Apparently I have been working out all of my “Design*Sponge is closing” anxiety in the form of home decorating projects. We’ve lived in our house for nearly five years without doing a ton to it, and all of the sudden this year I’ve found myself wanting to (and actually finishing!) making over our living room, bathroom, bedroom, guest bedrooms, kitchen dining area, stair runner, back door, and now — the entryway. Although to be fair, this project was 100% Julia’s idea. And she was right — we did need some closed storage.
Our home is a farmhouse with the majority of the structure dating back the mid-1800s. A few sections were built sometime around the late 80s (the kitchen, kitchen dining room, and entryway), but mainly the home reflects its early roots — and older trends — meaning that we have hardly any closets or closed storage. When the home was originally a guest house (with teeny-tiny bedrooms up in the attic, too!) it had rows upon rows of Shaker peg rails as clothing storage instead. When the previous owner did some major renovations in the 1980s, she continued the Shaker peg rails pretty much everywhere, so while we have plenty of pretty places to hang things, we don’t have a lot of ways to hide all that stuff from everyday view.
Julia had been wanting to create some closed storage in our mudroom/entryway because that is the highest traffic area of the house. It’s filled with all sorts of coats, dog accessories, and a wide range of things we need to keep close at hand because of rural living (tick spray, wasp spray, shovels, umbrellas, brooms, heavy duty branch clippers, etc.). Things we use daily, but don’t want to necessarily see daily.
So we settled on a design blogger favorite: the IKEA hack. Because we are saving up to redo our laundry room, we wanted to create a plan that would utilize a trusted favorite — the Pax storage system.
Inspired by so many gorgeous DIY projects online that use a bit of carpentry to make Pax systems look like built-in woodworking, we decided to use three cabinets in a row to create a ton of closed storage.
We purchased three of the regular height cabinets and had a local woodworker, Joe Venditti (who you might remember from this post!), build them into a platform (with additional framing and molding) so they looked like regular built-in storage. Then Joe painted and attached new beadboard (to match the original style) on all four walls and the ceiling of the room. The entire room (including the front door and windows) were painted one solid color (Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan — a nice grey with blue and green tones) for a monochrome effect, and voila — we have a brand new space now with a TON of closed storage and plenty of room to organize all the things we use on a regular basis, but don’t necessarily want to look at.
The new cabinets take up a lot of space, but they lend a really clean, organized feel to the space, which is great to come home to (I loved that we did a two-tone handle look with these in gold/nickel). Instead of a sea of leashes and spray cans and piles of shoes, we now have a calm, sophisticated entryway that welcomes everyone in with plenty of room for coats and anything else we need to store. But my favorite part is that the left entryway wall is now home to all of our cherished illustrated and painted portraits of our pets. Some were gifts from friends and family, some were actually made by readers of Design*Sponge over the years, and all of them remind us of what’s most important to us: the fuzzy ones who make our house feel like a home. Read on to see some before and during shots below! xo, Grace
THE ROOM BEFORE AND DURING:
The entryway before was a perfectly usable space, but the exposed storage didn’t leave much room for the space to breathe and feel tidied up. I love how Shaker peg rows look, but when they’re filled to the brim with coats and scarves and hats, they can feel a bit cluttered. That’s what we were hoping to do away with — the feeling of walking into clutter as soon as you get home.
Winky watched on as Joe built a platform for our IKEA Pax cabinets. They stood on a platform and had wood and molding added to the top and sides to make them appear like they were built into the room.
Joe added new beadboard to the walls and ceiling (which I love — originally the ceiling was just drywall), which was then painted grey with Benjamin Moore’s “Metropolitan” color.
Our clean new row of built-in Pax storage! Each cabinet now acts as a little locker for me (I have the set in the center), Julia (she has the set on the left) and our pets (they have the set on the far right which holds their food and treats, leashes, jackets, and bandanas). It also holds our winter hats and scarves as well as a mix of miscellaneous storage we can now hide away more easily.
The opposite side of the wall holds our beloved antique bench (perfect for using to get ready in the morning or for dog walks) and our cherished collection of framed portraits of the pets.
Our favorite pet portraits are on the opposite wall from the cabinets. These two are by painter Ben Lenovitz. They were a gift from Julia for Christmas this past year.
An antique mirror we found in town lets us do a double check before we leave the house. There’s also a portrait of Hope by Alessandra Olanow (another gift from Julia), a drawing of Winky from a Design*Sponge reader, and a portrait of our dogs by Sara Jensen’s children, Rose and Henry (part of their fundraiser for Type 1 Diabetes).
Another view of the side wall.
Speaking of the pets, they are keeping an eye on things outside.
I love the way the cabinet handles pick up on the brass detailing by the front door.
Tucked away inside each cabinet, we have plenty of wire drawers to hold shoes, bags, and odds and ends. We also have room for hanging clothes, coats, and scarves.
The way the trees outside cast a shadow into the entryway always makes me feel calm and happy.