white living room with built-in bookcases
Photo: Courtesy of Shelley Smith
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The $470 Mudroom Built-In

Sometimes standard issue just doesn't cut it. At Shelley and Cason Smith's Salt Lake City home, five years with no mudroom and three kids under the age of 7 had turned the poorly lit, inaccessible foyer closet into a hazard.

Over one week, the seasoned DIYers removed the door and 2 ½ feet of wall next to it to create an open alcove in the closet's existing footprint. Cason installed a medium-density-fiberboard (MDF) bench hung on a cleat of 2×4s and trimmed with molding—perfect for pulling on shoes. He built cubbies finished with corbels and hand-cut curved dividers for mail and schoolwork, leaving room at the top for baskets to hide lightbulbs, batteries, and the like. They lined the alcove with horizontal beadboard and finished it with casing and leftover paint. Two lightweight, kid-friendly poplar boxes hide everyone's shoes. The new built-in is the perfect place to enter and unload.
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