While in Japan recently I was really inspired by the concept of the beauty alcoves that I saw everywhere we went, styled corners consisting of drawers or shelves where people displayed their favourite collections and items. I think traditional Japanese houses have always had them for displaying art (called Tokonoma) but what I saw was mostly a little more modern and spontaneous than those. The Airbnb we stayed in had one. The doctor’s surgery we visited had one (his was a collection of porcelain owls… random but very cute). And the Ryokan we visited had one in the corner. I loved that it shows a pride in your space and a touch of sentimentality, as well as an admirable ability to keep that area tidy! After I finished (somewhat) with all the DIY projects at the studio (including this ladder wardrobe), I started thinking about how I could update our apartment, and integrate the concept of the beauty alcove – specifically as a place to put all the things I collected on my travels. I decided to create a set of ladder shelves for this purpose, they cost about $10 to make and packed such a punch in our small (v v small)  space!

Make a quick set of shelves using a ladder

What’s on my shelves

Top: fish salt shaker from Peru

Second: Green vases from Shanghai, little clay house from Yangshou, porcelain cat pig from Hanoi, porcelain clogs from Munich, heart shaped porcelain jewellery box from Hong Kong

Third: Tea pot from Bali, Lumira travel candle, pink elephant from Thailand, stone and porcelain elephants from Sri Lanka

Fourth: DIY terrarium, Mochilla bag from Crystal Cove Collective, a few Lonely planets

Fifth: pink raffia box from Sardinia, Ottolenghi cook books, Glass jars from Sri Lanka

Make a quick set of shelves using a ladder

You need:

  • a ladder
  • pine planks cut to incremental sizes, I went for two at 1.2m (48 inches), then 1m (40 inches), 80cm (30 inches) and 60cm (23 inches) for the top.
  • L  brackets (2 x the number of planks you have)
  • Screws
  • A drill

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

How to:

1. Stand your ladder up where you want it to sit in your house. It’s easier to be sure of the location before you build it.

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

2. Slide all the pine planks onto the cross beams of the ladder, making sure to stagger the size as you go up.

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

3. Press the L brackets up against the ladder cross beam and the plank.

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

4. Use your drill to secure the L brackets.

Make a set of simple ladder shelves

Fill your shelves up with your favourite pieces. My boyfriend’s mum was visiting while I was doing this and helped me style the shelves a bot, I learnt so much about placement of items in terms of colour, depth and symmetry. They looked wayyy better than when I randomly threw things onto them. 🙂

Make a quick set of shelves using a ladder www.apairandasparediy.comMake a quick set of shelves using a ladder

Dreaming of all the other things I can make out of these ladders… thoughts?