Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why Am I Tripping Over Your Shoes?

This question is asked at least three times a week in my house. When we lived in a 700 sq.ft. apartment, it was frustrating, but I got it. We had no real entrance way, our "hall" closet held coats, off-season clothing, brooms, a vacuum, laundry baskets, holiday boxes... the list goes on. Our pub table slowly turned into a coat rack and Reed was always good for at least two pairs of shoes strewn across the living room on a given day. BUT...now we have a 2,8000 sq.ft. house. Why am I still tripping on shoes and finding coats on the kitchen chairs? I'll even fess up here and admit I've hung a coat or two on the counter stool - seems silly to put a wet coat in a closet with 10 other dry ones, or hang up a jacket you know you'll wear again in an hour.

A few weeks ago,  in my mission to rid our "new to us" 29 year old house of every inch of floral contact paper (is there ANYTHING grosser than old, sticky, stained paper under your pans and food?) I decided to tackle the pantry. (Disclaimer: This picture is from the previous owners. I do not and will never have multiple bottles of fake maple syrup or keep onions on a dirty old floor)
The pantry is somewhat oddly placed, as it's not exactly in the kitchen, but in the little cluster of 1/2 bath, laundry room, garage entry. We also use that area as Murray's room when we're gone, so a pantry there would be a little too tempting for him and very annoying for me to open a dog gate every time I need cornmeal.

As I was swearing over contact paper and what used to be a lovely manicure, I thought "Why am I even doing this?". Our kitchen has ample cabinet space; I'm even ignoring an entire cabinet because the contact paper is especially stubborn and I temporarily gave up to avoid crying on the kitchen floor (also dirty, linoleum, and does not have a long future in this house). So I said "Fuck it" and asked Reed to come get the shelves and dump them in the basement, where removed doors, old shelves, and paint cans now live. As I stared at the empty space, it occurred to me this should be the jacket, boots, winter accessories dumping ground. We are never going to use the front door, so the hall closet there can happily accommodate the less-worn coats and guest jackets, but this space was perfect to remove the everyday outerwear before you even reach the kitchen.

So, the project:

We bought this house sort of unplanned, first planning to rent, then buy a no-maintenance brand new 1 bedroom condo (Thank God for unanswered prayers on that one), and somehow ended up in a 4 bedroom house on 1.2 acres in need of some cosmetic updating. Reed was a little overwhelmed; I was overexcited with na├»ve beliefs in my skills, thank you HGTV and Pinterest. When I came up with my brilliant mudroom idea, I searched Pinterest for "closet mudroom" and found every plan seemed to include a very handy husband, of which Reed is neither. It occurred to me I always see IKEA Hacks on Pinterest, so I went to the IKEA website for some ideas and voila! My mudroom was born.

Materials:
Paint
IKEA KALLAX shelving unit: $59.99
Coat Hooks: $7 each
Foam pads: $8 each
Fabric: $29

As we've just bought a house requiring 8+ rooms of new paint, we had a few stray buckets lying around. I used the same color as our living room (Glidden French Grey) and painted what were the supports for the old shelves white (Benjamin Moore White Dove), which is the same color I used on the trim throughout the house. I'd already painted the doors, but decided to remove them as the garage door and dog gate hit them anyway and I don't envision closing them again. They've retired to the basement as well.

I found the KALLAX shelves measured almost perfectly the same width as my closet. I'm aware this was a pure stroke of luck, but I have to imagine even a few more inches off is worth not fighting with your husband/boyfriend/self in Home Depot and back home when measuring and cutting wood. I also know it's much less money than buying wood, more paint, and the proper saws, not to mention time saved. I ordered the shelves and they arrived in 5 days, requiring 20 minutes of assembly.

I decided making a cushion for the bench was within my realm of capabilities and much easier/less expensive than stalking HomeGoods, Pier1, etc. for the perfect size cushion. Word of warning: the Jo-Ann Fabrics cutting table, if you don't frequent it, is possibly the most intimidating location ever. I asked for the wrong measurements first, broke into a sweat, and fumbled off to the back corner to collect myself and re-evaluate when the cutting lady told me foam is "very expensive" and they'll only cut the length for me. This was after spending a solid 30 minutes deciding on fabric. As I sulked to the back corner, still sweating, I found a wall of foam in various sizes, thickness, and (yes, quite high) prices. In another stroke of luck, I found 2 inch chair pad foam which was 15 inches wide, meaning 4 would perfectly fit on the new bench. Since we'll only sit on the bench to remove boots etc., I was more than happy to save a few bucks and decided to use hot glue to create the proper sized cushion. The fabric, which of course was not on sale, came to about $29 for 72 inches and the foam cushions were $8 each, totaling $32. The cashier also had a 25% off coupon, which made my day, but the moral of the story is if you're a bit savvier in the crafts store than me, you can do this even cheaper with coupons, sale fabric, and when foam goes on sale (which I'm told, does happen. Just not now. Woops.)

I successfully hot glued the four foam pads together, fitting nearly perfectly over my bench. The pads were a bit wider than the bench, but I just scooted the bench forward a few inches to make it look even. Again, this isn't a couch, so since it will get such minimal seat-time, I was happy to make a few accommodations for appearance and to save money.

I had every intention of sewing the fabric for the cushion, but in a last minute Pinterest search "how to sew without a sewing machine when I haven't sewn a stich since 8th grade" I found a no sew cushion tutorial  (In MY Own Style), instructing me to wrap it like a present and use safety pins. SOLD. I actually like this option better because I can easily switch the fabric when I inevitably get sick of it.

I bought three coat hooks from Home Depot ($7 each, but again, I spent more as I wanted the brushed copper hardware I'm using throughout the house. They had much cheaper options in plastic or nickel). I also had baskets from IKEA shelves elsewhere in the house and borrowed from there for winter accessory storage.

So, that's it. Here's the finished product. I absolutely LOVE how this came out:


This project was SO easy, SO quick, and much less expensive than a custom built in mud room. It's just the two of us and a dog for now, but if / when there are other, smaller occupants of the house I can dig up one of the shelves in the basement, finish scraping off the dreaded contact paper, and put it in the top with cute baskets for additional storage.

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