice. We headed to Philadelphia Salvage Co. to see what kind of interesting options we could come up with.
This was our first time at Philadelphia Salvage Co. I am not exaggerating when I say that stepping into the chilly warehouse on Carpenter St. is a religious experience. One whole wall is covered with old doors. Another with salvaged wood. Old sinks, light fixtures, and iron grates share the room with beautiful wooden desks, big old mirrors, and even a few toilets. Every corner is full of old boxes and drawers full of hinges, knobs, and broken tiles. As I made my way around, pausing at times to wipe the drool from my face, I caught up with our friend Peter who pointed out some long narrow boxes. It took us a minute to figure out that they were organ pipes, and that they would make the perfect floating shelves. We got four for $200 and headed to the hardware store. There are many ways to hang floating shelves, but we wanted to hang ours with minimal damage to the organ pipes and the wall. If you are hanging shelves that are intended to hold more weight, you will need to use brackets or a more sturdy system. Here is what we ended up doing:
What you need:
- Picture Hanging System
- Organ Pipes or other repurposed item
- Wood Polish and Conditioner (same as what I used to clean up my old truck)
- Power drill (mine is one of the cheaper ones from Home Depot
- Extra anchor screws
- paper towels
- Stud finder
- Measuring tape
- Furniture pads
- A hammer
- A pencil
- Clean wood with gentle polish and let sit for 20 minutes to allow wood to soak in oil
- Plan out placement of shelves on the wall.
- Screw the top bracket into the shelf using provided screws from the picture hanging system kit. Use a measuring tape to make sure that the bracket is centered and a level to make sure it is even.
- Use a stud finder to see if there are any studs along your wall and mark the spot with a pencil if you find any. If you can, hang your shelf on at least one stud to really secure the shelf.
- Using a tape measure and level, locate where you will hang the lower bracket of the hanging system. This is a two person job. While one person holds the bracket in place, the other can check to see that it is level. Then, using a pencil, make a mark at each hole in the bracket.
- Hammer anchors into every other spot that you just marked except if the mark is over a stud. We used heavy duty anchors on the ends since we were worried about how flimsy the anchors that came with the kit were.
- Place the bracket over the anchors, and using the power drill screw in the screws. This could also be done by hand with a screw driver, but that would take forever.
- Line up the upper and lower brackets and slip the upper bracket into the lower bracket.
- If needed, place some similarly colored furniture pads on the bottom corners of the shelf to help push the bottom of the shelf away from the wall (to ensure that the shelf is flat on top).
And that is really all there is to it! Of course you may realize that you placed a bracket too high on the wall which necessitates redoing the whole thing (like us), but if you plan it out well before hand this is a painless and easy project. Especially if you are sharing good brews with friends while doing it (H&H does not recommend the use of power tools while consuming alcohol). Josh also came up with this cute idea to keep plastic bags inside the organ pipes. They are hidden from view once the end is put back on.
These shelves are functional, but also great for displaying things like our maté collection!
Two of the pipes had hooks on the back, which I imagine were used to keep them in place while they were part of an organ. As pictured below, we moved the hooks to the front of the pipes so they would be usable. We’re pretty excited about how well this worked out!
I never said connecting every cocktail to a project would be easy, but it is always fun. For this cocktail I turned to history for guidance. The Organ finds it’s origin in Ancient Greece, and the word organ comes from the Greek word for tool or instrument: organon. I was searching around for something Greek when I came across The William Burrough. Unlike the Organ, this drink does not have origins in Greece. What intrigued me about it is that it boasts a bar spoonful of Greek yogurt. Your initial reaction may be similar to Melissa’s. But stay with me. This drink is anything but unappetizing.
This cocktail is brought to you by Death To Sour Mix. As soon as you finish reading this, head directly to this website. Do not stop at go to collect $200. It is a blog for us to aspire to, and for you to drool over. Raul, the founder of Death to Sour Mix, got this unique recipe from The Baldwin: a craft cocktail bar found inside an amazing sounding Chinese restaurant outside of Boston.
- 1 1/2 oz London dry gin
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz Earl Grey Tea syrup*
- 1 bar spoon (1 tsp) of Greek yogurt
- 10 drops orange blossom water
*pour 2 oz of water and earl grey tea bag into a pyrex. Microwave until boiling (about 1 minute). Add 2 oz of sugar and microwave for another minute. Stir until dissolved.
Shake ingredients in shaker with ice until your arm tires, or the shaker becomes too cold to hold. The Baldwin suggests double straining this drink, which means to use a Hawthorne strainer and a tea strainer to make sure that no ice chips get into the drink.
Although Melissa remains dubious, this drink was a surprising success. The yogurt balances the floral sweetness of the orange blossom water and the Earl Grey tea syrup with a tangy kick. This drink isn’t one to be sipped mindlessly. It’s an experience I hope to repeat soon.