A simple cottage style entryway bench with under seat storage cubbies. Two large, roomy cubbies. Though the bench itself is small, the seat is adult height and size.
Our home does not have an entryway.
And we live in Alaska.
And I designed our home.
It is the biggest regret I have about our home. And it's my fault.
But in my defense, when we built our home, we were on a strick budget of both time and money. And labor. A paycheck to paycheck budget, and the labor of one man working full time and a woman with a newborn baby. Adding just a few extra square feet wasn't a matter of an extra few dollars a month over 30 years. It was a matter of more shoveling, more framing, more hauling materials, more finishing, more concrete to pour, but without more time or more paycheck.
So when I designed our home, our backs and budget were first and foremost in our minds. And I reasoned that the large great room could double as an entryway.
And it does work.
But here's the major issues. When someone stops by unexpectedly, our entire home is in plain sight. And that means you can see whether or not I did the dishes (there's a good chance that I did not), all of Grace's toys that she's "still playing with," and whatever chaos we've got going on at the moment. Then there is the problem of winter gear in Alaska having no where to go. I used to use the laundry room, which is directly off the entryway, but then there was no where for laundry to go. And finally, there is no where to sit down and take your boots off.
See what I mean? When you open the door, there you are, right in the middle of our living space. Ka-bam! Hello, White Family, hello mess!
We considered several options, from adding on to the outside of the house, but the roof design just wouldn't work. Every time I drive up to our home, I feel pride and gratefulness for what we have and were able to accomplish. An add-on would take away from that. We've considered boxing in the front entryway, but the floor isn't insulated, and it's really really narrow. If anything, we'll be extending the porch out next summer.
I did have an Entryway Shelf System on the wall in front of the laundry room/closet, but there was nothing to force traffic to use it. Then I replaced it with the locker I built for Fresh Home magazine, but still, no change in traffic direction, and nothing to block the view of our entire inside of our home from guests. Not just guests . . . even I don't want to come home to chaos with an arm full of groceries and mail and Grace with full cold weather gear on and two dogs whining and the phone ringing. . . you know exactly what I'm talking about.
So we'll see how this all works out. I plan to make the locker system less than traditional height- maybe five feet tall - so that people can look over it and see the windows and the great room isn't completely separated out. Really eyeing these ones.
Another thought would be to add board and batten wall treatment around the great room, 5 feet up, and then also build a "wall" that is five feet tall (it would essentially be just the board and batten treatment on the false wall) where the locker system would go, and hang hooks on it, like my friend Kate did at Centsational Girl. Then the back side would be pretty too. What's your vote? What would you do?
Oh, here's a quick peek of what my living room looks like right now . . . there is plenty of room.
I haven't made my mind up on the entryway wall. I'd love your input. In the meantime, I still need a bench for the wall in front of the laundry room.
So I drew up a few designs, and even built a bench.
But I haven't decided if this is THE bench just yet. It ended up being a little shorter than I expected. That is MY fault for not measuring.
But it's so darling and sturdy, I might just add a hall tree coat rack or something along those lines and keep it.
The baskets are from Target and fit perfect in the cubbies - which are quite large. There is also ample space underneath, for shoes or dog dishes or even more baskets. This bench is also just shy of a twin size bed, so would make a cute reading bench at the foot or a child's twin sized bed. You could add a cushion and their favorite books in the bins for a special story spot.
1 – 1×12 @ 10 feet long (you can make mods shown in cut list to use an 8 footer, but the cubbies will be really short)
1 – 1×3 @ 8 feet long
3 – 2×2 @ 8 feet long
2 – 1×2 @ 8 feet long
8 – 1×2 @ 6″ (Slats)
2 – 1×3 @ 33″ (Back)
2 – 2×2 @ 28 1/2″ (Back Legs)
3 – 2×2 @ 33″ (Back Support, Bottom and Front 2x2s)
1 – 1×12 @ 36″ (Seat)
2 – 1×12 @ 11″ (Sides) (Make this measurement 9″ if you want to get all your cuts in a single 8 foot 1×12)
1 – 1×12 @ 9 1/2″ (Center Divider) (Make this measurement 8 1/2″ if you want to get all of your cuts in a single 1×12)
1 – 1×12 @ 33″ (Bottom of Cubbies)
4 – 1×2 @ 11 1/2″ (Width of your 1x12s – adjust to fit)
1 – 1×2 @ 36″ (Front Trim)
2 – 2×2 @ 17 1/4″ (Front Legs)
Mark out your back 1×3 boards for the placement of the 1×2 rails. Either drill a pocket hole in each end of the rails (1x2s @ 6″ long) or carefully predrill a hole for screws from the tops and bottoms of the 1x3s OR drill holes in both the rails and top/bottom for wood dowels. With glue applied, you will only need one screw per end of each rail.
I tapered the top of the back by measuring in 9″ from the end of the 1×3 top board and down 1″. I drew a straight line and cut with my jigsaw. Then I rounded the top with a sander to make it look like it is a arched top (its really not).