As you know, I’m from the UK and this Christmas my parents came to visit us in Minnesota. My dad was originally a carpenter by trade, so what better way to spend a bit of father / daughter bonding time than to make our own hall tree!
I really loved the idea of making this unused alcove into a hall tree, as it’s the first place you pass as you walk in through the garage. It also makes the laundry room dual function as a boot room as well. Plus nothing says ‘country’ more than a hall tree to store your wellies and coats.
I’d looked at options of buying one from Joss & Main and other similar stores, they range from anywhere from $150 up to $1000+. The problem I found was that I couldn’t find one that fitted perfectly the space I had. Or one that had the exact storage I wanted – boot storage at the bottom and baskets at the top.
Here are a few options from Joss & Main:
With all the materials our hall tree cost less than $200. So cheaper than most high street options. And because it’s custom built it fits floor to ceiling, wall to wall, which I think gives a much more high-end feel than a free-standing unit.
As you can see from this photo of the ‘before’ this alcove in the laundry room was in need of a bit of TLC. It was originally a log store with an opening straight into the lounge next to the fire. But the last owners had replaced the real fireplace for a gas one meaning we no longer needed it, so we bricked it up.
We left a small hole in the bricks so the TV and PlayStation cables could be hidden behind the wall. This made designing the hall tree tricky, as we needed to be able to access the cables, so it couldn’t be permanently fixed to the wall. If you don’t have this problem it makes the process a whole lot easier!
I learned a lot from this project with my dad, and I love the end result. Here are my tips from what I learned, to help you to make your own hall tree:
Tip 1 – Fail to plan, plan to fail: I’m always one to just get stuck in with little planning, and it usually ends up biting me with multiple trips to the store to buy missing materials etc. What I learned from my dad is that more time spent up front actually planning the design means less time building it.
Tip 2 – Make a cut list: We planned every piece of wood and screw to build it before we even lifted a saw or hammer. We worked out all the measurements piece by piece and made a cut list. We even managed to get all of our wood cut in store at The Home Depot saving even more time.
Tip 3 – Make sure the unit fits: If you’re building the unit in another room, make sure the unit fits through any doorways to the final spot. We built ours in an adjacent room as the laundry room is so narrow. We made ours in two pieces which made it easier to maneuver.
Tip 4 – MDF is easy to work with: If you’re going to paint the unit, and are not bothered about seeing the wood-grain, MDF is a really nice material to use. It’s really easy to cut, screw into and gives a lovely smooth paint-able surface. It’s also pretty cheap at around $25 per 8 foot by 4 foot sheet.
Tip 5 – Don’t forget to countersink the screws: If you want a perfectly smooth finish, don’t forget the importance of countersinking the screws. I.e. slightly recessing them beneath the wood, so you can then fill them with wood filler, sand and paint.
Tip 6 – Use trim: By using trim you can get a much higher-end finish than leaving the surfaces smooth and flat. This look fits well with more traditional or even transitional looks, but if you prefer more modern style then loosing the trim would work better.
I love the end result of this project, and loved learning from my dad how to do it properly. I’m not a skilled carpenter by any means, but with careful planning on paper first, I think the results speak for themselves. In fact, I loved it so much, I’m going to build my own walk-in closet fittings now! Stay tuned…
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