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Help! with jackets/shoes Dining Room!!

Jessie B
4 months ago

I have this space and it’s a dumping ground. There is a door to the garage next to it but NO ONE keeps stuff in the freezing cold garage. Is there a furniture piece that can store about 30 pairs of shoes and backpacks as well as jackets? We have seven ft long by 20 inches of space and 8 ft high ceiling. It’s driving me mad!! No matter how many times I clean it or transfer to the freezing garage- no one puts it in there and I get it… it’s almost winter and we come from the front door sometimes not the garage and want convenience. We have a coat closet in a stupid part of the house that no one bothers with bc it’s located near NO outside door. Ugh 1970s architecture!!! Please help from a crazy working mom of two.

Comments (99)

  • partim
    4 months ago

    I pulled together some of your comments about your wants and needs.


    we come from the front door sometimes not the garage and want convenience


    The architect drew up the one with the island. Still debating if I like that. The closet as you can see is super small and in the weirdest place. Bathroom I’m not sold on making smaller.


    a basement leading downstairs cuts the kitchen off from being really functional and large.


    not sure which room should be the dining room or if we even need a dining room.


    Also the garage has bins of shoes by person and jacket hooks etc.


    we never use the back den… never sit in there. It’s a passing space to the porch.


    You're very wise not to remodel the main floor in the way that your architect drew it, because he gave you both a dining room and a den that you don't need. Consider making the kitchen + dining room into a large kitchen plus mud room area. Inexpensively, you can see if this works without any renovation or large expense, and if it works then consider buying things to make it more attractive. But first see how it works for your family before you spend more than a few dollars or a few hours of your very precious time.


    What I'd do now is move the dining room table and buffet into the den, to see how your life functions without them. Or whether you even use them in the den space. Then add plenty of hooks (at least 2 per person, some high and some lower) on the garage-side wall, all the way along. Place a dining room chair near each person's hooks so everybody has their own chair. Bring in each person's shoe basket from the garage, beside their chair. Give each person a big sturdy bag that hangs on one of their hooks, for hats, mitts etc.


    Another option would be to put the dining room table with the long side flat against the staircase wall, and put just 2 chairs on side. Maybe this would be a good homework spot. Then the traffic path would go through the center of the room. Good thing you haven't yet installed your chandelier in the center of this space!


    Leave the existing hooks etc. in the garage for items that are not being worn at present.


    On an unrelated note, consider doing what the Europeans do in their much-smaller homes, and plan for the washer and dryer to be in the expanded kitchen or in a larger (not smaller!) main floor washroom. It will save you a lot of steps. Because if you eliminate the spaces that are not working hard for you (formal dining area, separate den) you can fit more good functionality into your main floor space.


    https://www.houzz.com/photos/query/kitchen-mudroom-combo

    https://www.decorpad.com/search/kitchen-mudroom

  • ffpalms
    4 months ago

    I love patim’s idea of making the room a large kitchen/dining plus mudroom. Here’s a couple of mudroom ideas that don’t need to be hidden. It would mean relocating your kitchen to the other end of the room for the best flow.



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  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago

    Which is basically....this because all of that above will be everything way toooo small.

    There was an architect.......and maybe a case of not considering all possibilities inside of the "wish list" dialogue. : )

    Hard to get too detailed, minus every single dimension of everything.

    It's just a home from another time....less "everything" needing to be contained.





  • Jilly
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I really like the built-in storage in this breakfast room:



    Of course the above cost a fortune I’m sure (their house was on the cover of AD), but there could be ways to do similar for less and using whatever style you like. I’d love to have a room like this. :)

  • ffpalms
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Here’s a look at the room with grid lines at one sq ft. This layout shows a five ft table and the kitchen on the opposite end. It leaves room for a spacious mudroom area. A second sink is very useful, so I would leave one in that location.



  • Sammie J
    4 months ago

    I would start by getting large baskets - one for each person, and place them along the wall. Then, train everyone that their stuff ONLY goes into their basket or into their room. That will limit the # of shoes and other stuff that "must" be stored by the door, as the baskets can hold only so much. The baskets can easily be carried to respective rooms when you have guests. Once everyone is trained to be more neat, you can consider other ideas.

  • happyleg
    4 months ago

    Buy shoe cabinet for hidden shoes storage. Hook s are easy to put coats & things on.

  • drblount10
    4 months ago

    Following because I have a similar problem--small great room, no closet except for bedrooms and linen.

    Love the ideas and ditto re put mudroom in the current dining room. Make the house work for *you.* Don't worry about notions of how it should look or what it is supposed to be.

    For Right Now: Backpack Central

    Hooks and wood vintage or salvage benches all the way down the wall by the garage. People sit to remove or put on shoes, and they slide underneath. Baskets even better. Every so often they move shoes to bedrooms.

    If you like, flank the area with 2 antique or salvage wardrobe armoires. Move the table and chairs closer to stair wall and kitchen. See pics--it can really look creative and still fit traditional style.

    Put washable rugs around and mats.

    For Right Now: Garage Shelves

    Get 1 or 2 metal freestanding shelf units, heavy duty, for the entire space by the black cabinet. This will let you get the remaining stuff off the floor. Hopefully these ideas can get you started.

    I'm reworking my mud area in the great room too, bc no utility room. Looking forward to seeing your solution!

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  • Denise Marchand
    4 months ago

    following

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    " The den is just a pass through to the porch. we don't use it"




    Are you kidding me....and how did I miss that?

    I'd call a halt to this "room at a time", bash, carve the house, no time to breathe, no room to put anything remodel, costing money, to not get anywhere truly functional. There isn't going to be perfection. However.........

    In a house this size, with these limitations, you don't give up 260 sq feet to passing through, and then whine/make yourself crazy that you have no storage! It's completely nuts.

    The powder room location is killing quite a lot. The den isn't open enough TO ANYTHING. Who wants to pass through a tunnel to nowhere? You live in a cold climate of wintry weather and you can't even get a car in the garage! The space where every darn thing that can go on a wall, needs to do that asap. Like paper towels and boots , and you probably need a mile of pegboard.

    At any rate? It drove me nuts. I'd stop, breathe...purge...start over.



  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    4 months ago

    Jan's layout is genius.

  • auntthelma
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Jan’s remodel is a great idea. But, obviously, a big project.

    In a similar thought, but without major construction, what if you reassign the rooms?

    Make the ’pass through’ den into the dining room. Now, find the lockers, or hall trees, or cubbies, or shelves that will work to make the open part of the kitchen into a useful and tidy mudroom.

    No moving plumbing. No stressful construction. Just a problem solved.

  • Jessie B
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    We tried the den as a dining room and found it way too far from the kitchen. Kids hated it. I hated it. I wouldn’t mind moving the kitchen location but the bathroom waste pipe is located in that wall that separates kitchen and bath. See pic of upstairs baths. We can move the kitchen into the den most likely since the water and pipes are along that wall. So if anyone can show me that option? Fireplace tho is an issue right?

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    @ Aunt Thelma from above can work too.

    Show us that pass through den?

    Here are the only questions: How long will you be here? What can you LIVE with for the long term? when kids have friends and are doing homework...where does it happen. How do you want to entertain, and many more

    But for the plumbing to a powder room? Studs and drywall are about the least expensive items in a remodel and right up there with paint: )

    How much MONEY do you want to spend on lockers, butt together storage to hide what you detest looking at? Framing.....framing.....framing and as long as you have flooring beneath? Not the end of the world in a knock down.

    Personally, I'm for get it right from the get go - don't peck your way there.

  • teamaltese
    4 months ago

    Why do you need storage for 30 pairs of shoes? Can off season shoes be stored elsewhere? IKEA wardrobes would handle the stuff, but you may be storing too much there that doesn’t need to be stored there.

  • Jessie B
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Here is down bath and den

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    "We tried the den as a dining room and found it way too far from the kitchen. Kids hated it. I hated it."

    It's not WAY tooooo far. It is to pass through a dark eleven ish foot tunnel! People have kitchen islands that long! You do go through it. To the porch.

    Show the darn room!

    But would I do plumbing and electrical for ANY kitchen without getting that wee wee spot out of there? No way. A soil pipe? Get a good contractor in there. You sure didn't have a great architect .: )

    You are throwing every possible roadblock into your path, PERHAPS.

    HERE'S the tunnel to I have no reason to want to use this space room..............



  • apple_pie_order
    4 months ago

    If you move a tv into the den, they will use it.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    If you obliterate the tunnel of NO LOVE?

    Everyone will use it.

    That is the point of remodel - to create use from where there was none. To create a function where one doesn't exist.

    LOL..... we all agree , the chance of this being improved unless contained by walls? My guess is zero. Just sayin....



  • Jessie B
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    We had a tv in there as opposed to living room- kids preferred living room. I know it’s a small hallway but this is a 1970s home. Picture of porch attached

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    We had a tv in the den - KIDS preferred living room"

    Well part of this entire issue might be right there.

    I'll stop with that, and might add that I see this all the time. Just as my lovely , incredibly functional mudroom of generous proportion, storage, cute basket, shelves and you go right ahead and name it? Becomes a dumping ground.

    Restraints, rules, cooperation, respect for the clothes mom and dad put on your back, the car parade to whatever kid needs to wherever, while family meals are eaten from bags and boxes on the kitchen island and the garage , even a three car smell like sewage and has flies and discarded who knows what and yup.........I am headed for trouble so I will say this:

    It is YOUR home, they are your kids, and I'd rethink the program before you can't get any new program. Trust me, they will love you as much or more. I'm out

  • Jessie B
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Thank you for the ideas everyone! We are going to consider it all. This is our home for the next 12 years till kids graduate high school. What we do to it will not impact any future buyers bc we know it’s a tear down. We want to make it home.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago

    If you do It logically, it may NOT be a tear down.

    There's always a young family starting out. Always. Good luck and a pause ......: )

  • apple_pie_order
    4 months ago

    The porch is lovely and huge. I can see why they pass right through the den on the way to the porch.


    Some philosophical remarks: With kids in school for the next 12 years, it is easier to come up with interim individual organizing solutions than to carry out a big remodel. Some things can have "good enough" solutions that will work for a few years. Clothes hooks on the walls get moved up when kids' heights shoot up as teens. Geographically appropriate solutions are important: people don't usually keep clothes and shoes in garages in my area because of the occasional rattlesnakes and abundant black widow spiders. It's okay to have under-used rooms, too. It is okay to get kids used to putting away their stuff on a schedule because the Roomba is going to start in five minutes or the cleaning service is coming tomorrow or friends are coming over for dinner Friday night. Kids learn new organizational skills as they grow.


    A house doesn't have to be perfect all the time, and good enough is more realistic and comfortable than perfect.

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    4 months ago

    I’m confused. Are you wanting to tidy up the chaos or do a renovation?

  • auntthelma
    4 months ago

    What if we make the den a walk in closet?

    So leave the dining room where it is and put the cubbies in the den. Not exactly next to the door, but you have made it clear that it is a wasted, underused space. 🤷‍♀️

  • ShadyWillowFarm
    4 months ago

    Doesn’t make sense to me that the den couldn’t be used as a dining room because it was too far, yet they go through the den to use the porch…and if they won’t eat in the den, they sure as heck won’t go in there to put their stuff away.

  • Jessie B
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Also the ants loved food in the den area… bc of its proximity to the porch door. When we keep it as a den- no ants. I am more about organization than remodeling for now. Since we are still working on remodeling bathrooms upstairs. And I agree above with apple pie order- needs will change as they grow.

    It’s a great space- the porch area. And I know the bathroom isn’t ideal location. We actually considered maybe closing up this area and opening a little of this area in future. Not sure if that would make creepy hallway even creepier haha!

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    "Also, the ants loved food in the den area…"

    When you eat at a dining table, you leave food to linger? It's impossible to carry plates back to the kitchen and clean up? The kids manage a back pack, so I am just guessing they can lift a plate.

    Twelve years is a LONG time to live with this level of what I will call.....

    "I can't, they won't, nobody likes it there, it isn't close enough/ near the front door and that is sometimes more convenient entry, "..( yeah, because the garage is a navigational hazard) and really, what it amounts to is roadblocks to progress of any kind.

    Rolling racks, lockers - I call this stuff the STUFF that becomes more junk. Not at all unlike those who hire the organizer, who sells them a ton of crap, which is MORE crap and they already can not control what they own.

    At any rate..... as with all of life, you pick your poisons.

  • Denise Marchand
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Ok, not fancy, but extremely practical. If you don't have it make sense (in any design project) no one will use it. I did some research because I was curious as to the solution to your problem.

    If you build an open nook/closet, ceiling to floor and outfit it with good shelves and hooks, it will be most effective. Plus you won't be overwhelmed but all of it from every view in your home.

    Have the garage door only open out into the garage, not into the kitchen. The nook should be 60" x 20" deep. No doors.






    Here's the site with step by step to create this project:

    https://robynsfrenchnest.com/home/how-to-create-and-organize-a-drop-zone-for-kids-backpacks/

  • partim
    4 months ago

    If you're still considering the garage side of the house for the kitchen, you could move the door to the garage closer to the front of the house. It will let you have a longer kitchen counter there. Maybe a u-shaped kitchen instead of an island. Might be a less expensive structural change than moving walls.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago

    To be honest, garage doors that PLOP you directly into any space are rather ugly. Of lesser poison is to plop into a kitchen and mud area.

    Which means in a perfect world, of the next twelve years? Yup.... it's pick a poison: ) Consider the entire living floor, and what is wasted space, usable and functional space. But in no scenario should a den @ 13 x 20 feet, be a fallow wasteland, as one wastes money trying to avoid using that space to full advantage.

  • Sherry8aNorthAL
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Okay.

    Can you open up the living room and den to make one big room? It is probably load bearing, so you will have to get engineers invloved.

    Move the rug and dining over closer to the wall without the shoes and stuff. Then get a storage bench for each person for shoes with hooks over that. for coats and backpacks.

  • tracefloyd
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I'm still unclear as to why no one uses their bedroom closet or at least their own bed to dump their stuff. It makes no sense....my brain shortcircuits.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 months ago

    Given all the info, all the pics, all the agony? It's right here/livable, open, has circulation and lovely living for 12 years.

    Maybe @ Mark Bishak will drop in and turn it to cad : ) with a nice kitchen.

    The only thing to decide? Which of two possible entries is MOST USED by kids? Foyer or garage, and which way into a mud and closest.

    Small living takes some discipline either way. So does living large, , actually.




  • happyleg
    4 months ago

    The stairway wall might be a good place to put a bench or a built-in closet for this stuff and some things can even hang if you need more room behind a door on the wall there in the dining room if you do that you can build a closet in the corner or something by a doorway

  • partim
    4 months ago

    Many years ago we moved our young family into a house that also didn't have an ideal flow. Cramped kitchen etc. After a few years we renovated, but were reluctant to spend big bucks moving things around. We just didn't think that the somewhat increased functionality was big enough to justify the expense. Especially since your husband and you are doing the work yourselves, it's not that simple to make big changes. Moving walls involves re-doing the ceiling as well as the floor. It all costs, either in time or money and, certainly in our lives, both were in short supply.

    Here are some suggestions that are fairly modest but might get you close enough to where you want to go.

    I started from your "before" sketch of your house and just removed the wall that you've taken down.

    1. Building a larger central closet will give you more wall space in your living room, and hold a lot of your stuff. I think you'll want to do this, no matter what you do in the kitchen.

    2. Refrigerator moved to near the window, to give you a compact work triangle of stove, sink and fridge. I moved the stove further away from the sink to give you a larger area in between for food prep.

    3. A 6 foot table ("harvest table"/"farmhouse table") will seat 3 on each side. Butted up against the hallway wall, there's plenty of room (5 feet) between it and the other wall, to funnel people from the garage to the rest of the house without going through the kitchen. I changed the door swing so the open door does not block people movement. We have a table this shape and love it. It moves around the space when we have guests, or big parties. It acts as a prep space when we are doing our weekend big cooking/peeling jobs (true "farmhouse" style.) . Or dumping the Costco run into the house before it gets put away LOL. Be sure it has a tough surface that can take a family's hard use. I have a friend who deliberately bought an "antique" with a butcher block style top that was pre-dinged.

    4. In the former dining room, you can still add some hooks and baskets if you need them. Another idea is to add something counter height with drawers. Each person can have their own drawer plus a basket on top of the counter. The cleared-off top can be used as a buffet surface when you entertain.

    Built-ins can be expensive, and aren't flexible as your family's needs change. My sister spent $$$ on built ins 20 years ago in the house where she raised her family, and so many of them became non-functional as their needs changed, and she paid to have them removed. She said never again. In the house she is currently building, everything possible is free standing.

    5. As I show your kitchen, it doesn't have much storage space and you will need pantry cupboards. Add some in your current den, or in the former dining room.

    6. I've mentioned this before but wouldn't a main floor laundry be good for you? Since you have plumbing pipes in the walls of the den area, consider adding a washer and dryer there. LOL, with your fireplace there, you can do as as my son does in Dublin and put the wooden clothes drying rack in front of the fireplace. They seldom use their dryer since electricity is so expensive there.


    Hope you find some useful ideas here!



  • drblount10
    4 months ago

    I meant to add that kudos to the legit effort I saw in the before. There is so much anxiety and anger created around backpacks from their teachers--oh if you only knew!

    Not being allowed near them then getting suspended for no supplies

    Not having or being allowed to use a locker

    Teachers searching backpacks and throwing out whatever they don't like (medical equipment, electronics, hair products, deodorant, fem products, library books . . .

    Being told to hide work in the backpack or to take it out and hide it at home to make other teachers and parents look incompetent

    Getting teachers screaming and chasing them from class to class for not getting backpacks on quick enough

    This teacher knows if change is going to come, we need parents like you! Thanks for all you are doing now for your kids!

  • drblount10
    3 months ago

    Hello, and Happy Thanksgiving! Any updates?

  • Jessie B
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    No updates! I’m still in limbo with the layout.

  • ShadyWillowFarm
    2 months ago

    You have until after the holidays and then we are coming in.

  • ShadyWillowFarm
    2 months ago

    And there better be cookies left.

  • drblount10
    2 months ago

    Thanks for reaching back out! Let us know what would help you here, I know there was a lot before.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    In this case almost any decision is better than no decision, although that is always an option. It just tends to get you no improvement.

    I'd put up with that mess for about 15 minutes,: ) so don't ask me lol

    Not wasting other spaces to vacuous wasteland would help quite a lot.

    There are at least three good options up above. But they all mean using space differently

  • marmiegard_z7b
    2 months ago

    I do like Juliette’s idea of first creating a space- limitation habit, with simplest elements possible, before investing more time and $$ in more permanent or furniture- like storage. Single basket per person & maybe a hook. Because if it’s maddening to get family to do that, it’ll be more so if a lovely, Pinterest- inspired mudroom is ignored. Though I understand how the “ right” storage can encourage usage, there’s always the problem of, one storage solution, multiple users whose brains work differently.

    Have you listened to Dana K. White’s Container Theory? Was very helpful to me. You could do the simple set in the room that’s now a mess, or, if it’s a goal to use a different room, start there. You may be able to skip hooks, but if jackets or bag are used regularly, then a basket/ bin alone is not enough. Unless the new habits you want to establish are to take clothing to rooms. I’m not great about fixing nail holes in walls so tend to waffle on making decisions on where to hang art, etc, but realistically, relocating hooks is not as big a deal as constructing something elaborate & finding out it’s all wrong.
  • shirlpp
    2 months ago

    Then, train everyone that their stuff ONLY goes into their basket or into their room.


    Good Luck with that!!!

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    2 months ago

    The problem with the "each person gets his/her own container" idea is that you still have containers in your dining room :(

  • drblount10
    2 months ago

    Ditto to Juliette's newest comment on a "right now" solution for the eating area with containers for each person. Saw an idea by partim from 1 month ago with table against the wall and 6 circles for chairs. This would free up the wall where you containers currently are. Maybe try this for the holidays?

    I also saw that you are not wanting a remodel for this. What about freestanding? Recently I searched "backpack stations" as "images" and I was surprised how pretty it can be! I would spread any wall hooks out plenty so that no one is crowded, and people have their own area. Heck, use the whole wall by the garage door. Use several benches lined up so they can sit down for shoes. Put down washable rugs underneath in pretty designs, to fit your traditional style. This way nothing has to be hidden away for "company," yet things will be durable and easy to clean.






  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Summary of the beginning.......

    Mom of two asks:

    Is there a furniture piece that can store about 30 pair of shoes and backpacks , jackets?

    Picture and condition rewind, created by two kids, below:



    Having lived in the golden olden days of inconvenient but charming home, an extra third child and a loving but rules oriented set of parents?

    " Very Sorry to announce dinner has been delayed until further notice. The kitchen and dining area is closed until the floor mess is removed to your bedrooms, the laundry , and the inconvenient closet.

    Anyone hungry?"

    Call me dense. But it seems fact, that one pair of feet can don only one pair of shoes at one time. I have never seen a child at a bus stop with two backpacks.

    The op mentions no physical handicaps, nor learning disabilities that would preclude reaching the inconvenient closet or a bedroom.

    Therefore, I see no need for the mess, I see instead a family grabbing a meal at the table before the insanity of sports or homework ensues. Clearly, I am the pathetic victim of earlier times and the silent glare of dad's blue eyes. The silence and scary eye vaporizes this clutter in less than two minutes.



    That is the same dad btw, who used to joke.....

    Dr, Dr Dr !!! My head hurts when I do this!

    Answer : Don't DO "this" if it hurts.

    In a season of giving, choice is a gift you give to yourself. Happy whatever you celebrate: )

  • drblount10
    2 months ago