Monday, August 30, 2010

I can build you that

One night I was reading a book and Kevin was reading 'The Family Handyman' magazine. He turned to me, pointed at the page and said, 'I can build you that.' It almost did not matter what it was or where it would go, I was going to love it! And so Kevin's first woodworking project was born; a floating box shelving unit for our entryway. It was sort of our solution for what to do when you do not have a mud room, but you have mud.

Prior to the floating box, we had a metal shoe rack from a big box store; I cannot remember which one. It was pretty flimsy and 2 pairs of Kevin's Shaq-like shoes was about all it could take. We needed a place for more shoes and boots in the winter as well as a place to stash scarves, gloves and small shoes. Therefore, the entryway was just the place for the floating box.

Materials required

  • 1/2" birch plywood
  • Table saw
  • Wood glue
  • Nails
  • Ryobi hand-held router
  • Toe molding
  • Wood filler putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Semi-gloss paint in your color du jour
  • 3" screws
  • Shed (hey, I'm just making a list according to Kevin's instructions)

A how-to guide according to Kevin -

Here is my color coded design.  I got it from 'The Family Handyman' magazine.  I color coded it so that it would be easier to keep straight.

I basically cut out all the pieces as shown in the drawing first. Then I assembled it in my shed. I used 1/2" birch plywood.  Not the best wood you can use, but pretty good.  Especially for a first timer.  It's not too expensive, so if I messed up, it wouldn't cost as much to fix.

It's a little bit like a box inside a box.  You build a simple 1/2 plywood box, glue and nail another layer on top of the first. I got an inexpensive Ryobi hand held router so I could flush-trim the edges that didn't line up perfectly.

In the end, I added a decorative front edge using some toe-molding I had left over from another project.  I simply glued and nailed the toe-molding to the front rim, then the router to trim it flush, because it was slightly wider than the rim.

I used wood filler putty to fill in any cracks or gaps between the wood.  I sanded it all down and rolled on some paint that Marie had gotten.

I then screwed the whole thing to the wall using 3" screws into 2 studs.  Marie put some baskets inside to hold shoes or whatever.

It looks great and is extremely handy.

Marie here again -

Some after shots. The baskets are from Pottery Barn. Less expensive alternatives can be found at Target.

For those of you that are interested, Kevin drew out his design in Microsoft Visio. Being the techy geeks that we are, we like to have everything planned out and visualized in advance to make sure it all fits together right! Of course, this is not a necessary step, but fun for us. If you think this is detailed, you should see the wrap-around deck schematics that Kevin has in the works!

Anyhow, I digress. After the floating box was constructed and primed, I decided to paint the coat rack above the box and the box itself a matching color. The hallway is a very neutral color, Latte from Restoration Hardware, so I decided to spice it up a bit with a peach shade by Benjamin Moore.

Now we have a place for shoes, coats and winter gear. The other added benefit of the floating box is that we placed it so that we could put our boots and larger shoes beneath the box. All in all, it was a very successful first woodworking project. Now the question is, what's next?


  1. Love it Lottos! Very awesome.

    Kevin, can you build me one? Twice the size... need at least 4 boxes and lots more hooks. Plus, some lower hooks, too.


    Miss you guys!

  2. Awe, thanks Zuke! We miss you guys too. Can't wait to see you and your fam in a few weeks! You can try to talk Kevin into carpentering for you then;)