My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.




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Entries in Mudroom (5)


Laundry Room in Progress

When I moved into my house in September of 2007 the only thing that had been updated in the house was the addition of a crazy warren of cabinets in the laundry room/back entry. There was a full kitchen's worth of cabinets crammed into the small space. I had other things to worry about, however, like evicting the racoons in the walls and getting electricty upstairs so I painted the cream walls green and left it alone for several years.

I finally got around to working on things removing the crazy waste of space cabinets and replacing the flooring in the back entry area over my Christmas break three years ago. Then last fall I taped and mudded the drywall, added beadboard to the back wall and built a storage shelf. I still need to build a shoe storage bench in that area, replace the light fixture, add trim to the window and get everything painted, but I think it will definitely be a better use of the space than before. Here is a then and now:

Back up in the laundry area I decided to keep most of the cabinets. They were not my style with the 1980s oak look, but they were in okay condition and provided some nice storage. Here is how the area looked in early 2008 after I had painted the walls but done nothing else.

I did decide that even thought I was keeping the cabinets I wanted to paint them white to match my cabinets in the adjoining kitchen. I also used oil rubbed bronze spray paint to paint the hinges and added knobs to match my kitchen knobs.

When I decided to replace the flooring I discovered that the area was built up on a second elevated floor to lift the area level to the kitchen. There was almost no headroom in the laundry room so I decided to remove the elevated floor and bring it back down to the original floor. This means that I have some exposed drywall that is in very rough shape that I need to finish now. I taped and mudded it and now I need to sand it down, repeat, prime and paint. Here is where I am at right now in the process.

I have a long way to go but I am excited to get back to working on this area of the house. Because the upper cabinets will now be a bit high over the lower cabinets due to removing the elevated floor I plan to hang a rod from them to hang clothes. I also plan to add crown molding to the tops of the cabinets plus a few other things which I think will be fun. I can't wait!


Building A Storage Shelf For My Back Entry

With my beadboard installed and the trim board for my hooks in place I was ready to get building. I decided to tackle the shelf first since that would be easier to install without the bench in the way.

For my shelf design I planned it together with my bench so that I could cut everything but the bench top and face framing pieces from a single piece of plywood. Also, the width of my space is a little strange and the shelf couldn't be too deep because of my window location. If you were going to make this yourself, you would need to adjust your measurements according to your space, but here was the cut list that I used.

3/4" plywood ripped to 7-7/8" wide
- 2 @ 60-1/2" (top, bottom)
- 3 @ 12" (sides, middle support)

Pine 1x2
- 1 @ 60-1/2" (bottom face frame)
- 3 @ 11-1/4" (vertical face framing)
- 2 @ 28-3/4 (shelf supports)

Pine 1x4
- 1 @ 60-1/2" (top face frame)

Pine decorative trim
- 1 @ 60-1/2" (top face frame accent) 

I started by making the box of my shelf out of the plywood. I countersunk screws into the top and bottom to attach the middle support. I offset the sides by 3/8" from the end so that the amount of face framing extending past the support would match the middle piece. I attached the sides using pocket holes on the outside since that wouldn't be seen.

On the back I attached 1x2 supports which help to keep the shelf square since there is no back. They also provide me with a way to attach my shelf to the wall studs.

With the box built it was time to hang the shelf. Before I had installed the beadboard I wrote down the measurements of my stud locations based on where the drywall screws were located. I used a countersink bit to predrill holes in the supports in the correct locations. I just lined up the shelf along the top of the 1x6 trim piece that was already level and used 2" screws to attach the shelf to the studs.

I double checked the shelf was level and then set about framing the face. I attached the bottom first then the vertical pieces and added the 1x4 along the top last. For some added interest I also attached some trim along the top that I also plan to use for my bench.

I think the shelf turned out cute and I can't wait to prime and paint it and add the coat hooks. I plan to do the finishing work at the same time as the bench so I need to build my bench first though.

Here is where I now stand with my back entry to-do list:

- Mud, tape, and sand the seams and screw holes on the unfinished drywall
- Prime and paint walls
Back the wall with beadboard and add hooks
Build a storage shelf and install
- Build shoe bench and install 
- Paint the bench, beadboard and shelves white
- Replace light fixture
- Repair ceiling and paint
- Replace the window trim
- Add baseboards
- Sew a cushion for the bench
- Sew curtains for the window 

There is lots left to do but it feels good to be crossing some items off the list. Have you been building anything for your home lately? Did it turn out like you expected?


Painting & Installing Beadboard For My Back Entry

Picking up from where I left my back entry, on Sunday I sanded down all the mudded seams and screw holes. The trick for me to make sure it is perfectly smooth is to check it by running my hand over the wall to find any imperfections. After I was done I ran a tack cloth over the wall to remove any dust.

I primed the walls with Kilz and then followed up with two coats of Valspar Soothing Aloe. I really like how cheerful and bright the color is. It's a shade or two lighter than my kitchen making a nice transition between the rooms. 

I have to repair and paint the ceiling still from where I took out the soffit, but since the ceiling flows through to the laundry area which also needs some ceiling work I am going to do that all at the same time later.

On a side note, don't you just love the old tablecloth I have hanging in the window? I need something to keep the sun from beating on me while I am working back there and I don't want anything that I would care about ruining. Is it ugly? Definitely, but it is serving a needed purpose.

With the side walls painted it was time to attack the back wall. At my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore I had picked up two large bundles of primed pine beadboard for just $10 about a year ago. I knew it would be perfect for the back wall. It was a little scuffed up, but in great shape so once it is painted I think it will look great.

The height of the beadboard was 48" so I had to be strategic about cutting it so that seam lines would fall behind trim pieces and be hidden. For the bottom course of boards I trimmed everything to 19" which would fall right under the trim piece on top of the bench I planned to build.

With my house over a hundred years old nothing is square so I figured out the highest point on the floor, measured up 19" and then used a level to mark a level line across the wall from that point. I set my first piece of beardboard against the corner aligned with my mark and then checked it was plumb vertically as well with my level. Getting the first piece level and plumb was very important otherwise the whole wall would be off.

With the first piece in position I tacked it to the wall at the top and bottom with my brad nailer where the holes would later be covered by trim. I slid the next piece into the notch, tacked it down and repeated until I had spanned the whole wall. Every five or six boards I would double check that I was staying level by placing my level on top.

With the first course done I put up a second course in the same way that was 43" tall followed by a final course that was 14" tall. Originally I had planned to take the beadboard up the entire back wall but I decided against it so I will need to finish the little bit of exposed drywall when I fix the ceiling.

After finishing up the wall I put up a piece of 1x6 that the hooks will hang from. My shelf will go right on top of it and getting a 1x6 level is much easier than the shelf so I started by hanging the 1x6. I did it by measuring up from the floor in the middle where the top of the piece needed to be and then tacked it with one brad nail. I then set my level on top and nudged it around the brad (which acted as a pivot point) until it was level and then tacked down the rest of the board. If you look closely at the pictures below you can see that this trim piece completely hides the top beadboard seam. 

It feels good to get a little traction on a project that I have been putting off. There is still a long way to go, but it is starting to look like something now. Next up is to build a shelf up top and then a shoe bench down low.

Are you tackling a project you had put on the back burner for a while? What have you done to make a more your back entry more functional? 

If you are interested, read about my ideas to transform this little nook in my back entry into a useful space here: Plans For My Back Entry


Progress on My Back Entry

I mentioned back in June that I had some plans for my back entry but hadn't made any progress on it until yesterday. As a recap, my basic idea is to get rid of the weird cabinetry and build a shoe bench with hooks in the space instead.

As you can see in the picture below, the cabinets and soffit are torn out and the pergo flooring has been replaced. The next step was to mud and tape the drywall that was left unfinished behind the cabinets which I did yesterday. Because I am going to be covering up the back wall I left it alone. I definitely don't feel the need to do more work than necessary! It doesn't look pretty right now but at least I'm finally making some progress.

I also picked out and purchased the wall color that I am going to use. It's a pale yellow-green called Soothing Aloe by Valspar. There is only one window in the back entry/laundry room area so I wanted to get something light and cheerful. Unfortunately, today I have to sand all the mud from yesterday before I can prime and paint. I can't wait to finally get some color on those walls! Well, it's off to do some sanding for me... 

Have you been working on any projects recently that you put off? What do you have in your back entry to make it functional?


Plans for My Back Entry

The back entry of my house when I bought it was a strange warren of lots of cabinets. The landing at the top of the stairs right as I would come in was especially strange, with a combination of angled corner cabinets topped by a cabinet that disappeared into a corner. Very strange!

Although all the random cabinetry didn't really make sense, it was relatively new and I had bigger fish to fry when I first bought the house, like making a useable kitchen and getting a functioning bathroom upstairs, so the back entry was pretty much left alone. The only thing I did was paint the walls green to match my kitchen (they were originally cream) to cover up the smoke smell in the room. The picture to the left was taken after I had painted.

Last year I started to tackle the area and ripped out the little section of cabinets on the landing and replaced the Pergo flooring with some grey slate linoleum tile. I originally thought about using real slate tile, but I live in the Midwest and with snow and rain this back entry with a few stairs has the potential to be wet a lot and I was afraid real tile would be too slippery.

Anyway, that is as far as I got before I lost momentum and stopped working on it. My long term plan is that I want to create a useable entryway with the little nook that now exists where the cabinets were. I want to build a bench with shoe storage and then have some hooks on the wall for coats and shelf for baskets of gloves and scarves.

Unfortunately, when I pulled out the cabinets I found unfinished dry wall so I have a long way to go. Here is what I want to do:

- Mud, tape, and sand the seams and screw holes on the unfinished drywall
- Prime and paint walls
- Replace the window trim
- Build shoe bench and install
- Back the wall with beadboard and add hooks
- Paint the bench, beadboard and shelves white 
- Build a storage shelf and install
- Add baseboards
- Sew a cushion for the bench
- Sew curtains for the window 

I'm thinking of painting the walls a pale avocado color that will be a bit lighter than my current color and still work well with my kitchen. This entry spot has some nice natural light with the window but as you turn the corner it gets a little dark and I want to lighten it up. I think that with the white bench and shelving and the grey flooring will make a nice combination.

What do you think? What are your must haves for a back entry to make it useful?