By that, I don’t mean the “nook fix” was weird, but that the “weird nook” has a fix.
I mentioned it earlier, that awkward space behind my front door. When the door is open, the space is entirely closed off. It measures 3′ wide by 5′ deep, or so. What do we do with it?!
Weird nook, sans floor.
Most recently this had a small white dresser tucked into the back there (and some flooring). Lots of coats hung on the hooks on the right, and the remainder of the space was usually piled shoes and sundry. No. Fun. At all. Before the dresser, it was worse, with a tall set of plastic garage-style shelves that were dark and full of all kinds of sundry (swimming gear, boxes of winter stuff, carseat, etc), with the same piled shoes in the foreground.
Friday after the floors were done, I gazed at this, and thought about the little shelf I had in the hallway for shoes (currently removed to the porch), and the way NOTHING was really working. I prayed for an idea, a solution of some kind.
That night I started sketching out an idea. It was very exciting. I woke up early on Saturday and drove around the mile to the mennonite cabinetmaker who sometimes gives me a deal on scrappy plywood. I bought some, borrowed a ratchet strap (who took mine?!) and drove home with my hand out the window gripping the wood in freezing wind. I had to stop 3 times to defrost my hand before getting home to unload.
I then went to the hardware store and put some 2x4s in the van and lamented their selection of hinges. I bought some screws.
I had hubby rip some of the 2x4s into 2x2s, and had him do some of the table saw work when the plywood was in huge sheets. He set the miter saw up on the porch for me.
And I implemented my sketch.
2x2s along the floor (new floor!).
I measured, and stood in the space, and considered movement and reach and all that, and decided on 14″ wide along the near end, and a depth of 16″ along the back wall.
Upper frame assembling.
I figured out how tall something to sit on should be (by sitting in various places and measuring) and screwed 2x4s to the wall at that point (minus 3/4″ for the thickness of the plywood). A level at this point is imperative and a stud finder is handy. The wall studs in this part of our house are wildly random. I used 3″ screws to affix the 2x4s into the wall studs, drilling pilot holes with a countersink (drills shallowly as wide as the screw head so it will sit below the surface of the wood).
Forgive the weird lighting shifts. I worked on this all day and the light changed constantly (and faster than my photography skills). The rear part is a box – the top of which I sawed off the back edge, then used hinges (that Hubby found) to reconnect them. There is no ‘floor’ – if you open the box you will see the 2×2 frame and the vinyl floor. The front *does* have a floor (sorry, no photo of that). On the ‘floor’ of it is 2 vertical pieces of plywood, then the top ‘bench’ part. If you could lean in and look, there are 3 cubby holes under the front bench. I used glue and brad nails to affix the partitions to the floor (had I used more forethought, I’d have cut and fit the partitions before affixing the floor to the frame, and had them all screwed together to install as a single piece. Oh well.) and 1.5″ screws to hold the bench to the top edge of the plywood partitions, and 2×4 along the wall.
Sides, beadboard, and upper assembling.
The next day I went to Lowe’s in town to buy beadboard, which I love and had to cram into my van, a 1×4 (visible along the top of the beadboard – for the coat hooks) and some 1x2s and a piece of trim. I used a jigsaw to cut a poorly done ‘decorative curve’ into some of the finer (birch) plywood. I *think* these sit about 50″ above the bench height. There is an L-shaped shelf that sits upon both decorative edge pieces, and the 1×4. This was among the harder things, because whatever that nook looks, it does NOT have right angles. There was a lot of cutting/fitting/wedging/yanking/recutting/refitting/tryingnottoswearing at this point. The shelf is 9″ wide at the close end, and 11″ deep along the back wall. This way it sits back from the bench edges a good bit.
I cut two more “L” pieces and learned a lot about scribing along imperfect walls/corners. They sit on the 2×2 supports you see along the wall, and are wider/deeper than the small, lower shelf. Eleven inches wide in front, 12″ deep in back. I had to make these “L”s in one piece each because the main support for them was along the walls, and I wanted them to be as strong and sturdy as possible. I then measured and cut more divider/partitions making cubbies for the upper shelves, then used wood putty on all the sunken screw heads and where some of the wood was joined (between the long curved piece in front, and its upper portion that sits on the small L shelf, for instance.).
Main ‘building’ done!
I added a 1×2 along the left side of the upper shelves to hide the supports, and another along the entire edge of the top. The ‘cubby bench’ part got a piece of 1×4 at its front edge as well. My little piece of fancy trim sat along the top of the 1×4 at the upper edge. Then sand, putty (again), sand, prime (or mistake your primer at 10pm and use semigloss latex for a major part of it, before finding the actual primer the next day and doing it over), caulk any lines/gaps, paint, install coathooks and put it to use!
I am quite thrilled with it. Part of it is awe that *I* could actually do this, and part awe that I know God gave me the idea and worked it out. My awkward, ugly, barely usable corner behind the door looks amazingly different. It incorporates many of the ‘mudroom’ ideas I admire on Pinterest, and it is a *custom*, *built in* piece made just for this space. What a joy.
It’s not at full use yet – I commissioned a friend who does lathe work to make 6 differently-styled ‘coat pegs’ that I’ll use in between some of the coat hooks above. I plan to use the hinged box for off-season gear (sandals? scarves?) and obviously don’t have much going on in the cubbies above (I did have Hubby put a hole and box in the first small cubby for an electrical outlet. He still needs to wire it in.), but each day I find something else that should go there (camera bag, work gloves, things to be returned to others).
Now, where to put the little white dresser? Hmm…