As I mentioned the other day, our hall closet received some much needed love this past weekend!
With three kids at home, and twice as many jackets – let’s not forget backpacks and briefcases – we are the poster children for needing a mudroom. Unfortunately, we do not have a mudroom. We, in reality, barely have a hall closet. Our home, while not huge, utilizes what space it does have efficiently. The exception to this would lie in the closets or really any area that stores anything.. cabinets, closets, vanities.. it’s as if the builders looked for the least useful storage options they could find and put them all in to one house. But.. it’s one closet at a time.. Our mudroom, or lack there of, is what it is – there is literally no space to add more storage at the front door or really at the back. I’ve considered adding a mudroom area in to the garage, which is still a possibility, but that will need to wait. For now, we’ve got to deal.
I am really excited about this project, because I completed it. All. By. My. Self. I designed the layout, I cut the wood – I used both a chop saw and a table saw – I hammered the wood, painted, stencilled, and all that stuff.. Is it just me, or do I sound like the Little Red Hen? Shay was my consultant on a few things, but other than that, it was all me. I’m really proud of myself – and although it wasn’t particularly difficult, to prevent myself from having to hammer to that degree again, I Shay will be getting a finishing gun for Christmas. Go Shay! In the meantime, I thought I might share what I learned, in case some other inexperienced carpenter might take the plunge and power up the table saw. Just watch your fingers.
I really, really liked the clean look, but it only met some of my needs – it made it really easy for Shay and I the kids to hang their coats when arriving home. I still, however, needed a solution for shoes that did not involve throwing the shoes into a gigantic pile on the floor of the closet, never to be found again. I also hoped to store the various bags we use on a daily basis as well – but it wasn’t a deal breaker if that didn’t work out. And.. I wanted it to be pretty. To accomplish these things, I followed a similar design where the hooks were concerned, moving the storage shelf up, and planned to created two shelves for shoe buckets, along with a platform to store bags above the shoes. Final wish – We are in the process of working on the foyer. I wanted this to tie in nicely with the changes we have already made, and the ones we plan to make in the future. Not too lofty of a wish list, right?
Here is the before. Nothing horrendous, just not all too functional for our family. If I’d really been keeping it real I would have shown you the ten or so coats piled up on the banister behind me, or the other five or six in the neighboring dining room. In the early days, I had added a shelf for shoes underneath the hanging bar, as well as a hanging pocket shoe holder to the door. The shoe shelf wasn’t very functional, as it was set too far back in the closet to easily be reached for both retrieving and placing shoes. The hanging pocket shoe container worked fine, and the kids did use it, but it wasn’t really great for adult shoes – mainly Shay’s – as they were too wide at the toe to fit in the pockets properly. There was no where to store hats and gloves – an obvious need at this point in the year – and hanging rod, while standard, wasn’t really used by the kids. And by the way, If you have kids that actually hang their jackets on hangers in the closet, I will consider a trade. Come to think of it, I might even buy them from you! Of course, I’ll need proof before purchase.
This was my mock-up design. Pretty professional, huh? Excuse me while I laugh out loud! It wasn’t pretty, and I had to make adjustments as I went, but it got me started off on the right foot.
I began by pulling out the top storage shelf – this wasn’t attached and just slid out. I removed the hanging rod, and carefully removed the trim under the hanging rod – I planned to re-use the trim to reinforce the top row of hooks. Using an exacto knife ensured it pulled cleanly away without ripping the drywall underneath. After this, I mudded (listen to me, I sound like I know what I’m talking about.. ) the strip of drywall under where the trim had been, and patched all holes, both those that I made and those made before me. I learned that mudding is actually a lot like icing a cake, which luckily, I’m kinda good at!
Then, I started re-assembling. I cut three pieces of 1 x 1 furring strip to be used as brackets for the top storage shelf. The shelf had originally been sitting on the trim piece holding the hanging rod. Although I planned to reuse this piece and attach it higher up in the closet, there wouldn’t be enough room to rest the shelf on the trim again, because the hooks I’d purchased would jut out too far, pushing up the bottom of the shelf, so it needed a new bracket. I used the original shelf, which luckily, was inset the perfect amount that would allow me to hang it above the door frame, and still be able to place a 12 x 12 fabric cube on it easily.
This is where things got a bit interesting. I knew what a stud was.. I’m married to one.. But more importantly, I know what a wall stud is and that I’m supposed to ensure my brackets are secured to the wall studs. Using my handy-dandy stud finder, I located the studs on two walls.. and realized there was only one stud appropriately placed on the third wall. After consulting with my resident stud, it was decided that I had to extend the length of all the brackets on the left side to the entire length of the wall, to ensure it was properly secured. I will admit that I threw a bit of a hissy-fit, as this didn’t aesthetically fit in with my design, but after a few deep breaths, and a gentle reminder to myself that this was a closet, not Taj Mahal, I moved on, re-cut the left side bracket, then secured them to the wall.
I re-attached the leftover trim piece slightly below the brackets for the top storage shelf and again, filled all the holes. I had measured 35″ for average jacket length and cut and attached a second 4″ base board trim piece 37″ below the top one.
I again used 1 x 1 furring strips for the bottom shelves and cut 1″ MDF shelves for the bottom shelves using the table saw. All the shelves then received a coat of black paint.
Once all holes were filled and sanded, the interior of the closet was painted using Glidden Parchment White in Satin – I wanted a highly washable surface.
I had decided to stencil the interior of the closet – Although I question whether or not this was a good idea in hindsight, given that I’d never stenciled walls, and it was a difficult first project what with the short walls and three corners.. I think once I get around to stenciling the foyer, it will look quite striking to have the same pattern, but opposite color scheme when you open the closet door. Much of the work ended up being by hand, as the corners were really difficult with the tight space. It didn’t turn out perfect, but it was a good first attempt. The stencil we used is the Large Moorish Trellis Stencil from Royal Design Studios. I used Gray Wolf in high gloss from Martha Stewart Crafts. It was pretty straight forward.. save for the corners!
With the painting complete and dry, I attached the hooks I had picked up at Hobby Lobby. Did I mention I love Hobby Lobby? If I did not, I love Hobby Lobby. Back to the hooks. I picked up three different sizes and styles.
Speaking of the door, I had originally planned to add a panel to the door and paint it to match. I decided against this, so, instead added two small panels, made from scrap MDF, to the door, one at the top and one near the middle. I painted each panel with the same parchment white as the walls, outlined them in black and stenciled. I then attached the wrought iron bird hangers. It was a nice little additional element without going crazy on the door.
For shoe storage, I added two baskets from Target (similar here) and three narrower Waverly baskets that I picked up at Joann’s on clearance. Each person has their own shoe basket. For the upper storage shelf, I used two inexpensive fabric cubes in black. I still need to make a basket to hold gloves and hats as I’ve been unable to find what I’m looking for thus far. All in all though, it’s finished and in working order as we speak!
Here is the remade closet pre-coat deluge, IE: Before everyone came home and started putting stuff in it.
I’m very happy with the results – I learned a lot on this project and am now looking around thoughtfully at the other closets in this house. Closets beware!