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Creating a Functional Mud Room – Part 1 – Shoe Cabinet

Welcome to my mudroom! This is another space in my home that has gone through a couple rounds of updates as our family grows and our needs change. This was the first renovation I did to this space. We had the builder grade mudroom that came with the house, and I updated it to this! I have since updated it again (which you can check out the most recent Mudroom Project HERE). But this version of our mudroom worked so well for us while we had it! I am going to break this project up into 2 posts. The Shoe Cabinet and the lockers. Let’s dive into the shoe cabinet tutorial now!

What is a shoe cabinet?

Glad you asked! Its the drawers for shoes at the base of the lockers. It is a cabinet that the lockers will be attached to, but I wanted there to also be a small bench for you to sit on. There are several versions of a shoe cabinet, but this is my iteration. Something to note- I will not be sharing measurements. partially because my space is different than yours, so you will need to get your own measurements. But also because I don’t have the measurements anymore. 🙂

Shoe Cabinet Supplies:

Tools for Shoe Cabinet:

Step 1: Shoe Cabinet Shell

The first thing I did was I built the cabinet shell. To do this, you will need some plywood. You will need a back piece, 2 side pieces, and a bottom piece. You will also need 2 strips of plywood for the top.

To assemble these you can either nail directly through one piece of wood into the other (which will leave exposed nail heads) or you can do pocket holes, which will be easier to hide. Depending on where you put this, will depend on which direction you go. I did a little of both. On the side that will be exposed, I did pocket holes, and the rest, I just nailed straight through.

First, you will attach the 2 sides to the back piece. Then I attached the top pieces to the sides. I put one along the back and the other towards the front. Check out the video for more details.

Step 2: Drawer slots

This is a quick and simple step. I cut out 3 pieces of the plywood to be the “walls” dividing the 4 drawers. From there you will attach it to the shell on the back and bottom. I also put a screw through each of the top pieces to secure them to the drawer dividers.

Step 3: Toe Kick/Base

We are installing drawers, which means we need to raise up the cabinet, so the drawers do not slide on the ground. AND, because we are building it in, we need the bottom of the cabinet, to line up with the baseboards, so we can continue it around. I took a few 2×4’s and secured them to the cabinet base and each other with screws. No need to get fancy here. This will all be covered.

Step 4: Trim

We are going to trim out the face frame of the cabinet to hide all the raw edges. Get some nice 1×2’s. We will cut them to fit all the way around the front of the cabinet. Nailing directly through the trim into the raw edge of the drawer “walls”, with a brad nailer. We can cover those holes quickly and easily with wood filler.

Step 5: Build the Drawers

I always remind people when building drawers, not to overthink it. You are just creating a box with an open top. Easy Peasy! For this, you will need 2 sides, a bottom and the front and back. Be sure to measure your drawer openings and account for how the drawer slides will attach. My first attempt, I made the drawer too large, so I had to cut it down and make it smaller. Thats ok.

I used pocket holes on the drawers. Put the pocket holes on the OUTSIDE of the box. You want to make all your exposed edges, pocket holes and other not so pretty things are on the front, back and bottom. NOT the sides. The front, back and bottom will be covered or hidden, so we want to try to keep the sides “clean”. Be sure to plan and cut your wood accordingly.

Repeat that for all the drawers.

Step 6: Install the drawers.

I am not going to go into much detail about how to install the drawer slides here. Mainly because not all slides are made the same and they all have their own way of being installed. I recommend reading the instructions or watching the manufacturer videos on how to install them.

I will say, make sure everything is super level and even. You may even need to install a bump out. Just make sure its super straight and level.

Step 7: Drawer Fronts

There are so many ways to make a drawer front. I decided to do it the easy way, because they still look great and its way less difficult. We will be using the front of the drawer you already created, as the center of the drawer front and we will attach a “frame” to it to look like shaker cabinets.

First, Get 1×3 trim pieces. You will cut 2 long and 2 short pieces. The long pieces go on the top and bottom of the drawer and the short pieces go on the sides. Using your nail gun, secure the top and bottom pieces directly to the front of the drawer. We are doing the overlay method, so the backs will rest on the front of the drawer face frame. See video. After the top and bottom pieces are on, secure the sides in place the same way.

Step 8: Finish work

By this point I was ready to be done. If you feel this way too, thats ok! This is why it is important to break projects up into smaller more manageable sections.

To finish out the shoe cabinet, I did all the finish work. I spent a lot of time, filling holes and imperfections in the shoe cabinet. Make sure everything is filled in. Then go over it with a sander. I did not paint it yet, because I was still deciding which color to to with, but the hard part is now done.

I took a little break from this project before finishing it up. But what do you think of the shoe cabinet so far?

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