Mudroom Makeover

Bad design and a new saw inspire one mom to take matters in her own hands
Written by and photography courtesy of Heather KW Brown

SONY DSCWHILE COLLEEN WAS BUSY CUTTING HER TEETH as a budding songwriter, I’ve been sawing my way closer to a home improvement project that has annoyed me for years. As much as I would like to say I was singing or practicing a mindful activity while I cut each board confidently, in reality, I held onto that saw for dear life and, every time the blade spun, I had to remind myself I knew what I was doing. That’s a stretch, at best. I’ve sanded boards, fed lumber through a planer and matched grain for high-end custom kitchens, but this undertaking is different. This time, I’m not helping with part of it; I’m doing all of it.

First came the dumpster diving for abandoned shipping pallets, which proved to be much more of a workout than I’d planned (some of those suckers are heavy!). When I could no longer pull them into my garage, it was time to start deconstructing.

I started with a hammer and cat claw, prying each and every nail out of the boards. Don’t do that! Buy a reciprocating saw and let the frustration fl y – who cares if you cut the nails in half, as long as it comes apart and all body parts are still in tact!

When neighbors walked through our cul-de-sac and couldn’t stop staring, I knew it had nothing to do with my safety goggles. They were wondering what I was doing and why. I did too. Truth be told, I’m not sure why, except that I dislike the particle board cubbies that should be an easy target, but have proven impossible for my kids to hit when they walk in the door after school.

Perhaps the better question was “Why not?” I have the tools, a workbench and with the New Year came the sudden gumption to fi nally give it a go. The vision (crafted perfectly in my head) is to demolish the open cubes and replace with a closed bench that has two hinged lids. As long as one lid is closed, the kids can sit on the bench, thanks to a cushion I’ve Pinned but not yet made.

When open, each individual side of the bench can hold book bags and shoes, eliminating any more potential falls while walking through my mudroom in the dark.

I bought another new saw recently — one with a guide — that just might help me make a straight cut. Next up, a long weekend of sawing and sanding. Assembly of the bench comes after, along with more sanding, a light coat of polyurethane and the cushion.

It sounds awesome in my head, though I have little doubt the finished project will lend itself to my own DIY show. Whether it marks the end of my constructive creativity for 2015, or the beginning, is all part of the fun.