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The tides have officially turned, and while a custom experience is still the end goal, the actual manner of getting there is oh so very different. You see, it was not a great many moons ago that tricked out Billy and Besta shelves, made to look like custom built-ins, were all the rage. A “choose your own adventure in configuration and layout with a bit of your favorite trim and some fancy nail gun action,” and truly it was difficult to tell they were not in fact built right in. This current trend toward modular shelving, however, while still entirely customizable in most cases, celebrates that experience in a much different manner.

On Display

Image Credits: 1 | 2

From the iconic String Shelves to some very clever IKEA Hacks, these mod shelving wunderkind let it all hang out, quite literally. In fact for many of these units the parts are in fact a great deal more important than the whole, and are to be celebrated right alongside the clever functionality of the systems in general. From industrial strength brackets to wing nut fasteners that adjust to hold the shelves in precisely the location you desire, the machinery and inter-workings are on display just as much as the items that will ultimately live on those shelves later.

On Display

Image Credits: 3 | 4

So what gives? Are we becoming more in tune with our orderly instincts and honing our color coding skill-set? I would love to think this all stems from a society that simply cannot wait to deck the walls in perfect organizational bliss, but somehow I think we are simply channeling our gypsy inspired selves, wanting a more carefree lifestyle with a few less permanent fixtures holding us down. I suppose the answer could be much simpler for a great majority of us and maybe we only seek a budget friendly option to house our wares.

On Display

Image Credits: 5 | 6

Regardless, while the more DIY friendly seeming versions of these customizable systems might be a bit easier on the wallet, this is not so for the vintage cado shelving units, some of the modern floor to ceiling beauties, or the designer systems from our Danish and Swedish friends from colder climes. So while the style itself may seem less than permanent in all of its adjustable glory, the investment cost for many of these pieces may be anything but. In fact, a few of these systems might actually set you back for something akin to the price of an entire living room set of furniture and perhaps even a bit more. So the question begs to be asked, how do you feel about this style? Does it feel modern and functional to you or solve for your quirky storage and display needs like nothing else has? Or maybe it feels fleeting and not as favorable as a good solid built-in unit? Inquiring minds want to know…

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I live in New York City where square footage is at a premium, so I’m always on the lookout for clever storage solutions. The cabinet under the sink in my bathroom is bursting at the seams and there’s almost no counter space left, which makes this Over-the-Faucet Shelf very appealing to me.

over the faucet shelf

Very crafty, Walmart! Now city dwellers will no longer have to carry all their personal grooming supplies into their tiny bathrooms every morning in travel toiletry bags that they store in their hall closet. (Not that I do that. Not at all.)

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There’s a kind of beauty in everyday items and simple pleasures, isn’t there? A perfect bouquet of flowers, a treasured book’s cover, a stylish scarf draped just so. That’s what makes these Framed Objects by the. so brilliant.

framed objects

It’s a bit like the concept of Duchamp’s “readymades,” where an ordinary object becomes art simply because the artist selected it, arranged it and placed it in the right context. (Of course, Duchamp’s work was intended to be satirical, so it’s not entirely the same. But who wants a signed urinal on their wall?) I particularly love the framed vase — it would certainly elevate your average Valentine’s Day arrangement, wouldn’t it?

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I saw this sleek floating shelf/desk — the MAMBA by Victor Vasilev for MDF Italia — on Pinterest the other day, and it struck me as the fantastic version of the floating desk how-to that Kayla posted earlier. They’re both space-saving and do double-duty as desks or shelves, but MAMBA has a little extra oomph.

mamba desk

The lines are clean and the shape is definitely serpentine (could the name MAMBA come from the deadly snake?), plus there’s a lamp built right into the unit. Genius! If good looks could kill, the MAMBA would be the end of me.

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One of the more difficult parts of renovating is living among unfinished spaces the majority of the time. And for a gal that works from home, a less-than-finished office can sometimes lead to a less-than-inspired workday. So, last week, Ken and I decided to fast track our office plans and finally make the space a priority. We’ll have much more to share in the coming weeks, but for now, we can’t wait to show you the insanely modern DIY shelf we recently finished building:

Building A DIY Modern Shelf - Erin Loechner

Grab a friend, and get to work!

As an art collector, I have more art than I know what to do with. Rather than investing thousands of dollars in permanent framing, I wanted a statement shelf where I could switch out a few of my favorite pieces periodically. I envisioned something modern, slim and seamless. And like he often does, Ken knew exactly how to create my dream piece.

Building A DIY Modern Shelf - Erin Loechner

Busting out the level...

One of the key components of our DIY shelf is the lack of bracket support. We wanted the shelf to appear as a floating mantle, so brackets were definitely not an option. Yet we wanted the piece to be sturdy in case we chose to display art / design books in the future.

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No shame in being a wallflower if you’re in the company of an iLean. Position this super convenient, light-weight portable shelving unit wherever you need a little extra storage space or a fetching display.

We’re giving away seven iLeans in all, so all you’ve got to do to win one in your choice of a maple, black or dark cherry iLean is answer this week’s question before 12/11c Monday, Oct. 25.

This week’s question: What room in your house is the most lacking in storage?

Click for official rules.

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