Still Hanging in the Kitchen – Shoe Storage

My original plans were to breeze through the kitchen area and march right upstairs to get this place done. But sometimes my intentions and my “what if” thought process do battle – and usually the thought process wins.

Like This Time

The main wall is paneled and painted and the clear coats are on – great. But down at the end where the mud room is I have a little alcove area when you come up three steps to enter into the kitchen.Here’s that space a long time ago.The little alcove area is about 12″ deep. My original intention was to put a little table there and call it a day. But then I thought “What will I do with my wife’s gazillion shoes?” I have two pair – my lucky ones you have already seen and one other pair. But my wife on the other hand has ‘countless’ numbers of shoes that all look the same to me and pile up at the back door. We’ve got to find a way to hide some of them.


We’ll think about what we’ll do about the shoe problem, but first I’ll finish this storage area that is 3’X3’X8′. This space is over the basement stairs. I’ll make a pantry or something out of it. First we gotta finish the drywall and paint.

Done – and the casing is added around the opening. I intend to make a pair of doors for this.

After a couple days of research and head scratching, I came upΒ  with this idea. A shoe storage bench. I found the pivoting shoe caddy brackets at Lee Valley Tools. This thing was hard to get right. The sides are 3/4″ plywood and the other pieces are 1/2″ plywood. Stuff I had laying around already. I’ve made up the basic carcass – and my shoes fit. (That’s my other pair).

I then made a front face frame from 3/4″ poplar and an inset of 1/2″ plywood.

The fitting is pretty finicky, but I got it to work. That’s another pair of pivot hinges- just in case I messed up the first pair. They’re made from ABS plastic – I wanted something more substantial, but couldn’t find anything. I thought if these broke I could use the second pair as a pattern and make a set out of wood.

My idea was to incorporate this into a bench. You can sit and take your shoes off and have a place to put them.

I made this so that it can be removed for the hardwood floor to be installed. You never know, I might want that table back as I originally intended.A little more adjustments and it works as intended. It holds 18 pairs of shoes. I hope she doesn’t need any more than that at the back door.

Now we’ll take a break and work on the chalkboard. Here’s the frame I made from an old 2X4 that was removed during renovation. I looked around for a piece of real slate to use, but couldn’t find any.

So I went out to the garage and cut a piece of cement board and gave it a few coats of chalkboard paint.

I’ll add a little picture light and a chalk ledge for this when we get closer to the finish.

Since I now had a can of chalkboard paint, I thought I might as well make this whole wall a chalkboard as well. At least I can doodle while the bread’s in the oven.

And I added another chalkboard painted area above the bench. We’ll just keep going – and hope the “What if” thoughts stay away until we get upstairs.

Hang in there, we’ll get to the pretty parts one day.





27 thoughts on “Still Hanging in the Kitchen – Shoe Storage

  1. What is the outlet behind the chalkboard panel for?

    Everything looks great. Your house is going to be like one of those ones you see in the magazines. Well worth the effort if you ever get it done πŸ˜‰

    • Hey Chris! The outlet is for a picture light that goes over the chalkboard. I just have to do-dad up everything. The key is if I ever get it done. I’m running out of time.

  2. Curt, again thanks for the grand ideas. I think the shoe rack was the better choice. If I can incorporate that into the entryway of the house, you’ll make me look a genius. My wife’s shoes have a tendency to multiply like rabbits. Again, good job Curt, everything looks great!

  3. Love the shoe storage idea! But I would have expected you to continue the two battens from the wall above down onto the face of the storage box … hmm. πŸ™‚ Just giving you a bad time!
    Also, I’m quite sure your wife’s shoes don’t look alike. My 60-some pairs are ALL totally different!

    • Hi D’Arcy! The blog post was made in real time, so the second element wasn’t in place yet. I have a deep shelf up there to hold an antique Italian Majolica Oil Jug. I think it will look good against the black background – if not, I can always paint it white. We’ll see. As for the shoes – isn’t there only a couple of kinds? Black, brown and sneakers?

  4. I realized a few years ago the popularity of chalk boards. More and more spaces are devoted for having chalk boards and now even whole walls are for nothing else. Funny thing though, I’ve never felt I needed to have one or any. We are a sans chalk board house here, yet somehow we manage to to get by! πŸ˜€ Hope your not just stalling on completing your house! What in the world are you going to do once you have it finished???

      • Ha, ha Kate – I’ve corrected so many of my posts with this contraction – and I use way too many em dash punctuations.

    • Hi Kate! I know the chalkboard thing is a trend – it’s kinda fading out right now (Like all trendy things). I think once everyone gets their fill of the “Fixer Upper” TV show, they’ll be ripping out those barn doors in their 1960’s ranch homes. I try not to be too trendy. But for 30 years I’ve had a chalkboard in my kitchen and at the Gallery – just ahead of my time, I guess. Modern chalkboard paint is just latex enamel with some calcium carbonate thrown in.It makes a nice durable finish that’s easy to clean – even if you don’t write on it. I have more projects after this place – one is a potting shed. But one thing at a time.

      • Something like this happened with my grandmother. My aunt bought her a little CD holder, like a 3×3 square grid made of distressed wood from Pottery Barn. Instead of putting it on the stereo cabinet, she put it on the coffee table and it became this wall of clutter surrounding her couch. At some point my mom bought rattan storage boxes to hold her stuff presentably while the house was on the market, and they just filled up with trash. She had all her cooking utensils out in earthenware because she had no drawer space. It turned out that her drawers were filled with completely unsorted newspaper clippings. I asked her if she could go through them and save me the recipes she liked and found worthwhile as I value carrying on family traditions. She couldn’t bring herself to do that for me in like a month so we turned the drawers upside down over a trash can.

      • Yikes! Chad! I’m more of a collector, but my wife is more like your Grandmother. I collect stuff to sell. If only I could get good money for her used shoes, they would start to disappear.

  5. Curt- I love your ingenuity! Your wife is a woman after my own heart (I own well over 100 pairs of shoes- at least….) so the new shoe storage will be welcome! Yes, your right…they do multiply like rabbits! I love that the fact that the shoes be concealed. I love seeing the work your doing and look forward to the “pretty parts” too!

    • Hi Vanessa – thanks so much for stopping in. 100 pairs? Yikes I don’t wanna show this comment to my wife. She has 25 pairs of athletic shoes – and she’s not athletic. So I’m sure there’s more than 100 in her collection too, as I never see her wearing tennis shoes. πŸ™‚ Hang in there – pretty things (I hope) are on the way.

  6. That shoe rack is amazing we have something very similar from Crate & Barrell 😊 But I give you points for making yours for the wife the love is in the details😊

    • Thanks so much! Yes, I’ve seen the racks by a couple different retailers. It was hard to track down just the hardware. I would’ve gone with a finished one it it would fit the space – but it never works out for me. :(.

  7. Ingenious – and impeccable craftsmanship, as always, Curt! That chalkboard paint is pretty cool stuff. We painted the closet doors in our grandboys’ rooms with it and gave them big scribble areas.

    • Thanks, Dan! I still hope to get this place done this decade – but I seem to keep wandering off track. I like the finish of the chalkboard paint – I had painted it with a standard flat black enamel, but the chalkboard paint has a nicer sheen – and we can doodle on it if the inner-child erupts.

    • Hi Gill! I had painted the TV wall with black enamel paint, and it looked fine. The chalkboard paint has some calcium carbonate in it that makes the surface a little more uniform and durable. Not sure if I’ll use the big wall for love notes, but the little one might have a sweet note once in a while. πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.