This project began out of a need to have our entry hall function better. We have a huge coat closet ideal for storing our coats, but somehow does not inspire my family to hang up their coats. They just throw them on the floor. Originally we had a cute shoe chest from Ikea against the wall. It had moved with us from 2 previous apartments, and fit on the wall behind the door. It did not inspire my family to put their shoes away. They just threw them on the floor. So as you can imagine, my front hall had become a serious tripping hazard and a capsule of my resentment. I had to find a solution.
I cycled through a few ideas, like removing the closet doors and turning the space into a full mudroom with shoe storage and hooks. This would look amazing (see below), but it would take away a huge closet. I decided being able to store the majority of our coats out of sight was important to me. Our house isn’t tiny, but it is small enough that taking any storage away from the four people who live here is taking too much. My goal is to add storage over the next few years so we can grow into this house.
The idea of a hall tree came to mind, however the largest wall space is too narrow when the door opens. Shockingly, front doors being able to open is a priority in my design. Also hall trees are a little dated.
Then I came up with the idea of a deconstructed wall tree… First lets geek out about Deconstruction, defined here as, “a form of criticism first used by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the 1970s which asserts that there is not one single intrinsic meaning to be found in a work, but rather many, and often these can be conflicting.” Essentially taking all social constructions, like time, and pulling them apart. Usually used in literature and philosophy, I first came across the concept in a theatre class while reading Cloud 9. I enjoy the use because it takes our assumptions of the world and turns them on their head, it encourages us to continue to question everything. QUESTION EVERYTHING. Then make whatever the thing is work for us uniquely. One can find the idea in architecture, art and even food. I especially like this very theatrical way to explain the critisim: “Well-known University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professor Gary Gardner will frequently describe deconstructionist theater to his classroom by filling a glass with water and flinging it against a wall. This method, a surprisingly common approach taken to the study of the theory, exemplifies the central concept behind the theory: what you perceive as a glass is also a collection of connected pieces of glass. While one can hold water and one can’t, both are the same thing.” So with that, my deconstructed hall tree:
I love it. I found the mirror at, you guessed it, the ReStore. It was $8. The hooks mount into the wall and I found them on Amazon. To keep the function but increase the fragmented feeling of it I chose to point the pegs in random directions.
My favorite part is the last step of the stairs works as a bench for sitting and putting on shoes, all the form and function of a hall tree but deconstructed.
And if you think it’s helped keep the coats off the floor… you’re hilarious! At least now I can assign a small human to organize the area and they can put the shoes into the closet and hang most of the coats on the hooks… but the entry still looks like this most days:
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