Friday, December 2, 2011

Problem Solving: Foyer Bench

Two big lessons we've learned from this building a custom home from scratch process:

1. As much as you try to think of everything as you plan and research, there's no such thing as a perfect house. Or a perfectly finished house. Once we threw out that expectation, the process got a lot less stressful and a lot more fun. 

2. As much as you think you know what something is going to look like, you really don't until the drywall is up (or later!).

This second point leads me to the topic of this post. Our foyer bench. We are a "shoes off" in the house family. I've been this way for several years, probably starting after I bought my townhouse and was responsible for cleaning the floors. But it wasn't until I had a child crawling around that I really thought about all the disgusting things things we step in outside. And I really don't want that stuff in our house. 

Our current house doesn't have much of a foyer or mudroom, and while I was able to make a mudroom-esque area for the family entrance, it's not super convenient for guests to remove their shoes. This was something I wanted to remedy in the new house. 

On paper, it looked like we would have plenty of room for a bench. In reality, we have about 15" clearance between our niche and the front door when it is swinging open. In my vast and exhaustive search, I could only find benches that were 16" or deeper. 
Niche as is
Not enough space for a bench under the niche or behind the door.
The dilemma.
Now, it's totally my fault that it's come to this. We should have seen the issue at the dry wall stage. I blame it on my three month headache. Then I tried to ignore it. Then I looked all over for a bench that would work. Then I stressed about it. Then we finally asked our GC about taking out the niche. That's when he made the brilliant suggestion to make the bench in the niche. This actually solves two issues, because we had no idea what we were going to do with that area anyway. So, we're going to cut out the drywall from the bottom of the arch to about 18". Then our trim guy, Chris, will put in a little wood seat. Voila! Niche bench.

I can't find a picture that is exactly what we have in mind, but the three below will help describe it. As is, our niche would have been a simplified version of this:

Knap traditional entry
Knap Traditional Entry via Houzz
Ideally, I would have liked storage underneath, like this.
Cozy Entryway Bench
Source: HGTV
However, since there is an outlet under the niche, it will look more like this, with the arched top. We do have a coat closet right there, so we can always put a shoe rack on the floor. I love when a plan comes together!
Reformed Nook by Happy Day

Here's a link to the finished foyer.

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  1. you have a lovely home. i totally agree with your shoes off policy. this is what we do. our weather here makes wearing slippers essential, otherwise we our feet get very cold.

  2. I'm wondering if you have a photo of the finished result? I ask because I, too, have the very same niche at our entry way. I have a wide area before you officially enter the living room, where I have placed a cedar chest, but I'm not in love with it. I found your blog by googling the issue, funny how things work. Something as simple as a place to take off your shoes is giving me such a headache!

    1. Glad you found us! Here's a link to the finished foyer. (Granted, we're still getting settled, but it's pretty finished. If you click on the picture of the house at the top right side of the blog, you can see a tour of the whole house. I need to add front picture of the foyer. Thanks for bringing that to my attention!


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