Our entryway renovation was completed over a week ago and I am happy to report that we are thrilled with how everything turned out. This was more than a simple re-decorating project. It involved some demo and re-designing of the storage situation. As I’ve mentioned in the past, our old entryway simply wasn’t working for our family. It was too cramped and the closet was hard to access. If you’ve been following our move into this house (almost exactly 1 year ago!), you might remember what the entryway looked like when we first moved in:
The rust-coloured tile floor was durable but every spec of dust or salt stood out against that colour. The transom was pink marble and cracked in several spots. The dark green walls with wood beadboard and trim made this tiny space feel claustrophobic. But the major issue was how little room there was in the actual entryway. When the closet doors were closed, you couldn’t step into the house without having to lean into the wall to close the front door. If we had guests over in winter, one adult would have to walk in with the door open, remove their boots in the entryway and then walk inside before another guest could step inside. People inevitably spilled into the hallway because the whole scene was just uncomfortable and cramped.
We didn’t have the means or time to renovate the entryway when we moved in so we did the bare minimum:
- we removed the beadboard
- painted everything white
- changed the ceiling light
- removed the closet doors to buy ourselves a few more inches of floor space
But these minor changes did not fix our main problems: space and storage. I started to brainstorm some ways to make the entryway more functional in the spring, after living through our first winter in this home. It became apparent that a) we are lazy slobs and b) gaining more floor space was the #1 priority. I say we’re slobs because apparently we can’t be bothered to use hangers or to place our shoes in a tidy row. We’re hook people.
Our family is always in a rush in or out the door so whatever storage solution we designed for the new entryway had to be very simple, practical and capable of hiding our mess. Since we couldn’t tear down any walls, this was the space we had to work with. The only way to buy more floor space was to demo out the closet and maximize the wall space. Here is what I sketched out last summer:
I came up with the idea for a trunk to store our shoes. It would double as a bench when closed and, more importantly, hide our crap. My amazing contractor, Christian of Bonjour! Construction, was concerned that our shoes would get damaged but I assured him that this was the best solution for us and that all winter boots would be stored on the floor during winter. He and I debated whether or not we should opt for open cubbies but I knew that they would just get crammed with mismatched shoes and that the cubbies would get real dirty, real fast. In a small space, hiding clutter is key. Christian suggested that the front of the trunk not touch the ground so that we could expose more floor. This would give us about 5 inches to tuck the toes of our boots under and expose more floor, thus giving the impression that the entryway was deeper than it actually was. Sold. I also asked for some closed storage above to house Mike’s precious baseball caps, recycling bags and other random accessories that we need to access frequently. Christian took some measurements and sent me this:
Once the plans for the custom trunk and cabinets were finalized, I went shopping. Christian recommended I check out Ciot for the new floors. They have the most beautiful tiles and a great liquidation room. That’s where we spotted boxes of tiny grey marble tiles on super sale. They were still slightly more expensive than some of the tiles I’d looked at but the quality was superb and I knew that they would hide dirt and salt stains really well. Next up was wallpaper. The initial wallpaper I had my eye on didn’t work out (long story) so I had to find another option real quick. I wanted wallpaper because, unlike paint, a pattern can hide scuff marks and scratches. And I like to make a bold statement in a small space.
Turns out, wallpaper can be very expensive ($200+ a roll). Depending on the repeat, we needed at least 3 rolls and there was no way I was spending that much on wallpaper. I was determined to get a better deal. I went to Hygge & West to see if they had any products on sale and, sure enough, they did! Had we had an unlimited budget, I would have probably opted for this beauty but this simple Lisa Congdon print was half off ($62.50/roll) and I knew that it would work in our home. After finding an extra 20% promo code, our 3 rolls of wallpaper came up to less than $200 total! Plus, the rolls arrived within 48 hours. #winning
Now for hardware. No one will be shocked to learn that I went for brushed brass. I knew that I would be purchasing two of these knobs for the cabinet doors, so that was easy, but my search for wall hooks took weeks. I found lots of polished brass wall hooks but finding ones that were in the same finish as the knobs, and that offered 2 hooks per piece, were a rarity. Why two hooks? Since the back wall is so small, I didn’t want to load it up with wall hooks but we live in Canada and we have many seasons with many coats. We also have a toddler with another one on the way and three hooks total would not suffice. We needed a minimum of 6 for this to be functional. I don’t know how I came to land on Scout Regalia’s website but I knew I had found “the one” as soon as laid eyes on these brushed brass, double-hook beauties. Sure, they were a bit pricey but they were solid enough to handle the weight of many heavy coats and, well, they were so prettttyyyy.
The final touch was a mirror and that took all of 2 minutes. I went to Target, spotted this matte black round mirror with leather strap for $70 (it’s part of the Beaver Canoe line) and walked myself to the cash whilst simultaneously patting myself on the back. While I shopped for accessories, Christian was busy demo-ing out the closet, wrestling with old alarm systems, masterfully hanging wallpaper and laying down tile.
Like most renovations, there were a few surprises but all in all, the renovation process went quite smoothly. As they say, a good plan and a good contractor are key.
So here is a final reminder of what the entryway looked like 1 month ago (total slobs):
And here it is now!
These pictures are showing what our entryway would look like if we lived in Southern California where the only thing I would need to hang is my straw hat and perhaps an organic cotton reusable bag I use to go to the farmer’s market on Sundays. But we got over 30cm of snow yesterday and we need armour. Here’s what the entryway actually looks like with all of our stuff. Not as Pinterest-y but it is so functional and, if you ask me, still pretty cute.
A big thanks to Christian of Bonjour! Construction for being such a great ally. I can’t recommend him enough.