Entryway, My Pinterest Achilles Heel

I’ve said to James before or maybe this is just part of some of the conversations I have with myself (I’m an only child and I talk to myself all the bloody time) that I honestly think I would have a much cooler blog if I had a 100 year old farmhouse that I was renovating to write about.

You know those blogs. I read them all the damn time. I sit there and drool over butcher block counter tops and gleaming crisp white cabinets surrounded by restored old antique wood staircases and hardwood floors surrounded by white walls with crown molding and the perfect vintage and retro decor pieces scattered in all the right places. I live vicariously through my Kitchen Re-Do and Kitchen Decor Inspiration Pinterest accounts though I have no idea why I keep pinning to them anymore. I mean does one really need 500 photos of the same kitchen restyled in 500 different homes?

Even Pinterest is telling me to knock it off because I keep getting the “Oops! It looks like you’ve pinned this already!’ reminder popping up on my iPhone. No shit Sherlock. What gave that away? Oh yes the same damn kitchen 500 times.

But I digress because this post isn’t about kitchens. It’s about my Pinterest achilles heel. And that my friends is the Entryway.

I am obsessed with clean, immaculate, organized entryways.

You know exactly what they look like. Requirements are as follows:

– White walls
– Rustic bench
– Pair of rainboots in a splashy colour
– Maximum 2 coats or a sweater preferably casually hung over an antique hook with many empty hooks next to it
– Casual beach or leather bag hung up on said hooks
– Maximum 2 more pairs of shoes on the floor or in walk in sit down nook within closet, with one pair of the shoes strategically placed to look like they had been casually flung off
– One perfectly made felt or straw woven basket to store everything else that your family has

Want to see our entryway?

entryway before

Don’t prevent yourself from rushing to pin that all at once.

It is 5.5 feet long and about 4.5 feet wide and it is tiny. Oh yeah and that’s all white paint on the walls and door. Made extremely dirty thanks to little hand prints, toys and boots hitting the back of it. It’s grey washed white if there is such a thing.

I have blogged about this nemesis of mine before because it’s one the thing that drives me insane about my home decor. Because I can always find a way to re-design or renovate my existing kitchen to butcher block heaven. I can’t however create a bigger entryway in a house that has nowhere for it to get bigger unless I plan to bulldoze my way into the main floor bathroom that is located behind the closet on the right of the above photo.

I know the photos of beautiful entryways are inspiration pictures.

You know they are inspiration pictures. (If you need to see the actual inspiration pictures, go here to my Pinterest collection of them).

The problem is I realized I am tired of being inspired.

I want a solution picture.

I want someone to show me a real life functional yet aesthetically pleasing entryway for an average family where they can hang and store all their coats, boots, shoes, flip flops, jackets, hoodies, mittens, hats, scarves and umbrellas during all four seasons of Canadian climate. In a climate where sometimes a single month can contain all 4 seasons at once.

It’s nice in theory to think we can turn over and store all this stuff in the depths of our basement caverns to change up seasonally but real life usually doesn’t work like that. Our basement caverns are filled with holiday decorations, family keepsakes and new clothing for the kids to grow into. Our garage, forget it. I can barely fit the hatchback in it. The front closet is where the bulk of our ‘seasonal’ wear stays put most of the year with some obvious exceptions.

So because I can’t seem to find a real life shot of something like this, I thought I’d share ours. And how we’re in the process of doing our best to try and organize and clean it up.

Now. This all started because I woke up two weeks ago and said “Today I am going to paint the back of our front door red” because Damnit I want a red door.

I didn’t even google colour swatches, best red paint to paint a door or anything like a normal sane blogger would. I got into my car, drove to Home Depot and asked the paint department to colour match this. A shade of red on a water bottle I fell in love with that I picked up at our local Superstore as part of their Canada Day line.

Canadian Water Bottles

They matched it for me with a colour called “Amazing” from the paint brand CIL. I however got it mixed in BEHR paint just because BEHR tends to be a little thicker and I didn’t want to have to do 5 coats of red paint – which if you’ve ever done a dark colour you know the pain of layering your paint colour.

And then I basically went to town on the door.

red paint

entryway update

And the after:

red painted door

This picture – thanks to this crappy light (see below) is all I had to take the photos with…


…and it does the space no justice.

This single sole act of red paint changed the entire atmosphere of the front entryway. I look at my door and I smile now. I don’t even notice all of the items that still need to get done. I am in LOVE with my front door. Finally.

But in case you want to see everything else, here for starters are our shoes.

Oh damnit now I have the matching rain boots. Such hypocrisy.

front entryway  (2)

James built 3 shelves by cutting up a long closet linen shelf because we couldn’t find a shoe rack to fit the closet size.

He then used old bed slats to create makeshift brackets for it.

shoe closet shelves

We added an IKEA PORTIS hat rack as our coat hanger.

It still needs a storage overhaul up top with better boxes.

front entryway  (3)

He also built some cubbyhole ledges which are also in dire need of storage boxes.

**CLOSET UPDATE: You can see the DIY storage boxes for those right here.

red door

On the opposite side is the kids coat and shoe rack. We used two different IKEA (now discontinued) MOLGER wall shelves which were meant for the bathroom.

front entryway


I don’t even want to talk about this bench.

It served a purpose when we bought it as temporary use. It’s still there 2 years later. It needs to be replaced by something awesome like an old wood cedar chest.


This is the view from inside my living room. If we God forbid had a fire I’d take that damn mirror off the wall and run out with it.

red door (2)

Our closet, just in case you’re like “Where is your closet door?”, once upon a time had a door. We took it out in order to create more room for when all four of us walk into the space at the exact same time. With the doors there, no one stood a chance. Literally.

So that’s where we’re at after the small door makeover. I’m currently working on the rest of it.

Until then rejoice in not feeling alone in your quest to put away shoes…and everything else in your own spaces. And if you have enough room to warrant having a pretty coat and one pair of shoes only styled entryway of my dreams, I am unfollowing your social media accounts via osmosis as I type this.


  • Reply
    August 8, 2013 at 3:57 am

    This is exactly what I needed. Just yesterday I had a small mental breakdown after I looked around my place. Why does clutter invade my life? no matter how much I try, my apartment REFUSES to look put together – and no matter how many “homes” and “places” I find or create for everything, stuff still lands everywhere else. I want a house that looks like my pinterest pins too… but until then I will join you on your quest for mental solace in the small victories over clutter 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      August 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      It’s totally about the small victories. Paint didn’t seem like a big deal until I did it and suddenly the entire scope of the entryway changed. You stare at the fun door and not at everything else.

  • Reply
    Lynne Knowlton (@lynneknowlton)
    August 8, 2013 at 7:26 am

    That RED is the sexiest red on the face of the earth. Legit. SEXY. Nice job french fry. Keep doing more of that. A splash of colour here… and a splash of colour there… voila… you have the makings of a styled farmhouse. Pffft to the ‘pretend’ styled places of the world. Keep rockin’ it !

    • Reply
      August 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      One day when I become your neighbour and have my own barn in my backyard we can swap paint swatches over cocktails. 😉

  • Reply
    August 8, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Because I am new found lover of IKEA Pax closets maybe you can rip out the entire existing closet and install the PAX closets. They go right to the ceiling, they can be utilized for space much better, they come with sliding doors(that can actually look cool) and they are I believe skinnier then a reg. closet which gives you more room for your entry way….Now this probably all sounds crazy because I usually have no idea what I am talking about and when your husband reads this he will probably think who is this crazy lady giving my wife new ideas and more work for me to do.

    By the way…I’m pretty sure I love your sarcasm please post more and stay away from Instagram…:)

    • Reply
      August 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Ok you made me laugh! So no quitting blogging for my love of Instagramming? It’s so much easier damnit!

      We had PAX closets in our old condo and at the risk of IKEA unfollowing me on Twitter *whispers* we weren’t crazy about them. It’s b/c of how I fold clothing (it’s an epic method) and I found it didn’t work for us. But in generally they’re fantastic for most people. Just not weird people like me. You’d have to see what I do to understand.

      I am sure there is an awesome custom built closet builder that we can do for the front closet. Alas that involves money and well, if anything is getting renovated to hell and back here it’s going to be my builder grade 15 year old kitchen b/c if I stare at it one more year there’s a chance I am going to just paint the cabinets red one morning.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I love your red door! I may paint the inside of our laundry room door red one day. Maybe. I do things slowly, so by the time I get around to doing the laundry room I’ll probably want to paint it yellow or something.

    • Reply
      August 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      I understand completely. I say that by the time we actually renovate our kitchen I am not going to want it to look like anything in Pinterest boards.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

    This is too funny and oh so true! Ugh I need some kind of furniture something for my entry way. It’s ridiculous! I have a closet right inside my front door like you do but the door swings all the way open to this spacious area and every time I come inside I wonder why they didn’t have the door swing open the other way?!?! Into the spacious area instead of opening up into the entry closet??? AND the light switch is on the opposite side (the spacious side) so it’s like, you come in and have to maneuver around the door in the dark to turn the light on instead of being able to slightly open the door, reach inside and flip the switch and then continue opening your door – you know – in case there’s something in there that’s not supposed to be – at least then you would see it right away… so back to the closet, we have wire shelving and the standard one shelf up top. It’s a big closet but it has no shelving whatsoever which means that everything that goes in there just piles up from the bottom. It doesn’t really make any sense. Oh and the big spacious area on the other side just has a boot tray with lots of shoes because I can’t seem to find a nice dresser, bench, storage furniture type of anything. SIGHHHHH.
    I love the red door though.

    • Reply
      August 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      OMG it’s so true! There are so many things I look at and go why did you put that there or that light switch here etc. Have you considered taking off the door? I am telling we did and it has helped a lot. Now I just need to clean up the aesthetics of the closet.

      My pet peeve with our closet is the insane amount of room above the coat rack. I can fit 2 coolers on top of each other and not reach the ceiling and I am like WHY. I don’t want to have to stand on a ladder to get everything every time. Even with those coat racks that you can pull down I can just see me screwing it up and having it all fall on my head b/c I am such a klutz.

      When in doubt paint something a bright colour and draw the attention of the things you don’t want to the awesomely painted things you do.

      • Reply
        August 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm

        I have thought about taking the closet door off BUT the hubs doesn’t like the idea. Ugh, men. I don’t mind that the door is on the closet, really I wish I could switch the opening of the front door but Hubs so kindly informed that that would probably cost say, around $3000, and I’m not okay with that so…
        Wire shelving drives me crazy for some reason. It just does. I’m weird. So the way our closet is set up is you have the standard closet door but if you actually look into the closet, there is SO much room on either side of the door on the inside. I would LOVE to install shelves to help with storage because it’s kind of just wasted space without shelves – so why didn’t the builder think to put shelves in there?! Oh, it’s because they didn’t want to make my life easy – ha. All of the closets, minus the master, in our house are like that. I guess I could just shut up and install the shelves and call it a day but, ugh, where does time go when I get off of work or on the weekends?!
        Also, we don’t actually use the entry closet as a coat closet like you’re supposed to… we don’t have a garage or basement or anything so there are (lots of) paint cans, painting supplies – (rollers, trays, extending rod thingy), hockey sticks, tool sets, roller blades that are never used, different types of caulk, more loose tools, etc. It really needs to be a storage area for me. I really need to get those shelves up don’t I?

        • Reply
          August 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

          I feel your pain just as you’re describing it. I was the one who didn’t want the door off but after we did it it helped a lot. What I need to do is organize and neatly store it all so it doesn’t feel like open closet hell. ITA with you on wire shelves and the only reason we did it for the shoes is b/c of our winters. Between slush, snow & mud anything the shoes were laid out on like built in shelves for example would simply be destroyed. I thought about lining them with rubber but then you get back to having to wipe off dripping dirty snow etc.

          I swear it doesn’t end. I totally feel you.

          • runtspickins
            August 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

            Let me correct myself – I do agree/like the wire shelving for shoes because what you’re saying makes perfect sense! I have wire shelving for my shoes in my closet. Maybe you could get one of those boot trays (I paid $5 or so for mine), they’re pretty thin so you can easily slide it on the floor under all the shoes and catch all the drippings, mud, etc. I dislike wire shelving as actual shelves. For example, my pantry! I do not like wire shelving in my pantry AT ALL. It bows and my boxes have to sit at the right angle so that they don’t tip at all and fall in between the shelving which makes them lay at a weird angle and blah blah. Whenever I think of wire shelving I think of my pantry and it drives me cuh-razy!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Love the red door, Alex! I especially like that you took in that water bottle red for them to match. I always forget that paint stores can actually do that. DUHH! So smart. It’s pretty great how it transforms that entire entry.

    To be honest your entryway looks much better than any pin on pinterest. You see a busy, happy, fun family when you walk through that door. Not a cold, uninteresting magazine styled space. Horray for real life!!!

    And by the way that mirror is to die for! I need it! I’d grab that sucker too if it was required. (too funny)

    • Reply
      August 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      This is why I adore you, you get all my little subtle nuances and hidden messages in my posts. ITA and I have said it countless times that a home is nothing without the people in it. This is the grand scheme of the Universe is a really frivolous problem to have. Even when we write about decor and design we know that you can have the prettiest home ever and it’s useless if you come home to it feeling empty without someone to welcome you – whether that’s kids, a spouse, friends or pets.

      One day down the line I know I could have the most organized entryway and all the kids coats, hats and boots will be gone and I will look longingly and wish there were still little rain boots thrown all over it. So while I look for more functional storage gear to organize it all, I wouldn’t trade in that side of the entryway for anything in this world.

  • Reply
    Danielle from Storypiece
    August 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    My pinterest achilles heel is barn doors. You know the ones that hang on iron rods and slide across a door opening. I MUST have one. I’ve been trying to convince Tyson to put one in his office, but it would require that we move furniture every time we would want to open the door. To me… totally worth it.

    I love the red door and I can’t get over how much it changed the flavor of your entry. Nicely done! Of course, in the very first photo I noticed the closet without a door and thought “A barn door would be perfect right there!” Too bad the wall curves around making it almost impossible… almost. I know we could make it work.

    • Reply
      August 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      I begged and you can ask him on Twitter to get a barn door in here anywhere. Especially upstairs. I just cannot find a good spot for one no matter where I try. ITA with you!!! Totally worth it. Love them to death.

      I would totally do a barn door there if we could. The whole entryway was designed in such a way that I think “Oh you were just trying to get the house done eh?”

  • Reply
    Karen Lewis
    August 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Your post today is the highlight of my day! Oh my you made me laugh so VERY hard. Why is it you can look at someone Else’s dilemma and solve their problem, but when it comes to doing that same trick with yourself well, you just poop out! Your red door really made you focus the attention on the door and not what was around it. I just have to ask though, do you guys have any of your shoes in your bedroom closets?

    • Reply
      August 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      As long as I can make you laugh with any of my posts, I’ve done my job.

      We do have shoes in our bedroom closets. The dressy ones like heels. But b/c we have an entire upper floor of carpet including carpeted stairs, I can’t bring down non-winter and winter boots whenever the weather changes b/c that would be an epic disaster.

  • Reply
    Neaten Your Nest
    August 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I love the red door. I’m all about using one focal piece to quickly sidetrack you from EVERYTHING else in a room. That’s awesome. It looks great. @danielle from Storypiece, I MUST have a barn door too!

    • Reply
      August 13, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      I think based on this science experiment I need to paint more doors in various colours around the house.

  • Reply
    now at home mom
    August 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    ha!ha! I would run off with that gorgeous mirror too! 🙂 your “Remember, as far as anyone knows … a nice formal family”) sign … I want it! 🙂
    you know what my Pinterest achilles is : living rooms, can’t get enough of them and like you, I got this little messg “oups!” from Pinterest I love casual spaces with white sofas 🙂
    Ah! A RED door! YES! me love very much! 🙂 it’s gorgeous Alex, that’s what I wanted for mine but we never got around “updating” our entrance this summer! 🙂
    your entrance is small but you should see mine (skinny and tiny). When the 3 of us and the 2 dogs leave the house or come back it’s painful! 🙂 &
    your closet is just there (good idea removing the doors), ours is next to the living room (with those 80’s mirror doors).
    But, I understand what you mean, I wish we could have bigger spaces and a bench to sit down! & who only has 2 coats at the entrance? not us! I am using a huge basket for our summer shoes and it’s not a great idea!
    I’m ashamed of ours in winter (I have too many coats), Nate too and hubby only has one but it’s huge! ha!ha!
    you made a great choice with the red; it’s beautiful! 🙂 thanks for sharing these pictures with us is nice to see the ‘real entrances’ 🙂
    also congrats again on today’s feature over at Apartment Therapy! 🙂

    • Reply
      August 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      oh Ingrid I LOVE white sofas and cream rugs and cream chairs and pillows and oh my. They wouldn’t survive 5 mins while the kids are young.

      We had the 80’s doors!!!! I can’t remember if they were mirrored too. Do you have room for a barn door? Seems to be a theme in the comments.

      But that’s the thing – real life in a Canadian winter doesn’t allow for the luxury of looking very pretty most days. I mean my parka alone along with our boots can take up a huge chunk of the closet. Then there are the layers of clothing you have to wear just to survive the cold weather when you get outside for anything. I think until people live through it, it’s hard to grasp how to make it look super stylish and yet functional. And you know me, I’ve written about donating stuff all the time to purge and house clean but a lot of it just simple basics – a winter coat, a dress coat, a fall coat and then a rain coat. That’s half the closet right there.

      Thanks and Congrats on your IKEA feature!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Brave New Home
    August 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    I love that red color! And I’m glad you appreciate that mirror as much as I do cause it is gorgeous! I’m interested in seeing what you come up with. Our front door opens to a bathroom, the bottom of the staircase, and the kitchen. I sorta faked an entry way (http://www.bravenewhome.com/an-updated-entry/) on a lone wall because something is better than nothing, right?

    • Reply
      August 13, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      I love what you did and anything walking into a door helps immensely. Where is your closet after you walk in? I have a friend who literally walks into her living room and her “front hall” closet is like a half a room away by her stairs.

      • Reply
        Jennifer @ Brave New Home
        August 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm

        Closet? What closet? We have a closet that houses the water heater in the living room but that’s it for downstairs storage. We talk about getting a storage unit every now and then because our space is in dire need of it. On the bright side, we don’t have the need for seasonal wear here—I don’t know what I’d do if I had to make room for boots and jackets!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    “amazing”!!! i LOVE the red and it’s awesome how it totally makes your entryway POP instead of the way it kind of disappeared into plain before. a total 180 and didn’t take that much to do it (says the one that didn’t have to prep and paint her door). plus, when the holidays roll around and you make more of your cute little wreaths and shit, you’re gonna have a really killer entry!!! 😀

    • Reply
      August 13, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      I wish I had done this years ago. It makes me want to decorate for Christmas right now. You’re totally right! As if I need another reason to go insane over the holidays with the decor.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I was just going to suggest a red door…I did one and I love it!

    • Reply
      August 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      Didn’t it feel awesome after you finished it?? I sat there staring at it thinking how I didn’t realize it was possible to love a colour even more.

      • Reply
        August 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm

        It was my second red door…after the first time, you know that colour is a good decision : )

  • Reply
    August 21, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I LOVE:
    The “remember” sign
    The red door
    The red boots
    The red umbrella
    What you used as your colour matching subject
    That mirror

    You did an amazing job and this is officially Pinterest worthy.
    Also, you think your entry is small… we don’t have about 3.5 feet of width and NO CLOSET to speak of. I don’t even want to think of the atrocious things winter will bring. At this point, I’m just glad there are only two of us living in this house.

  • Reply
    November 29, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Alex, I am a little behind the 8 ball with this comment and for all I know, you might have knocked out that bathroom by now. But in case you didn’t, I wanted to share a couple of thoughts, as we have an almost identical entry way (although I think ours is a bit wider as we have two doors… but the length looks the same). First, that red door is HOT!!!! Yes !!! Changes everything right away! and the mirror is freaking awesome too! Then, a thought that might help… I was struggling with the same freaking thing where each one of us (and we are 5 in the house) have about 20 pairs of shoes/boots/flip flops each! Oh crap, that’s like 100 pairs of footwear! Plus then there’s all the mitts and scarfs and tuques and…. So what I put together is the Hemnes 8 drawer dresser from Ikea, in white. It’s not in the entrance way but just past it (in your case it would probably land in your living room). It serves two purposes: each member has a drawer to put all their crap in it, including out of season stuff (although I have started pulling out-of season stuff and putting it in a basket in each child’s closet); and two, the top serves as a landing spot for groceries, keys, purses and stuff… So it means that all incoming stuff is stored away from the entrance and people aren’t killing themselves tripping over stuff coming in. Plus it’s the dresser is nice too, a bit retro, and blends in with my white wall…

    Trust me, it is not perfect and still requires ME to pick up stuff everyday but at least, there’s an actual spot to put the stuff in, which is half the battle right there.

    Oh, and we have tons of hooks too, with a designated section for the little girls, and another spot higher for the adults and Maïan (who is 11). That’s mainly to account for the length of winter jackets and such.

    I have to say that in winter, the entrance still looks jammed packed with stuff… I don’t think you can get away with that in Canada. But at least there’s a spot for each thing now. I should have a couple of pictures of my entrance on my blog in a week or so.

    Hope this gives you ideas!


  • Reply
    Willa Slater
    December 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I just replaced my entry shoe racks (like your wooden slat ones but double decker) with an old dresser. The dresser is white but I may paint it with Annie Sloan chalk paint since it sticks to anything. Anyway… the point is that the drawers hold shoes quite well and they are out of sight. I’m thinking a dresser might slide into your closet and provide neater storage.
    I quite like your temporary bench but I’d paint it a crisp white and put a pad on the top, covered in a fabric that picks up on the red door. A strip of velcro stapled to the top and sewn onto the cushion pad would help to keep it in place. If you wanted to go whole hog you could box the bench in… put tall sides walls on (7 ft tall shelves?) and beadboard on the wall behind the bench to form a back. Add cool hooks and you have a hall tree. Lee Valley has some cool hooks (leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=66412&cat=3,40914,50426&ap=1). I love LV almost as much as I love IKEA!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2014 at 2:26 am

    Absolutely love your red door. I would love to paint my door one day once I have my own place 🙂

    By the way, where did you find that beautiful round mirror? I am dying to know..

    • Reply
      April 17, 2014 at 7:27 am

      Can you believe I picked that up at Winners? If you’re not in Canada it’s like the Canadian version of Marshall’s. And we have them here too. Room and Board has an original of it http://www.roomandboard.com/rnb/m/product/detail.do?productGroup=3139. I paid just over $80 for my imitation one. Try checking HomeSense (HomeGoods) as I have seen it once there too!

  • Reply
    Ashley @ The Party Girl
    December 3, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I love this! (I know, totally creeping way back into the archives today) We just bought a house and the front entry doesn’t even HAVE a closet – I can’t even imagine what we’re going to do. But I LOVE your red door! I have to convince my boyfriend to get on board with this now 😉

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