Thursday, August 04, 2016

My Castell Coch Inspired Castle Shelf

Sometime last year, I got this castle shaped shelf very cheaply from a charity shop. Although I liked it, it was clearly meant to be for a child, and the colour scheme and paint job reflected this. It also had part of the battlements missing, and had several stickers stuck to the sides. It was always my intention to repaint it, I just wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. 

Then I visited Castell Coch, and saw this amazing castle shaped washstand. I loved the style of it, and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do with the castle shelf that had been languishing in storage for so long. I was going to re-paint it in a similar style to the washstand.

Working from the photos I had taken at Castell Coch, I started thinking up a design which was inspired by the washstand, but didn't directly copy it. I wanted to put my own spin on it.

The first step of the re-paint was to spray paint the entire shelf black. This gave a good base for the new design, without bits of the old design showing through or affecting the colours.

Next I painted the whole shelf a metallic pewter colour with acrylic paints. Although I really liked the rich gold colour of the washstand in the setting of Castell Coch, I don't really have many gold furnishings in my home, and pewter seemed more me.

I wanted the surface to look a bit more textured and less flat, so I stippled on some silver and copper paint, as well as a lighter grey.

Then it was time to add the details. I knew my shelf wasn't going to be as ornate as the washstand, because among other reasons, I don't have a team of skilled Victorian craftsmen at my disposal, but I wanted to echo the very geometric, strong lines of the bricks, and the arch details. It ended up taking me around three days to paint all the detailing on-some of this was fitted around work and other projects, but this was certainly a very time consuming project!

I think the finished repaint is totally worth it though. The shelf has gone from being a piece of child's furniture, to something which is very me and has hints of one of my favourite eras of design, the Gothic Revival.

I added some circular "carving" detail on the battlements, which I think came out really well and makes the castle look that little bit more ornate. It echoes some of the detailing on the washstand, although the placement on the washstand is a bit different.

I also painted some tiny coats of arms on the shield shapes on the front of the shelf. A seashell and some antlers, to show the two sides of being a Forest Mermaid.

Here's what it looks like with my stuff on it. I think it fits perfectly with my other belongings, and I love how I can put my collection of creatures on the battlements and balconies. It's functional and fun, which is exactly the kind of thing I like. Overall, I am just SO happy with how this turned out!

The unicorns seem pretty happy with their new home too!


  1. Oh my gosh, this is so cool Polly! I love the re-painting job you did on this and the little touches with the mini shields is brilliant. Love seeing it with all of your bits and pieces on too, the ponies look so cute on there! - Tasha

  2. I absolutely love this castle shelf & I want one! :) You've done much a great job re-painting it x

    Sarah | Raiin Monkey

    1. Thanks! You can sometimes get similar shelves on ebay, and there's a company called Djeco that does a pretty cute plain wooden castle shelf :)

  3. Such a great job! I love it!

  4. You did such a wonderful job on this! It's lovely!