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Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 | 3 comments

J.P. and Ellen’s DIY Plumbing Pipe Bookshelves

J.P. and Ellen’s DIY Plumbing Pipe Bookshelves

We met J.P. and Ellen on our studio tour of Rock of Ages Music (ROAM) earlier this year and were instantly taken with their sense of style.


Ellen is a real estate associate with Bobi Bomar’s Homes of Alexandria and a certified stager. In addition to being a musician, J.P. is also a talented DIYer. In their new home, he (and Ellen together) designed and built a set of industrial pipe shelving for their living room.


Like many DIYers, J.P. remarks on “how easy it was.” Perhaps so, once you learn the lingo of plumbing supplies – tees, flanges, and elbows, and it also helps to have a drill with a hole bit. J.P. says they bought the iron, pre-threaded, 1/2-inch pipe at Home Depot in the standard sizes, so it wouldn’t have to be custom cut. The standard lengths are 12″, 18″ and 24″. He and Ellen made a sketch based on the size of their space and decided on having four supports, two on each side.


The shelves are secured to the wall with anchors and screws at the top, through the four flanges.


There are also flanges on the bottom pipes that rest on the floor.


The back of every individual shelf rests on an elbow piece of plumbing. The front sits on a tee.


Ellen cleaned the gas pipe and all of the flanges and elbows with dish soap and water and then spray painted them black. They usually come in a silver color with the manufacturer’s markings and a ton of grease all over them, so they said it’s important to get them clean and dry before painting. After Ellen stained the pine planks for each shelf with a custom mix of water-based stain, J.P. drilled holes with a hole saw bit, and then threaded the pipe through them during assembly.


Then, they installed the shelving from bottom to top. I love their placement in the living room behind the couch…


…as well as Ellen’s beautiful vignettes with books and objects she and J.P. have collected over the years.


We’ll feature the full house tour soon, where you’ll also see many other DIY and craft projects that they’ve done to make their new home truly unique and stylish.


  1. What stain did you use for the wood?

  2. I found something similar to this on pinterest but this looks very neat. I just wanna ask if how many plumbing pipes did you use?

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