Built-In Mudroom Bench

A friend wanted a built-in mudroom bench with storage for shoes, jackets, and so on.

Here is the result:


To make the project manageable, I built it in two independent parts — the storage bench, and the upper panel with shelf  and hooks.

The bench begins as a simple plywood box with a center divider:


I then added a frame to the front and sides using poplar:


I then routed a profile on all the rails and stiles:


Once the base of the bench was built, I moved on to the bench top. This was simply two 1″ thick pieces of cherry stock edge joined together:


The front edge is rounded over, and the top is finished with gel stain and satin poly:


With the addition of two adjustable shelves, the bench storage part of the project was complete:


Now onto the upper portion. Similar to the sides of the bench, this was a large sheet of plywood with solid poplar rails and stiles attached via pocket screws to simulate a frame and panel design – credit to this episode of This Old House for this approach. Here it is without the shelf standing behind the bench:


Again, I routed the interiors of the frames with an ogee bit, matching the bench.

I brought both pieces over separately for installation. To build the piece flush to the wall, the first and certainly scariest step was to trim away the existing baseboard molding – after which we were surprised to find no drywall behind it:


I slid the bench into place, leveled it with shims, and secured it to the studs:


We then placed the top on the bench and secured it to the studs:


The bottom was trimmed to the floor with quarter round molding to match the baseboards, and then the whole piece was painted white to match the house’s interior trim color:


The result:


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