My shoe room is finally here! Well it's not entirely finished yet, but I knew you'd want to see the progress, especially as I've alluded to it for years. I'd usually post this type of thing on Pink Haired Princess, but I've spoken more about it here than anywhere else and it is shoe related, likely to become the new backdrop for Shoesday Tuesday, so it seemed appropriate to unveil here. I think it's been around 5 years from when I knew we were definitely going through with the extension to it being complete and finally starting to move into my room (which wasn't even in the new part of the house fyi), so it's been a looong time. A dream for many years before that too! It might be difficult for you to picture, but I'll try and explain the layout.
Our extension (two storey-2 bedrooms and a conservatory) meant we had two spare bedrooms (in the 'old' part of the house). The big one becoming a spare room/craft room for my Mum and the smaller was to be my shoe room (next door to my bedroom). It used to be my sisters bedroom (smaller than my own) and it faced you at the end of the hallway. In order to access her new room (extension) that old bedroom had to be chopped up, using part of it (the right hand wall) to extend the hallway leading to the new bit and constructing a new wall (and doorway) to the left to re-make a room out of the bit that was remaining. Now my sister isn't as messy as her room looks in the photo below, but this was taken midway through construction, when we had some items in storage and the rest (the things she needed i.e. a bed, wardrobe etc) all squished to one end of the room. The carpet was rolled back, the door couldn't close and there were various stages with no walls, outdoor walls inside, half built walls, doorways with no doors etc. It was a huge disruption and went on for some time and involved putting sheets over everything each morning (and taking them off each night, yet still dust everywhere), very little privacy (for either of us as my room was next door and I couldn't exactly sleep through workmen banging outside my door), so we're glad that's all over.
Now, I decided against moving the radiator in, that had originally been there (it was on the back wall that would no longer be part of that room) because I figured with the door open, the heat will come in anyway. Plus it wasn't going to be a bedroom and likely not in use at night, but more importantly, I figured I'd have more room for shelves/shoes without one! The plumber was laughing at me, saying he could get me a slimmer/smaller one, but I refused! The light switch also had to be moved as it was on the 'old' wall, skirting had to be fixed onto the new wall and the ceiling light re-centred (apparently) leaving a big hole where it had once been. I don't want to sound ungrateful, but the truth was the room looked a lot smaller than I imagined (and that was with nothing in it). There's the door and window which can't be removed (!), so I worried there wasn't enough wall space left. My priority has always been to optimise the remaining wall space as much as possible, though I came to realise 'all' of my shoes weren't going to fit in there. So despite it being a dream come true, there's definitely been compromises along the way. I'm not made of money (erm because it all goes on shoes, hence the need for the room), so aspirations of custom built, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, 'Gemma'ish, fancy things had to be abandoned, in favour of what I could afford and we could build (I say 'we' but actually I'm not currently capable of putting anything together, so it was down to my not so DIY Dad)! The house was 'finished' last year, but priority rightfully went to the family getting moved into their new rooms and mine had to wait. That was hard, considering I'm the only one that was here day and night, all through the disruption of building, only to have nothing to show at the end of it and still be praying every time I tried to pull out a pair of shoes to wear, that I wouldn't cause a shoe box avalanche, killing myself in the process! I'd been discussing the room for so many years that it was utterly frustrating to be told "maybe in a couple of months", "perhaps next year". So I'm very pleased to say we are finally making some headway.
So 3 of the walls began yellow and the newly built one was obviously untouched. There were holes from old shelves that Dad filled in, along with that hole in the ceiling. Deciding which colour to paint the walls was tough. I'm not one for white or any form of minimalism. I like colour and was torn between fancy wallpaper, something kitsch or pastels...but really, I had to weigh up if you'd even see the walls once all the units were in and if (choosing white units) it would look more impressive and cohesive all-white. So we measured and re-measured the room and which cabinets would fit, just shy of a million times! The outcome was, there would be very little wall visible and Dad kept saying once my colourful shoes were in there, you'd be looking at them, not the walls or even the shelves. So white it was.
We'd already sussed out flooring before we got the painter and once he'd been we could get a date for the fitting. Anyone who has decorated will know you play this 'would you rather?' game when you're getting lots of different people to do different things in one place. Would you rather risk the newly painted walls getting marked by the carpet being fitted or would you rather risk paint on the new floor, doing the walls second? We've become accustomed to this over the past couple of years, but decided the best for us was paint first, floor second. I'd known all along I wanted laminate, but it was something I had to let my parents pick because I'm unable to leave the house and the shop is in another town. I doubt I've ever been in a carpet shop in my life, so it's not like I had something in mind. We have grey in the conservatory, but I wanted it a little warmer with the stark white. I won't pretend to know much about flooring, but it's nice...kinda has a coppery tint, warmer and a little darker than the 'standard/beech' type of laminate you often see (my Mum knew I'd want something a little different and did in fact ask if they had it in pink or any pretty colour first)! It should be nice for the price..considering it's a small room, it was expensive, but flooring is a necessity I suppose!
So then we were ready for cabinets! My sister had ordered Ikea 'Billy' bookcases for cd/dvd/doll storage in her new bedroom and we decided to get them for my shoes too. Dad was super impressed with how they were packaged and more importantly found them very easy to assemble (flat-pack furniture usually causes arguments worthy of divorce in our house). I desperately wanted to order them last year when my sister got hers, but again it was waiting game until the room was ready. We were ordering online as we don't have a car or live near a store, but you can enter your postcode to get an estimate of delivery time and cost (it was always 7 days ahead for us, so we ordered it to arrive the day after the floor was laid). It was £35 delivery for bulky items, which I didn't think was too bad, considering the amount we ordered. Had we bought one Billy, three or ten, it would've been the same price (so you're really paying for the delivery, rather than weight/cost of your order). Of course that meant, we needed to place an order for exactly what we needed (extra shelves etc) as it would be an added expense to re-order something we'd forgotten. So it was back to measuring and checking and trying to monopolise the space. There's a couple of different heights for the Billy units, but the 202cm is the one that fitted my room.
We decided I could fit 3 x 80cm cabinets down each wall, so ordered six of those (you do get 160cm ones but they just come as 2 x 80's and are the same price, so there's no advantage to it). I was adamant I wanted a 'shoe room' and not a 'shoe wall' or two as might be the case here, so we were trying to work out what else would fit. Bearing in mind, the door, the window (not central in the room) and the light switch. So I got two more units half the size of the big ones (40cm, which we nicknamed "slims") to put either side of the door, but I needed something else for under the window.
The Billy stuff was too high, but I really liked the Kallax unit which is split into 'boxes' rather than horizontal shelves. You get four 'boxes' (2x2) or eight (2x4). They come in the prettiest colours (I wish Billy did too) and I was torn between the pale pink or mint green, so was going to get one of each. However buying the 8 and laying it on it's side instead of 2x4's saved me a few precious centimetres in length, as it does reach quite far across the room. It comes down to personal choice of if you don't mind a few pairs of shoes on lower shelves restricted from view slightly or if you'd rather see them but have less shelf space. Like I said, I wanted as many shoes (and bags) in there as I could, so I ordered the Kallax (in pink as I thought the mint might clash with more). There's more room either side than I thought, now it's up and it not being centred with the window bothers the two OCD sufferers in my house, but not me!
My parents were going on holiday, but they made all of the units up before going, which was unexpected but brilliant as Mum put a chair in the room, so I could admire it while they were away. All my doubts about the room being too small or it looking too cluttered with the extra units, vanished. They are in no way intrusive and the room is just so calming. I adore it all and can't wait to get it filled! I have the slims facing into the centre of the room rather than the wall of 80's and the Kallax is the perfect colour boost in the room and feels very 'me'. I had planned to use this for handbags (the boxes are too big and wasteful for shoes), but I'm considering moving jewellery boxes, sunglasses and everything onto this! I threw some of my Irregular Choice bags into the slim and it looks so amazing, I'm afraid to change it now! I'm not sure I can warrant an entire unit for 6 bags (seems a bit lavish), though they look mighty impressive in it!
We're undecided with what to do about the light switch (it's behind one of those bags above). If it's accessible, the 40 bookcase has to move over, almost touching the 80. Dad suggested cutting a hole in the back for the switch or Mum said we could just cover it with the bookcase (as it is here) and use the plug socket on the other wall for a lamp which could sit on the Kallax. I still haven't made my mind up, but at the moment it isn't a problem because it's bright enough not to need the light and I haven't been using the room at night because I don't have blinds yet.
Other things to mention, we did have all three 80's hard up against each other but there were gaps (varying in width between top and bottom and unit to unit). This could be down to squint walls, sloping floors, wonky units or all three. My (OCD) Dad felt they looked better separated with a purposeful gap, more equally shared between them, so I've kept it at that. Again it was a case of did you want the units more central to avoid being hidden behind the other units on opposite ends or did you choose what looked neater? We're talking a few centimetres overall, so it wasn't drastic. Another point I've debated tonnes and discussed with many of you is doors. You can buy glass doors for these cabinets and I've chopped and changed my mind so many times on it. You would really have to keep on top of dusting the shoes to keep them clean, but suede, fabric or glitter shoes are impossible to dust, so how do you manage that? It was a much bigger expense to add doors and then you ran into issues of opening them onto another unit. So in the end I compromised and bought doors for the centre two units only. We've not put them on yet, but I reckon it'll look quite nice. I'll try to keep the 'undustables' in there.
Which brings me to arranging shoes, display options, extra shelving etc. This post is long enough, so I'm going to leave that until next week and give it the amount of detail it deserves. You've waited long enough already, so the photo above is a little something to tide you over!! I haven't filled the room yet or organised it totally the way I'd like it, but I'll show my progress next time. What do you think of the epic, walk-in, shoe closet thus far?