before & after: keyholder coat rack + rolling coffee table

Kara and her husband make one amazing crafting team, and I’m excited to share two of their recent collaborations. First up is this charming coat rack and key holder made from old doorknobs. Kara’s husband Tim made it for her as way to keep track of her keys. I can’t get over how clever this is and attractive to boot. The mix of brass and warm wood makes the piece look quite luxurious, even though it cost them nothing to make! Great work, Kara and Tim! — Kate

Time: Less than 1 hour

Cost: Free! (all materials were on hand)

Basic Steps: Gather old doorknobs and dead bolts. Also, find a piece of reclaimed wood. My husband Tim used a piece from an old doorjamb because he thought it fit with the feel of the piece. (Habitat for Humanity is a great place to find old doorknobs and dead bolts!)

I laid out my pieces in a playful pattern then marked where I need my holes. Then I set the depth of my router and removed enough wood so the knobs could sit flush. I drilled some holes so I could attach them with screws, and there you have it. Then, I mitered the ends of my piece of wood to make it feel more finished.
Sometimes projects that include power tools can seem intimidating, but with just a couple of key tools, you can really take your projects to the next level. So overcome your fear, take the plunge and be the DIY queen you know you are. — Kara

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see Kara and Tim’s rolling coffee table after the jump!

Kara and Tim’s second project is slightly larger but also employs the technique of adding hardware — in this case, rolling casters— to an old wood piece to make it infinitely more useful and interesting. Kara aged the piece beautifully, and the hand-painted numbers are a great little detail, adding more character to the piece. Great job again, Kara and Tim!

Time: Less than 2 hours

Cost: $3

Basic Steps: I gathered my supplies: a glass jar, distilled white vinegar and a steel scrubber or steel wool. Then I placed the vinegar and steel in the jar and waited for 24 hours. I used the solution and stained the piece normally. (Note: the stain will go on clear and start to darken within a few minutes and continue darkening for about 15 minutes or so.) Then I painted numbers on the drawers. Lastly, I added casters to the bottom to give the piece more height and to give it a bit of an industrial feel. This particular stain looks different on different types of wood, so do a test run before committing! Our flat file was made from oak. — Kara


WOW so creative! The key holder coat rack is a great idea..very rustic potterybarnish..totally my kind of style.


So awesome! Any chance you’d have the details on the dark gray wall paint in the doorknob project pic? Love how it looks against that rad yellow door! Heck, can I request yellow paint info too, or am I gettin’ greedy? ;) thanks!


The key holder / coat rack is absolutely brilliant! So smart and cool. Plus the big round knobs are much friendlier to leather straps and clothes than hooks.


I’ll echo Kerry’s question– any idea where a similar flat file could be purchased? Nice work on this project.

Kara Paslay

Hey everyone! Thanks for the comments!

I actually got the flat file from a friend. Her husband built it so unfortunately you won’t be able to find one exactly like it. But, Ebay has some available and if you google wood flat file and click the shopping button on the side, you can find some options.

The wall color is Sherwin Williams Prussian Cadet and the door color is SW Cheerful.


Adding casters to the mapcase is a great idea. I love it as a coffee table.


I really love the door knob hooks! Especially because I usually hang my purse on a doorknob in the house!


wow…the coat rack is very cleaver. i so admire people’s creativity!!


Hi Kara!
Can you tell you me your technique for staining (and distressing) the table? What stain? and you add vinegar? I’m trying to finish a table and I REALLY like the look this has!


I am thrilled to see these projects featured here. I am a big fan of Kara & Tim…and not so subtly tried to get them to relocate both of these items to my home. It didn’t work. Powerhouse team those Paslays are….


Just a tip… be sure that whatever lock you use is the same keyway as a type of key that you have. Only certain keys will even fit in a lock. They don’t have to be the exact key for the lock but if you have a kwikset key then use a kwikset lock and the same for a schlage key (use a schlage lock)


the coffee table must be the first before&after feature that looked so much better before. the dark wash and the numbers make it look very recycled which would be a right thing for something old, worn and shabby, but not for something light and clean like in this case…


I am just in love with the after of the rolling coffee table! The weathered finish and numerals gives it much more character.

Leigh-Ann Friedel

aah where did she get that flat file for the coffee table? those things don’t come cheap! i love that it’s wood too. did she give any hints as to where she may have found it?


Where did you find the casters? I have been searching for some casters for a similar project for a while now and can’t seem to find the right ones.


Rolling coffee table is a big “Me Likey”. Agree with Justine that the rusticated finish & numbers add that little bit extra!


love love love the coffee table! i can never find good stuff at goodwill… someday!


I love the keyholder coat rack but it put a twisted, little smile on my face. I immediately flashed back to a Vancouver police officer advising my just-robbed friend that it’s a very bad idea to leave your keys and purse near the front door. Urban life.


So crafty! I’m loving the key holder and the antique look that it creates.