Style + Storage: A Bare Wall Transformed

January 10, 2011

Ever wondered what to do with those bare walls in your home?  That unused square footage along empty hallways or entryways ?  Do you add storage, or do you use that space as display for your art and photographs?  Well why not have both!

This wall space presented that very design dilemma:  how to take this busy family’s unused square footage in their upstairs loft and make it work for their lifestyle.  They wanted to display family photographs, but like most families, also needed extra storage. 

I tackled their dilemma in three simple steps:  first, by adding architectural interest that complemented the style of their home with the addition of a board and batten wall treatment.  Next, I introduced hooks and a storage bench below for added utility.  Finally, I allowed for space above the wall treatment for a mini gallery of family photographs.  Take a peek at the transformation!


wall before



cg loft bench after


The first step was the addition of the board and batten wall treatment.  My ‘How To’ to follow tomorrow! 

loft left side jackets


Next, I added some inexpensive hooks found at Lowes, originally brass, but I painted them with espresso colored spray paint to complement the bench beneath.  Perfect for hanging sweaters, jackets, backpacks or handbags!

hooks on board


I found this perfect size storage bench on sale at The Company Store ~ it has a drawer for each of the three girls whose ages range from 1 to 7.  To personalize it, I upholstered it in a girlish floral stapled over some two inch foam trimmed to the size of the bench. The punchy pattern can be switched out later for a more sophisticated fabric as the girls grow older. 

I also sewed some accent pillows to coordinate, and also to add pops of color to the basic white and tan backdrop.  

toy storage bench


Recognize that sweet plush owl? 

penny and joy owls

Find it here


I made my semiannual trip to IKEA for frames for this wall gallery.

wall frames and hooks


This family has a one year old, so I find it impossible not to frame that sweet little girl’s feet!   

baby feet


This entire makeover took about five hours including the installation and painting of the board and batten, plus the addition of the hooks, the bench and a wall gallery.  You can apply these very same concepts to any mud room or foyer.   

cg loft after


Oh yes you can have both style and storage!

All it takes is a weekend’s worth of time. 

My basic board and batten tutorial tomorrow!  


cg kate signature



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135 Responses to “Style + Storage: A Bare Wall Transformed”

  1. this looks ah-mazing! love, love the oversized frames and photos.

    and the board and batten with the hooks … stunning!!! who couldn’t love that..

    and the owls are so cute! beautiful all around!

  2. What a transformation. I mean seriously. Its so bright and airy and fun, yet remarkably practical and thats really important.

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  3. Katie says:

    I’m really looking forward to your tutorial. I am wanting to switch my dining room and my family room this year. And I want to put board and batten in the family room that will end up being the dining room. Very cool transformation.

  4. This is brilliant Kate. Bright, gorgeous, functional. Looking forward to the tutorial. You never cease to amaze. Seriously.

  5. Brilliant makeover, Kate! What a great transformation. I really love the addition of the board and batten, and the fabric on that cushion is to die for-fun! Great job! When can I fly you out to VA to help me??! ;)

  6. Wonderful ! I love this ! I want the same at home ! I’m looking forward to your tuto !
    Thanks !

  7. Amazing job! That is quite a transformation!

  8. What an amazing transformation!! I love everything you did!

  9. now that is ridiculously cute!!! love the fabric choice. happy new year!

  10. Jodi says:

    I love the look. I can’t wait to see your tutorial on the board and batten, I have been wanting to do it in my mudroom!

  11. Kasey says:

    Love it!! And I love the fabric on that bench!

    This is what we plan on doing for our entry way. Can’t wait!

  12. Laura says:

    can’t wait to see your tutorial! I have a long, narrow wall in my daughter’s bathroom, and was thinking this idea might look great in there. I could use the same idea for the hooks to hold towels. I think I’ll go in there now, with a tape measure and double check. Thanks for the inspiration! Your wall looks beautiful! (and love those little baby feet!)

  13. Heather says:

    Beautiful job!!! Where did you buy the fabric? Love the colours in it!!

  14. What a lovely difference! If only I had a wall in my mudroom like that. Very inspiring.

  15. kelly says:

    love this! Awesome transforamtion!

  16. LindseyR says:

    awesome job! Can I send you MY address? :-p Looking forward to your tutorial tmw!!

  17. DaNita says:

    LOVE this!! and having “both style and storage” are my thoughts exactly! Not only, does it transform a space to create beauty, but it also gives one the DESIRE to keep it organized & clean. Great Job!

  18. HannahJ says:

    I am so impressed- what a seemingly simple way to transform a space! Wonderful!

  19. Sheri says:

    Love this! So fresh looking. I can’t wait for the board and batten tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing!

  20. Kendra {house of ficek} says:

    Love it! It doesn’t even look like it could be the same home with all of the architectural detail. Very very charming.

  21. Melanie says:

    I love it. So organized while being cute! The owls are adorable.

  22. Jennifer says:

    Love the transformation. Noticed that the light switch from the “before” picture has disappeared in the “after.” Where is it hiding or did it get moved?

  23. Madeline says:

    GORGEOUS! I am so inspired to try this look in my own home! I love the touch you give all your projects…great job :)

  24. THAT only took 5 hours?!?!? I’m sure it would have taken me a lifetime! The board and batten treatment was they key to making this look so amazing, what a great idea. I love it all!

  25. AMAZING makeover, I can’t believe this only took 5 hours! It would have taken me FOREVER – hence the reason we had our builder do builts in to begin with – LOL

  26. Cortney says:

    Wow! What an amazing transformation. I can’t believe it only took you five hours! You did such a great job, thanks for sharing!

  27. Auntie Colleen says:

    This is incredible – and in 5 hours! Can’t wait to see tomorrow’s post, already dreaming about these dog-stained walls (needing dog-high wainscot). Love this look – fabulous!

  28. It looks FAB! Great use of space and I love the pop of color with the cusion!

  29. Great transformation, your so organized and it looks so cute too!

  30. As usual you pull off a work of art and make it look so easy! Love!!

  31. Nuha says:

    you are brilliant!! I love it!

  32. meaghan says:

    Love it! looks great.

    I am new to reading your blog so sorry if you’ve already answered this question, but where do you go for fabric in the north bay? I have a hard time finding great prints!


  33. Katie says:

    WOW, love that!! Such a great idea. And can’t wait to see your tutorial — would look cute in our baby room! :)

  34. Ginger says:

    Stunning transformation. Looks great. I love the b&b and those picture frames are perfect.

  35. Leanne says:

    You did an amazing job. It’s gorgeous! Perfect for a family needing some storage space. THe whole area looks perfect.

  36. Michelle says:

    WOW! Incredible transformation!!! It’s amazing that you turned a simple empty space into a cozy and inviting corner of the house!

  37. Katherine says:

    Well done! I enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog. Wishing you happiness, Katherine

  38. pam says:

    Kate is Great, and Brilliant as Usual!! Surely you will one day soon have your own Designing Corporation? You must!! “Centsational Design”…Love, Pam

  39. It looks great. I continue to be so amazed at the speed you get your projects done. The bathroom the other day and now this. You should do a post on time management because you have obviously mastered that skill! I really enjoy your blog, constant inspiration!

  40. Tiffany says:

    I’m in love! Digging the way you decorated your new addition.

  41. Amber says:

    This project turned out great! I love the look. I plan to do something like this at my entryway. Can’t wait to see your tutorial tomorrow.

  42. Erica says:

    Hi Kate,

    I have been reading your blog for quite some time. I must say I absolutely love the board and batten! I think it is a great transformation. It gives the space added character and depth. My question is how much board and batten is too much? We are currently renovating our new home and we have an open layout, we want to do board and batten but feel it might just take on a character of its own!

    Again, I love your blog and all your tips. Many thanks!


  43. ButterYum says:

    Yet another fabulous transformation! I need you to give me some of whatever it is that makes you tick!


  44. Heather says:

    How fantastic is that?! Nice job!

  45. Kate says:

    Wow!! You amaze me. I’m always at a loss for words after seeing the things you do.

  46. Amy says:

    Is is possible to drool over something that isn’t food? I LOVE this.
    Can’t wait for the tutorial!

  47. Sara says:

    This is perfect and on my to do list!

  48. Jessi says:

    OMG! This is on my 2011 to do list for our pool table room. I was back and forth on this style, and the style you did with the picture box things. (great description, right?)

    I’m in AZ, and have textured walls, and the hubby is wary of using the panelboard like you did in your room. Any other suggestions? I can’t wait for the instructions! Perfect timing!

  49. Alycia says:

    Great transformation!

  50. Sheela says:

    Really cute Kate! Looks wonderful!

  51. Such a gorgeous transformation, Kate! Love it. Can’t wait for your tutorial…

    – e

  52. I love it!!!! Sooooo cute! I may have to try something like this myself.

    Can’t beat those IKEA frames. I’ve been putting off MY annual trip there (it’s about 45 minutes away) but I think you’ve just inspired me to brave the highway.

    Thanks for the ideas!

  53. Courtney says:

    Absolutely amazing!

  54. I love what you came up with. So much more interesting than just hanging pics. And it’s amazing you did it all in one weekend.

  55. Kathy says:

    Kate this is beautiful. Another awesome job!

  56. Shaunna says:

    Love it!! It is really, really beautiful and so functional! -shaunna (looking forward to meeting you at blissdom) :-)

  57. sara says:

    you.are.amazing. I absolutely LOVE it!!

  58. Allison says:

    OK, Kate…now you are far more talented, creative, amazing and inspiring than Martha Stewart! I love your transformation. It’s functional and fun!

  59. Rebecca Young says:

    I cannot wait for your tutorial!! I want to do a board and batten treatment in my Living Room. One big question…what do I do about my orange peel walls?? I am used to that treatment with completely smooth walls, so I’ve always shied away from that project because I didn’t know how to fix the bumpy walls. PLEASE tell me your ideas because I am dying to do this project!
    ps…I LOVE your blog…I just found it 3 weeks ago and I’m addicted to all your wonderful projects!

  60. love love love this! now to just find an empty wall in my house!

  61. Anna says:

    This would work well in my back entryway…I’ve been mulling over how to hang jackets without it looking overwhlemed. very nice!

  62. It looks amazing Kate, that was a really great vision that you put together. Bravo!

  63. Jeanette says:

    Do you know how much you spent on this project? I want to do something in our entryway and this looks a cheaper solution! Thanks!

  64. Aubrey says:

    I looked at that “After” picture and literally shouted, “Shut UP!”

    Well done, CG, well done!

    Can’t wait for the tutorial.

  65. Jen says:

    Oh my goodness I am totally drooling over this! INCREDIBLE! Fun, Fresh & Functional! I can’t get enough! Thanks for the inspiration!


  66. Ali says:

    That is such an awesome job! I love it all! Terrific design! Love those frames! How come when I go to ikea I never find such great stuff! I see great stuff online and people say “ikea” and then I get to the store after an 1 1/2 drive and find ZIP = ZERO! It must take having a designer with you to find great stuff at ikea!

    ~ Ali

  67. when i get a million dollars i’m calling you, every thing you ever post oozes style and elegance. great work, ma’m!

  68. Love it! The personal touches make this stylish and functional space a winner! Your sewing skills are amazing too… can I hire you? :-)


  69. Love this idea. That really made the wall beautiful and functional, can’t beat that! My niece’s birthday is coming up, I may have to score one of those owls for her, they are too cute!!!

  70. Sue says:

    Wow…what a transformation! You did a great job!

  71. Janet says:

    Love this! Looks so fresh and crisp it would make me smile to walk in and see this every day. I did a board and batten treatment with wallpaper above, in my powder room. Made all the difference. Thanks for sharing.

  72. Michaela says:

    Ohh! I love this. It’s a perfect storage solution and super stylish and chic at the same time. The little feet are way too cute!

  73. Cindy says:

    Another brilliant post. Thank you! I received the “stylish blogger award” and you are in my top ten list to pass it on to.

  74. lesley says:

    Wow.. this is wonderful… It’s one of my favorite projects of yours.. and there have been many favorites to date !

  75. This is fabulous, Kate! I would have never thought that a bare wall could be so much more. You’re so inspirational, as usual!!

  76. ashly says:

    The extra hooks are key! How cute!

  77. Nicole says:

    Gorgeous! Could you share how you redid the cushion? I have a bench and I have the foam but I am stuck on how to do the cushion from there. Also, where is the fabric from?

  78. Liz says:

    Looks great! Can’t wait for the tute!

  79. Thank you! Thank you! I have been trying to come up with an idea to replace our tacky hat rack in the entryway. Most of our entry wall has bookshelves, etc. that ends in this ugly bare wall with just a hat rack. What a great solution! I love the board and batten treatment, it will add interest to an otherwise bare wall and we will still have room for guests coats. OK – I’m adding this to my to-do list!

  80. Donna says:

    pretty FAB!! looking forward to the tutorial… recently started blogging about some of my adventures in painting, furniture and other decor would love you to stop by…

    peace & love,

  81. Natalie says:

    Wow, what a transformation!

  82. Beautiful and useful. You are so talented, it kills me. LOL!

  83. Tiffany says:

    Such a beautiful space! Please, please include the dimensions used in your tutorial. I’ve been contemplating a similar project in my new laundry room and I am stuck trying to figure out spacing….how far apart to space the hooks, how far from the top of the bench or floor. It’s beautiful and definitely gives me more to think about! Would also like the cushion instructions. And for you to come over and do the whole thing! ;)

  84. This is just gorgeous! So simply done yet so very eye-catching.

  85. Mrs. Pottery Barn.

    This is your new name.

    I just found you Mrs. Pottery Barn and love what I see.

  86. you are a machine! You just keep whipping out amazing transformations! Functional, beautiful, cutest owls ever, b&b…what more could they ask for?? And why don’t you have your own HGTV show?

  87. Samantha says:

    You need your own tv show! I watch the Nate berkus show daily and he has nothing on you. Your blog is ten times more helpful and creative. I have learned so much and have been so inspired by you!

  88. Tara says:

    AMAZING!!!! I LOVE the look of this!

  89. Holly says:

    Kate this is GORGEOUS!! Seriously, my jaw dropped when I saw the after picture. Stunning!

  90. Chris says:

    You’ve done it again, young lady! It looks absolutely brilliant! I’m sure the homeowner is thrilled! Great job!

  91. Amy says:

    Wow!! That is beautiful! Love it! What a great idea! Very inspiring.

  92. Tania says:


  93. Jane says:

    So beautiful & functional! I would love to do something like this. I’m looking forward to the tutorial.

  94. Shelley says:

    This is gorgeous!!! You did such a great job! And the way the pictures are framed and hung… perfection :) I can’t get enough of the board and batten look. I want to do this somewhere sooo badly!

  95. CC says:

    Fabulous! What a great idea! May have to try it! I love the millwork behind the bench. Thanks for sharing!
    Hope you will stop by!
    CC of Currently Chic

  96. What a fantastic use of the space. You have such a great eye for detail and so many wonderful ideas on how to make a house a home!

  97. Jenny says:

    girl, you are a machine, and a mom to boot! such envy. you-are my newest idol. cheers!

  98. Wow I just found you!
    Love your site, been on it for about and hour now!!!
    I love your stairs and the wall you painted! So beautiful, you must have a very steady hand!
    And the furniture you’ve re-done!
    I am SO going to become a follower!

  99. Holiday says:

    Did you affix the smaller frames to the wall somehow? It looks like they might fall, so I imagine there is some trick I can’t see! I redid my front entryway with stools for putting on boots, etc. (see , but I am loving this idea of the board and batten for the back hall!

    (see my front hall at

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