The Shoe Shack

For the past, oh, nearly two years, our entry closet has been in pitiful shape.  With the standard single shelf and rod set up.  Basically looking like this:


In an attempt to sort shoes, I hung an Ikea sorter from the rod, but it took up a lot of space.  And we still had piles of shoes on the floor.  Well, I’d finally had enough.  And Ben must have had enough of my complaining about the shoe mess, because he added simple shelves and new trim while I painted the door.


Obviously, you can see I have yet to paint the walls, but we do have baseboard.  Just keeping it real; nothing is finished over night here.  Especially when drywall dust is involved.  Sanding the ceiling and matching the knockdown wall texture has to happen first.  Then the new crown, and finally painted walls.  Glorious, solid colored walls!


I’ll be so happy when I don’t have to look at patchy walls.  Working up the nerve/strength to deal with all the dust isn’t easy for me, especially in this open of a space.  Anyway, how about a look at the much improved storage function closet?  Okay, here we are today:


Before putting in shelves, I painted the closet Dragonfly (because I had half a gallon on hand).  Ben built three shelves from melamine sided particle board, which is highly wipe-able and holds up to water better than paint.  A low double hook holds the boys’ coats, and a higher hook keeps my purse (and usually scarf) handy.  The previous owner left a small shoe rack, which works better at the top of the closet to hold bins of hats, gloves, reusable shopping bags, and out of season shoes.


The bottom shelves were so quick to make I wish we had done it sooner.  Simple cleats along the back and sides hold the shelves in place, while still giving us the option of removal.  To maximize space, the bottom shelf sits 10 inches off the floor (where Ben’s work boots stay).  Two more shelves are 5 inches tall, so shorter shoes tuck in without wasting height.   Tall boots and bags rest on the top shelf.  After seeing an amazing entry closet in the March Martha Stewart, I’d really love to take ours to the next level with pretty bins and baskets.


Maybe I should repaint the inside of the closet a light gray instead of the dark greeny blue?  That shoe cubby is awesome, too.  What’s your favorite entry organization tip?  I love those hanging baskets to corral gloves, hats, and small items, but we don’t have room on our single door.  Would the work as well on the inside of the closet?

Supply and Demand

Lately, we’ve had a problem area in my office.  The little area dedicated to the boys coloring supplies.  We’ve got a drawer of coloring books, stickers, markers, crayons, and scissors.


And a big pile of papers on top.  Oh, and a dollar thrifted hippo with three broken crayons stuck inside.


And every day, several times per day it drives me crazy.  Usually crayons are scattered over my desk top, tiny paper clippings on the floor, and pieces of tape stuck to almost everything.  So, I did a quick clean up.  The drawer divider wasn’t working well to hold supplies.  Instead, I stuck everything in a small Ikea planter and a candle holder.


The coloring books are still inside, but without the divider, we’ve got room for the stack of papers.  And a Grinch.  Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a Grinch.  Or a semi-cute, semi-creepy thrifted man boy bust.


He was cute, only two bucks, and hand crafted back in 1972.  Ben saw him just after I sprayed him white, but still finds him creepy.

How do you store your kids’ art supplies?  Please, please, someone, anyone! tell me you have a method that works.  I’m not sure how this will go.  I like letting my boys create as they wish, but I’m about to keep everything out of reach so they have to ask.  Help!

Eames Inspired

In addition to the new shelf, our entry is getting a little much-needed organization.  For my next mini project, I took inspiration from the Eames Hang-It-All Coat Rack.  

No, I didn’t make a coat rack, though hooks are on my to do list.  Instead, I made a cute, colorful round ball sculpture.  


We had the live edge wood in the garage, and I found 1 1/2 inch wooden balls and a thin wooden dowel at Hobby Lobby, both 50% off.  


A few coats of acrylic craft paint on each ball, using the Eames color scheme as a reference.  A little wood glue in the ball hole to hold the random length sticks in place.  Then, I drilled holes in the wood base and glued the stick in.  The bit I used was slightly bigger, but toothpicks to the rescue.  After the glue dried, I sprayed it all with a few coats of clear gloss.  


Oh, I bought a new bulb for the lamp, too.  Now you don’t see the ugly, too long CFL sticking out.  

It’s a fun little piece with happy colors.  And the grain of the live edge is amazing.


But it has a purpose.  Oh no, this space is too small for a bunch of decorative only nick knacks.  


The real purpose is a hat and mitten drying rack.  


Now, when V comes home from school, I have a place to put mittens out to dry.  Because this is out in the open, we don’t have to look for missing gloves in the mornings.  In addition to coat hooks, I want a bin for mail, we need an outlet for the lamp, and I want to recover the ottoman seat in something more colorful.  

Console-ation Prize

Our entry is rocking a new look and organization (potential).  Just in time for winter.


Though it’s very, very far from done.  Our split level entry is cramped, so slim storage is key.  The little accent table wasn’t offering much in that department.


After seeing a stack of old siding in the pool house, I knew what I wanted.


Using coarse sandpaper, I took off the super rough texture and most of the blue paint.  I asked Ben to cut the tongue and groove off the old boards.  He did, then built a 36 inch wide by 6 1/2 inch deep by 7 1/2 inch tall rectangle.


Wanting the imperfections, I left the nail and old staple holes, and blue paint in the knots.  Using my new friend, Teak Oil, I coated the shelf and let it cure.


It darkened the cedar a little, adding warmth and bringing out the character.  And these knots, I’m smitten.



We used screws directly in studs to hold this bad boy up.  Now for the fun part, accessorizing.


Because this shelf is only 6.5 inches deep, I bought a small desk lamp at Target.  Right now, it’s purely decorative, as there are no outlets in the entry.  Hopefully soon.  The cute hexagon paper mâchê tray is too deep.  Looks like I’ll have to make another.


A light, but sturdy ottoman (Target clearance!) is the perfect perch for putting on or taking off shoes.


I’m working on a mitten drying system to sit on top of the shelf.  The ottoman would look nice with a fun fabric.  And we’ll need hooks for coats and purses.  I really wish I wasn’t afraid to stand on a ladder over stairs because the peach paint and textured wall drives me friggin’ bonkers!  I’ve planted a cover up idea seed with Ben, so we’ll see if it grows or dies.

Gold and Emeralds

Sometimes I feel super overwhelmed by the things in our house.  The stuff that accumulates little by little.  When I look at a place that was once organized, I freak out, clear everything out and start fresh.  Well, that happened last week when I put towels away in our linen closet.  Here’s the before:


Sorry for the bad coloring in these.  Overcast day + dark hall + bad flourescent light = terrible white balanced photos.  Some things were still grouped together, but we had random toys, a light fixture, and stacks of pillows tossed around.  About an hour of purging, grouping, and shuffling around, I had organized my way to happy.


I’ve wanted to add labels for a long time and thought about my best option for our bullnose shelf fronts.  Something pliable seemed best, so I dug out a scrap of light cream leather.  Cut 3/4 inches wide (to match the shelf thickness) I wrote with a plain Sharpie.  Spray painted small gold nails hold each label in place.


Oh, and I painted the shelf fronts the color of the year, Emerald.


It’s just a fun splash of color to brighten up a dark utilitarian space.


While I had the gold spray paint out, I unified the small metal bins I had.  Then used the bins to store pillow covers and cases.  No more throwing old pillow covers to the top shelf.


Even this little hanging wire basket.


Now everything has a labeled place with room to spare.  Least used items at the top, out of reach.  I know this is a very small change, but fun little additions make me smile.  And if I can smile while putting away laundry, it’s worth it, right?

Have you incorporated Emerald in your home?  If so, how?