Update: bench building instructions here
Six people live in our house, and five of us wear shoes. In winter, we all wear coats, too. Shoes and coats for five/six people take up a remarkable amount of space.
You know what would be nice? If we had a dedicated mudroom somewhere around here (preferably near a door). But, alas, we do not. We have three doors leading outside: the front door, the garage door (in the kitchen), and the door to the backyard (in the sun room). And the door that gets the most use and has the most obvious coat and shoe depositing area nearby is the front door.
The foyer is, of course, the first thing people see when they come in the house. So it would be ideal for it to look pretty. At the very least, it shouldn’t look like this:
And yet, this was our old coat and shoe (and, as you can see, many other things) organization plan. We bought that hall tree shortly after buying our old house, so nearly 10 years ago. It worked pretty well when we had a baby and a toddler with tiny little coats and shoes. But, as you can see, it wasn’t really cutting it anymore (I didn’t clean it up at all before taking the picture, but I also didn’t make it look worse for dramatic effect; that’s just how it looked on most days).
It had only 4 hooks (and two of them were kind of broken). Also, kids had to actually lift the lid of that bench/trunk thing to put shoes in there, and, if you’ve ever been a kid, you know that that’s nearly impossible, even if there aren’t heaping piles of STUFF all over it. At least that’s what I’ve gathered from observing my kids: if the putting shoes away process is not extraordinarily easy, it simply can’t be done. You’ll note the evidence of this in the form of several pairs of shoes on the floor near the hall tree. Dogs don’t seem to be able to hang their leashes up after walks, either. What’s wrong with them? (No opposable thumbs, for one thing).
I wasn’t crazy about the style, either, with that scalloped edge up there (although we could have sliced it off, like we did with Ari’s bedside table, had it been working for us otherwise).
We needed something new. It doesn’t really look like it, but we spent months trying to figure out exactly what we wanted in this space. Ultimately, we went with very simple and very functional (I happen to think it’s very pretty, too, but, in this case, that was a secondary concern). Dave built the bench, and there will be a separate post with the full tutorial on that next week (for real! it’s already written; I just have to add my intro to it and edit the photos).
I didn’t take very many pictures of the coat rack making process, but it was pretty simple. We bought 2 1 by 4s and had them cut down to just a little shorter than the length of the wall we had to work with (my primary goal for the coat rack was LOTS of hooks, so I wanted to fit as many as we reasonably could). We sanded them down with the power sander and then painted them. The color is Benjamin Moore’s Frozen in Time. Then we rubbed some of the same Weathered Gray stain we used on the bench on, over the paint, and quickly rubbed it off. I wanted to soften the purple a little and pick up the gray from the bench; I’m not sure how much of the stain really shows at all (it was already a grayish purple).
Then Dave drilled the holes for the hooks and hung the boards on the wall with anchor screws:
The hooks were the most expensive part of the whole project. They were $3.28 each, and we bought 13 of them. Since it’s right there in the foyer, I wanted them to look nice, and I also wanted good, strong hooks that could stand up to kids hanging crazy, heavy things on them. I thought about going with something fun (maybe animal shaped!) for at least some of the hooks, and I thought about going cheap and buying some knobs from Hobby Lobby to screw in there. But I couldn’t find any fun hooks I liked that weren’t super expensive, and I was afraid coats would keep falling off of knobs and drive me crazy. So we went with these simple but nice brushed nickel hooks.
If you want, you can put a baby on your bench:
Hobby Lobby (how many times can I say Hobby Lobby in one post? I spend a lot of time at Hobby Lobby. They recognize Abe there) had baskets 50% off this week, so I went there in hopes of finding some nice ones for the bench shelf. But I could not. I just didn’t see anything that I liked that would work. I did buy this pillow there:
Then I went next door to the Dollar Tree and bought 4 $1 dish pans. They are more….utilitarian than I would like. Also more shallow. But they’ll do until I find the perfect baskets. The kids can fit around 3 pairs of shoes each in them before they start to look overfull, which is really plenty of shoes for a kid to have in regular rotation. And….$4!
So far it’s working well. It doesn’t look anything like it does in the pictures anymore, of course. But it doesn’t look anything like the picture of the original hall tree either (particularly if you ignore the giant box of shoes and coats that I cleared out of there and still need to put away in closets upstairs somewhere). Three pairs of shoes plus one jacket per kid! And a sunhat for Abe. And dog leashes. And a few other things. But. It’s all good, because we have THIRTEEN HOOKS now! Or 26, really, because each one has two sticky outie things.
Pictures from every conceivable angle!
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