Our new home’s entryway and coat closet were not at all functional for our family. Here’s how I reorganized my entryway so it is perfect for my family!
Organizing Your Home – My New Functional Coat Rack And Entryway
The new house that we moved into isn’t exactly the most functional house for a family. Ok, it’s downright horrible for family living and I’m kicking myself every day for agreeing to buy it but, at the time, I thought it was a good idea. :-) Now I am on a quest to make the best of it and trying desperately to get organized.
The entryway and coat rack I originally tried to use were driving me nuts! I have a very nice old antique hall tree that my dad gave me (he and mom used to collect antiques) and I love the piece. I put it in my entryway but it was always a cluttered mess as you can see below!
No one had room to put their stuff. Shoes were everywhere and my “take back to Walmart” pile was always falling over. (BTW, am I the only one who has a never ending “take back to Walmart” pile? ;-) )
One day, I had had enough! I started searching for hooks to make my own coat rack. There is a very small coat closet in the entryway but it most certainly would not work for 6 people, plus that closet is the only place I have to store the vacuum. (You KNOW it’s men who design these new houses! ) (Mike: Hey whoa, whoa whoa!!)
Coat hooks at Lowes were $5 each– NO WAY! So after looking for hooks at thrift stores for 2 months, I found some. Would you believe of all places, I found the hooks at Hobby Lobby and they were only $1.50-$2 each on sale!!! I spent just $20 total! So I set out and cleared the space. My 14 year old son helped move the heavy hall tree and I had a nice blank wall!
I found new boards in the dumpster, so they were free. We are in a new subdivision and there were tons of great construction dumpster finds! Then I lined up all the hooks to see how long I would need it. I decided to give each of us 10 inches’ space and that seems to be working pretty well.
My 2 year old helped get it done!
Then after I painted the boards with paint I already had, I screwed the hooks in. I didn’t realize the screws were too long and I did it on the kitchen table. I had just refinished the top of the table and I ever so nicely put a bunch of holes in my table varnish! Augh!!!! Oh well.
Then my son and I hung the new coat rack. Believe it or not this took us forever. The studs weren’t where I needed them and at one point I kept drilling and drilling and the drill would not go through. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and then I realized I was hitting metal. Oh yeah… the electrical box was right behind that wall! I guess my guardian angel was flying fast over me because I’m still here. :-) I think we took it down 5 times trying to get anchors in the wall to hang it.
We finally got it hung and filled in the 20 plus holes I put in and now it’s up! Yeah!!! I put a hook with each of our initials on it so hopefully everyone will put their stuff in the right place. (Yeah right!) And here is what it looks like. I don’t have the space decorated above it yet but I wanted to show you what it looks like since I said I would post pictures over a month ago! (Sorry!)
Now we have all the coats and the shoes lined up all nice and neat…most days. I’m going to be putting a small table at the end of the shoes to store my “take back to Walmart pile” as soon as I find one at a yard sale.
My new coat rack!
Tawra, I love your new coat rack. Sometimes it’s only doing it yourself that gives you the options you need.
As for the “going back to Walmart” pile, mine is the going back to Penney’s pile. I bought some new slacks at Penney’s but forgot to look for the petite label so everything is way too long. Neither of the Penney’s stores are close to my house so I just have to wait for an errand in that direction (or go visit with my son) to take them back for the shorter pairs.
For a quick personal opinion of house design, I think there should be a “challenged” woman on every home design team to make sure the bathrooms and kitchens will work for us. My kitchen cabinets are so high, I have begun to keep a few bowls that I use everyday on the counter so I don’t have to use the stepladder to reach the ones I need inside the cabinet. A bad shoulder on my right arm just won’t allow me to reach as high as I need. Love those new designs with drawers as a place for bowls and dishes. Just thinking.
I agree with you totally Maggie – let the ladies help to design homes especially ladies who have kids. I have seen some women designers use all white furniture and carpet for a family of 6 and/or glass tables with corners when there are toddlers in the house. The ones I love the most are when they design a family for a family with 5 kids and they put 1 – 12 inch sq. basket for each child to keep their toys in and this is the room where all the toys are stored. It’s a crack up.
I’ve often thought of looking into something like this. We have virtually no entryway as well, and with five going on six in our family, the shoes and coats can get really overwhelming. I was thinking maybe those command hooks, as I’m not super great at installing things.
Thanks for the idea!
The architecture of today is really bad. Sometimes I wonder exactly what is taught in those architecture classes in colleges. To me it’s just further evidence of a wasteful time in college. There is no common sense.
Tawra you did a good job!
Men like Charles Ingalls were able to build without a degree. Just goes to show what common sense and hard work accomplishes. In real life Laura Ingalls was only 5 feet tall, and her loving husband was able to design a kitchen for her that had cupboards she could reach. Isn’t that nice? No degree required. Just the ability to know the average height of women and what would make sense. Maybe colleges should offer degrees in COMMON SENSE! HA HA.
My husband is an architect. You should know most “track” homes are not designed by an architect. They are designed by people who know how to do CAD and go to 2 year technical college, they do not have a full architecture degree (5 years of college and a licensing exam). We live/bought a “track” home ourselves due to stretching our dollar and school district, he complained in the beginning about the design, but we’ve worked to make it our own. I hope that gives you hope that his degree was not a waste. He works on developing hospitals, Universities, libraries, multi-story buildings etc. Husband says that majority of track home builders are not concerned about what designs they chose to put on a plot of land they are concerned about turn around and profit (what is the least amount of cost for them). If you want a custom home built around your specific needs then hire a licensed architect, but expect to pay additional.
Thanks for the info Becky. Sorry we hollered at your husbands job. Actually like anything else there are good and bad ones who work in different areas. I don’t think you took it personally but we really aren’t totally down on architects. Some do such amazing work and we need them just like many other skilled jobs.
On a side note. If you are thinking about doing a total remodel job I would recommend hiring an architect. Many people think an interior designers are the ones to hire for such a remodel job and some can do it but to really move rooms around and things like that and if you are doing the work yourself an architect can save you many headaches and often work.
About 15 years ago I thought I wanted to go back to school and retrain as an architect. Was I wrong! My professors sneered at current housing that normal people live in and praised architects like Mies van der Rohe and the Farnsworth House. The glass house that literally is designed so badly no one has ever been able to live in it. I said over and over, “How good can a house design be if no one wants to live there?” I decided that I really couldn’t hack this field of study and dropped out.
College profs looking down on people who don’t want to live in glass houses,lol….
Years ago I made my own coat rack for the laundry room. I inherited a bunch of eagle-motif hooks from my mom and was in a hurrynso just nailed them to a regular board. Wish I’d used something more trim-y looking.
Love this site!
I agree. I have so many ideas that I would use if I could design my own home. For one thing, there doesn’t ever seem to be adequate storage, unless you have one of those “McMansions”.
One thing I would definitely do is put in a mud room, with a door that leads to a fenced-in back yard. Good for doggies, and good for kids (we have two dogs). I would install outdoor carpet and make the room large enough so the dogs could sit and dry off on a rainy or snowy day. It could also double as a laundry room, or designed with enough room for an additional freezer.
I would have deeper, larger closets. I like houses that have an entryway where you don’t just step into the living room.
My ideal house would be on one level.
I would also have a large, eat-in kitchen, and I would sacrifice having a formal dining room for it. My kitchen would have plenty of cupboards and storage so that the counter tops would not be crowded; cabinets with roll-out shelves; a roll-out shelf that pulls out and up for the kitchen-aid mixer (which is heavy; this way it could be stored right where it’s used). I have a spice cabinet, which I love. When we remodeled our kitchen, the store helped us design it to make the most use of the space we had.
Old homes just had such practical ideas: built-in buffets and bookcases, zoned heating.
Bea, Love the way you think.
Neat work! I think it looks great!
Speaking of designing houses, wonder what one completely designed by a woman (or women) would look like?
Looks great. You made me remember just how much I love Hobby Lobby and miss it. We had one in St. Louis I used to go to all the time. But since we moved to Raleigh five years ago we don’t have one near :(
I just wanted to say that there are always exceptions to the rule, but from what I’ve seen in new building construction from new schools, to Malls, to Churches and even new homes, the buildings leave a lot to be desired from everything from their appearance to their functionality. There is a new High School in my town that was built a few years ago, that is a hideous monstrosity. I guess some people try to be very creative in the buildings they build so this High School looks like some kind of space ship waiting to take off. It’s just plain ugly. I guess building designs can be like art. It’s a matter of personal taste, but functionality isn’t always even there. For instance who designed public toilets that have doors that open toward you, and literally almost push you up against the dirty toilet itself. It takes a lot of maneuvering to not touch it if you don’t want to.
This is true Bea what is even more of a challenge is to try to squeeze in one of those stalls with a toddler. That would make a very funny video showing a mom trying to do that.
Jill, I can’t even imagine doing that and it would make a funny video. It’s bad enough to go shopping in a Mall or store, and to use a ladies room carrying bags and try to find a place to put them that’s not filthy, and try not to be pushed up against the toilet when you close the door. Tricky stuff. Shopping can be so challenging.
In addition, if you have bad knees, it is almost impossible to sit down on the low toilets much less try to get up. I try to use the handicapped stalls as much as possible but some bathrooms don’t have them and there is just your fortitude to get back up. Also, if you are in a handicapped stall, the toilet paper is often on the other side of the stall. Try to reach that with a bad arm or with your wheelchair in between the toilet and the wall. Oh, I could go on. Anyway, I think persons that are challenged should be on the ADA to influence some of these design decisions. And before I forget, I understand why they took the hooks off the bathroom doors to prevent purse snatching but what am I to do with my purse. Or if the hook is there, it is so high, I cannot reach it. Help! Is anybody listening? Besides, of course, you wonderful posters of this website!
Maggie, Thanks, and I agree about the place to put your purse. Some stalls don’t have hooks and some do,and it’s always hard to know what to do when they don’t. And if you have shopping bags it’s even more of a challenge. Many women use the handicapped stall when they need a little more room. At least in there you may find a clean spot on the floor to put your things. Sometimes when you have a coat it’s even a challenge to know where to put that. I dread using public Ladies rooms. You feel like you need a bio-hazard suit sometimes just to enter one. Oh well, it was good to vent even though nobody that can do anything is listening.
Speaking of terrible design, I have the worst designed kitchen in the western world.
I am convinced that the kitchen was designed by a person from a strange little world where nothing is taller than 9.5 inches. Not a single cupboard shelf is taller than that. This makes storing such basic items as cereal boxes and olive oil a royal pain — everything has to be stored on its side.
The icing on the cake is that I have a kitchen cupboard that I am completely unable to reach the back corner of. The door opening is tiny and the cabinet (a corner cabinet) is far too deep to reach the back. I live in fear of something getting lost in the dust back there. :(
And don’t get me started about the placement of light switches! Zero thought appears to have been given to that task…
Sigh. We rent so I’m unable to even do anything about these issues.
Tawra, I just love your resourcefulness!
I would be interested in knowing what attracted you to this house. Did you know it was not “functional” at the time, or did that only become apparent once you moved? What advice do you have for others to avoid making this mistake when buying a home?
I don’t know who designs these places, but I’m sure it isn’t women! But I’ve noticed that the designs actually waste a lot of space. If our townhouse was on one level, we’d actually have much more living space, I am convinced.
When we bought our townhouse, for example, it had a sunken tub in the master bath which was totally useless. These were probably popular when it was built in the mid-80’s. It was level with the floor, with no safety handles to hold onto. The faucets were against the wall, so we literally had to lay on our stomachs and stretch across the tub to turn on the water! Dumb, dumb, dumb! It wasn’t something that occurred to us until we used it the first time, and then we concluded that it probably had not been used very much in the past. I had to use the vacuum cleaner to clean it out when it got too dusty!
When we remodeled it my husband designed a beautiful walk-in shower (with jets and all — bought at wholesale) to go in its place. Since we already had another bathroom with a nice soaking tub, we decided we did not need another bathtub. We installed an 8-foot cabinet (actually it was a kitchen storage cabinet that matched the bathroom cabinets) where the small shower had been. That gave us lots of storage space for towels, blankets, and bath supplies.
Well, I had my doubts when we were putting a contract on it. We thought it might work so I “gave” up some things I wanted like a bigger dining area and living room for the larger basement. What we didn’t realize was how bad it would be for us functionally until we moved in. Also, I was VERY sick while we were looking for houses and frankly after trying to sell ours for a year and then being sick while trying to look I finally just “gave up” and bought the best thing I could and dumped my list of needs just to get it over with. Dumb I know but when your sick you get tired of trying to fight these things.
Isn’t it “tract” homes, not track homes?
I’ve never heard of track homes and wonder what they are.
We just bought a house after looking at many, many homes. I think the biggest mistake people make when buying a home is that they look at how many rooms there are, what the kitchen and bathroom LOOK like, and a lot of cosmetic things. I know when we were looking, we didn’t spend as much time in the houses as we should have and didn’t inspect the houses too closely, I think out of fear that we would feel that we were wasting the realtor’s time.
We got lucky with our house, but if I had to do it again, I would think long and hard and make a checklist of things to look for and what the house needed to have. A space for coats? Where would the vacuum go? If you have a cat, where would you put the litter box? Is there enough storage space for your clothes in the bedroom closets, and if not, where would you put the overflow? Is the kitchen set-up convenient (for example, when the dishwasher is open, do you still have easy access to all the cabinets you’d put dishes in? Is there a pantry, and if not, is there enough cabinet space for your dishes and your food? Is there somewhere to put an extra freezer if you need it? I could go on and on and on, but you get the picture. It’s so easy to get “wowed” by a pretty house, and then discover all kinds of inconveniences when you move in.
I had to look up tract home myself, and the definition is a group of similar designed houses on one tract of land. Like they all came out of the same cookie cutter or something.
What I don’t understand is that even those kind of homes should be designed better. Do only the rich deserve functional homes??? And wouldn’t any home at any price when built, bring in more profit if they were designed to accommodate the women and families that will be using them? If profit is the main goal? After all, the average woman’s height is 5 feet 4 inches, not 6 feet, so cupboards that are reachable without step ladders would make more sense, as well as cupboards that had room for the boxes and bags going in them.
I don’t care how much education an architect has, most homes just don’t make sense for anyone, with all their wasted space and problems with functionality.
And electrical outlets. Lots of them. Our house is nearly 100 years old and there were only 2 outlets in our kitchen. In order to upgrade our fridge(over 30 years ago) and plug in a microwave, we had to upgrade our electrical box in the basement. When we did that, we also upgraded for the washer, dryer and freezer in the basement. Wish I had thought about this more and added another outlet or two on the opposite side of the kitchen so I could take the fridge out of the pantry and use it as a real pantry. I love all these ideas and Jeanne T., your house sounds just like I would want. All my rooms are individual ones and I would love to cut a hole in the wall between the dining room and kitchen and make that a pass-through with a counter/island on the kitchen side. I need more counter space for cooking and this would be the perfect change. This, however, is my husband’s childhood home and he just can’t see changing it from “mama’s house” to his own even though we have lived there for 33 years. Even small changes are taking a long time.
Allie, my biggest pet peeves in all the houses we have owned is nowhere to put the cat and nowhere to put the vacuum!! Why don’t they make a utility closet to store the vacuum?? It just doesn’t make sense to me!
Speaking of old houses, we looked mostly at houses that were about 100 years old. It’s funny what was probably functional then, that doesn’t work for us now! We looked at more than a few houses that had no closets in the bedrooms and only had one closet for clothes – that was in the upstairs hallway! We didn’t find one coat closet in all of those houses, and most only had one bathroom even if they had multiple bedrooms. Luckily our house had extensive remodeling done to it and there are more outlets than we could possibly ever use. There is also overhead lighting in every room, so we don’t even need one lamp if we don’t want to.
The litter box and vacuum always seems difficult in a house unless it has a laundry room, and in older houses that’s often in the basement which can make that inconvenient too.
Funny thing is, almost every apartment I’ve lived in has had a utility closet that had plenty of room for both! Seems they put more thought into the functionality of apartments.
Sorry for all the comments, but I also wanted to mention that I saw another great way to make a wall coat rack recycling wood planks and wooden coat hangers. http://www.bhg.com/decorating/storage/projects/diy-simple-storage-weekend-projects/#page=32
We do have a coat closet in the living room but it is all the way on the other side of the room from the front door. No entryway, just walk directly into the living room from the front porch. This is a 3 bedroom house with one bath upstairs and tiny closets – one in every room but NO linen closet. We use a chest in the upstairs hallway.
My husband’s stepfather (an architect) added an addition with a den and full bath off of the dining room in the 50’s which helped when the kids were small or when we have guests. But none of the windows are the same size in the addition because he got “goods” at a discount and used what he found from old houses being renovated.
Our laundry is in the basement and my husband spent nearly 3 years redoing the floors – originally dirt, then concrete. Now a very nice ceramic tile with baseboard heat. His “home away from home”. Now that his mom is gone, he moved some of her den furniture to the basement and made it almost look like her apt. See, I told you, he doesn’t deal well with change. Anyway, I would love to have larger closets, a place to put the vacuum and a laundry on the first floor.This 3 story house is getting hard for me with arthritis in my knees and feet.
I made my own “coatrack” using a board & hooks, as well. I nailed trim on the edges of a wide board to give it a more finished look. I painted it in colors that complimented my decor. I purchased large black hooks (yes, I splurged on these seeing as they were helping to “decorate” my space)and screwed them in. Below, I built a storage bench/shelving unit out of plywood scraps to hold my children’s shoes (we have many pairs belonging to six kids). I put a short, folding, metal baker’s rack (also black) next to it to corral adult shoes and other misc. things. Above the hooks, I hung a lovely picture that has the exact same colors as my board & hooks that says, “Love, Laughter & Happily Ever After”. It’s not much, just a few simple things; but I feel like it all transformed the space and made things a little more comfy.
Barbara J Snyder
we had about 2 trees and they kept dying on us so hubby put up a board that has 6 hooks in between two boards don’t know where he got it but it works. We live in a small single wide old 2 bedroom trailer on a old farmers field. I love the area however can’t afford to move. We have a 9 year old beautiful girl who happens to have autism and one dog and a cat. Trust me things are messy but organized. I am the only one working but God is helping us through alot. I would love to live in a ranch style house with 3 bedrooms and 1 and a half or 2 bathrooms and a dishwasher. Tried of doing dishes alot. Have a great holiday and a great summer. Sarah my sweet daughter likes to throw my tomatoes over to the farmers field.
Tawra, A specil thanks to you and your mom for all you do to support and encourage other women to take control of their lives and finances. Many of the things you teach have been a blessing to me!!
I like your coat rack…my husband made a similar one for our family and I agree it is very functional. And, No you are not the only one who has the infamous ‘return’ pile by the door. Seems there is always something there for me to take back to a store. I so enjoy the insights you and your mother give us ladies…thanks!!! Have a blessed Easter.
I also had the Walmart go back pile, but during a move I put it in the back of my car, and the car blew out the radiator. It sat parked for over a year, and when we put the new radiator in it, I finally cleaned it out and found the contents of my go back bag, but the bag itself had decomposed. I either repurposed or donated what was left, since even the receipts were unreadable.
Allie, I looked at that link you gave and it is so clever! I still need to resolve my need for a coat rack, but we’re almost out of coat season here in Southern California, so I may wait til fall to work on it.
I actually have a return to Goodwill pile! I have a teenager who is impossible to buy for anymore…. so we try, and try, and try!
As for house design I fortunately have a pretty well designed home. My favorite feature is the laundry on the 2nd floor just outside all of the bedrooms. The only laundry I have to drag through the house are kitchen towels! First thing I do in the morning on the way to the coffee pot is stop at the washer and start a load. Also very easy to fold clothes on my bed…
I do like the idea of wall hooks. Unfortunately, we don’t have space for a mudroom.
One house we lived in had a little pantry just behind the kitchen (very convenient). But the dining room was down the hall (very inconvenient).
Love your coat rack and as always love and look forward to your news letters. I noticed the dates on the comments. Is this an old post? Are you still in the same house? You all give such wonderful advice and tips , just wanted to make sure if this old where I can find the newest post?
Yes, this is the one I did from a couple of years ago but we did make a video about it a few weeks ago.