Hello! I’m Ana, a mother and homemaker from Alaska.
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posted by Ana White

Grandma-who-likes-to-sew got home from her trip at 1:00 AM ... and just six hours later, she was spoiling the kids with hugs, kisses and gifts .... and gushing about her new mudroom!

(For those of you who missed a post this past week, Grandma's been traveling, so we decided surprise her with a mudroom makeover in her side of the Momplex.)

Just to refresh, here's what the space looked like before we started working on the mudroom projects ...

And here's what it looks like now -

Yes, Grandma loves her new mudroom!

And even though it looks like a million bucks, we only spent about $200 on it! 

The bench is just a 2x4 "floor" framed into the studs in the walls,

Covered in plywood and boards that we pre-painted.  The bench is almost seven feet long and super sturdy.  We spent $43 on it.

The organizer is just a giant shelf that we built (it is HUGE!!!) and somehow hoisted it up there and screwed it to studs in the walls.  

The organizer costs about $113 - so now we are up a little over $150.

But it looks a little empty under the bench, so I thought building some drawers underneath would be the perfect way to add hidden storage for shoes and other stuff.

I decided to build trundle drawers underneath to keep the costs down, the building simple (we are proud parents of a new baby, so time is pretty tight right now), and the storage ample.

Here's how I built these trundle drawers -

Since the trundle drawers are custom made for under the bench, I carefully measured the width of the space, depth and height.  Note that when you are working with walls, make sure you measure the width at the front and back - walls are not always square.

Once I had my space measured, I then decided to build two drawers under the bench.  Unless you have a very wide space, I recommend one or two trundle drawers.  Once you start getting middle drawers that can't "ride" alongside a wall, the drawers won't slide in and out as easily.  I made the drawers 1/2" less than the opening to allow some room for the drawers to slide and move.

Once I knew the size of my drawers, I cut the sides and front and back.  

I used 3/4" plywood ripped into strips 8" tall (had 12" overall clearance).  You want to leave enough room underneath for the caster wheels.

The sides are the depth of your drawers.

The front and back are the width of your drawers minus the thickness of your wood times 2 (for example if you are using 3/4" plywood, and the width of the drawer is 24", you would cut the fronts and backs at 22-1/2").

I built my drawers with pocket holes, set at the 3/4" setting.  I just drilled two pocket holes on each end of the FRONT and BACK boards.

Then I attached the front and back boards to the side boards, with the pocket holes on the outsides.  Your drawer faces will cover the front pocket holes and the back pocket holes will be on the back of the drawers, hidden.

Once I had my boxes built, I nailed and glued 1/4" plywood to the bottom of te boxes.  

With the boxes done, I can now work on my drawer faces -

I used this tutorial to build the drawer faces - it's basically a piece of 1/2" plywood framed with 1x3s, all pocket holed together on the back.  I built my drawers bigger than the boxes (height-wise) to cover the caster wheels and fill the gap under the bench, but the same width (because my drawers are snug fitting under the bench).

Then I attached my hardware to the drawer faces on the ground - it's easier to do this now than when there is a giant drawer attached to the back of the drawer face.

Now back to the drawer boxes -

I screwed the caster wheels to the base of the boxes.  I purchased the caster wheels here from Amazon for $4.24 a set - they are actually nice wheels that roll really well!  I was surprised at that price!

Two of the wheels are fixed, and two swivel.  I put the two swiveling wheels to the back (like car tires where the front tires turn and the back tires don't).

Then I positioned the drawers under the bench, in their final location - 

And attached the drawer faces with a finish nailer from the outside.  I just put two nails in each drawer to get the face in position.  I made sure the gap between the bench and the drawer face was even all the way across.  

Once the drawer faces are on with a couple of nails, I pulled the drawers out and added screws from the inside to make sure that drawer face wouldn't get pulled off.

And now for the most time consuming part ......  I stepped back and admired my work!  Man, does it ever feel good to finish a project and love the results!

Here's a few more pictures, because I can't help myself!

It's actually a pretty big bench, those standard sized pillows look tiny!

The drawers slide really well,

Offering tons of storage inside.

This has been one of my favorite projects ever!  It was fun, simple and inexpensive.  Here's a breakdown of the cost of the drawers - 

Lumber for drawers - $20

Plywood for bottoms - $10 (I used half a sheet)

Handles - $17 (ouch, those were pricey!)

Caster wheels - $9

Total - $56

Adding in the cost of the bench and organizer, for a grand total of $212!!!

That's about the cost of just one Alaska-worthy down coat!  Speaking of down coats .... I'm dreading the pile of coats that will soon cover this mudroom up - but function trumps form, right?

Thanks for reading and following along!  We hope this post was useful to you and might help you with your own DIY projects.

XO Ana + Family

Also wanted to give a quick shout-out to Ryobi for providing the tools to build this mudroom bench.  Thanks Ryobi!

posted by Ana White

Grandma-who-likes-to-sew took a little trip a bit back, so we hijacked her side of the Momplex and got to work on a project we didn't quite get finished up before moving day.

Downstairs, where the stairs land, between the garage and the bonus room (which will hopefully someday become Grandma's craft and sewing room), is a little area that will make a perfect mudroom.

In Alaska, where coats and boots are used like shirts and shoes, a mudroom is essential to a home.  The space here isn't very big, so we'll need to plan cleverly to make the most of it.

The only real place we have to add storage is on the far wall, between the two doors.

Grandma definitely wanted a bench seat for family and guest to sit down and take their boots off.  Under a bench, there should be storage for boots and shoes, but to make the storage more attractive, I'm going to build drawers.

Up top, cubbies for hats and mittens and scarves will sit above a row of hooks.  I'm going to convert Grandma to my lazy ways ... who needs hangers and closet rods when hooks are so much easier?  Don't judge me.

So we got a plan in place, and we'll tackle it in steps. 

We are already one step ahead of the game when we painted the concrete floors last fall with Rusoleum's Epoxy Shield Garage Floor Coating Kit - best $99 spent on the Momplex!  No chipping or scratches, several months later.

So now it's time to work on that mudroom storage system!

First up, the bench.

For the bench, we wanted something above all that was sturdy.  We decided to build a built in bench, using the studs in the walls as legs and supports for the bench.  It will be like a mini floor built into the nook area.

First up, we found and marked all the studs.

Then we used a level to mark the studs up the wall.

Then we picked a height for the bench, and drew a level line around the entire nook area at the height of the bench minus 3/4" (since we'll be using 3/4" plywood on top of the framing, we brought the line down 3/4" below the desired bench height).

When you are working with basement floors, the floor is often not level, so you shouldn't just measure off the floor in multiple areas.  Instead, you should measure off the floor in one spot, and then use a level to transfer that measurement around the walls.

On each side of the nook, we attached 2x4 boards to studs in the walls by predrilling holes and with 3-1/2" screws.  You'll want to hit two studs to avoid the bench from pivoting forward or having to add front legs.

Then we attached boards along the back to studs in the wall.  There was an electrical box, so we just cut the boards around it (it will still be accessible from underneath).

Then we just added a joist in the middle.  Depending on how wide and how long your bench is, you'll want to add more joist (more joist = more support).

We attached our joist with pocket hole screws using our Kreg Jig, but you could also toenail the joists in or use 2x4 joist hangers.

Then we added another 2x4 to the front to tie everything in, just predrilling and attaching with screws.

Then we took a break.

But we pretended like we were testing out how sturdy the bench was.  And contemplating adding front legs, additional joists, or just going with it.

But it got a little rough sitting on the 2x4 joists,

So we cut a piece of plywood for the top.

And then trimmed out the back with a 1x6 board (we also trimmed out the sides too).  The 1x6 boards cover the gap between the drywall and the plywood and give the bench a finished look.

Then we took all the trim pieces (the plywood and 1x6 boards) and painted them, and let them dry.

And then brought the prefinished boards back into the nook area, and set them in place.

Good thing we didn't hand brush because I can pretty much guarantee I would have sat on the wet paint.  There's no doubt.

Then we attached the prepainted boards to the wood framing with a finish nailer and glue.  We then filled the nail holes with wood filler and did a touch up coat of paint over the nail holes.

After the bench was built, we did end up deciding to adding two legs to the sides, attached to the wall.  This will give us a square area for the drawers to fit between.

We used the following materials to build this bench (measuring 18" wide by 6-1/2 feet long):

- 1/2 sheet of hardwood plywood ($25)

- (3) 2x4 boards ($6)

- (1) 1x6 board, 10 feet long ($7)

- Paint leftover from painting trim

- 3-1/2" self-tapping deck screws, 2-1/2" pocket hole screws and 1-1/4" finish nails ($5)

For a grand total of $43 for the sturdiest mudroom bench ever!

We'll be adding drawers underneath, testing my sewing abilities for a cushion, and a organizer with hooks on top - so stay tuned for that!

Thanks for reading!

XO Ana + Family

PS - If we made this bench a little wider, and hung it taller, wouldn't it make a great loft bed????? 

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