Monday, March 29, 2010

From doorway to shoe rack

So - the long-awaited shoe rack. You might recall that Ken, during demo phase, found an old, covered-up doorway hiding under wallboard on the right wall of our closet. Since our closet is small (by modern standards, but large for an old house), we were thrilled to find about 7" more depth on that wall. We had planned to install some IKEA shoe bins on that wall; they would have stuck out into the closet but would have worked fine.

Instead, Ken had a brainstorm - why not put in a kind of louvered shelf system that could be a recessed shoe rack? Brilliant, says I. And I got to work planning and scrounging wood to build it out.

First, we clad the back wall with cedar planks - they are thin (only about 1/4", so they take up less depth than drywall and they smell pretty too!), inexpensive, and easy to install. Because the studs for the wall of the abutting room were laid flat, we could liquid nails & solid nail the panels right on and not lose much depth. First we ripped out a useless stud that was just a nailer, running down the center of the doorway. If you wanted to, you could simply tear a hole in a wall and leave the studs, and just have 16" wide bays to store shoes.

This was an easy project (for a change!) - simply think of framing a door. Instead of putting solid 5/4 lumber to case the two tall sides (inside the jamb), we cut 45 degree, 3/4" grooves every 10-12" (wider spacing at the bottom for boots). Cutting the angled grooves was the hardest part of the project. We used the dado blade and it was a bit scary on the old Shopsmith.

We then trimmed out the doorway just like every other door in the house - 1-bys for the side trim, and a thicker board (we actually used a scrap old piece of window jamb that came with the house) for the header. Painted it and we were ready for Ken's louvers.

We planned to use some scrap flooring that we had in the garage, but after I goofed cutting the first piece, and then realized that we didn't have enough anyway, I took a trip to the handy-dandy ReStore to find 'anything 1 by'. And House Karma was with me - I found scraps of some Brazilian flooring out front - pre-finished even! - and then scrounged around to find more of it until I had 16 pieces that were 31" long, what I needed.

At home, we simply cut them all to length and popped them in - 2 per shelf, with the beads butting together and with a screw as a stop to keep them spaced off the back wall about 1-1/2". They are not attached, so they can be removed for cleaning or any other thing you might want to remove them for.

And voila - storage for about 30 pair of shoes! We were able to get rid of a horrid back-of-the-door shoe rack and a big box-cubby thing. And I still have more room for shoes - time for a shopping trip!

8 comments:

Leslie said...

Sweet cedar closet and shoe rack!

Gretchen said...

Where o where did you find the "inexpensive" cedar planks?? We are building our master closet and want to clad one wall with cedar. We have not been able to find some that smells enough to warrant the cost - and the inexpensive stuff we've found is just a veneer layer on plywood. Maybe we are looking in the wrong department in the big box stores? Have looked around locally too but no luck yet. Great job on the closet; fabulous idea. Thank you from Eddington!

Jessie said...

Love it! Great idea!

sarah said...

I think we got the cedar just from HD, but it was last year (it was extra from our guest room closet). It was like $20/box. It wasn't veneered plywood. Maybe they've changed suppliers?

Holyoke Home said...

Totally brilliant! Would you be willing to post a few more photos of the finished product? Not to be a pain, but the last photo is a little grainy? We could DEFINITELY use a place like this in our closet!

sarah said...

Yes, Holyoke. I've loaned out my camera to a student for research, but when I get it back I'll take more photos. The last couple were from my phone. Remind me if I forget...

Diana said...

That is brilliant! I keep hoping I'll find something awesome about my house when I get around to doing demo, but I don't think I'll succeed! :)

Alexis said...

You even made it look good! You two are amazing.

Re the cedar planking, we got ours at HD for cheap too.