Before & After: Entryway Organization

We spend a lot of time outside. With two toddlers, chickens, edible gardens, flower gardens, trails and eight acres of property – things get M-E-S-S-Y. That’s why I am so grateful to have this mudroom/entryway in our home. This section of the house was added on in 2000, along with the garage, laundry room and master bedroom.

When we moved in, the walls were cream and the wood trim was a brown-orange color. Here is a totally unfair iphone photo of the entry prior to its re-painting.

Oh, how I wish I’d taken better photos before we painted! This was, again, during our home inspection, and we painted before moving in.

Here is what it looks like now:

The bones of this addition were great. First, of course, is the concept itself – we wear muck-about rain boots around our property 90% of the time, and having a spot to immediately take off muddy stuff and avoid tracking toddler mess into the house keeps everything so much cleaner.

The architect also used old beams from the house, and kept intact the antique door access to our basement.

We use the wood burning stove a lot during the winter (we have a highly unattractive but very practical toddler guard we put around it when it’s on to protect the kids from careening into the hot fireplace). The fireplace was especially useful when we lost power for about two weeks total over three separate blackouts this winter, which was a brutal one in New England.

Of course, there were some issues to deal with (there are ALWAYS issues to deal with)! There was a ton of storage (a closet and a bin wall), but the storage wall had cubbies all of different heights, none of which were a standard bin depth. This opened up potential for a lot of messiness. Prior to finding our bins, the way we lived in this space looked a lot like the “Before” photo above – a lot of mess, minimally hidden. I had these bins, which are felt, custom made for each cubby on Etsy. Seller Stich-haltig did an incredible job, and got each of these bins to me so precisely to measure –a rare thing for a material like felt, so color me impressed. The bins are crazy durable, lightweight, and hide so much stuff. These in the photo are full of sunblock, sun hats, outdoor work clothes, winter stroller accessories, snow suits, backpacks and more. The bins show no wear or tear despite a 4 year old regularly tugging and shoving them over the last year and a half.

Ah, yes, this is how this hanging wall always appears, with only one of my 150 gardening hats hanging, my one designer clothing item hanging (vintage Burberry raincoat, thanks,!) and no toddler hoodies or stray socks in view (ha!).

I don’t know what these hooks were originally intended for, but they’re perfect for kidling clothes and adorable tiny backpacks. Please excuse the lighting. One of my not-so-favorite things about the hanging/cubby wall is that there is very little natural light. Luckily there’s good overhead lighting, but … it turns out I’m not a professional photographer (surprise!) so I have a tough time capturing it.

Here is the main door prior to painting.

And here’s a pulled-back view of the whole entry now. Inside the closet also has custom felt bins in built-in cubbies, with the added benefit of a door to close on any general disorder!

The oil painting is courtesy of my in-laws. All part of our late-attic-early-basement decorating-by-necessity style. One of my favorite projects that makes a huge difference day to day and was very easy to do are the rubber inserts the shoes are sitting on. No, that’s not black paint, it’s this stuff:

I first made paper templates of the shoe cubbies and then used them to cut this rubber exactly to size. It’s thin enough to cut with normal scissors, and instead of having wet shoes and dirt damage the wood or scratch the paint, shoes and accompanying gunk sits on these inserts which can be easily removed and knocked around outside to clean. You can even spray these down and let them dry in the sun for a really thorough clean (I haven’t done this yet because I’m lazy and knocking the dirt off has worked well enough so far).

So, that’s one of the most heavily trafficked areas of our home, our entry, before and after!