dil·i·gence:careful and persistent work or effort

Proverbs 13: 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Coat closet to mini-mudroom: phase I

Once we took care of some prep work (here and here), I was able to turn my focus to the reason for the game of musical closets in the first place:  turning our humdrum coat closet into a mini-mudroom.  I'm sure you remember my inspiration photo from House of Smiths, right?  Behold the mini-mudroom of my dreams:
First step:  creating a blank slate.  So, I emptied the pathetic, poorly utilized coat closet, pulled down the hanging rod, removed the doors, and slapped on several coats of paint.  In no time, our closet had gone from this:
to this:
Now, this is where I must offer a disclaimer.  I am not good with tutorials.  I also do not know official construction terminology.  So, I may call something the wrong name, etc.  I am going to *try* to explain how we built the upper half of the mini-mudroom, but I may just end up confusing you.  So, I apologize in advance!  I also want to mention that my main partner in crime for this project and the source of both the brains AND the brawn was none other than my Handy Dad.  I can't remember how I originally broached the topic with him, but I am sure he thought I was crazy for wanting to mess with my perfectly functioning coat closet, but he heard me out and was willing to help me turn my dream into a reality.  To say that I could not have done ANY of this without his help would be a gross understatement.  Thanks, Dad!!

So, back to the closet.  You may notice that the closet originally had 2 shelves.  Some quick measuring, and we determined that the lower of the two shelves would stay but that my second shelf needed to be lower than that.  So, I removed the upper shelf and the ledger board.  The ledger for the lower shelf stayed and just received some fresh paint. 

From here, I had to wait until my foreman (aka Dad) came back into town.  Of course, he had a punch list to take care of before construction day, too.  The shelves I had previously were only about 12" deep, and we determined that deeper shelves would be more functional and closer to the inspiration photo.  So, prior to construction day, my dad used his spiffy biscuit cutter to join a 1x12 with a 1x3 and another 1x12 with a 1x6 to make 2 shelves roughly 14 and 17 inches deep.  So, on Thanksgiving Eve, we embarked on building out the upper half.  We placed the new, deeper upper shelf in place and then added the lower shelf.
Next up were the dividers.  We cut these out of a 1x4, and used the corbels I had purchased to support the lower shelf as a template to cut the curved front profile.
Next, we attached the stock corbels from Home Depot (which I had already primed and painted) to our 1x12 that we were using as a ledger board for the lower shelves and then attached that to the wall.  This board was actually made up of the old shelves.  Let's hear it for saving some moolah!
We were so excited about how things were turning out, we staged the closet with baskets, etc pretty much at every stage.  I was over the moon with each addition.  (And, secretly I think my dad was enjoying how it was turning out, too!)
Here you can see some details of the construction, though you may notice that we had not yet continued the wide ledger board for the lower shelf along the sides.  But, ultimately we did do that.  My dad is known for building things to last.  If our house ever goes down, the chimney and this closet will be the only things standing.
 Then, we decided on the placement and added 6 coat hooks in oil rubbed bronze.
 And, from there it was really just a staging-fest.  I had already brought up some baskets from the basement, and we had the mail trays that I had gotten from Staples.  But, we also shimmied over the cedar chest to give us and idea of what the closet might look like with the bench.  In a word:  love!
 This detail shot shows all of the construction.
I am loving the combination of open and closed storage options.  I envision using the mail trays for mail, paper, magazines and/or paper items that are waiting to go to the car (Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons, anyone?) and the baskets for winter gear like hats and gloves.
 And, of course having a home base for the purse is key!
I absolutely could not possibly be any happier with the way this is turning out.  It's all I had hoped for!  Thank you so much, Dad!!
And, another benefit to having more of a mudroom than a closet with doors is that it really opens up the entire front door area, which is awesome in our little home.
Of course, there is still a lot to be done.  I have lots of screw holes to fill and paint, and some touch up work from construction.  But, here's the list of what else we plan to do:
  • build platform and sitting bench
  • upholster bench
  • build custom wooden crates for under bench storage
  • add bead board to exposed wall between hooks and bench
  • add lighting (?)
I'm not sure of our next construction day, but in the meantime you can find me patching and painting.  And, maybe trying my hand at building those crates!



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  1. Looks great! So lucky to have a handy dad! My dad sure is a sweetie but is NOT handy and neither is Johnny=)

  2. Wow! It looks so great!!!
    You're going to LOVE IT! :)

  3. Looking fantastic Emily. You really have a craftful eye (er, not sure if that's a term) for things like this -- I love the idea of making the top shelf slightly deeper than its lower counterpart and connecting them like that, adds a really fine craftsman touch.

  4. Emily, your closet-turned-mudroom is amazing! It really looks fabulous. Can't wait to see the finished seating and storage at the bottom of the space. Love the Golden Retriever rug in the last picture - everyone should have one of those to welcome guests! :)

  5. Nicely done! If I only had room to put all the coats and shoes that are in my entry closet...hmmm, I'm thinking...

  6. Wow, great job. Tidy storage is such a good feeling.
    Nice to meet you!

  7. Wow Emily, you and your dad make a great team! What a pretty and functional space. I bet it just makes you smile!