If you dig industrial décor—the edgy aesthetic that celebrates old-school utilitarian design—get psyched to discover some fun new do-it-yourself projects, all using black fittings. That’s right: Plumbing has emerged from behind the walls to star in all kinds of practical, great-looking designs. Even if you don’t consider yourself especially crafty, you can create cool stuff, because the threaded fittings join together easily. Plus, this trend is tough. Basic plumbing supplies like iron flanges, elbow joints, and nipples (plumbers’ parlance for straight pipes) are sturdy enough to support shelves or bars—or even the bathroom sink! Just clean off any grease from your assembled projects with mineral spirits, add a layer of finishing wax to stave off rust, and they’ll look appropriate in any room of the house.
And, as a leading online plumbing and HVAC retailer, you’ll find upon perusing SupplyHouse.com that plumbing parts can be had for pennies, so you’ll get a major return on a rock-bottom investment. Start clicking to get inspired by the stylish furnishings other folks have pulled off with their plumbing, then get busy making your own pipe dreams come true!
This cool desk lamp—in basic black, of course!—is fashioned from a standard light kit and various plumbing fixtures joined together. The key to the piece is the offbeat base, made of a ½-inch Bluefin floor flange screwed into a chunk of wood. You’ll wire the lamp through the pipes as you assemble it, then attach the socket, connect the wires, and add the perfect finishing touch: a steampunk-style bulb.
So much footwear, not enough footprint? You can build all kinds of shoe storage with black fittings, either by themselves or in combination with boards. Re-create a piece like this with four 12-inch-wide wooden boards (the ideal depth for shoes), at whatever length suits your space, plus nipples and floor flanges. (This piece took eight ½-inch by 8-inch nipples for the upper levels, four ½-inch by 12-inch nipples for the bottom level, and 24 ½-inch flanges.) After tightening the threads to put the nipples and flanges together, center them on the boards and secure with screws through the holes in the flanges.
Hip hardware can cost a bundle at retail, but DIYing this sleek, minimalist set of drawer pulls and cabinet knobs will set you back only about 20 bucks. Each drawer pull is made from a black nipple 10 to 12 inches shy of the length of your drawer (½-inch diameter feels best in the hand) plus two 90-degree elbows and two ½-inch flanges. For each cabinet pull, use a ½-inch tee and a ½-inch flange.
Make your parties portable with a rolling bar cart. Build this beauty from the bottom shelf up, first marking the spot where you’ll put the wheels. (Tip: Make sure the holes in the flanges do not match up with the holes drilled into the bottom shelf for the casters, so the two sets of screws won’t interfere with each other.) Thread in iron pipes tall enough to accommodate your bottles, and continue adding pipes and boards until your bar is two or three shelves high. Attach the casters and, finally, a handle so you can steer that nifty booze bus wherever you find a few revelers.
Bathroom literature was never so appropriately stowed than with this rugged magazine rack. The simple materials: ½-inch flanges (two), caps (two), tees (two), close nipples (two), 90-degree street elbows (four), six-inch nipples (two), and one four-inch nipple. But no need to worry about missing something in your shopping cart; we have packaged exactly what you need into a single kit! Lay out all the parts to help you envision the final product. Then, assemble the components and, to attach, find a wall stud and screw in through the flanges.
This cool curtain rod lets you carry your room’s industrial style from floor-level furnishings all the way up to the ceiling. It requires a pipe long enough to extend a few inches beyond the width of your window, plus two ½-inch flanges, two ½-inch 90-degree elbows, and two ½-inch close nipples. Measure and mark where you want to install the rod. Then, insert wall anchors, and screw one flange into place, adding the close nipple and elbow. Next, attach the second flange on the opposite side of the window. Attach one side of the long pipe and slide on the curtain before attaching the close nipple and elbow to the other side to secure the pipe—and fabric—in place.
Use black fittings as shelf brackets to create rustic yet refined open storage that’s as attractive as anything you’ll display on it. Each shelf requires two ½-inch by 10-inch nipples, two ½-inch caps, and two ½-inch floor flanges. Twist the fittings together, and install into wall studs with screws threaded through the holes in the flanges. Top each set of brackets with a beautifully stained wooden board, lodged snugly behind the caps.
If you’re feeling a little playful with your plumbing pipes and fittings, consider fashioning them into something to support your working plumbing. You can create a variety of washstands with Bluefin parts from us at SupplyHouse.com. Construct an open framework version from nipples and fittings alone (the pipes provide a convenient built-in towel rack). Or, upcycle some salvaged boards and stack them on top of nipples and flanges for roomy storage that’s more open than the traditional vanity cabinet.
Find “eat in” space in a small kitchen with a breakfast bar. What’s cool about this piece is the chunky vibe achieved by the thick wood slab top and pipe. For bar-height legs, use two approximately 2-inch by 30-inch nipples atop feet made from 2-inch 90-degree street elbows. Tip: Take care to tighten the flanges to the pipe equally so the legs will be the same exact height and the bar will be level. Also, be sure to use a food-safe finish on the countertop.
This post was written in collaboration with BobVila.com