Though various home magazines and scads of blogs would insist otherwise, I firmly believe that every home needs some not-so-pretty areas in order to maintain prettiness in other spaces. Meaning: you gotta have a lot of functional storage (and the prettiest storage is generally less functional... sad, but mostly true) in order to keep the clutter out of the pretty areas.
Okay, no more using "pretty" in this post. I swear.
So remember my ass kicking home progress rampage a couple of weeks ago? Most of my accomplishments were of the aesthetically pleasing variety, like finishing the blue guest room, the yellow guest room and the family room. But this is the one that probably makes the biggest impact in our house:
(Like how Chelsea's little caboose snuck in there? She's not as stealthy as she thinks.)
You're looking out into the hallway from inside the blue guest room. Where formerly there was nothing -- or, honestly, there was a big pile of stuff -- there is now a bench, some hooks and a shelf, all of which fit the space perfectly and keep that bulky gear out of the rest of the house. Hence the title of this post.
Here's how that area started, viewed from the door to the garage (with the yellow room and blue room on the left and the hallway to the great room on the right).
No exaggeration. It was a big pile of ski boots, backpacks and miscellaneous winter gear. Anyone who doesn't share our desperate need for functional storage does not have athletic gear. I'm talking to you, Kelly Wearstler.
Like how we have the hooks, but they're just hanging out on the floor? A lot of our home improvement projects tend to linger like that for a while. :-)
So, as you certainly know, lots of stores will happily sell you a mudroom set of a cubby bench and a cubby shelf with hooks. The problem for us is that we just don't have the space for anything that wide or deep in our little hallway, and those cubbies don't actually fit bulky items like tall snow boots and ski helmets.
It was time to go custom. With wood and tools and stuff. All by myself. And lest you think I'm some kind of power tool maven, allow me to take a quick detour to show you this awesome project Mark undertook: a ski rack for the garage.
I feel slightly bad about posting this picture with his goofy face, but he insists on making those faces for pictures, leaving me no choice.
That thing is rock-solid-sturdy. Or else I would not entrust the rack with my beloved Rossis (known around here as the "She Devils," because of what they make me do).
When the old owners lived here, the garage looks like this, with skis piled up in the corner:
And now, thanks to Mark's rack and some shelves, it looks like this:
So, again, not the most glamorous storage that keeps all of that stuff out of other parts of the house.
And, you're probably asking, what was that point of that detour? It was this:
Mark is the tool master around here. I may be a surgeon with an orbital sander and know my way around a drill (and, okay, I did saw most of the tiles for our first bathroom remodel before deciding that the tile saw is not my friend), but I've left all the heavy construction to him. But my little plan to surprise him with lots of progress around the house wasn't gonna work if I got scared of the big saw now.
Just to even things out in terms of that goofy face photo of Mark, here's a silly picture of me, posing with all the essentials, from a link-up post I did last spring with Sawdust and Paper Scraps.
So what did I do with all that gear? I built us a bench. Did I take pictures of building it? Well, no. But here's how it turned out:
What you're looking at is a 3/4 inch thick, 11 inch deep oak stair tread that I trimmed down as the seat (bonus: nice rounded front edge), and 1x10s (actually less than 1 and less than 10 inches) as the legs. To attach them, I bought a pocket hole jig, drilled pocket holes in the legs, screwed and glued them on and braced them to dry straight. Then I stained the whole bench with "pickled white" stain, which on the oak looks pink, and so it's probably due to get another coat, and if that doesn't work, the nice man at Sherwin Williams said he can add some green tint to the stain to counteract the pink. It's also going to get a furring strip down the middle underneath as additional bracing, and Mark wants to attach it to the wall with L-brackets. But none of that will be visible from most people's vantage points (and the dogs won't tell).
See? Making a bench is easy. For real easy. And I would actually entrust that thing to hefty bums, although it's not the deepest bench ever. But the best part is it's plenty tall to hold our tallest boots in the boot tray underneath with no obstructions.
The rest of the storage installation was easy: hanging a prefab hook rail from Tarjay (which is off-center to avoid blocking the light switch) and a little key hook, and mounting some very sturdy brackets to support a 1x12 pine board that the nice folks at Mountain Hardware cut down to the custom length for me (and which I also stained pickled white). I had to use the level and a couple of drywall anchors, but that was about all the DIY savvy required. (In case you're curious, two of the three shelf brackets are in studs, so that shelf is NOT coming down. Even with heavy ski boots on it.)
Having this faux mudroom setup allows us, for the first time since we moved in, to have a clear hallway from the garage, which is a great feeling at last. Maybe someday we'll put in better looking brackets or paint the shelves white, but for now it does the job.
Hooray for more storage.
Next up in the
I want to put a sink in the laundry room, but the nice folks at This Old House tell me that that's not as simple as splitting the washer's supply line and tapping into its drain (not that that is actually simple). We'd actually have to rip open the wall and tap into the washer's vent stack high up the wall. Ugh. Let's put that on the five-year plan. For now I'll just be happy if we can somehow gain a countertop and some cabinet space in the deal.
Any new storage around your place? Any tricks you've found to keep your functional storage looking attractive? (That is, without just getting rid of all the stuff the storage is meant to hold?)
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