I love the j-me shoe rack:
I love that it floats off the floor, I love that it doesn’t take up much space when no shoes are present, I love that it was the perfect shoe solution to my very cramped back entryway. So, I nearly cried when I found out it was about 5 inches too long to fit into said very cramped back entryway.
I set out to wander around a very large hardware store and find something that I could use in the same fashion. I had grand ideas about repurposing ductwork pipes or gutters or something meant for plumbing. I predictably didn’t find anything that would work. So I went with Plan B: wood. We basically built shelves, narrower ones above wider ones, to work like this:
We bought poplar boards from the trims aisle of Home Depot. We chose boards 1/2 inch thick and 6 inches wide (1/2x6x3) for wide lower shelves and 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches wide (1/2x3x3) narrow top shelves. We cut the wood to size (in our case 22 inches) with the handsaw in the store.
We also bought large and small L-brackets to attach the wood to our walls and appropriate hardware: short screws to attach the brackets to the wood planks (.5 inch), longer screws and plastic drywall anchors to attach the brackets to the walls. I think we used 1.5-inch #6 screws for the walls and white #6-#8 drywall anchors.
Cameraphone spy pictures from the store:
We decided to stain the wood and went with a dark expresso finish, we used two coats. We sealed it with a polyurethane clear semi-gloss. Waiting for the weather to be dry enough to stain the wood was the longest part of this project. You could just as easily use white trim, or simply paint the wood for this project.
Tangent: I had never used stain before and this turned out to be a good learning project for stain, the importance of sanding between each step became really apparent when we put on the polyurethane and all the bits of rough wood created tiny bubbles on the surface.
I was considering painting the planks with a colored paint, and if I had done that I might have painted the wall between the top and bottom shelf set the same color to create a visual whole for each set. Also, if the shoe racks were painted a darker color than the wall, it might be easier to disguise the inevitable scuff marks the toes of the shoes will leave on the wall.
Here is the smaller L-bracket attached to the smaller 3-inch-wide board:
We attached the bracket to the boards first, then used them to mark the walls for where to drill. We used the plastic sleeve type drywall anchors so we pre-drilled the holes, pounded those in (gosh this is starting to sound dirty), then screwed (see?) the shelves into place.
We determined there needed to be 2 inches between the planks for optimum shoe holdage. Happily, the smaller bracket was 2 inches so we were able to use that as a guide.
And that’s it. We have something that doesn’t look too strange, doesn’t take up a lot of space, keeps shoes up off the floor and doesn’t visually encroach on the space.
What I would have done differently: I would have spaced the pairs of shelves closer together. We left 5 1/2 inches between them. When we’re standing in our tight back hallway the shoes seem well spaced from the angle you can see them at, but the pairs of shelves could be closer together, say 3 inches, and leave plenty of room for the height of the shoes themselves. If I could do it over I also would have gone ahead and made a third set of shelves, having shoes tidily stored at the door has proven very nice.
After, with shoes (we painted the doors between that picture above and this picture below):
I could see this as a solution for storing shoes in a shallow closet, but I wouldn’t store good leather shoes in this way for any amount of time, I’m sure the weight of the shoe where the toe presses on the narrow top shelf would create an unfortunate crease. But for the shoes we use everyday it’s just fine.
Conclusion: While we came nowhere near the low profile of the j-me shoe rack, we created something that works better for our purposes and for our small space than anything we could find in a shop. We’re pretty darn happy.