Hide unsightly winter coats in a simple cupboard, says Justin Newcombe.
Much to my relief, we have been blessed with a dry autumn after such a memorably wet summer. But now the days are obviously shortening, it won't be long before the first flurry of winter rain greets our family as they embark on another grey day. What usually greets me at the end of a wet school day is a pile of soggy shoes and raincoats unceremoniously dumped in a dripping puddle on the back step. The current storage arrangements for such regalia are a couple of overcrowded nails, which hang loosely from the wall and regularly fall out under the burden of this sodden collection. If my wife's coat is atop this pile on said nail, a second glance is required just to reassure myself that I'm not being haunted by some Dickensian ghost whose rough hands are about to smack my ears and stuff me up the neighbour's chimney.
With the inadequacies of "the loose nail system" being regularly used as a reason for non-compliance in the coat-hanging, I felt a timely operational overhaul was required. When you design your coat cupboard, make sure there is enough room to store everything and that the solution fits the space - otherwise it might end up being another problem.
Initially I wanted to just put in some hooks but realised that in a small space like our back porch, concealing the winter's goings-on would make a big difference to how everything looked. A cupboard ticked that box. Because space is tight, I opted for two doors, which would not open out as far as one. I made the doors in a 1940s-style board and baton finish, mimicking the cladding inside the porch. I like to brighten things up with a summery lick of paint but it would look just as good if you matched the existing finish and paintwork.
Measure and cut timber. I used pre-cut pine boards from Bunnings and used this determined the width and height of my cupboard.
Paint the timbers that will make up the doors, including the trim covering the joins between each board.
Join the timbers together and brace the back. I forgot to allow for this when I went to Bunnings, so I've cut down some ply off-cuts. I clamped the boards together then using the ply strips cut, glued and screwed a "Z" formation on to the back of each door.
On the front of each door, glue and pin the trims over the joins in the boards.
Glue and screw the cupboard body together. Paint once the glue has dried. I used pre-cut pine for the outside frame, however, I used 12mm ply for the back.
Hang the cupboard body into place. Make sure you are securing the cupboard to something solid. I used wood screws but depending on your situation you may need something stronger.
Attach the hinges and hang the doors.
Attach the handles. If you don't want to use metal, then use a piece of dowel as a handle.