Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DIY Shoe Wall

I ran across this article a few days ago, called Home for Life. It asks,"at what point did the house become more about the future tenant than the current resident?" This article could not have come at a better time, because I've been thinking a lot about the changes I've been making to my condo and how they reflect my own personal style and not the bland, "greige" standards that you see in every house when you go house-hunting. I wondered about this when I was looking for my current place: what do the people who live here like? What is their style? Do they really like having "Swiss Coffee" walls throughout their home?? I understand that from a real estate point of view, the point is to allow the potential buyer to insert their own style and stuff within the shell. But I can't help but wonder: what was it like before the real estate agent told them to repaint? And I also wonder: what is my real estate agent going to make me change when it comes time to sell?

Then I considered these musings from a different point of view. In all likelihood, I'll be in my condo for another five years or so. And while I'm here, I may as well decorate it to my own taste, right? Right. So I abandoned these thoughts and allowed myself to become immersed in this photo:

from Living Etc.'s March 2010 issue.

 It's made the rounds recently on the blogs, and I came across it several times on a few of the blogs I read, and loved the bright colour and revolutionary idea of putting the shoes on the wall, and on display! But it wasn't until I saw Nicole's post on Well Worn about how to adapt this idea to flats that I thought I could do this myself. Like Nicole, I wear mostly flats. I have a few pairs of heels, but using the heels as a hook wouldn't work for me. Nicole's idea was to attach some pretty knobs to hang flats on.

From Well Worn.

And her idea spurred an idea in me, as you can see if you read the comments on Nicole's post. Take a pretty piece of ribbon, sew some suspender clips on the ends, attach them to a pair of shoes and drape the ribbon over the knob. Yess!!!

So away I went.

This was definitely the most complicated DIY I have ever done by myself. I think I've probably spent two or three weeks now working on this project and its various components, and I think I have been to the Home Depot every day over the course of those two to three weeks. Seriously! Yesterday I did not go to the Home Depot and felt like a little something was missing from my life. Haha.

Okay, so let me show you the finished project, and then I'll talk about the individual components.

So, the basic project consists of wallpaper, mitred crown molding, knobs, small pieces of wood, ribbon, and suspender clips.

I painted the wall first. It's Benjamin Moore's Knoxville Gray (which I had read about on Apartment Therapy and fell in love with).

Then, I applied the wallpaper. I had to order it online. It's from Ferm Living and is called Voila. It's a map of Paris, and it's fabulous. Here's a shot from the Ferm website of the pattern:

Next up: crown molding. Okay, nightmare. I do not have many power tools. I have a cordless drill and (now, after this project) a Dremel. But at this point in the project, I bought a mitre box and a hand saw. The guy at the Home Depot was mean and would not cut it for me. So I put my mitre box on the floor of my garage, and got sawing away. Except here's what I forgot. I needed to stand the molding up as it would be on the wall to cut it or the angles would be all wrong. So I had to cut them all again. And hand sawing is hard work. I would recommend one of two things: 1) a power tool (i.e. mitre saw), or 2) flat molding, such as Janell's mirror frame she recently posted on her blog. Because it's flat, it would be MUCH easier to cut, even IF you wanted mitred corners.

From far away, the corners look okay, but they are not as clean as I could have liked them, and are pretty much depending on polyfill for their life.

More paint, this time Benjamin Moore's Raspberry Blush, which I posted about before. Love this colour! It's a pretty coral, and goes really nicely with the Knoxville Gray, I think. I painted the inside of the recessed "closet" and the frame this colour. (Funny how I learned about both those colours on Apartment Therapy! Call me a blog junkie! Or maybe very easily influenced!)

Okay, so now we have the basics, we need to think about the knobs. I had originally thought of just screwing them into the wall. But my dad nixed that idea for me, because of the way knobs are made, he explained.

My cat Trotsky will model for you and show you what I mean.

Do you like his rainbow toes? They are claw covers to prevent him from scratching me and the furniture.

Knobs have bolts on the back, so they can be secured to the back of a cabinet or a drawer.

Trotsky thinks this is pretty interesting.
So you need a piece of wood like this one to secure the bolt to, and then you'll need to grind down a bit of a hole in the back so the piece of wood will lay flat against the wall. This one I'm showing you is a dud because the bolt sticks out too far. See?

Now the other problem is the length of the screws used in the knobs. I needed to cut them down to be shorter so they wouldn't stick out too far. I suppose another solution would be to buy shorter screws, but many of the knobs had decorative ends to the screws that I didn't want to lose. So I bought a Dremel. I was tired of all these tools with single uses (feeling a bit Alton Brown-ish) and so a Dremel is great. You can use it to cut, grind, sand, engrave, whatever, depending on what accessories you have.

It has a blade that can cut metal.

So I sawed those screws right off! (Let me tell you! It tickles your hands!! Be sure to wear proper safety gear. Gloves are a good idea.)

Sweet little chickadee knob!

I live right on the edge of the city, and so I went for a little jaunt into the countryside and found myself a couple of dead logs to cut and use for the knobs, too. I painted the fronts of them because I would have to screw through them to attach them to the wall. I see that I need to do a bit more filling of the screw holes with polyfill on these ones. I added some clear glossy finish, as I was inspired by these bowls from Loyal Loot:
Please can I have one in every colour?!?!?!
I also hid a piece of wood with a bunch of simple hooks screwed into it under the bottom ledge of the frame:

Next, I scavenged some stuff from my parents' basement:

Two trinket organizers. Not sure what can go in here, as the compartments are rather small. So far I've added three rings and one "S" printing press block.

A little box that a bottle of something came in. I installed it sideways and put a little wooden cat, a heart-shaped rock, and that lovely little bird dish that my dear friend Sarah just gave me.

Some kind of crate. P.S. TOMS shoes are the comfiest shoes known to man. Or woman. I want to get some gold ones next.
Another big project I tackled was the yellow and white striped runner. I made it, and three smaller ones for the backdoor, screen door, and under the kitchen sink, using Camilla's tutorial from High Heeled Foot in the Door.

I used her instructions pretty much exactly, though I did make an improvement to the adhering technique because I had such a long rug.

Instead of folding half of the top fabric back to spray on the adhesive, I rolled it up. Then I sprayed and smoothed all the way down the length of the drop cloth.

And there you have it! A wall of shoes!


  1. You rock - that is amazing! You must be loving the usefulness of this space.

  2. It looks AMAZING! You are one talented little chickadee!

  3. Thank you, thank you! I am very happy with it and am loving this WAY more than the big rubbermaid container that USED to house my shoes. :)

  4. Hi There Erin! I just thought I would say I love this idea and I've posted it on my blog. So inspiring :)

    ~ Elizabeth

  5. Love, LOVE this wall! SOO creative. I'm impressed.

    Want to come do one for me now? ; )

  6. Oh, wow! You are so talented, it came out fabulously! Love this look, love that you made it "yours." Found your blog through High Heeled Foot in the Door, happy to be your newest follower! XO!

  7. So glad I found your blog!! I am a new follower :) What do you teach?! I teach 7th math and love it!

  8. Wow, very impressive. I love that wall paper and paint color choices. Well done, now on to the next project right?

  9. The wall looks fantastic!! Great job!

  10. Thank you so much everyone! I love that other people love it as much as I do!! :)

  11. Thank you, Christi! A few weeks later, and I still love it as much as I did when I first made it!

  12. That is one of the best walls I have ever seen. The concepts are truly unique and I’m sure anyone who sees this will get a brand new inspiration. I love how you hanged the shoes in some areas. There are so many inspirations I’ve seen and heard of but it is undeniable that this is one of the few who caught my attention. Many will appreciate this especially those who are thinking of having cabinets NJ built for their living spaces as well. I hope you post more of your intelligence!


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