Welcome to the back hall, an area so dark that I needed a hard hat with a miner’s light just to find my way to the washer and dryer. Seriously, people, I could grow mushrooms in here. Turn on the light and it’s even more horrifying.But, with a little cleaning, decluttering, building, and painting, now the area looks like……What? What’s that you say? That’s a blow-your-hair-back difference.
Why, yes! Yes, it is! And, here….she proudly said…..is how it came together.
Step 1: The mud room unit was refinished in a soft white chalk paint, slightly distressed, and then sealed with a polycoat that isn’t glossy, but will still bounce the light. And, notice the old-time jam box? Huuum, yea. Do yourself a favor and have tunes going while you work. It makes everything so much easier. You just gotta have tunes. 🙂Step 2: Notice the door to the right (above picture)? This is a small closet that was mostly filled with outdated sporting equipment. I don’t know why. It was such a terrible waste of space. So, the sporting equipment found a new home and the closet got what I call a “bare-bones” refinish. Creamy white paint, store-bought shelves, and dollar store baskets made this an amazing storage area. On the right side of the closet, hooks were added to 2 by 4’s and installed to store “whatever.” They hold extra pots, pans, aprons, and coupon bags. You name it. This is where the clutter collects. In this one little spot. Behind closed doors. You know you have to have a space like this. Somewhere. Am I right? Might as well plan for it. Step 3: Then finally, to get the real makeover party started, a clock with a drab silvery finish got a hot aqua updo. I kid you not. Once this clock was hung, I totally envisioned the look for the rest of the pantry. ***Note to self: Never underestimate the power of one accessory to trigger a vision for the whole room.***Step 4: Remove the laundry room door. There! I said it. The five scariest words in the English language. But, here’s the deal. This area needed space and natural light. And, for these elements, the door was a total buzz kill. Yes, I know I will have to keep the space super tidy and the verdict is still out if this is even possible. But, you know what? The change in the back hall is nothing short of amazing, so I’m surely willing to give it try.
Step 5: Build some easy custom-sized shelves that fit your space, meet your shelving needs, and match the rest of your decor.This may be a huge unit, but it was actually super easy.The shelves are made from 3/4-inch MDF and hung on inexpensive furring strips. They combine to make what I call a “floating” bookcase. Because they were so big, two separate units were built and hung side-by-side. The directions for the shelving unit are thoroughly explained in one of my earlier posts. (Link is here) About ten photos are included on the post that illustrate the assembly.
Step 6: After you’ve built and hung the frames, meet me back here to add the front trim.But, first. Did you know that my house is traditional? From the front gates of the neighborhood all the way to my front door. It’s completely and totally a 1990’s traditional-style neighborhood. I say this because it’s hard to have a traditional house on the outside and then go in a totally different decorating direction on the inside. At least, it is for me.
So, what I do is use traditional elements and add a twist where I can. In this case, a traditional frame and finish was used for the shelving unit and then a wee bit of farmhouse popped on the scene by slightly distressing the trim.The trim is made of simple screen molding that was glued to the edge of the shelving unit. That’s right. The pieces were cut to size and then held into place with tape until the glue dried. This way, there were no nail heads to hide. If you’d like more photos illustrating how to attach the trim, this technique was also used on a big bookcase I built last year (link here).Once the glue was dry, any gaps or nail heads on the frame were filled in with wood putty or caulk. Then, the unit was totally sanded and painted with two coats of the same creamy white chalk paint that was used on the mud room unit. When the paint was dry, the shelves were buffed with 240-grit sandpaper and the trim was distressed using 120-grit sandpaper and then buffed with 240-grit sandpaper.The last step involves applying two coats of polycoat. This will protect the chalk paint and also bounce the light.And, that’s all there is to it. I will tell you that, if you look really closely, the shelves are more rustic than traditional. This is ok for this room and for their function. But, I doubt this rough build and chippy goodness would likely be found throughout the house. Never say never, so we’ll see.In all, these shelves measure 10-feet high by 8-feet long by 5 and 1/4-inches deep, required over 100 linear feet of screen molding, and add 80-square feet (35-cubic feet) of storage. They were specifically designed to fit cans and containers with little or no wasted space. The flat mudroom wall-unit is 3-feet wide and 5-feet high. And, these units are attached to wall spaces that were designed by the builder to be left empty. A design that, in my opinion, just totally wasted great spaces.
But, I gotta tell ya. Even with all of this great storage and I do love the storage, the best part is still the natural light. The glorious, hall-filling, life-giving light. It is so cheery and such a joy to see every day. I can’t imagine ever going back.
But, more importantly, what do you think? Is a pantry/laundry room without a door completely cray cray? Yay or nay?
Right now, the routed places in the door frame remain. As I complete the other side of the room, which involves refacing the builder’s grade stock cabinets and adding more shelving, we will see how going without a door works out.
The final decision about the door will come in the final reveal. #FingersCrossed #NextWeek
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section. Let’s talk pros and cons about this room and its doorless existence.
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