Built-in Media Cabinet Becomes Mini Mudroom

One of my favorite rooms at the new place is the living room. The living room has a ton of windows (seven of them), enough space for the usual furniture, a fireplace, and even a nook for my desk. The windows look out to several trees and that is where the desk lives within the nook. I get to write while gazing into the leaves of trees, alive with birds and squirrels, and if the season is right, gorgeous pink blossoms. Of course, the room was screaming to be a different color, but that was easy enough to remedy. I love it.

But you know me…there was one little thing that wasn’t quite right. There was a built-in media cabinet, which would be fine, except it was between the fireplace and the door, not even in the line of sight from where the sofa would be. It was O.D.D. at best (that’s code for “odd”).

Before: media cabinet wedged between doorway and fireplace; orange-ish walls. I can do better.

While the media cabinet was well-built, its size and position immediately inside the doorway made me feel as though I were being accosted by cabinet every time I crossed the threshold. And it seemed a disservice for me to use it as a storage unit for my shoes and paint cans.

I’m sure this cabinet can do better than shoes and paint cans

After much inspiration from Pinterest, I thought this would be the perfect place for a hallway bench; sort of a mini mudroom, if you will. The bench would be a much better use of the space since a television was never going to live there, and it was right inside the doorway. The perfect place to sit, put your bag down, and remove your shoes.

In the interest of saving planet earth, I try to reuse as many things as possible, including materials I remove from my home. So the cabinet was dismantled as best as possible without damage. If you recall, the bathroom shelves in this post were cut from the frame of this media cabinet. I purchased four brackets for that project. The wood and the paint were all right here, just waiting for a new life.

Possibly my favorite part of the mini mudroom project was shopping for the floor tile. I wanted something durable (more so than hardwood), inexpensive, and beautiful. I spent a good amount of time at Lowe’s and Home Depot, and then I found these beauties. Drool!

These tiles still make me giddy!

These slate tiles are so varied that no two are alike. Trust me when I tell you that I spent a couple of hours sorting through every tile Home Depot had. There was an entire pallet of them, and I felt like I was preparing for an art project, selecting just the right color and texture for each tile. I was in home design heaven. And, at Home Depot, these gorgeous tiles were $1.48 each. I needed eight of them for the project. Yep, $11.84 plus tax. Boom. Of course, there was the subfloor, thinset, grout, and installation, but less than $12 for the tile is huge!

I arranged the tiles awaiting installation

After the tile was installed, the bench and shelf were crafted from the largest pieces of the media cabinet and set into place. I had originally wanted three cubbies beneath the bench, but once I saw it set up, I decided on two larger cubbies.

Bench components set in place

Changing the design to two larger cubbies beneath the bench gave me space for my rain boots and baskets to hold my running shoes and all of Grace’s leashes and what-not.

Almost finished…

At this point, the tile floor is installed, the bench, bench support, and shelf are installed (all pieces crafted from the previously built-in media cabinet), and walls are painted. All that is missing is a row of hooks on which to hang coats, scarves, and backpacks. I asked handyman extraordinaire if he could fashion a coat rack from an old board that at one time served as a shelf in the garden shed. Of course, he said.

All that I had envisioned and more!

Now, when I walk through the door after a long day at work or a five-minute attempt at running, I have a place to sit and to hang my coat. No longer startled by the hulking, well-intended but useless media cabinet. I have my very own mini mudroom.