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On a recent visit to the annual Design Harvest we sipped hot cider, perused hand-made and custom furniture and made a quick pass through Urban Remains, where a small sidewalk sale happening.

This little bright blue toolbox caught our eye immediately. While the original $75 price tag was staggering, the sidewalk sale price of $30 was much easier to swallow. We had a few bucks burning a hole in our pocket, so home with us it came. We weren’t initially sure of the purpose it would serve, but we knew we’d come up with something. We seem to have developed a strange attraction to rusty industrial boxes lately, huh?

We toyed with a few ideas on the drive home, and at one point, Kim suggested a catch all on our console table, but we quickly realized it was much too big for that. But when we returned home, we easily discovered the perfect use for the box. Our old lazy susan booze storage system was getting a bit tired (you can see it tucked in the countertop right here, although we must have been low on, um, drink supplies at the time!), and the idea for the Booze Box was born! There was just one slight problem – the lid lacked any sort of mechanism to keep it from flopping all the way backwards when open.

Off to Home Depot we went, to scoop up a couple feet of #16 Jack Chain and a small bag of coarse threaded machine screws and nuts; we chose #6-32 1/2″, as it was the largest size that would fit through the loop of the chain. Total cost for additional supplies was around $3.

Home Depot will happily cut the chain to length for free, but since we weren’t sure of the exact length, we brought the whole thing home and used some snips to cut it to fit the project.

I then marked the spot where we wanted to drill the holes, and used a small drill bit on the highest speed setting to poke a few holes in the box.

After holes were drilled in each side of the box and lid, we looped the chain over the screws and hand tightened the nuts.

Only one chain was probably necessary, but we decided to utilize both sides of the box for symmetry’s sake. Here it is in all it’s industrial, paint chipped glory. As you can see, this is simple enough to work out as a cost-effective solution to any box whose lid won’t stay put.

We’re really happy with how it turned out, and it really adds a bit of cheerful color to an otherwise dark corner of the kitchen. The old, pine lazy susan has since been donated to our local non-profit thrift shop.

We love the contrast of the smooth perfect glass bottles against the hard-edged, imperfect box. Has anyone else repurposed an industrial tool box to hold something unexpected? Spill the goods!

  • Jacki - October 15, 2012 - 8:39 AM

    Absolutely love this project! Now I need to go find an industrial toolbox to shamelessly borrow your idea :)ReplyCancel

  • Kat B. - October 15, 2012 - 9:01 AM

    Liquor, cooking oils, unrefrigerated sauces/syrups . . . this box project has infinite possibilities! Pinned to my “When I Feel Like Martha Stewart” board. ~ KatReplyCancel

  • Heather - October 15, 2012 - 10:34 AM

    This is really cute, although we could never fit all of our liquor into it. Embarrassingly, we’d probably need something the size of a suitcase. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jimmy - October 16, 2012 - 11:19 PM

    I’ll be honest, when I saw the first picture I thought “booze box – oh, perfect it has a place for a little lock on there.”

    My kids are way too young for me to be worrying about them swiping booze out of the liquor cabinet, but I know it’s going to happen one day. I’ve concluded that I’ll do what I can to try to stop them, but at the end of the day I will just beg them not to re-fill with water the share they’ve taken, lest they ruin the whole bottle (as I now understand I did more times than I care to admit). Teenagers. Ugh.

    Anyway, definitely like what you did there. I also like how you can look at that box and think “is it time to work? or time to drink?”ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 17, 2012 - 8:42 AM

      Jimmy, great points! (And too funny.)ReplyCancel

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When we picked up these finds from The City Flea, we told you we had a plan for each. The frame will be used as – get this – a frame (she’s actually in her new home, and she’s beautiful – more on that next week!), but the metal crate? It’s now being used to house our shoes. Practical, but cute too.

We have (scratch that - had) a serious where do we put our shoes? problem in this house, partially out of laziness, but mostly because it’s so annoying to bring our outside shoes all the way down the hall and back in our closets. I mean, can you just imagine how far that feels? (Ha!) For the most part, we each leave a pair outside our front door (I’m sure our neighbors must love us!), but it’d been normal to find a few of my kicks strewn in the hallway. Yup, even type-A me can slip – and it drove Scott crazy.

So! We picked up 4 small casters (you know we love those), a coir mat, and a couple packs of machine screws/nuts from the hardware store. I know almost nothing about how to select the proper size screw, but I can tell you that we simply took our caster and did a quick dry fit to find out we needed 2 packs of #10-24 x 1/2″ – enough for 16 screws/nuts total. The size will vary based on what casters you pick out, of course.

First, we flipped our crate over and eyeballed the placement of our casters, marking where our screws would need to go. We knew you wouldn’t be able to see the casters once the crate was in place (due to the placement of the vent holes on the bottom), so we just nudged them as far out as we could for balance.

Scott drilled our 16 holes (4 for each caster), and we secured the casters in place with the screws and nuts. We chose to have the end of the screw poke up and through the bottom of our bin, because we knew we’d be covering them with our coir mat.

About the mat: because we’d be using this for our shoe storage, we cut down a coir mat to fit the base of our crate. This will be helpful on rainy/snowy days, allowing our shoes to drain. To cut it to size, I flipped it over, made my measurements, and made several passes with my utility blade. The trick to getting a clean edge and keeping yourself safe is to make many “soft” cuts until you feel your blade go all the way through.

That’s it! We dubbed it the “Shoe Box” (because we seem to need a name for everything around here) and tucked it under our entryway console. You can tell that it’s virtually impossible to see our casters, but it’s nice to be able to slide this guy around if needed – you know, because, why not?

The fall weather has me stashing my every day boots for now, and although this photo might not make it seem like it, we can actually fit my boots and a pair of Scott’s shoes, too.

And, oh yeah, we replaced our entry rug! After pinning a few ideas, we settled on the 2′x3′ Kite Kilim during West Elm’s rug sale. While we loved our DIY FLOR for the last few years, it had been abused by Jack, the girls and us daily. Because it was right next to the front door, it was constantly filthy – even though I spot cleaned it weekly. In addition, our new living room FLOR is much larger than our previous shaggy rug, and with all the carpeted hardwood, well, everything just felt too, uh, ruggy.

We finally surrendered our idea of the big, grand entry rug, and we realized it made more sense to have a small rug as an anchor to our console. To be honest, we’re still getting used to the smaller scale, so we’ll live with it for a while and see how it goes. Nothing has to be permanent; isn’t that the best part of loving your home?

Try as I might (and because everything in our home is mini-sized) it’s impossible to take a photo of our console/crate/rug straight on (I can’t stand back far enough to get everything in the frame) – that is, unless, I shoot from outside our front door. Of course as soon as I opened the door, Jack took this as a sign we’d be going on a w-a-l-k, so he wouldn’t budge. On the up side, he weasled his way into a post on our Shoe Box. The ridiculous neck-stretch-air-sniff is due to our neighbor’s yummy cooking; the scent fills the entire main hall!

Shoe woes: solved! No more throngs of sneakers on our welcome mat, and no more agony (ugh!) over having to tote our shoes to our closets.

How do you stash yours? We wonder if living in one unit of a larger building makes this harder; by keeping one or two pairs outside our door, our neighbors have to see them everyday, too. What are the unspoken rules?

PS: When it comes to discarding your old FLOR, did you know you can recycle them? Sweet.

  • Lindsey d. - October 12, 2012 - 7:50 AM

    Love the crate! I have a very similar backdoor shoe holder, thanks to a $6 antique soft drink crate. Even when I don’t always manage to get my shoes into it (or they overflow), it gives me incentive to keep my pile of footwear at the backdoor a bit neater. Love it!

    http://slowtrier.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/wordless-wednesdays-6-antique-store-find-running-shoe-holder/ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - October 12, 2012 - 10:28 AM

    Oh, you guys are so cool. It’s perrrrfect. We had a serious shoe problem by our door. Like, 10 pairs at a time. I don’t even know where they all came from! We went with the slim shoe storage from Ikea which has been working like a charm, but it definitely isn’t as charming as this.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - October 12, 2012 - 11:05 AM

    I’m from the Grand Rapids area….lovin the crate!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - October 12, 2012 - 12:10 PM

    We are trying to rehab an old dresser. We have a TON of shoes and they always end up in a pile.ReplyCancel

  • emily @ go haus go - October 12, 2012 - 12:50 PM

    I love all the Cincinnati mentions on this blog! The Foxy Shazam shirt is the icing on the cake.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 14, 2012 - 1:40 PM

      Lindsey, what a great find!

      Emily, bravo for mentioning Foxy! Scott and I fight over who gets to wear that shirt all the time. We hope you’ve had a chance to see them live – they are TOO much!

      Thanks, guys!ReplyCancel

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Now that our living room windows (+ 1 smaller kitchen window) have been dressed in shades, we were able to move forward with curtains. While Scott insisted he had grown to like the look of the clean, open windows sans curtains, I pointed out that not only would the curtains hide our speakers, but they’d allow us to add some extra height to that side of the room, balancing out our media wall on the opposing side. Here’s where we left off:

For a handful of weeks, we argued over curtains vs. none, until we came to an agreement that we could both get on board with. We’d move forward with the curtains, but we’d balance them out with an industrial touch; Scott would get a streamlined look, and I’d get the soft texture from the panels. For inspiration, we turned to the studio paper pipes. The plan? One giant pipe – à la these guys from West Elm (but at a fraction of the cost!):

We’ve mentioned that our living room window is over 100″ wide, so we picked up a 1/2″ x 10′ galvanized steel pipe (aka: nipple; seriously, who names these things? And yes, I couldn’t contain my 10 year old giggle fit just like the last time) and had it cut down to 112″ at Home Depot – leaving around 6″ on either side of the window for overhang.

In addition, we bought two 1/2″ 90-degree elbows, two 1/2″ floor flanges and two 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ galvanized steel pipes, erm, nipples. They piece together like a puzzle, and we did so in the exact same way we made our paper pipes – see here for full details.

The above pieces would act as our curtain rod “arms,” allowing the rail to protrude from the wall far enough for our curtains to hang nicely past the windowsill. Depending on how far your windowsill sticks out (if at all), you simply purchase the appropriately sized pipe. In our case, once they were assembled to the flange and elbow, the “arm” would actually protrude a good 3.5″ from the wall – perfect for us.

Next, we added our curtain rings to the pipe, and screwed our “arms” to the ends. It’s important to put your rings on first, as you’ll be attaching your curtain rod to the wall in one piece.

Finally, and with a bit of weight juggling on our end, we anchored the flanges into the wall. (Again, we used the same method as the paper pipes – measure your curtain rod in place, mark where your anchors will go, and install! It really is that simple.) To be honest, it would have been helpful to have a third person, as our pipe was on the heavier side and a bit awkward.

Rather than clip our curtains right to the top of the panel, we got a little fancy and faked a pinch pleat by clipping behind the panel – genius! We used this easy tutorial to do so.

We sold our yellow-striped curtains at the summer yard sale (they didn’t feel like us anymore – hence the whole tweakscapade!) and replaced them with the Ikea Aina panels in gray. They’re the perfect balance of texture (they look a little canvas-y, but are light and crisp), they hide our speakers and they frame the windows nicely, don’t you think?

The best part of building your own curtain pipes is that this project is fully customizable. As we previously mentioned, our local Home Depot cut the 10′ pipe down to size, and you can mix and match pipe sizes until you get the look you want. For our 100″ window, we spent $30 on our curtain pipe supplies (even after tax, not including our curtain panels)!

As for the living room as a whole, we’ve come a long way from our original tweak-list (shush, we realize the list was made in July, but still):

Makeover our $2 chair. (Done!)
• Reassess the end table situation – or lack thereof.
Swap our venetian blinds for easy, breezy cellular shades. (Done!)
Layer in curtains to hide speakers and add warmth, texture and height. (Done!)
Replace our shaggy rug with something that fits our oddly shaped room. (Done!)
• Re-upholster the lovely chair. (Working on it!)
Re-work our current art display. (Ooh, we’re secretly done – details to follow.)

We’re getting there. So close.

There are so many ways to incorporate this simple project into your home – we love that a simple hook or clip can transform the pipe into a unique way to display art or organize pots and pans. So, what will you make?

PS: Depending on how wide your window is, you could even fake the look with cheaper conduit as your pipe (see this example), however, keep in mind that conduit is not as sturdy as the galvanized steel pipe. We wanted to avoid a middle support, so we went with the steel, and it’s super sturdy.

  • Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d - October 10, 2012 - 8:24 AM

    Love it all. I think you were right to want curtains. If nothing else, they soften the hard lines.

    Actually, I might like it so much because we’ve got something nearly identical in our living room, complete with gray canvas curtains: http://ourhumbleabowedblog.com/2012/08/07/i-just-dyed-in-your-arms-tonight/ Instead of clips, I sewed ribbon snap tabs on the back. Love the look of the pinch pleat so you don’t see the clips! Genius!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 10, 2012 - 6:40 PM

      Amanda, how did I miss that post? Love the way yours turned out!

      Terreur, the total cost for all the rod supplies came to just under $30.

      Thanks, everyone!ReplyCancel

  • Kyley @ Painting Pony - October 10, 2012 - 8:24 AM

    This is so funny, because back when you made the paper hanging rod I LOVED the idea. So I made my husband make me a set of them to use at curtain rods in our bedroom on the windows.

    I love the look of them! Plus the fact that they cost so much less then buying them from west elm is a bonus!ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - October 10, 2012 - 10:50 AM

    Great ideas and thoughts in curtains decor. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • terreur - October 10, 2012 - 1:12 PM

    I have been thinking about pipes about curtain rods for a while so it’s amazing to see it done, and beautifully too! i couldn’t figure out how to put the curtains on the rod while being able to take them off easily for cleaning, the rings + clips are genius! sometimes the answer is easier than we think haha. i love the pinched pleats!

    would you mind sharing costs?ReplyCancel

  • Marie - October 10, 2012 - 5:05 PM

    I really love your style, you’re absolutely fabulous !
    I think I’ll share your very good idea with my husband, we really need to work on this to redecorate our living room.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon @ Fabulously Vintage - October 11, 2012 - 9:11 AM

    The curtains add so much to the space – though the shades are also very lovely!

    I actually prefer the look of your curtain rod to the west elm one, plus I love the thriftiness!! Great job! :)

    Shannon
    Fabulously VintageReplyCancel

  • Jane @ the borrowed abode - October 11, 2012 - 12:59 PM

    Awesome! I love it. I used pipe in college as a curtain rod because I couldn’t afford a real rod. We thought we were so cute becuase we got copper pipe and then attached faucets to the ends :) Kind of dorky, but at the same time it did look pretty cool in copper.

    So this past wekeend Ryan and I were buying pipe and flanges for a few decorating projects, and we were dying over the names, like 4 inch black nipple (we were getting black steel) and then we had to buy insert nuts.
    Yeah. . . we felt very immature for laughing at these things. So I felt a little better when I started reading your post! :)ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin @ Desert Domicile - October 15, 2012 - 6:28 PM

    Love this! Probably because I too DIY’d a pipe curtain rod and hung gray Aina drapes on it in our loft! Great minds think alike :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 15, 2012 - 6:35 PM

    Ooh, awesome! We’re so great. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jess Lively - October 16, 2012 - 5:45 PM

    LOL!!!!

    Oh my gosh. I just went to your site to find the tutorial on this since I know you were doing it (I’m thinking about doing one and painting it gold).

    Lo and behold, you just talked about pinching the drapes like I just discovered on my own two days ago! I’ve been walking around all proud of myself for figuring out a better way to clip the curtains and here you have already beat me to it!

    I am sure we aren’t the first ones to come up with it either… but I was pretty darn impressed with myself when I thought it up. A bit of humble pie, huh?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 16, 2012 - 6:32 PM

    Jess, you are too funny! I found the idea from another blogger, but I thought, it’s so obvious! YAY for custom curtain rods!ReplyCancel

  • Phred - October 18, 2012 - 3:05 PM

    Faking the pinch pleats? Genius. I’ve been tweaking my curtains for two years and you’ve solved my problem.ReplyCancel

  • [...] recently on a trip to Kim’s blog to find her tutorial on how to make your own pipe curtain rods for our bedroom, I discovered she and others had already beat me to the [...]ReplyCancel

  • RACHEL B - December 18, 2013 - 1:05 PM

    First time to your blog. I love this post, really helpful in inspiring me to put some curtains in my otherwise shades only windows.

    Curtain ShopReplyCancel

  • […] store or home improvement center will furnish you with all the materials you need. Head over to Yellow Brick Home for an easy-to-follow project […]ReplyCancel

  • Neema - April 15, 2014 - 12:10 PM

    Silly question… but since you needed your steel pipe cut down to fit your window, you could only screw one side in correct? Did you secure the other end some kind of way?
    They look great, and I plan to make some myself this week, but that part confused me a bit.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 15, 2014 - 12:57 PM

      Neema, not a silly question! When they cut the pipe down for us, it’s also threaded. So it’s not just a harsh cut. The guys at Home Depot will thread it for you automatically!ReplyCancel

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