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Dressing up Metro-type shelving


Fat Guy
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I love Metro shelving for its practicality but I don't think it looks good enough to have in an open home kitchen, unless you want a very industrial look. So I'm wondering, has anybody come up with a way to dress up a Metro-type (Metro, Intermetro, the Costco equivalent, etc.) shelving unit to make it look more like furniture?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm a big fan of Metro stainless steel shelving in a kitchen. Gussying up Metro shelving would be akin to putting a bow tie on a Hobart mixer.

Edited to add: I'd focus more on displaying the items on the shelves.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

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Have you already bought the shelving? I had Metro shelving in one place I, but it was the white enamelled version (we wanted the shelving to sort of merge into the white walls behind them), which doesn't look particularly industrial. We got some plywood with a white industrial finish, and cut it to fit the shelves very precisely. You could also try shelf boards in various colours, which would further soften the shelving units' industrial edge.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Personally I am a fan of the industrial look, and mine stay that way. But if you want to dress it up, it really matters what it is supposed to match and how much of a carpenter/painter/craftsman/etc. you are.

I can imagine (in many different forms) paint, panels (wooden or otherwise), clothe drapings, weavings through the bars (simple like straw or ribbon, or long strips of photos that match your decor). Many many possibilities!

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The metro shelving units in our kitchen have wood tops on them. Not so much to dress them up, but to turn the top into a counter top. So each of our 18"x36" shelf units provide a ~24"x38" counter top. Regardless of the reason, the result is that the appearance of the shelving itself isn't very noticeable. Of course, I don't mind the appearance of metro shelving...

Metro shelving plus a wood top also makes a nice microwave stand. In our case, the wood overhangs a bit to one side, giving a space for knife slots.

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I like the look of metro type shelving bare nekkid. And I have hooks hanging from the ends of the shelves where accessible.

I use sheet pans on the shelves so bottles and jars will sit securely and the largest glass "cutting boards" that I would never use for cutting, are under some appliances.

The church school down the road from me has fitted canvas covers for their metro shelving units

(not the "Metro" label, the ones sold at Sam's Club) I think it is to keep the stuff on the shelves dust free.

I think the covers look a little tacky but that's just me.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Personally, I love the look of the unadorned Metro shelving in the kitchen. If you prefer a more furniture look, I think a better option would be to retro-fit an armoire to suit your storage purpose rather than tart up some wire shelving. If I had the room, I would have a dedicated baking armoire and free up my kitchen cupboards/pantry for cookware, etc. I think I saw it in an older MSL magazine.

eta: I purchased a really nice canvas cover from organize.com for some metro shelving I have in a bedroom but I can't find it on their website any more. All they have now if a roll-up panel version.

Just found it on Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Metro-Canvas-Wardrobe-Cover/dp/B004EX0I3S

Edited by natasha1270 (log)
"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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I'm talking about the possibility of extending kitchen storage into the living room, and Metro-type shelving will be absolutely vetoed in its natural form. I don't think an armoire will take the weight of things like a KitchenAid and cast-iron skillets unless it's exceptional. So I'm looking, indeed, at the possibility of "tarting up" some Metro-type shelving. If it can't be done tastefully, forget it. I'm mostly just curious because I just assembled three units for use as closet interiors and thought how great they are.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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As suggested above, your best bet may be paint - match the walls to blend it in, or choose an accent color. I have the original/silver color, black, and white in various rooms. The white feels much less 'industrial' than the others.

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There are entertainment center cabinets that can certainly take the weight of kitchen appliances.

I have seen these in use in loft style, open plan living/dining/kitchen areas and they can be quite attractive.

They come in every type of decor, finish, etc., and unfinished so you can paint or finish to your preference.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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But you can't get a six-foot-tall, six-shelf unit that holds 800 pounds per shelf for $99 at Costco.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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But you can't get a six-foot-tall, six-shelf unit that holds 800 pounds per shelf for $99 at Costco.

That's true. However, I bet i could take the back off one of the tall ones - the one in my bedroom is 88 inches tall and 26 inches deep and if I gutted it, one of the 48 inch wire units I have would fit inside easily.

However, it did cost a wee bit more than $99.00

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Craigslist or some variant would proably be a good place to find an old cupboard or armoire. With perhaps an additional shelf support or re-inforcement, I don't see why it couldn't hold the items you mentioned. The baking armoire in MSL actually was used to store a Kitchenaid and much more.

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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The amount of stuff a Metro-type unit can hold is just astounding. I can't imagine an armoire coming anywhere close. Although, I am intrigued by the idea of finding an armoire/wardrobe slightly larger than a shelving unit and retrofitting the interior to accommodate it.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Yes, for sheer storage volume the Metro shelves can't be beat. The canvas cover I linked to earlier is actually very attractive in person. You could probably find someone local to fabricate a version in custom fabrics to blend with your decor. There's is a book I have by Peri Wolfman and Charles Gold, A Place for Everything that has alot of great ideas for kitchen and other storage. If you get some of the shorter metro shelves, you could add a wood top and get some kind of table skirting to hide the storage below.

Not sure what your taste is but maybe one of the wardrobe options from IKEA could fit the metro shelves or have shelves added?

Edited by natasha1270 (log)
"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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But you can't get a six-foot-tall, six-shelf unit that holds 800 pounds per shelf for $99 at Costco.

I'd assume that for $99 you're not getting commercial-grade Metro shelving, but the less-expensive Intermetro, which is only rated to 300 pounds. Though I've never come close to even that on mine. I've got some in the kitchen, the laundry closet, I mostly built my darkroom with it. I've never had the urge to cover it up. I like the open shelving. If it were up to me, I'd do all of our cabinets as open shelves, but my wife does not like that idea.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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Here is a metro shelving unit covered with custom fabric that looks really nice: Click Here

The fabric is really pretty, but to me, covering anything always looks like you're trying to hide it; I think committing to whatever properties something has tends to work best.

I didn't mention, but all the shelving in our flat was the Metro stuff, and even in the living room, where it functioned as bookshelves, it worked (this is down to personal taste, obviously). The white just sort of blended into the walls, and our things sort of floated, visually. It looked minimal, but not aggressively so.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I'd assume that for $99 you're not getting commercial-grade Metro shelving, but the less-expensive Intermetro

The shelves Costco carries are rated to 800 pounds per shelf. For $99 you get six 48x18" shelves, six back rails, and posts. They also come with optional casters, which I don't use. You can only get them in the warehouses not on Costco.com so I can't give you a link but they are awesome. I just assembled three sets of them for use in closets. I think they're fully as serious as commercial-grade Metro and they're certainly cheaper. They're significantly beefier than the Intermetro shelving unit we got at Container Store for our son's room a few years back. A set weighs 111 pounds -- very hard to transport in the box.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'd assume that for $99 you're not getting commercial-grade Metro shelving, but the less-expensive Intermetro

The shelves Costco carries are rated to 800 pounds per shelf. For $99 you get six 48x18" shelves, six back rails, and posts. They also come with optional casters, which I don't use. You can only get them in the warehouses not on Costco.com so I can't give you a link but they are awesome. I just assembled three sets of them for use in closets. I think they're fully as serious as commercial-grade Metro and they're certainly cheaper. They're significantly beefier than the Intermetro shelving unit we got at Container Store for our son's room a few years back. A set weighs 111 pounds -- very hard to transport in the box.

With the casters the weight rating is considerably less. The casters can handle heavier loads but the threaded collar inside the bottom of the uprights, into which they fit, cannot.

I can assure you from personal experience that they will bend and the unit will tip.

I have a couple on casters in my storage room but they are only used for lighter items.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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At least according to the packaging, the rating with the casters, which I don't use, is 300.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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At least according to the packaging, the rating with the casters, which I don't use, is 300.

That sounds about right.

The one 5-shelf unit I have is rated at 70 pounds per shelf with casters and 150 pounds per shelf without. (It's stamped on the uprights.)

The others are all 6 shelf units, some from Costco, some from Sam's club. I have one corner shelf unit that has 5 uprights, and the weight rating is different - I don't recall what it is but it is slightly more than the regular units. I've got some heavy stuff back in there, cast iron cookware, a big 3-head commercial malt mixer and a slab of marble on the bottom shelf that I can't budge. I think it has dented the floor!

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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With the casters the weight rating is considerably less. The casters can handle heavier loads but the threaded collar inside the bottom of the uprights, into which they fit, cannot.

I can assure you from personal experience that they will bend and the unit will tip.

Was it one of these?

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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