cabin progress: open shelves

cabin kitchen, open shelving // smitten studio
Here is a better look at the shelving we made in the kitchen. Yay for all the extra storage space!

cabin kitchen // smitten studiocabin kitchen shelves // smitten studiocabin kitchen // smitten studioIf you remember from the before photos originally the kitchen only had open shelving as the above counter storage. We knew we wanted to bring some of that back into the kitchen so here is how we did it.

Basically, we just picked up some poplar boards from Menards, cut them down to size with an angle at both ends as to not interfere with the window and the cupboards on either side, painted all the pieces, put up the brackets (made sure to find the studs), and then secured the boards to the brackets. It was one of our easier projects and I’m not sure why I waited so long to get it done.

It makes a big difference in the kitchen, especially since I was getting quite used to the blank space that was there for a while. Of course the best part of having the open shelving is that what goes up there is always changing, giving the room a space for a revolving display and making the stylist in me a little giddy. Right now, aside for the enamel dishes that we picked up at a vintage shop, everything up there is fairly new and I look forward to adding in some things with age and seeing how the collection evolves over time.

To see the kitchen before photos check here.
To see all the cabin progress thus far check here.

Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Product Guide: Rug by West Elm // RTA cabinets by Customer Service Hardware // Countertops, sink, and faucet by Ikea // Photo frame from Target // Arthur Umanoff Dining Set – vintage

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98 Responses to “cabin progress: open shelves”

  1. kelsey Says:

    so gorgeous! love that this encourages pretty dishware and organization
    kw, ladies in navy
    Zara giveaway
    Gap/Old Navy Giveaway”

  2. Ivana @ Macarons and Pearls Says:

    It looks absolutely wonderful, like straight from a magazine! Seriously, you’ve done an amazing job! I love open shelving, since it lets you play around with various styles and accessories. Can’t wait to see how your display evolves over time :)

    xx Ivana
    Macarons and Pearls

  3. Katja @ Shift Ctrl ART Says:

    Love how this turned out. Your cabin looks so good. I love the styling and the balance of the shelves. The enamelware is so perfect there with the wood tones. Awesome!! The golden eggs … love them!!

  4. Andrea Says:

    Wow you really created a dream kitchen! It looks so pretty and inviting!
    xo Andrea
    Wonderful and Marvelous

  5. brianna [ observant nomad ] Says:

    guuuush! loving the results. i’m also in the middle of installing open shelving in my kitchen. this makes me even more excited. also, i have been looking everywhere for a round white ceramic utensil holder like the one here! would you be a doll and let me know where you got it? loving the cabin progress.

  6. sarah Says:

    Hey thanks Brianna, I got it at Meijer which is kinda like a target in the midwest, but I think they have an online store too.

  7. ana {bluebirdkisses} Says:

    I love how it turned out!!! we installed open shelves in our kitchen too recently and I’m pretty much obsessed with them.

  8. Tiffany @ Savor Home Says:

    LOVE!! I just discovered your blog via Pinterest and I love it! Your kitchen is so incredibly gorgeous. The styling is perfect and I love the sink fixture!

  9. sarah Says:

    Hi Tiffany, oh Thank you! It’s nice to have you over here. :)

  10. Nuha Says:

    sooo pretty! and ummm…that faucet is maje. love it!

  11. Kara Says:

    I especially love your wood cutting boards…where did you get them? Also, this entire kitchen is so clean and dreamy!

  12. sarah Says:

    Hi kara,
    Oh thank you. I made them. They are going to be a part of my collection launching this spring/summer! :)

  13. Don Says:

    Love the kitchen. Who manufactures that sink? I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find one like it that fits my cabinets.

  14. sarah Says:

    Hi Don, the sink is from Ikea. We had to retrofit the cabinet to accommodate the sink. It took a bit of work but was worth it in the end. :)

  15. Don Says:

    Thanks Sarah, it’s just beautiful!

  16. Elissa Says:

    Your kitchen is gorgeous! Where did you get your faucet? It’s perfect.

  17. Heather H Says:

    I’ve been looking at faucets just like that only in chrome. Where did you get that one in a dark finish?? that’s awesome!

  18. sarah Says:

    @Heather and Elissa, Thanks ladies. The Faucet is from Overstock and you can get the rest of the kitchen details here.

  19. jenny Says:

    This is my favourite house in the whole world. I love everything you have done with it. This makes any big house look excessive and unnecessary.

  20. Jessica Says:

    Hi! Love this! We want to do an apron sink in our new house, but they’re quite expensive. I see that Ikea also has this in a double sink version. Are you happy with it? It looks great! Thanks!

  21. sarah Says:

    Hi Jessica,
    Yes, we really love the sink. I have no complaints about it. Retrofitting the cabinet to fit the sink was a bit of work but it worked out great.

  22. EM. Halliburton Says:

    Love these – I definitely believe that open shelves are only as good as what you display on them, and you’ve done such a beautiful job. Do you mind sharing where those deep enamel bowls and the wide, flat mugs on the top shelf are from?

  23. sarah Says:

    Hi EM, The enamel bowls I picked up at a local vintage shop and the wide flat mugs are from meijer

  24. Steph Says:

    Beautiful!! I sent this post to my MIL who wants to remodel her small kitchen and she loved it. But where did you end up putting the fridge?

  25. Daniela Says:

    What a great transformation!!! You did really an amazing job.
    We are thinking of having a wooden house on a piece of land, here in Spain where we live, and definitely your cabin it is a big inspiration. Thanks!
    The pity is that you are not around for counselling.;)

  26. sarah Says:

    Hi Steph,
    the fridge is the two stainless steel drawers on the right side by the oven. you can get the info on it here.

  27. Lucie Says:

    Hi Sarah,
    This is a pretty random question, but… where did you get the white shelf brackets?

    Thanks in advance!

  28. sarah Says:

    Hi lucie, sorry I forgot to say, I got the brackets at Menards as well.

  29. Honor Roll | Making it Lovely Says:

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  30. Dagný Björg from FEEL INSPIRED Says:

    Amazing kitchen! Love the open shelf

  31. Laura Says:

    Your cabin remodel project is sooooo inspiring, our family has recently acquired a cabin near Sleeping Bear Dunes MI, and it really needs a make over, the problem is the beach, antique shops, and wineries are SUCH a distraction ha

  32. sarah Says:

    hah Laura, I know what you mean. The beach alone slowed out reno by at least a month or so. ;)

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  35. Anna Says:

    They look amazing! Hope you don’t mind, but I’ve used them as inspiration on my blog (and cited you, of course!) How do you find them in terms of practicality – do your dishes stay clean or do you tend to give them a little wash before you use them?

  36. sarah Says:

    Hi Anna,
    They are great when we are there and actively using them. If we haven’t been to the cabin in a while they do collect a little dust so I just rinse off the top dish. Hope that helps!

  37. show off the goods. | fourth & olive Says:

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  38. Jessica Says:

    Are the counter tops the Ikea Numerar in the beech color? Did you add extra stain?

  39. sarah Says:

    Hi Jessica, yes they are the ikea ones, but the are the oak option. And no we didn’t stain them we just oil them with mineral oil periodically.

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  44. Mara Says:

    Lovely kitchen! I have a huge blank slate above our stove and cabinets directly to the right and have been trying to visualize how I can put open shelving in that area, without losing access to the cabinets. Can you tell me how the function of the cabinet closest to the shelves has been working for you? What angle are the shelves cut at?

  45. sarah Says:

    Hi Mara, I am not sure of the exact angle but we did angle it enough so that the cabinet door opens about 3/4 of the way. With that door open as much as it can and the other door all the way open we have full access to the cupboard. I hope that helps!

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  49. Katie Says:

    Hi Sarah! Where did you get the pulls and knobs? And are they black or a dark shade of something else? Thank you!

  50. sarah Says:

    Hi Katie, yes they are black. I believe they came in other finishes as well. There is a link to the source here.. xo

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  54. Jenny Says:

    I can’t believe no one has asked…or maybe I missed it – where is that adorable dinner/serveware with the black rim from?

  55. sarah Says:

    Hi Jenny,
    I found them at a local vintage shop. Try searching for “enamelware”. Or… West Elm actually sells some like it right now! Here.

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  57. Jen Says:

    Your kitchen looks gorgeous! I actually have the same Ikea butcher block countertops and white subway tile backsplash and I adore it. However, I’m having difficulty with filling the gap where the tile meets the wood. Our contractor first filled it with the tile grout, but that cracked. Then he removed it and used caulk, but that is now also cracking. I’m sure it’s because of the wood expanding and contracting with the weather. What did you use, and did you have the same issue?

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  63. Nancy Parks Says:


    I love the vintage dining set! I did something similar in my kitchen with wood I purchased from IKEA and added it to the top of a “bathroom cabinet” unit and then had the cabinets repainted and I updated the hardware.

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  68. Haleigh Says:

    Hi! I’m doing some research on open shelves for my kitchen remodel. I like how your bottom shelf appears to be floating while the upper shelves have brackets. Is this the case? If so, can you let me know what you did with that bottom shelf? Thanks!

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  73. Elizabeth Says:

    Hey Sarah, love the kitchen! May I ask the brand/color of the grout? It looks white but wanted to check. Didn’t see it anywhere…trying to decide on our subway tile backsplash grout!…thanks!

  74. show off the goods. | fourth and olive Says:

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  75. Sophie Says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m a huge fan of your and I love your style. We’re doing a similar tile + open shelving in our kitchen. Can you tell me the height in between your shelves?

    Thank you!

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  77. melissa Says:

    are the shelf brackets from ikea?

  78. sarah Says:

    Hi Melissa, No, the brackets were also from menards.

  79. Ashley Says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I have a small kitchen that I am planning to remodel. I know the countertops are from Ikea, but can you tell me which style/finish you chose, i.e. birch or beech or…? Also, did you install the 25″ Donsjo sink with a 24″ sink base?

    Thanks so much!!


    P.S. I am also from Michigan so Greetings from The Mitten! :0)

  80. sarah Says:

    Hi Ashley, We picked the Oak countertops and yes it’s the 25″ donsjo sink with the 24″ base. :) good luck with your remodel! x

  81. Paige Says:

    It looks like there isn’t any grout between your subway tiles…? Or is it just a medium gray? It looks so clean!

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  83. sarah Says:

    Hi Paige,
    Yes, there was still no grout in this photo. We hadn’t gotten there yet. :)

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    What are the dimensions of the kitchen?

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  97. Amanda Says:

    Lovely. I especially adore the open shelves and want to do something similar in my kitchen however I can’t figure out how you attached the lowest shelf. Where’s the bracket?!

  98. sarah Says:

    Hi Amanda, the bottom shelf is more of a plate rail. It is only 3″ deep. So we drilled countersink holes and using long cabinet screws, screwed right through the shelf and into the wall. Then we plugged and patched the holes so you don’t see them.

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