Industrial Shelving Unit Makeover

A few months my parents were at Loblolly Manor getting ready to replace the fence when I got a call from my dad. “Hey, do you want this old fence or should I take it to the burn pile?” he said. “Of course I want that old fence, Dad!” I said. “Ok, ok, I’ll save as much as I can for you but it’s in pretty rough shape,” he replied.

I knew that would make me love it even more but I had no idea what to expect when I picked the boards up a few days later. Truth be told, they were in rough shape. Of the entire lot there were only 4 boards that were perfectly straight and I used all of them to make a towel rack for my parents bathroom. Some boards had to be thrown away. But there was a stack I managed to save and those sat in the garage waiting inspiration to strike for almost two months.

I was in my usual mode of moving furniture and changing things up inside the house when I noticed a typical industrial style shelving unit. We had purchased it from a local home improvement store years ago and it was currently holding paint cans in the garage. The teacart that was previously in the dining room had long been sold and the empty space was starting to bother me. The shelving was the size I needed but the pressed board top was too rough to even consider being seen as stylish in the dining room. The wheels started turning and you guessed it, I married the fence boards from Loblolly Manor to the industrial shelving. Here’s how it all came together:

Given the fencing was decades old, I gave the boards a bleach bath and allowed them to dry in the sun for several days. This caused some of the boards to curl a bit but I would rather the curling than the tiny bugs that can sometimes lurk inside of old wood.

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While the boards were drying out, I spray painted the steel frame of the shelving with Rustoleum’s Hammered Bronze.

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My dad cut the boards to the length we needed using his table saw. This allowed me to find each board a match given some curled at the edges and others did not. It also made the edges so much easier to work with.

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Once all the boards were matched and cut to size, I used a generous amount of Gorilla Glue on the back of each board

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as well as on the pressed board shelves of the industrial unit.

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Next we placed heavy items on each shelves to make sure the fence boards were properly adhered to the pressed board shelves.

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I loved the direction this shelving unit was headed but it was still a bit too rustic for my taste so I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White to give each board a whitewash.

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The whitewashed boards were exactly the look I was going for but they didn’t look very good with the hammered bronze. It was just too dark for my neutral loving heart. Total bummer.

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I got out another can of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint this time in French Linen and painted the steel frame of shelving unit.

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I also added a bit of dark wax to the frame.

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This old tobacco basket has been sitting in the garage for over a year. I almost sold it at the store but I just couldn’t bring myself do actually do it. Thankfully, my dad hung it up the last time he was here.

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Hello, success.

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See you guys back here tomorrow. I styled the shelves and they look so good in the dining room.

Many blessings,



    • says

      Thank you so much, Jennifer! I still can’t believe how long I let the tobacco basket sit in the garage before hanging it but waiting to find the perfect spot was totally worth it 🙂 Sending you big hugs for a happy day, Coco

  1. says

    Coco, I love the final outcome! Isn’t it funny how we have ideas that we know will work, but it takes some trial and error to get to perfect outcome? I think that’s what makes it all so fun! Thanks for sharing, and I can’t wait to see them styled!

    • says

      Iris, you are so right! Sometimes it takes multiple times before I get it just the way I envision it 🙂 Hope your day was a happy one. Thank you for your sweet words, CoCo

    • says

      You girls are so sweet to me, thank you! I’m really excited about the way it turned out. It’s neutral enough that I can use it in any space around the house. And you know my heart speaks in neutrals 🙂 Hugs, Coco

  2. says

    Coco, that is so cool that your dad saves things for you and helps you with projects. It brings back so many memories for me. This shelf unit turned out fantastic. Just fab and love the wood on the shelves. BRAVO girl. xo Lisa