Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I've neglected the front entryway of my house for several years now. Which is unfortunate, because it's the first thing you see when you come into my house. It's where everyone takes off their jackets and shoes, and it tends to turn into a jumbled mess, which I strongly dislike. This wasn't such an issue before we had children, but now there are lots of little coats and sweaters and teeny, tiny shoes that need a place. I've had baskets and inexpensive shoe shelves and cheap, paint-it-yourself, too-small-for-the-space coat racks in that space, but nothing has seemed to work, and it's always looked half-hearted.

Then, for Christmas, my mom gave us a beautiful bench to put there, with shoe storage included,

and the little coat rack I had hanging on the wall looked even more chintzy than it had before, so I started brainstorming. On Pinterest, I saw a photo of a coat rack someone had made that struck my fancy.

 I thought maybe I would build something similar and was pricing wood and supplies, but then I was driving past a plant nursery and saw a big stack of wooden pallets, sitting out by the Dumpster. I took a chance and asked if I could buy one, and they were happy to load it into the back of my car for only $4. I gleefully took it home and then tried to figure out how on Earth I was going to make this thing work.

Meanwhile, I turned the cheap shoe shelf into a bench.

The pallet had been sitting out in the Oregon rain, probably for quite some time, so the first step was to dry it out. It sat in my garage for about a week, and, to my delight, it dried out fine and was MUCH less heavy than it had been when I lugged it, waterlogged, from my car. I used my orbital sander to smooth and smooth and smooth and SMOOTH. Pallets are made of pretty junky wood, so let's just say that I went through a TON of sandpaper. I stained it, which took a few days (are you amazed at my patience, actually waiting and allowing the stain to dry between coats? You should be. I hate waiting.), and then I hit it with the sander again, because I wanted it to look distressed and, uh, like an old pallet. I used polyurethane on it, letting it dry all the way AGAIN, and then I hung it up.

The original photo I saw used what I thought were S hooks, but the ones I bought wouldn't fit, and they were too thick to unbend, even a little. I got some coat hooks instead, and I'll probably get some more.

 There are hooks for jackets, a hook up high for my basket that I take to the farmer's market,

 and my favorite, a hook on the side for my purse.

 As you can see, the stain I chose doesn't exactly match the bench, which is a bummer. I will probably make a cushion for the seat of the bench that incorporates some other colors, so I can soften the difference between the two. In spite of that, I love, love, love the way the pallet looks and works in this space. Thank you, Pinterest!

As for the small coat rack I was using before, I spray painted it ivory (best choice from all my leftover spray paint) and hung it by the door to the back yard, so the kids can grab their jackets on their way out to play. It works out much better here, I think!

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