Monday, January 21, 2013

Finishing the hallway

As you may remember, last spring I redid the front hall by adding board-and-batten and painting. We went from this:

To this:

Next I installed some knobs on the closet door for hanging bags, umbrellas, etc:

And finally over the summer I made a shade for the overhead light out of popsicle sticks, going from this:

To this:

But I've still been on the hunt for the finishing touch, a console table or some other storage unit that would wrangle the clutter a little better. As of this week, our front hall looked like this:

Granted we don't always have such a huge pile of boxes (Sam has apparently ordered everything Amazon has in stock for my upcoming birthday...), but the shoe pile, winter gear, and general chaos is pretty accurate. Proof that just improving the color of the walls doesn't totally change the way you (ab)use a space.

We have two pieces of furniture in the hall, a pie safe and a side table, both of which we use to pile mail, keys, winter paraphernalia, etc. They're different sizes and different colors, and I think just add to the chaotic scene. So I've been dreaming of a long (but very shallow) console table to streamline things a little, and just haven't pulled the trigger since I can't come to terms with how overpriced hall tables seem to be. $100 or more for what is essentially one long piece of wood nailed to four legs?

So I procrastinated and continued to think about alternatives, until I landed on the idea of a shoe cabinet. It seemed too good to be true: a piece of furniture that is super shallow, provides a long surface for keys and mail, and also helps contain/hide our disastrous shoe pile. And yet, as usual, IKEA has made this dream a reality. The timing could not have been more perfect -- just a few days after I convinced myself that a shoe cabinet was the solution to all my [hallway] problems, a friend with a rental car for the weekend suggested we hit up the IKEA south of Boston. So off we went, bringing back a four-door Hemnes shoe cabinet.

Assembly was somewhat confusing as usual but I'm pretty much an expert at this point (and need an entire tool box solely devoted to the differently-sized allen wrenches that come with every IKEA purchase), so within an hour I had the cabinet assembled and screwed to the wall. Another ten minutes and all of our shoes (though not boots) were gloriously tucked out of sight -- the cabinet fits about 8-12 pairs of shoes, depending on type.

Thus ends the hallway project at long last! Now if we can put even half as much energy into keeping it tidy as I put into the makeover....

(P.S. I have other plans for the pie safe and side table that were in the hallway, don't worry.)


  1. Love it, Sage. Now you need something that goes with it that can be used to control the mail/paper clutter that inevitably grows in a hallway. -- dad

    1. Our biggest ally in the fight against paper clutter is that our large recycling bin is right outside our front door -- we try to make sure nothing comes into the house except real mail! But we do still often end up with piles on the table....