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In-Wall Shelf

Stylish home solution, simple and good.

While renovating an apartment (not directly related to the "Apartment" page) it was decided to create a narrow wall cutout for design purposes.

I thought a shelf would be nice. But for that installation situation to work and play out its optical merits, certain things were required:

- A small amount of available space meant the use as a display

- Display shelves most often benefit from a minimalistic approach to their construction

- Good viewing angles and an open aesthetic are beneficial in tight spaces

- Lighting would be helpful to draw attention


Conventionally, pins would be drilled into the walls. Yet, the pins would be visible. An avoidable visual downside to the standard solution.

Instead, two full-height, painted MDF plates would be slid in on either side of the stone wall until flush with the outer wall. Their wall-facing sides received a generous helping of gap-bridging and bonding agent beforehand, then three glass panes were slid into pre-machined grooves in the MDF. 

As a result, the glass was ensuring proper spacing of the MDF. Temporary wedges took care of proper height alignment until the bonding agent solidified. 

Once the acrylic had settled, out went the wedges and the gaps between boards and walls were sealed for that extra-flush appearance.

The entire shelf system was thus self-supporting, much more so than conventional solutions and even simpler to manufacture. 


Some details are worth noting, though.

Chamfering the outside edges to a 45° angle, the design's "open" look was increased not inconsiderably while increasing overall durability against chipping.

The full-lenght grooves acting as glass pane supports were easier to make than a dozen pins in a rather inaccessible space and provided a far better load-bearing surface.

Pane placement could be realized as depicted or flush with the start of the groove as individually desired. I prefer this one.

Lighting was realized from above and by small LEDs refracting their light right through the glass panes. 

I'm sorry it didn't occur to me to take a proper picture. This design has been working perfectly for many years.

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