When we were designing the house there was a wide hallway with 4 doorways and an opening (is that 5 doors or not? The last is more an arch and has no door) that was between our garage door and the rest of the house. On the single uninterrupted wall, they put in a bench and ta-da, they call the area a mudroom. I called it a *future* mudroom because it really had no place to hang anything. It got higher on my priority list when kids got back to school and there were backpacks all over the floor. It got even higher when it got cold and jackets joined the jumble. As with all good projects we start with Pinterest, but, one of my constant annoyances with Pinterest is that there are no directions, this is my contribution to the mudroom category.
I have no before picture – imagine a navy room with a built-in bench.
First step was to evaluate use. For us we need lots of coat and backpack hooks at a height that my kids can actually reach. I also wanted a shelf for cool hats, I have a pretty good collection so they needed a spot. We also end up with wet stuff a lot so we needed wall protection.
Second step design and research. After some Pinterest searches, I fell in love with the ‘pretty shelf holders’ but that is not the name for them; they are corbels and can be very tricky. Some I found are decorative only, made of a plastic or hard foam. I needed structural corbels and the internet has plenty, some are very expensive, and I ended up getting them from Home Depot; 2 for $15 (I got 2 packs).
Home Depot also had wainscoting (the decorative wood panels) for $12 a panel, our wall is 90 inches so we needed just under 2 full panels. They are pretty flimsy MDF but they got less brittle after 2 coats of paint. I made the needed cut, using a circular saw, on the far corner and just ignored the asymmetry. I wanted to avoid too much cutting so I tested the hight dimension on the wall for hook rail #1 before I bought them and it worked for us.
Both hook rails and the shelf are pine from the dimensional lumber section. The hook rails are 1x4x8 and the shelf is 1x8x8. They cost about $20 total.
I painted everything (SW7005) Pure White to match our trim, the base of the bench and the door frames.
I marked the studs with masking tape in the area I was not planning on putting anything so I didn’t have to constantly look for them. In my 90 inches, I had 5 studs to work with. One thing I’ve had problems with in the past is overloading coat hooks so I wanted to make sure this was very strong. Yes, Dad, I overdid it I am sure, but now I know I can put everything, including a bag of
bricks books, on the hooks. Here is my hardware/mounting list (not the order of building)
- 2 of the 3 corbels are mounted on studs, 3rd is on a screw in anchor
- The bottom hook rail is mounted using 3in #10 cabinet installation screws
- The long sections of top hook rail are also mounted to studs with the 3in #10
- The two short sections of the top rail use wall anchors rated for 50lb
- Wainscoting is held up by finishing staples from a nail gun, but, finishing nails would work fine.
Order of building;
- Wainscoting first, making sure it was perfectly level. Fun fact, the bench is not level… I kept the nails around the edge for easier painting later.
- Lower rail next. I positioned the screws so I could cover them with hooks
3. Corbels mounted per directions – I decided on the height by a very scientific method; I put a mark where I could still reach but was high enough to look balanced on the wall. I’ve done enough ‘rule of 3rds’ that it is just part of my life. I like to use post-its to mark so I can stand back and look and easily move if I need to.
4. Cut sections of wood for the top rail, mine were 4 different lengths so cutting had to be after corbels. I decided anchoring to the studs was more important than perfect symmetry. In planning, I made sure each long section would have a stud, the short sections I used toggle bolts.
5. The shelf is mostly held by gravity but to be more secure I used the nail gun along the back to anchor it to the top rail.
6. I added hooks, starting by covering my fasteners and then eyeballing (using pink post-its) the others. The lower hooks are the bigger style and the uppers are small because I didn’t want to bang into the shelf above so I needed a low profile.
7. Touch up paint. Went over all the nail heads and the seam of the wainscoting and along the joins of the rails to the shelf above. Looks way better with the hairline cracks filled in with paint
8. Clean up all the tools, trash, and dust and took a picture because this is likely the last time it will be so empty ever!
There are 2 things I wish I could have done differently.
First, I’m not wild about how the upper rail looks cut up because it is slightly thicker than the back of the corbel. Paint helped but the only real solution would have been to put in verticle strips but that would have looked bad because my spaces were not equal, or, even with the wainscoting. I found other places on Pinterest that did the same so I’m not the only one with the quandary. I don’t think anyone will really notice.
Second, I would have preferred to run a router grove on the lower rail so it nested over the wainscoting adding to the structure. I didn’t because my router is still at a friends house and I wanted to get this done and he was on vacation. It worked out fine so far at least.
Even with those two reservations, I’m really happy with how this turned out. I’m proud to contribute this to the Pinterest universe.
Oh! I was asked about the color and we used SW6244 – navel here and in the front hall and it is scary dark on the chip but awesome in person. The bench stain is Koa, the flooring is a vinyl plank laid in a herringbone pattern (left that to the pros!)
Three days of summer completed, only 137 to go.
Mostly good so far, we had plans and they kept us busy and I think we are getting used to being around each other 24/7. It has only been the equivalent of a long weekend so I’ll re-evaluate when we get to a week. I’m even preplanning next week, whole days in advance.
So far we have;
Celebrated the first day with a fire and friends and a toast to the summer to come
Had friends over, most notable was a Fiona friend whose birthday we will miss and she missed Fiona’s so we did an un-birthday playdate. Nothing makes a little girl feel special like a personal sized cake. (the pans are from Ikea in the kid section, get them!)
Gone to a friends house, rode bikes around the block and played in the yard, traumatizing the many robins who are nesting.
Procured a summer wardrobe for 3 girls since all their summer stuff is deeeeep in storage (remember originally we were supposed to move in April). We lost shopping patience so I have 2 pairs of shorts beyond the workout bottoms I had kept out. I ended up modifying a t-shirt to be more trendy (and less annoying at the neck).
We are reading more but not getting much other ‘school’ stuff done but it has been a busy few days.
Gone to the gym 2x and the pool once – I’m very hopeful to continue this trend since I’ll get both a kid break and a workout.
Today Lars is taking the girls out and I’m getting all the winter stuff out to storage and starting in on all the decorative things we kept out simply to make the house look good for showing. Yes, I do like how it looks too in a hotel sort of way, but in the interest of getting packed in a non-panic I’ll start round 3 with the less essential items.
We even got in a date night! For the first time in WEEKS Lars and I had an evening with no plans and our sitter was ready and willing so we went out to eat together. This isn’t to say we don’t see each other – about half the time we go to different things in the evening but are back by 8ish and do kid bedtime and then have the evening together, just taking the whole night is special.
Given that it is a holiday weekend it double downs on different from a school week with a day trip on Monday. Zoe already said she has no idea what day it is and might just consider all days between now and school Saturday. Why not?
No real drama yet and I’m glad. We have so many things cooking that I think we will exhaust ourselves – I should really put ‘relaxing’ on the list at some point.
ps. I got my side by side done for the kids, here is beginning of the year and end
No people, no explanation – of my world