The First Home Project

Planner Love


As Justin and I were walking through our house for the first time, deciding whether or not we wanted to buy it, we had big dreams of adding built-in’s, chair rail, bead board, replacing the countertop with granite, etc, etc, etc.

And then once we bought it and moved in, we decided to hold off on some projects for a bit.

And then they were never spoken about again, and I don’t know why that is.


Yes, I do. We had a baby! And Justin was finishing graduate school.

Around Christmas, Justin had some time off from work and I thought about floating the idea of building a bench/shelf/entryway unit in the space across from our kitchen pantry. This is right next to the garage door, which is pretty much the only door we enter and leave the house through. I didn’t want him to feel like he “worked” his entire time off, but I also thought he may enjoy having a specific project to tackle while being home.

I showed him a few photos I had pinned, and after talking about it for a bit we decided to go ahead and jump on it! But, we needed his Dad to be a part of this project as he is incredibly handy and knows how to do just about everything. Not to mention a home DIY project like this has been something Justin wanted to do with his Dad for a long time. He wants to learn the handy skills that his Dad knows, and then pass them on to David. And I also want him to learn how to build stuff like this because, well, Pinterest.

So, my father-in-law came down to stay for the weekend, and my mother-in-law came on the final day to cook us a delicious meal and help with anything else that needed to be completed. It was an unseasonably warm and wet weekend, so it was nice to have something to “do” instead of just trying to waste the weekend away.

Allow me to walk you through the process in case you are ever working on a project like this.

After I showed Justin a few images of what I liked in a built in unit like this, he sketched up a pretty darn accurate drawing. And that is all we worked off of.  


We opted to go for a flat board above the shelf but other than that the built in looks identical to the sketch!


 See what this area needed a little love? It was the “catch all” area, and while I loved the mini gallery wall it was not effectively used space.




David loved watching all the action in the garage.

You can see below that the guys pulled up the baseboard and quarter round, and started from the bottom of the unit.




They were able to get all of this up in about 1 day (roughly 12 hours of work). The following day they began to trim it out, Justin optimistically thinking we were mere hours from painting + completing the thing, and the trim issue popped up.



I chose a nice cove trim to polish off all the edges, but it didn’t really mesh well with the rest of the project. We had these strange overhanging spaces that didn’t blend and while I’m sure we could have spent some time figuring out how to work with it, we decided to scrap it altogether and choose a flatter, more rectangular trim. And that was much easier to hang and blend together!




Justin had caulked all the areas that needed it and promptly declared caulking the “bane of his existence”.


My mom was sent a LOT of photos during this whole process since she has the eye for design that I just don’t have. We chose the bigger hooks (on the right) and I think they are perfect. The smaller 3 prong hooks may have looked a little bit too small for that unit.


I bought and returned two sets of baskets before ultimately choosing the crates on the right. I found them at Home Goods and not only do they fit nicely but they also have two interior dividers to keep all the shoes and stuff that will go in them separated.


It took a few coats of paint + primer to cover the built in, and then it was time to install the hooks. And, like with any project, as soon as you think you only have about 1 hour left, it seems like there is suddenly 5 more hours of work. A couple screws broke off half way into the wall, which resulted in digging out the wood and twisting them out.

Finally, after a few evenings of painting and touching up, the built in was completed!

This project was built entirely by my father-in-law and Justin. My contribution was watching David, affirming their design choices, and helping decide on the spacing of the hooks.

I cannot tell you how happy I become every time I look at it. I’m so impressed with the quality of it, how cohesive it is with the rest of our home, and how HAPPY I AM to not fill our bar stools with coats and vests and bags and junk. I still feel like the shelf needs a little styling and thankfully my mom is coming for a visit in about a month so I’ll assign her the task of making it beautiful.

Directly across from this new built in is our kitchen pantry and this is the TIGHTEST area of our house to try to take a photo in. I tried my best to include a variety to share here on the blog, and that included me leaning against the food in our pantry and holding the camera over my head to try to get a full shot!





While Justin thoroughly enjoyed the project, I didn’t anticipate him saying, “Well, what’s next?!” the night after it was finished. So, if you follow me on Pinterest, be prepared for random onslaughts of home DIY projects. The flood gates have been opened. 

The paint color on the wall is Sherwin Williams Halcyon Green. The paint color on the built it is matched to our trim paint. Boxes on the shelf are from Ikea, Scarf is from Evereve, bag is from Kate Spade (similar), vest is from J.Crew Factory, stripe basket is probably from Target but I can’t remember, wooden crates are from Home Goods.


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Lauren says · 01.13.15

Wow, it looks great! I love beadboard. 🙂

Christie Branch says · 01.13.15

The mudroom built-in looks fabulous! I am itching to build one in my house. We just recently added built-in bookshelves around our fireplace and I am in love.
Good luck with your DIY adventures. Remember, Pinterest can be a very dangerous place 😉

Liz @ I Heart Vegetables says · 01.13.15

That looks awesome!! I’m luckily that both my dad and my husband are super handy (and love doing home projects!) so they’ve tackled quite a few things since we moved in a couple of months ago. Home projects are so satisfying because you get to enjoy them all the time!

Jaclyn says · 01.13.15

This is beautiful! I think you definitely went with the right hooks and I love the crates!

Casey Smith says · 01.13.15

Looks great! I bet this will be so handy with the double stroller and all the kids things you need to take with you when you leave the house. We are doing some home projects ourselves and I know how much effort it takes just to mentally prepare to do something like this!

Susan Schnitzler says · 01.13.15

Justin and your father in law did excellent work. I always think hand built love looks so much nicer than purchasing a unit and putting it in place. We do not have a designated area for a mud room, but enter our house through our garage in to our kitchen. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make a place for coats, bags, shoes/boots. You’ve inspired me!

Liz says · 01.13.15

You should have a custom bench cushion made for the bench top, in a fun fabric! It’s missing some colour/interest, but I’m sure that will come with time!

Sarah says · 01.13.15

It’s beautiful! I’m surprised there wasn’t one there before. It’s the perfect spot for one. There must have been a coat closet there with those obnoxious folding doors. This looks a million times better 🙂

Midwest Darling

Jenn says · 01.13.15

Awesome project, looks great in the space! Might be fun to add wheels to the bins below so they can be pulled out without scratching the floors!

claire says · 01.13.15

Looks great!

I’d only worry about pulling the crates out constantly and scraping my wood floors. What about adding rolling casters to the bottom of them? That’d look cute and be easy to pull out, and definitely save your wood floor.

Kate says · 01.13.15

I added little felt circles to the bottom and back of the crates 🙂

Justine Brickner says · 01.13.15

I have casters on the bottom of our crates from Home Goods and love them! Everything looks wonderful! Great job!!

Christen says · 01.13.15

OMG, this is so inspiring. Pinning away for future projects. Right now I’m in desperate need of toy storage (we have two girls – 4 and 2 and they come with a lot of princess things).

Brandi Heinz Brown says · 01.13.15

Lovely! Do you have all of the tools, or did your Father in law bring them? I want to be able to do more trim work but am scared of the angles and cuts. I have the dream of building a big built in in our basement to make a “wine tasting room” 🙂

Sam says · 01.13.15

This looks amazing! It’s great to think what you can do yourself and how much money you save in the process. I’m obsessed with Pinterest at the moment!
Sam xx

Annie says · 01.13.15

Woah so impressed!!! This looks amazing. So cool to see the difference a little change can make!

Stephanie says · 01.13.15

Looks fantastic!!

Out of curiosity, what spacing do you have between the bench and the shelf? I am constantly hitting my head on the shelf above my bench…. So I need to raise it, but I don’t want it to be too high.

Justin says · 01.13.15

The shelf is around 6’5″ (needed to be taller than her Dad for the same collision issue)
Now he just has to not hit is eye on a hook 🙂

The bench is around 17 inches tall, making about 5 feet between the two.

Stephanie says · 01.15.15

Awesome! Thanks for the spacing specifics!! At least the hooks don’t stick out nearly as far as the shelf… less risk of poking your eye lol!

Luckily I have a free standing bench and my shelf with the hooks is attached directly to the wall (no beadboard or trim right now), so it should be a pretty easy fix to just rehang the shelf a little higher than it currently sits.

Anna Williams says · 01.13.15

WOW. I love this! Totally wishing we had the space for this! 🙂 Also definitely have stroller envy over here! 🙂

Kelly says · 01.13.15

Well that looks so great! Love everything about it. So lucky your husband and father-in-law are handy. Loved the picture of David watching his Dad and grandfather. Priceless.

Michelle | Birds of Berwick says · 01.13.15

Looks great! I feel lucky that I’m the handy one and the one with the interest in doing all of these types of projects. I would add casters to your bench boxes. The felt pads were a good idea but they’ll collect dust and dirt and I’m all for ease of access AND ease of cleaning!
Nice job Justin & FIL!

Andrea Navas says · 01.13.15

This is genius I want something like this for my house!

Mary Margaret says · 01.13.15

I’M SO IMPRESSED! That looks amazing!

MissCaron says · 01.13.15

That really looks lovely and quite functional. Great job y’all!

Miss says · 01.13.15

That’s funny because, my husband just finished our mud room this weekend!
With two kids in the house ( and winter clothes to go to school) it was an essential thing to do.
I found great ideas on Pinterest but we made our own design.
Your mudroom is realy beautiful and well-made.
Another great inspiration to found on your blog.

Meghan says · 01.13.15

That looks awesome, like it belonged there all along!

Lori says · 01.13.15

This looks great! I would love something like this. Can you tell me how wide it is overall (side to side)?

Justin says · 01.13.15

Around 5 feet

Allison D says · 01.13.15

I agree…casters on the crates. I would go one step further and add a handle that matches the hooks. It is a lovely space already! Great job!

Fia says · 01.13.15

This looks amazing, thanks for sharing! 🙂

Ashley says · 01.13.15

This turned out great! I wish I has a space to be able to do that!

Andrea {Chocolate and Sea Salt} says · 01.13.15

I love that you were able to work from a simple sketch! It looks awesome! We’re actually in the process of buying our first home and I of course have plenty of ideas as well. Very fun!

Amber says · 01.13.15

OMG, I love it! This is the same exact project my husband and I want to take on for our own mudroom. Thank you for the inspiration!

Kim says · 01.13.15

What a great idea! Im super impressed that yall built that. It looks great!


Gretta F says · 01.13.15

Very nice, very nice! Gives your home the extra nice touch, and something personnel! (I almost had my husband talked into converting our hall closet into something similar… until he realized the amount of work. LOL.)

Jody B. says · 01.13.15

They did great work. I love beadboard. Share an updated pic when your Mom comes a styles up the shelf!

Stacy says · 01.13.15

This is awesome! Love it.

Catherine R. says · 01.13.15

It looks fantastic! Can’t wait to see the next project.

Krista says · 01.13.15

So perfect for that space! Beautifully built and executed!


DeAndrea says · 01.13.15

What a great idea. Justin and his Dad did a fabulous job!!! My husband and I are looking at building a media center for our great room. He’s the handy one and I am the Pinterest obsessed.

Kacie says · 01.13.15

That is such a great project and it turned out awesome! It makes me wish we had a little spot like that in our house to make something like that, as hubby is pretty handy. Maybe the next house!
That striped basket looks like the basket I borrowed from an Aunt and Uncle for our wedding cards, ha.
Very nice… can’t wait to see more!

Tyana says · 01.13.15

Thats awesome, I love it

check out my newest post

Kelly / The Poetry of Living says · 01.13.15

Such a huge difference in that small space. Can Justin come to my house and build one for us 🙂 ! love the design.

Andrea Worley says · 01.13.15

Beautiful job! Love the look of built ins they just add so much to a home. We added several board & batten projects to our home and they just are my favorite!!

Sarah M. says · 01.13.15

Looks great! I’m sure you’ll love the space!

Lisa says · 01.13.15

I’ve actually been looking and pinning ideas to do exactly this in our hall closet! I want to remove the doors and create a shelf with hooks, no more hangers! I’m gonna show my husband, this will my my (his, our lol) winter project 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

Evelyn says · 01.13.15

It looks amazing! Great job! Much more put together and and really pretty actually!

Julie says · 01.13.15

Am I the only one that noticed Justin painting without a drop cloth of any sort? LOL!! It looks wonderful and will be a integral part of your home for years to come! I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from DIY projects. Always enjoy all of your blog posts and Instagram posts…David has his own little spot in my heart! Julie

meagan says · 01.13.15

Turned out great! Can’t wait to see what you do next!

Jennie @ The Diary of a Real Housewife says · 01.13.15

It looks so beautiful! What a handy man you have!

Clever Girl Reviews says · 01.13.15

What a great difference!

Andrea says · 01.13.15

I would love to hear how you like this newest stroller- Is that a Stokke Scoot? I love hearing reviews from people with such great experience with several strollers actually using them and knowing their pros and cons. Thanks!

Sarah says · 01.13.15

this looks awesome and looks like it was there from the start!

Good job!


Kristin S says · 01.13.15

I love it! That area begged for a built in and you guys succeeded so well.

I have a love/hate relationship with caulking. I love the result but hate the process. My mom is a master at caulking. She has this process she can do with her eyes closed – sort of. It ends up so smooth and perfect. I just make a mess.

Lisa says · 01.13.15

I ran across your blog accidentally, as I was looking for help with my hair. I want to tell you that I love it! You and your family are so adorable. You have the most amazing hair I have ever seen…makes me jealous! You are the first blogger that I have ever followed. I make my husband look at your pictures and just showed him the DYI project that Justin and his dad did. When I was showing him I used there names like I knew them. He just looked at me and rolled his eyes like when I talk about the Duggars, you know from 19 Kids and Counting? I think he would rather me talk about your hair styles than all of their kids and what goes on in their lives. I guess I need to get one of my own…but I just like people. Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas!

Holly Oberhansly says · 01.13.15

SO CUTE! I love it.

Tina says · 01.13.15

Really nice job! : )

Tina says · 01.13.15

He did a Great job! : )

Breanna says · 01.13.15

WOW! That is beautiful! I love the simple elegance it brought to the space!

Amy Massing says · 01.13.15

I love it! Pinterest is my husband’s favorite now. We had a back hall coat closet that he converted into a mudroom thatI helped design from Pinterest. He also built a mantel and headboard ,thank you Pinterest!

G says · 01.14.15

Love it….. I also love that they did it together as a father/son project for you, enjoy your new space!

Lydia says · 01.14.15

Such a well done project! I love how it was documented as well. It makes me think more seriously over building shelving for books and knickknacks into my apartment walls. But, then I think that it’s times like these that I knew wish I had made more carpenter friends!!!! Congrats on a successful FIRST HOME project!

Becca says · 01.14.15

Love the built in! Did the crates from Home Goods have felt pads or something already on them to protect the hardwood floors or did you have to add them when you bought them?

Sam says · 01.14.15

Wow! That really made all the difference. I agree, a much more efficient use of the space. Also, your color scheme is fantastic.

Christy says · 01.14.15

I love it!!!

Morgan says · 01.14.15

Love it SO MUCH!!! My husband just (literally, as in, this weekend) discovered the fun of a circular saw. I am trying my best to encourage that to continue 🙂


Pamela says · 01.14.15


Stephanie says · 01.14.15

Great job! I love this! We are trying to figure out how to do something similar in our laundry room and this is what I’ve been picturing. I’m sending your post to my husband so he can start planning 🙂

jennifer says · 01.15.15

Kate- I love it! We remodeled our home about 4 yrs ago. This was one of my must have’s on my list of things to get! Having 2 little girls, & busy household, I was also tired of everything landing everywhere but where it should- ie:the kitchen counter. Lol

I’m a huge fan of PotteryBarn, so I had our local cabinet maker look at an example of theirs and go from there. I LOVE walking in the door now- even though it can still get a bit cluttered at times- KIDS are so messy & have too much stuff- at least its contained by the back door.

What a fantastic memory David will have with his daddy and granddaddy- I love the picture of him watching them!

Lastly, If your husband is itching to build anything else- my sewing/embroidery room needs to be reorganized with shelves and cabinets. Lol!