Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Before & After: Our New Entryway With A Vintage Style Locker Wardrobe

John built a new thing!

And this time it's for our house.


It took us forever to finish all the details, but I'm finally here with some fun before and after pics.

So let's do this.

First, the oh-so-underwhelming "Before":

This is our entryway, that's the front door on the left. I didn't even try to tidy it up for the photo; I'm serving up a lukewarm slice of REAL LIFE right heah.

This area hasn't changed much in over a decade, except for the addition of the recycling bin. The coat stand is broken and leans to the side, all our store returns & "Free Stuff" bin get dumped on the bench, and much as I love the balloon wall hooks, they only add to the cluttered look.

I wanted something streamlined here that would hide everything: coats, purses, hats, the recycling bin, all the craft goods stored in the current bench, PLUS hold extra bins for our store returns and garage flotsam, since we tend to drop things that go in the garage on that bench, too.

I also wanted it small enough to have display space on top, have a vintage flair, and be themed to fit with the Wonderland room, since it's in the same space:

Remember this? We made over this room in April of 2020, more pics here if you missed it.

Anyway that's the front door, so the entry area is just off camera to the right. Now you know why I didn't show it before. :p

Here's the design John came up with:

I know it doesn't look complicated, but this was such a struggle to nail, lemme tell ya.

Better yet, let me SHOW you. So here's that "before" again:

And, After!

Woohoo!! Buh-bye, clutter!

And look how well it ties in with the Wonderland room:


It's all in there, too; everything from the Before photo PLUS more, since we created lots new storage.

Let's run through some build photos, so I can show you all the juicy details. ::eyebrow waggle::

Our first step was buying a lower-but-wider recycling bin, so John could build the base around it:

We added felt to the bottom of the bin so it slides easily.

John built the top locker section as its own separate piece:

Adding doors and trim:

You can see the oh-so-important trash hole over the bin compartment there.


The actual build was the fastest part of this project, as usual; John knocked it out in about 3 days.

Next we had to pick a paint color.

John used a cup sprayer to paint the wardrobe so we wouldn't have brush strokes or drips. After baking outside a few days, we brought it in for that all-important cat inspection:

"Needs more ledges. And a catnip cooler."

Doors on, you can see how we left plenty of room up top for display pieces:

At this point I decided the bench shelf in the middle needed some contrast:

Muuuuuuch better.

(We painted it dark brown, than streaked black glaze on top for a faux woodgrain. The tape is to discourage the cats from jumping up. Which didn't work.)

The red still needed something, though, so next we spent WEEKS trying - and hating - various glazes and paints to age it down. Finally we bought some Annie Sloan dark furniture wax, which I applied with a brush and quickly scrubbed off with a t-shirt rag. This toned the red and gave it a subtle aging:

Close up of the finished doors:

I really love the look, but I'm not sold on the finish; when I touch the doors it feels a bit... waxy? (SHOCKING, I know.) So I worry it's going to rub off over time or be hard to clean. Any of you have experience with waxed furniture?

 (Some of this color variation is the dappled sunlight. Sorry. I tried. :p)

Up top I displayed the two witch hats that were previously squashed on the coat rack, my White Rabbit mask, and - cue the happy chair dance - my complete Lady Vadore mask and helmet. I've had just the helmet on our buffet for years, because the full mask is a little... unnerving at eye level, haha. Now that I can tuck her away up high, though, I'm delighted to see her whole again.

The copper tubing has a strong patina, but everyone in my Stories assured me that looks better than polished anyway.

Now back to the wardrobe!

The grating up top is the basic cheap stuff you can find in any hardware store. We bought a few fancier versions online, but ended up liking this best:

The handles took us AGES to decide on - and 4 different purchases to get right - but now they're my second-favorite part of the whole build. Best of all, they cost less than $10 for a 4-pack on Amazon!

The lower handles are classic cup pulls in a matching antiqued gold. We bought a used set off Amazon for half price - a reminder to ALWAYS look for the "save with used" option.

We placed the handles in the middle of the doors to better sell the locker illusion, since they actually open like this:

We installed hooks in this larger middle section for hats and bags, then under the shelf we'll have bins for store returns & garage items. (I still need to find better bins.)

To the left we keep the stand lights I use for photos on a shelf over the recycling chute:

 Then I used a plastic magazine file to hold all our umbrellas upright and out of the way.

Underneath are craft supplies and the Free Stuff bin (which I take out on Fridays when we have friends over), then to the left we have John's fancy hats and extra accessories - plus more room to grow!

One more hidden feature:

We installed a large hook on the side near the door for my everyday bag, for easy access. It's completely hidden from most angles, which is why I forgot to take a photo 'til I put all the lights away, whoops.

Last thing, did you notice the special feature I haven't mentioned yet?

It's a geeky little Easter Egg that makes me smile:

To fit the vintage locker vibe I wanted some fancy name plates on the doors, and John won the day by suggesting the famous foursome who also stored their gear in lockers: MY BUSTIN' BOYS.

We made a beeline for our favorite local engraver, but even after searching some seriously cool vintage stock, he couldn't find a brass plate small enough to fit our design.

So John made our own:

John cut these from gold vinyl on our Cricut, then layered each one over 2 pieces of black cardstock to strengthen it and give more dimension. Once installed with brass screws you'd never guess they weren't real brass, too!

We used their last names to be extra fancy, so it should take folks a few extra seconds to get the reference. :D

And that's it! Sorry I rambled on so long, I'm just SO super chuffed to have this piece finished and hiding all that entry way clutter. Plus it's so pretty!! Even while defying my attempts to photograph it in all this glaring sunlight, ha.

I hope this made you smile! And maybe inspired a home project or two of your own?

I also hope this week gives you unexpected moments of peace, laughter, and rest, since I'm noticing a lot of burnout out there. (And some in here, if I'm honest.) It's great that so many of us are getting to do more - maybe getting back to work, or travel, or just the everyday minutia of adult life - but remember it's OK to feel overwhelmed, or like you can't handle as much as you used to. That's normal, y'all. It's to be expected. So don't be so hard on yourself, k? We'll get there eventually, but for now I recommend lots of snuggle breaks (pets or people), couch naps, and checking in with friends.

::squeezy hugs::


P.S. If you liked this build you will FLIP for the craft-room-in-a-closet we did late last year:


  1. You two are just wizards at two of my favorite things: organisation and prety stuff!

  2. So gorgeous! I love a fab and functional design!!

  3. Shut the front door! I cannot even- you two made that?? That is such a gorgeous piece of furniture! And the way you designed it around what you wanted to store, and then created your own things like the nameplates, I am just so impressed. Just, wow. And it does look perfect with the rest of the room. You guys are just magical.

  4. What was the actual paint color you went with? I love the handles! You can ramble anytime you want, we love it all!

  5. I have wanted something like this for my entryway for DECADES. (I also uh....need an entryway to put it in ;)) This is incredible. Great job and awesome post as always, you two!!!

  6. That is *amazing*! The details are so incredible!

    And thank you so much for the acknowledgement that things are (still) hard. I very much feel like I can't handle as much these days. I appreciate you helping me feel like that's ok.

  7. The first photo after your shots of Lady Vadore, I saw the closest nameplate, squinted and said "Does that say 'STANTZ'? IT DOES!" Y'all two crack me so consistently UP.

    Your Pal,

    Storm the Klingon

  8. Next time you paint something in the red family, base coat with BLACK. It adds depth to the red and hides all the streaks.How do I know this? Had to use black and then red paint before putting the gold metallic paint on a picture frame. Learned this trick from my step-dad who was a set and lighting designer. And cats MUST walk on what you are working on - it is a RULE.

  9. I am just BOWLED OVER that you guys can design something so unique / functional / perfect for your space, and then.. just... BUILD IT?? with your HANDS?!? I'm sitting here slack-jawed, seriously.

  10. Thank you for shedding light and love on an otherwise dark day. Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

  11. Never worked with wax before, I'll have to keep it in mind. To age miniatures I'll water down black paint, sometimes even black metallic depending on what I'm aging, then brush it on and blot it off until I get the look I want. That might be a little labor intensive though.

    1. I have done a waxed finish, and I can say that it feels waxy for a few weeks until the wax cures and then it hardens up! I have a side table I was slightly worried about but it's held up beautifully and has a nice hardened finish now.

  12. Love the piece! I would pay for the plans to build my own, and I bet others would as well!

  13. John is clearly a talented cabinet maker -- or a too-good-for-theater set designer/builder. Amazing work by the both of you.

  14. Excellent work! The final cupboard looks great :-)

  15. Gorgeous and fun! Well done!

  16. I have a small garage, so can't build a static workspace in there. Do you have or could you do an intro on what basics one needs to do builds like this and how to set up, take down, and store wood-working tools?

    1. Hmm, that's a tough one, but a good idea for a video! We have a one-car garage and space/organization is ALWAYS a struggle. I'll pass your request on to John, maybe he'll get inspired and film something. :)

  17. I would love something like that... my door set-up to an exterior wall is the same. But we have a large window. I need something lower like a buffet. Currently we have a coat tree and a plant rack (due to the window). Well done. (I noticed the name plates but I do not get the reference--my apologies).


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