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In our March issue, currently on shelf, we go inside the Joburg home of wedding photographer and blogger Emma-Jane Harbour and her husband, Dylan.

This minimalist urban space is the perfect combination of contemporary design, flea market finds and travel collectables – there’s a definite Nordic nuance, a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of imagination.


Here, Emma and Dylan show us how to make their floating side shelf table with copper pipe bedside lamp.

Materials required:

Copper Pipe – copper pipes come in two standard sizes, (22mm and 15mm). You can use either one, but make sure to get the brackets and elbows to match the same size pipe. We opted for the smaller 15mm pipe for our lights.

2 x 90 degree copper pipe elbows

1 x 45 degree copper pipe elbow

1 x Copper Tee joiner

1 x Wall Plug

1 x Light switch

1 x Hoi-Ploi bulb

3 x Copper Pipe fixing brackets


1 x black plastic screw-in light bulb socket (add in a wire harness if it doesn't have one built-in)

Hoi-Ploi vintage style electrical cable (we only used about half a metre and joined it onto a much cheaper electrical lamp cord which ran inside the pipes.)

1 x Shelf bracket (add another one for extra strong shelves)

Wooden pine shelf, cut to size at your local hardware store (sand, varnish or stain to your taste)

Clear sticky tape

Matte, clear, quick-dry, spray-on varnish

Insulation tape

Hammer-in wall plugs (8mm for the shelf bracket, and 5mm for the pipe brackets – use as many as required)

Short Wood screws (for fixing the shelf bracket onto the wood)

Double sided tape

Tools required:



Drill bits (8mm and 5mm)


Spirit Level




Tape Measure

Pipe cutter



What to do:

1. Clean and varnish. Start by cleaning and varnishing your copper

pipes – we used a solution of vinegar and lemon to clean the pipes. Dry thoroughly and coat the outside with varnish to protect the copper from the elements, this is easiest to do while keeping the pipes upright.

 2. Cut 'em up. Wait for the varnish to dry and cut the pipes down to size. The size will depend on how high you want the light to be from the floor. Draw out the shape that you would like with a pencil and measure accordingly. Keep in mind that the Copper Tee joiner will sit on the vertical line that runs next to the shelf. It will allow the cable to exit the copper pipe cleanly so that you can wire-in a switch.



3. Cut the hoi-ploi cord. To avoid making a mess of cutting the vintage styled cable threads, keep everything in place by wrapping a small, single layer of clear sticky tape around the cord where you would like to cut it. Now, cut in the middle of the sticky tape. The tape will keep all of the loose threads in place and keep the cable neat and tidy.



4. Loosely build the light. Wire-in the light socket to the hoi-ploi cord (remember the sticky tape trick above) and join it onto the lamp cord using insulation tape. Cut the lamp cord so that you can send about 1/3rd of it down from the top, and the rest up from the bottom, meeting in the middle where the switch will join them together. When threading the lamp cord through the copper piping, keep the elbows and pipes loose – this will make it easier to push the lamp cord down the pipes and through the elbows.



5. Fix and mount the pipes together. At this point, you should have a loose version of the final product. All of the elbows and pipes should be in their correct places and the bulb holder and vintage styled cable should be sticking out of the top. Join everything together by fixing all of the pipes into the relevant brackets. Fix the pipes onto the wall using the copper pipe fixing brackets and 5mm hammer-in wall plugs. Make sure it’s all straight using a spirit level.


6. Mount the shelf. Now that you know exactly where the T-Bar is sitting, you can mount your shelf so that it sits just above the T-Bar. The shelf will hide the switch, and make it easy for you to find in the night. For a small, lightweight shelf, one bracket should be enough. For a stronger shelf, you can use two.


7. Close the circuit. Wire-in the switch under the shelf, and mount it onto the wall using double-sided tape. Wire-up the plug on the other end and screw-in the light bulb. Plug it in and turn it on!


That's it, all done!

See more of Emma-Jane Harbour’s work at and

Don't forget to buy our March issue, currently on shelves, for an inside look at Emma and Dylan's beautiful, warm Parkhurst home.

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