I am very excited as I write this. My little boot room is finished! Actually, fully, finished! And I love it so very much! On instagram (mostly on Stories), I have been sharing #FirstSenseReno updates of the rooms that I have been progressing with this month and that has resulted in many conversations about my utility and boot room. Several people have been asking me about the layout of my house, and some have been wondering if I have a 2-in-1 utility and boot room (no I don’t, they are separate spaces), so I thought this post would be a perfect opportunity to explain how we came about creating a boot room.
Before we started the building work to extend and renovate our house, the hallway and stairs caused many frustrations. As shown in the old layout of the ground floor below, the front door didn’t even open fully as it would hit the bottom step of the stairs. This really hindered the traffic flow and caused a lot of clutter right by the door. Additionally, the stairs caused a head height issue with the bedroom above, with my 6′ husband (or anyone over 5’10”) always having to duck his head every time he descended the stairs.
When we were planning the renovation, we knew we needed to eliminate these frustrations, so we decided that the stairs would be modified to add a kite winder at the top. This pushed the stairs back by 2 steps, creating more space in the hall and giving in a better traffic flow, as well as eliminating the head height issue.
On our street, the garages (or side extensions that have replaced garages) are set back from the front of the houses. Our plan was to replace the garage with a side extension to create a utility and decent downstairs loo on the ground floor. Initially, the side extension was supposed to start where the old garage had started.
I went over the plans repeatedly, imagining walking through the new spaces and tweaking little things to make the house work better. I thought about how if someone was in the front room (snug) and needed the loo, they would need to walk all the way through the kitchen and the utility to get to the loo. Ok, no real hardship, but wouldn’t it work better overall if the loo was just off the hall? Discussions like these brought about the idea of bringing our extension forward by just about a metre, enough to create an opening from the hall near the stairs. We spoke to our neighbours, assuring them that even with the slightly longer length, the extension would still be set back enough from the front of the house. Thankfully they understood and agreed. (It helps so much to keep your neighbours on side before embarking on a building project!)
Drawing the extension that little bit longer with access from the hallway gave us a eureka moment. A little space just off the hallway would essentially give us a very useful area to store coats, shoes and bags. And so the idea of our boot room was born.
The boot room would only be a small space (measurements below if you’re interested), but if you consider a freestanding hallway unit that wide, that’s a pretty big size for storing everyday coats and shoes. I wanted a design with a bench and somewhere to hide away hats and gloves when they aren’t needed. I couldn’t find an off-the-shelf option that met my requirements, so it had to be a custom design to make the best use of the space and keep with the modern-classic style like the rest of the house.
This was my design for the carpenter –
For the paint colour, I chose Johnstone’s Durable Acrylic Eggshell matched to Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon. This colour ties in beautifully with my sage-green front door and the olive-toned wallpaper of the adjacent WC. It also makes the solid oak seat absolutely shine! They’re so beautiful together.
So here it is, my lovely boot room which resulted from a lightbulb moment during obsessive planning of our renovation. (Being a little space that is tucked away, it is tricky to photograph so the perspective looks a bit strange sometimes, but I assure you everything is plumb and centralised as it should be!)
The carpenter did a wonderful job of bringing my design to life. I often steal into the hallway to look at it (with heart eyes) and feel very lucky to have this space in my home. Amazing what a bit of thoughtful design can do for a home, don’t you think? It may only be little in comparison to a country house boot room, but it is so very useful for us (it keeps the hallway completely clear of clutter which makes me very happy) and so very beautiful – am I allowed to say that? Because I do think it’s absolutely gorgeous! ☺️