Monday, March 28, 2011

watch as i can make any post way...too...long.

subtitle: a recent project

i have always disliked our "entryway", which is really just the space behind our front door, but have never known quite what to do with it. because we don't have an attached garage, this is the door we come in all the time and this is the space that should in theory store all the appropriate "just came in the door" stuff. i think this is an issue that a lot of mommas struggle with. i've heard women fantasize about spacious mudrooms more than chocolate or a tropical vacation.

when we first moved in, someone in the family was getting rid of an oak, 4-peg coat rack with embossed hearts and flowers. totally not my style, but it was free and served the purpose of hanging coats. so we hung that up and used it for awhile.

then, after ben was born and i cleaned out my massage room at my cousin's office, i used the mirror with hooks that i had been using there. i liked the look of it (obviously, because i had bought it) but not so much how it looked in it's new home, the hooks were really small for coats (tim's coat is quite heavy and doesn't stay on little hooks), and when tim helped me hang it, we hung it too high-that's the problem when there's almost a foot difference in our heights. i had to stand at the other side of the room to see myself in it. i would have lowered it, but we had to put anchors in the wall to support the weight of coats and i was too lazy to buy new anchors and try to put them in by myself. (tim would not have been very happy helping redo the mirror-he HATES house projects.) but again, it mostly worked, so i just tried to ignore it.

(this picture looks weird because i cropped out the rest of the picture-tim caught a dinner guest who hates to have her picture taken in a very uncomplimentary pose. the picture was taken in september, so it doesn't show how overflowing the coat rack would get in the winter. )

when max was a baby i added the baskety tower thing to store hats, gloves, keys, etc. i had really gotten a bee in my bonnet that the space needed something of the sort, but after pricing said items and not finding anything i liked that i thought was worth the money, i was stalled. then my mom's neighbor was getting rid of this and my mom snagged it for me. price: a couple loaves of homemade bread as a thank you to said neighbor.

that arrangement worked for awhile, although i wasn't totally wild about it, but then we added our wood box by the wood burning stove and it took over the space of the baskety tower thing. plus, as the boys were getting bigger, we had more stuff that needed to be hung up. the five stubby little hooks just weren't enough for all our stuff, especially when we had friends over. although i have absolutely no problem plopping our coats on the floor when we visit friends, i always felt like a terrible host not having a place to hang the coats of our guests.

enter solution/entryway #3. this summer i got this odd expandable coat rack thing, again free, and decided to give it a try.

i really don't know why i bothered to hang it up. i didn't like it and knew i wouldn't be satisfied with it, but i think the thing that allowed it to stay was the fact that it had really long pegs that would allow us to pile a ton of coats on it. plus the screws and anchors were already in the wall, so i didn't have to invest any effort in hanging it.

then when we combined ben and max into one room and put their mattresses on the floor so their beds would double as a huge trampoline, ben's headboard got put by the door to be moved to the garage. i had seen on this post on better after where the gal turned a headboard into an entryway table and i thought i might do the same, minus painting it.

the headboard would allow for a place to drop our keys and a place to put the million things that needed to be taken to people/returned-a bible left at our confirmation retreat, a necklace my boys broke that i was going to my brother to fix, some stuff to return to lowes, etc. the little sliding doors would be perfect for hiding all that stuff.

but as you can see in the picture, the coat rack totally overwhelmed the headboard, the headboard was really too big for the space, the little doors didn't slide well so stuff just piled up, and honestly, this is more of what it looked like most of the time (or worse):

the space just kept nagging at me, largely because this was my view from my spot at the table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

okay, i guess i could have looked out the windows, but the space really bugged me and i couldn't let it go. all winter i stared at this wall trying to figure out what to do. i wanted the space to be functional-no more precariously piled up coats or pesky little hooks, as well as aesthetic. well, at least as good looking as a wall of coats can be.

back in december i was at hobby lobby picking up some candles for our advent wreath and on a whim, bought some hooks for half price that i thought would work well. they reminded me of these from anthropologie but were $1.50 instead of $18 each. (now that i went back and looked at the anthro hooks i realized mine aren't really like those, but oh how i do love anthropologie. last winter i fantasized about getting an assortment of anthro hooks for the space. it remained a fantasy because although it would have been killer cute, the hooks wouldn't have been very functional and it would have cost over $100 for hooks!)

since i bought the hooks spur of the moment, i didn't really have a plan for them. i knew that i didn't want to mount them directly to the wall, but hmmmm, what to do? so they sat for awhile. then soulemama, my wanna-be soul sista posted this project. i had thought about mounting them on wood like that, but needed to get the visual confirmation that i would like it. yes, clean and simple-i liked it indeed. then i saw this post and totally fell in love with the awesome rustic-ness of this wall. after letting my thoughts marinate for a few days, i couldn't take the taunting anymore and decided to tackle the wall once and for all.

i grabbed some wood that i had stashed upstairs after me and the boys took apart a mattress support from an old bunk bed one night when they were driving me nuts (controlled deconstruction is much better than their usual brand of destruction) and started laying it out.

then i had the boys hold it up on the wall to see if i liked the look of it.

i had two options of length. i liked the look and color of the three smaller boards, but i liked the length of the two wider boards. so i decided to use the length of the longer boards as a guide and piece together the smaller boards like the pallet wall to achieve the length i wanted. i spent quite a while piecing the boards together since a lot of them were warped and left too big of gaps when put together, had everything marked and was ready to make my cuts. i even had the forsight to mark each board so the puzzle would fit back together once i'd made my cuts. (note: the boys were literally running around me in circles as i did this after they finished their art projects i had tried to distract them with.)

just as i was ready to go get the saw i sat back and looked at what i was about to do. i would have to secure each of those little boards on the wall and some of them would have to be strong enough to hold the weight of the hooks and coats. i would have to use screws and need to hit studs, not like the little finishing nails used in the pallet wall. although i knew it was doable and would look cool, i decided the little boards just weren't worth all the effort. so i accepted using the wider boards and waited for tim to get home.

as i said earlier, tim hates helping with projects, but he was mostly very patient with this and fortunately it didn't take us very long to get the boards up after i got all the hooks screwed to the boards.

and in all it's coated glory:

although it's very simple, i'm really happy with how it turned out. it wasn't so much the most recent project itself, but six years of it being not quite right hanging over me. i'd considered a lot of solutions over the years including a hall tree or hat stand, plans that included a bench or cubbies, things that i could buy or make. but nothing seemed quite right for us. and for now and for the forseeable future, this seems right. we have space for guests to hang their coats and bags, the boys can reach to hang up their own coats (and DO! when i remind them),the baskets for shoes and hats are realistic, as opposed to a tidy shelf for shoes that i knew my guys would never use, and it's not too bulky. best of all was the cost: $12 for eight hooks. the wood and screws were free.

one down, two more projects to catch up on. although the other two *shouldn't* be as lengthy. they don't have as much history and emotional baggage behind them.


  1. Awesome! I love the new look - I'm partial to wood and black together, I just love how it looks! You are so creative/resourceful when it comes to home improvement!

  2. Very nice. We opted for two rows of hooks, too. I really like having a kid row that they can reach. For gloves, etc, each kid gets a small bag to hang on their hook with all their winter gear in it.

    For shoes, instead of baskets we have this handy giant crate thing with a lid. It is very nice as it holds the shoes/boots, etc and then when you take them out, the lid goes down and there is a seat right there to sit on while putting them on! It also makes the space look a bit more tidy. Unfortunately, I think this item might be pricy - we got ours from a relative that did not want it anymore.

    Kuddos to you for improving your space. These are the moments every mom dreams about :)

  3. Ok, I must post again and say how fitting it is that my "securty word" for the last post was: "hangit" - hahahahah :)

  4. NICE work! While I would *like* one of those gorgeous straight from pottery barn mudrooms, I don't think I'd want one more than a tropical vacation lol!

    Seriously though, you did a great job! AND I bet you're even more proud, since it's something you made yourself! GO YOU!

  5. Good work! Looks fantastic! I too HATE hanging things on walls. I HATE finding studs. I HATE figuring out wall anchors. Jackie asked about a possible shelf in our bedroom someday and I almost got the shakes. So I am quite impressed with all of this. Looks great-especially your elephant bag and the U.S. Mail box. It's the little touches...

  6. It looks great! we really wish we had a mud room too. The hall coming in from the garage already had a decent little row of hooks when we bought the house, but we kept our shoes just piled in the hallway for three years. We finally got a little shelf to stack our shoes onto.
    I really like the look of your hooks. Great work!

  7. this looks great Mary! I loved the story that went along with it too, though I had heard bits of pieces of it before it was fun to read it all together. I am very impressed as you should be too! Steve doesn't like hanging things either but hates it even more when I try and do it myself and end up ruining the wall.
    I think you'll be very happy with this!
    Maybe one day you guys can just knock that wall down and add on another wing behind the fireplace and then you can have your own closet or mudroom. ;)