Monday, June 4, 2012

Taming our footwear

Even after a big overhaul of a space, I usually keep puttering away at details here and there. The hallway is no exception -- the new paint and the board-and-batten were obviously big changes, but I installed hooks a few weeks later, and have some other details in the works like a new light fixture and maybe a console table of some sort. I also had to deal with the shoe situation.

Living in New England, we trek all manner of grime in on our shoes, and a lot of it is wet. We're lucky to have an entryway where we can store our shoes, but a giant pile of footwear with dirty rain and snow running off it isn't exactly the most attractive thing. We have a door mat to wipe on immediately after entering, and then a boot tray where we pile our shoes. I decided that with the new hallway, we needed a new shoe situation to match.

It turns out there aren't a lot of attractive boot trays out there in the market -- most look pretty much like ours, which is to say functional but pretty drab:

Of course, there are a lot of really cute door mats and small rugs out there, but this space takes a lot of abuse and I didn't want to get something that would immediately get destroyed or look dirty. Then I came across the idea of a floor cloth (I'd actually seen this concept last year when I was searching for an affordable living room rug, but it wasn't the right thing for that space). Essentially, a floor cloth is a piece of fabric (often canvas) that is painted. For added durability, there are often a few layers of polyurethane on it, which makes it waterproof. For the hallway, this seemed perfect.

Now is the part where I admit that I didn't tackle this project myself -- it's definitely doable, and I actually have hopes of doing a large one for the kitchen floor at some point. But because of all the coats of paint and polyurethane, it takes a lot of time and space and it just wasn't feasible with our current constraints (if I do one for the kitchen, I can work on it weekdays while Sam is at work since I'm off of work for three months -- wheeeee!). So I found a woman on Etsy who had some fantastic designs, and commissioned a 1.5' x 2' floor cloth for the hallway space. It's double-sided, and I was able to choose from a number of patterns and colors to get the combination I wanted.

It took about two weeks because of dry times between coats of polyurethane (three on each side), and then it arrived in the mail. I love it, thank you so much to Jennifer at Room9Design!

Here's one side -- it's a coral color in a damask pattern:

And the other side, yellow in a flower pattern:

I think both colors look great with the blue hallway.

Here it is in action, so much better than our old boot tray! 

Okay, let's be honest, often it looks more like this:

But I still think it looks fantastic!


  1. Wow, I love it! Ours still looks like your Photo #1!!! Only I think we have 3 of them! So, triple the potential for improvement! Great idea!

    1. Thanks! I'm excited to try making my own, but I'm glad to have purchased this one, I love it!