Introduction

family enjoying their newly built mudroom bench
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
»
The second the sun goes away, out comes the umbrellas and the raincoats and the Wellies. And with them a lot of messy wetness that can warp hardwood floors and stain your best rugs. Short of forcing your family to disrobe on the front stoop, your best bet is to create a stopping area just inside the door where everyone can leave the weather behind.

On the following pages, This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows how to create the perfect catchall, complete with an open top shelf, coat hooks, and flip-top bench storage. This handsome entry hall built-in, made of plywood, shelf panels, and layered moldings, is sure to make your house more welcoming, even while protecting it from wear and tear. In fact, you may find it so convenient you'll catch yourself stopping by even when the sun's out.
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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • reciprocating saw
      Reciprocating saw
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • studfinder
      Stud finder
    • two-foot level
      Level
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • hammer with nailset
      Hammer and nailset

    Shopping List

    1. 3/4-inch birch-veneer plywood to build the seat box. Get one 4x8 sheet.

    2. exterior-grade beadboard plywood to make the back panel on the wall. One 4x8 sheet will cover the area.

    3. 1x16 solid-wood panel to make the seat lid. Get one 6-foot board.

    4. 1x12 solid-wood panel to make the fascia board and shelf. Get two 6-foot boards.

    5. 2x4 to create a support strip for the hinges that hold the box lid. Get 6 feet.

    6. 1x4 to create the applied paneling on the front and sides of the box. Get four 8-foot boards.

    7. 1x2 to cap the unfinished top edges of the bench box. Get 10 feet.

    8. 3/8x7/8-inch panel molding to add a picture-frame detail to the paneling on the box and to trim above and below the beadboard panel. Get five 8-foot lengths.

    9. ½x1-inch parting bead to finish the edges of the beadboard plywood.

    10. 3/4-inch quarter-round molding to trim the beadboard panel and the base of the box. Get 16 feet.11. ½x7/8-inch decorative shoe molding to trim out the shelf, seat lid, and fascia. Get three 8-foot lengths.

    12. 9-inch shelf brackets

    13. 2-inch L-brackets to secure the box to the floor. Get seven.

    14. European cabinet hinges to allow the lid to overlay the box and open smoothly. Choose ones that are labeled "for frameless cabinets." Get three.

    15. Toy-box lid supports to keep the lid from slamming shut. Get two to support the weight of the lid.

    16. 1 5/8-inch deck screws

    17. 3½-inch deck screws

    18. 2½-inch deck screws

    19. 2-inch trim-head screws

    20. 2d finish nails

    21. 3d finish nails

    22. carpenter's glue

    23. vinyl adhesive caulk

    24. 180-grit sandpaper

    25. shims