Pottery Barn Inspired Shoe Storage

I’ve always wanted a really beautiful entryway.  I have had visions of a Pottery Barn picture perfect entry space since we moved into the house on Harrison.

I have loved this cabinet since I first laid eyes on it.  I can’t remember who makes it, but I’ve seen it on Pinterest a lot.  If it was Pottery Barn, it’s no longer on their website.  I really, really wanted something like this.  Instead, I have something like this…

This is what my entryway looked like last week.  YIKES!  I am pretty embarrassed to show you this, but this is what our guests saw when they first walked in the door.  Our first problem is that we are a family of pilers.  We pile our stuff on any available space rather than actually taking two minutes to put it away.

Our second problem is that we keep all of our shoes in a basket by the front door.  It works out great for finding shoes in the morning, unless your shoes are on the bottom of the basket.  Then it gets a little nuts.

Ana White Shoe Dresser


When Ana White posted the plans for a shoe dresser on her site awhile back, I knew this was a perfect solution for us.  It was narrow, so you couldn’t pile much on top.  And the shoes would be organized and hidden.  Perfect!  A few weeks ago, I finally got up the courage to build this piece.

Ana’s plans are pretty straightforward and easy to follow.  There were a couple of things I did want to illustrate, because I wasn’t quite sure how to do them myself until I got to building.  For the dividers in the shoe drawers, I sketched the rounded edge out on one piece.  I used my jigsaw to cut the curve, then I used that first piece as a template to cut the others.  They all ended up perfectly symmetrical.

Here’s a shot of one of the finished drawers.  They were amazingly easy to put together.

I used my Kreg Jig to join most of the pieces, with the exception of the 1×2’s attached to the back of the drawer.  I just put those on with wood glue and drywall screws.

Once I had both drawers and the frame built, I set the drawers inside to make sure everything lined up.  I can’t stress how important it is to check for square (A LOT) on this project.

I also used my Kreg Jig to attach the back cleat to the frame.  This is the part that will screw into the wall, so make sure you mark on the front of the cleat where your pocket hole screws are.  You don’t want to try to drill through screws when attaching this to the wall.

And because I can never make things easy, I decided to make a few modifications to Ana’s plan.  I really liked the look of that entry cabinet I showed you earlier.  So I added some mitered trim to my drawer fronts.  This is just a cheap ($2 for a 4′ length) molding I picked up at Home Depot.  I made mitered cuts…

…and attached it to the door fronts with glue and my brad gun.

I also decided to add an apron to the bottom of my cabinet.  To do that, I added about 3″ to the length of my side boards.  I used a 1×4 for the apron, but if you were using a different width of board, you’d need to adjust your measurements accordingly.

The last modification I made, was to attach a top to the cabinet.  I took a board that was about 3/4″ wider and 1.5″ longer than my top and routed the edge.  Then I aligned it so that there was a 3/4″ overhang on the sides and front, and I attached the top with wood screws and glue.  To make everything nice and neat looking, I attached cove molding underneath.

Once my cabinet was built and sanded, I gave it a few coats of Behr paint.  I didn’t use a primer because I wanted to distress the cabinet.  I didn’t want white primer showing through.  I used the Behr (Ultra, I think) because it has a primer built in.  I had it tinted to the Martha Stewart Silhouette color, and made sure to give it 3 good coats, sanding lightly between each one.

This was the trickiest part of the whole build.  Once I had a good coat of paint on my cabinet, we put the drawers in, inserted 1/8″ plywood spacers in the gaps and clamped the drawers in place. Then we drilled the sides and inserted 5/8″ oak wooden dowels for “hinges.”

Like this.  Once I had my dowels in, I realized that my drawers didn’t open wide enough, so we had to take out the dowels and sand down the bottom corners of my drawers.

Make sure you drill the holes for your dowels as far down and forward as you can, while still catching the corner of the drawer.  You may still have to sand down the bottoms of the drawers so they will open wide enough, but once the drawers are painted, you can hardly tell.

Once my drawers were all set, I cleaned up the cabinet, did some paint touch-ups  and distressed the piece with a sanding sponge.  Then, because the wood underneath was so light, I used a Minwax stain marker, in Early American, to go over the raw wood.  Then I wiped off the excess stain, allowed it a few hours to dry, and gave the whole thing a coat of finishing wax, like I did on my snack tray.

The last thing I did was to add drawer pulls and magnetic clasps to hold the drawers in place when closed.

I also added some webbing to the backs of the drawers to keep the kids from pulling the drawers out further than they need to.

And here’s the finished piece.  It was so hard to get a good picture of it, but it is really very pretty in person.  I love how it looks in the entry.  It’s too narrow to stack papers and soda cups on.   ;-)

The best part?  The shoes all stay organized…  and hidden!


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