For months and months, we had a major shoe storage problem at our house. No matter how neat and tidy we tried to be, the shoes always ended up by the back door or haphazardly thrown into a basket in the laundry room closet. I didn’t like the basket method for us because it felt like a nuisance to dig though the dirty shoes to find the ones you want to wear, then feel like you need to go wash your hands before you walk out the door. Nobody has time for that when you’re running late. Plus, Greg’s size 14 shoes are just too clunky to store that way. I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessive-compulsive, but I love organization and cleanliness enough to hate the fact that we didn’t have a proper place for shoes.
As a solution, we’ve threw around of a myriad of storage options, including moving things around in the laundry room closet to make room for a shoe shelf (like this) or even building a built-in storage bench of some sort in the laundry room. (The photo above was our go-to inspiration photo of the idea.) Ultimately, we decided to hold off and begin to search for the “perfect” piece of furniture.
In a fit of desperation (the “perfect” piece just didn’t seem to be happening), we were just about to pull the trigger on a shoe cabinet from Ikea or a similar one we found at Bed Bath & Beyond. They might not have been “perfect” for us, but they definitely seemed functional. Plus, I thought that, if we changed out the hardware and accessorized it well, it could actually be pretty cute.
Ultimately, we decided that even though we needed a storage solution asap, we didn’t want to settle. We wanted to bring in a piece that we would love and hold onto for a while. We just needed to find it. So, we turned to Craigslist.
I have a love hate relationship with Craigslist. For a long time, I would read/hear about people finding amazing things on Craigslist. I always thought, “How in the world did they find that? I never even see anything that good.” Then I came to the conclusion that I needed to widen my search terms. So, in the search for our shoe storage cabinet, I typed in “dresser”, “antique dresser”, “antique armoire”, “storage cabinet”, and even “tv cabinet”. (Hey, you never know! I could imagine an old TV unit serving as a good shoe storage solution for us.) I found a piece or two that maybe would have worked, but they didn’t feel like a good enough fit style-wise.
After searching page, after page, after page… after page, it finally dawned on me that my mom has an antique pie chest. Or some people call them “pie safes” – I’m not sure what the difference is. It belonged to my great great grandma, and it’s still solid as a rock. She actually offered to give it to us a while back, but she and my dad are currently remodeling their living/kitchen/dining area, and I knew that she would eventually regret it. It would just look way too amazing in their new space. On top of that, it was about 8″ too wide for the wall in the laundry room.
All of that being said, I searched “antique pie chest” and then “antique pie safe”. Just two pages in, I finally found it. THE solution. Here’s the picture that was on the post:
I may have looked a bit lackluster in the photo, but I just knew it was perfect. I immediately emailed the seller for the dimensions, and I was so happy when I realized it was just four-ish inches shy of the total width of the wall. The seller bought it at an estate sale a few years ago, but no longer had space for it. Since it was just sitting her her storage unit, she decided to sell it. And we’re so glad she did!
When we got it home and into the house, I cleaned it up some vinegar and magic eraser action. I was so excited to get it into place and accessorized that I didn’t even stop to take any “pre-decorated” photos. (Still trying to get back in the habit of doing that, haha!) The plus side? We can jump straight to what it looks like now…
We’re so happy we decided to stick it out for something we loved because we LOVE this. It’s definitely one of our favorite pieces in the house. It fits this little wall insanely well, and the wood finish is just lovely.
Forget pies, shoes fit perfectly in this pie safe. Some of Greg’s shoes have to tilt up a bit, but all in all, we couldn’t imagine a better storage option for us. It fits about 12 pairs of shoes, but it can fit a few more if we stack some of our lower-profile shoes.
We always wanted a lamp in this corner to add some cozy lighting. When the pie safe was in place in the laundry room, this medium off-white lamp immediately came to mind. I actually took a Target run that very night to go pick it up. I love how the modern herringbone pattern and the overall shape juxtapose with the rustic look of the pie safe. It’s also the perfect size for this area – not too small, but still big enough to make a statement.
To catch keys, change… and guitar picks, I put this cute little tray next to the lamp. I actually bought this a long, long time ago and around the same time, a friend bought an identical one for me. That being the case, I gave one to another friend (for an office makeover we surprised him with) and kept one for this purpose. I’m just glad to finally have a piece of furniture to put it on! (I originally found this at Target, but it’s no longer available, but here’s one really similar.)
I designed the Come Thou Fount canvas for my (new!) online store, but with our house in the back of my head. It’s one of Greg’s all-time favorite hymns, and us being a “musical family”, it fits really well. I love that it’s the first thing you see when you come in the back door. (You can find the print version here and the ready-to-hang canvas version here. We have the 18×24 ready-to-hang canvas version.)
The shoe storage, along with the hooks behind the back door, make this area (which is our main, everyday entry) so much more functional. When things are more functional, they’re a ton easier to keep neat and tidy.
For a trip down memory lane, here’s what the laundry room looked like when we bought the house…
And here’s what it looks like now…
It’s still not “done”, but boy does it look better than the before. As for a few things we want to change in the near future… We used to have wall art on the furthest wall but unfortunately we had to replace the electric panel and replace it with a larger one. So, now I’m trying to think of something to do there. I really wanted to install shiplap on that wall – but a “modern version” so things didn’t look too rustic. However, with the electric panel, that might not work out as hoped. We’re also going to replace the ceiling light with something more modern and a little less bulbous. Another thing we’re keeping an eye out for is a rug to go in front of the washer/dryer.
All in all, the laundry room looks a more homey. On top of that, we were able to stay within a reasonable budget because our new favorite shoe storage solution ended up being only $25 more than the shoe storage cabinet we were going to buy. Twenty five more dollars for something handmade with years of character (and many more to come)? Yes, please!
Paint colors featured in this post // Anonymous by Behr, Black Suede by Behr