Here you go. Part Two in the totally riveting series of how to build an entry bench with cubbies and hooks, which is part of our new full wall of built-in storage in the entry (heck, we just had to create some storage after tearing out the existing closets, adding a new orb light fixture, a round entry table, and a new front door) .
Part One of this series gave you the base. And for those of you who like extra storage and do not want to have your entry storage topless, read on, read on.
The overall dimensions of the unit (pictured above) are about 56″ wide and 76″ tall (without crown molding – add about another 2″ for the crown). The dimensions of the top portion only (the area described in this post and sitting above the bench portion built in Part One) are 56″ tall and 56″ wide and 9″ deep (again, without crown molding). Figure out the dimensions that work for your space, and adjust accordingly. Also, take into account your neighboring front door – you don’t want it to compete in height. More importantly, make sure you build your entry storage unit so that you can reach the top cubbies – no sense building something out of reach!
You will use some materials leftover from Part One, but I’ve listed everything you will need here, for your convenience.
- Scrap pieces from your 4’x8’ mdf ¾” width leftover from Part One
- 3 or 4 – 8′ lengths of 1×2” primed pine trim boards (in addition to those purchased for Part One)
- 6′ length of crown molding
- 5′ length of brick molding
- 5′ length of cove molding
- 3 – 8′ lengths of 1×3 boards (mdf or pine or primed boards are fine, just no curved edges)
- Hooks – I used 7 oil rubbed bronze hooks, but go with what works for you
- 12′ or so of lattice boards – this is a trim piece that is about 1/4″ x 1 3/8″
- Optional: smooth 1/4″ depth or so board to put on the back of your unit, unless you have nice smooth walls (our plaster walls are very rough)
- Wood glue
- Nail gun/compressor and various lengths of nails – just get a multi pack and that will be fine
- Semi-gloss paint
- Paintable silicone caulk
- Wood fill
- Baskets/bins/trays (I built custom ones, more on that later)
This list is loooong. I’d recommend looking at the pictures/directions so the cuts make more sense.
2 – 56″x 8 1/4″ boards cut from the 4’x8′ mdf – these are for the vertical sides
3 – 54 1/2″x 8 1/4″ boards cut from the 4’x8′ mdf – these are for the horizontal pieces forming the top and bottom of the cubbies, and also one piece to support your cubbies and hold your hooks
- 2 – 6″x 8 1/4″ boards cut from the 4’x8′ mdf – these are for the two vertical pieces that make up the cubbies (add more if you want more than three cubbies)
- 1 – 54 1/2″ length of brick molding – as decoration and to support your cubbies
- 1 – 54 1/2″ length of cove molding – as decoration and to support your cubbies
- 1 – 54 1/2″ length of 1×3 for the back/base of the unit
- 2 – 56″ lengths of the 1×2 primed pine board – to beef up/cover the vertical side boards
- 2 – 53″ lengths of the 1×2 primed pine board – to beef up/cover the horizontal cubby boards
- 2 – 5 1/4″ lengths of the 1×2 primed pine board – to beef up/cover the two internal vertical cubby boards
- 4 lengths of your 1x3s to create the board and batten look – cut to fit once other pieces are in place
- 2 – 8 1/4″ lengths of the 1×2 primed pine board – to support the vertical side boards and adhere them to the base
- Crown molding to fit around the top of the unit
- 2 – 56″ lengths of lattice (cut two more if you have another exposed side) – vertical pieces for trimming the exposed vertical side
- 3 – 6 1/4″ lengths of lattice (cut two more if you have another exposed side) – – horizontal pieces for trimming the exposed vertical side
- Optional: sheet of smooth 1/4″ board cut to fit the back of your bench (you may choose to keep yours exposed to the wall)
- Scrap pieces of 1×2 for attaching your crown molding
Building the Frame
Step 1: Build the frame for the bins/sides and then add to it from there. Use wood glue and your nail gun (don’t be stingy with those nails) and piece it together like this:
Step 2: Then add in your dividers, just like you did for the base (shown in red):
Step 3: Then put the 1×2 pieces over your frame, just like you did in Part One, to make the frame seem bolder and beefier (frame pieces shown in gray). Also, the frame really stabilizes the unit.
Step 4: Then put your newly built frame on top of the already attached base and attach it to the wall. You can use little L brackets to hold it to the wall. Ours also had one vertical side abutting the wall, so we just screwed that side into the wall. Use little 1×2 support pieces to support this as well, by adhering them to the bench top and the new top vertical pieces (shown in red). You may want to add those pieces after doing your backer board and horizontal base support (Steps 5 and 7) to avoid having to cut around this piece, but then you have a little less support for this upper unit in the meantime.
In general, you just want the thing to stay upright and not fall down and get someone, so use your common sense and attach in all possible spots.
Back It Up
Step 5: Two choices here: 1) put in smooth board if you have bumpy walls; or 2) just use your smooth walls as the back of the unit. We have bumpty plaster walls, so used some scrap beadboard we flipped around to create a smooth backing. Be sure to cut out spots for electrical, as necessary.
Step 6: Next add a support for your upper cubbies by adding your 8″ piece of mdf, your brick molding, and cove molding to the back of the unit, just under the cubbies. Really just go for what you like. If you like something fancier, you could go for that with corbels, fancier trim, dental molding, etc. We wanted to keep ours simple and also make the transition from the shelf-thing to the wall a little less abrupt. Use wood glue and a nail gun. The pic shows the 8″ piece in red, the brick molding in gold, and the cove molding in blue:
Step 7: Next create your “board and batten” look by adding a support 1×3 piece at the bottom and four vertical 1×3 pieces (shown in red):
Finish It Up
Step 8: Add your lattice boards to the side, to make the piece look nicely trimmed (shown in red):
Step 9: Finally add your crown molding (shown in red). You can use leftover scrap wood to support your crown.
Step 10: Then use wood fill for every screw/nail hole and caulk every seam you see (use paintable caulk, for sure). You should also caulk where the unit meets the wall. Caulking is a great way to get a more professional finish.
Step 11: Then prime and paint everything. I used water-based primer and paint, and it is holding up great.
Step 12: Finally, install your hooks and add upper baskets or trays. We installed our hooks on the horizontal trim piece of mdf for extra stability, especially considering we have plaster walls behind everything. So far our hooks have taken lots of weight (I may or may not have caught a cutie trying to hold herself in the air by one of these hooks) without any problem.
Here are a few detail shots for you of the completed project:
And now the whole unit is donesies.
Love to answer questions for anyone tackling this project! The total thing took about two weekends and the result is so worth the effort. Entry storage for everyone!
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