Mudroom Locker Storage Project (Part 1)

I’m working on a built-in locker type storage project that I am calling “The Mudroom”, though it’s not really a room, with Malisa B. (pronounced Maleesa)

Mudroom locker ideas

Now, we’re going to be building this awesome locker type built-in but she had some work to do before we could get started on the built-ins.


You see, there is a bathroom door that opened up right in front of the locker area– that just wouldn’t do.

installing a pocket door

This is how Maleeeesa’s first week went down!



I talked with Sandra tonight and she was nice…and normal. I was oddly nervous to ‘meet’ her and was very scatter-brained.  Perhaps it is because my confidence in my abilities has really gone down with me doing less projects these days.

We decided to work on the mud bench area which has never been an overly functional place in this house.  The half bath door opens right into the bench and the bench has a severe lack of organization.

Tasks:   Order pocket door hardware.

Am I ready for this?  It’s cold in the garage.

installing a pocket door


Pocket door hardware is here.  Sandra says to read the instructions and see if they make sense.  It’s not the instructions that are a problem….it’s the rough opening.

Started taking off the molding and hacking at the drywall.

Oh no!  There’s a pipe in the wall!

installing a pocket door

After investigating, we found that it seems to be a vent pipe for the future basement bathroom.  There’s a chance we can shift it.  Lots of extra work though.  :/



Skyed with Sandra again.   Bought a Dremel Multi-Max ($79) per Sandra’s instructions to get a multi-tool and pipe stuff.    Cut out more drywall and blob of plaster.

I’m working hard to preserve one side of the wall.  Sandra says it’s possible…

installing a pocket door


Got most of the studs out.  Tired.  The Multi-Max is AWESOME.  Don’t think I could do the project without it.



Pulled up the 2×4 floor board.  Learning more about the construction of the wall to say the least.

After three trips to Home Depot I finally ended up with the right hole cutting drill bit for the pipe to go through the floor.   Easy to drill the hole.  Daniel is spending a lot of time tonight making the pipes fit just right in the basement.  I’m making the cuts..with the fabulous tool.  That dang Multi-Max is paying for itself.

installing a pocket door


I can already see 2 or 3 more potential issues with the pocket door alone.  This is going to be a long and frustrating project, I believe.

That stupid pipe!



Worked the whole day today.  I have never had a project have so many problems.  The pipe is done…

installing a pocket door


… but that was just part of the issues.

The studs I had in the garage were terribly warped.  The studs I spent time picking out at Home Depot turned out not too great themselves.

Try as I might to attach the left side door stud to the left side (around the pipe), it was not to be.  I nearly pierced right through the (if I cursed there would be a word here) pipe.  It’s stable enough now, but it was painful.

The stud on the right side of the door (that I left there) is about 3 1/4″ across instead of 3 1/2″ like a normal stud should be.  Say what?  Just another weird problem!  I didn’t realize this for a while, but it affected a lot of things.  The drywall is going to be tricky there.

I had to cut the pocket door header after all.  I dreaded cutting the metal track, but it turned out to be one of the easier things to do when I used the Multi-Max and a wood/metal blade. LOVE that tool!

My rough opening ended up being EXACTLY what my door needed – 56 1/4″ .  I could not have made it even 1/2″ bigger if I wanted to.  One of the only things to go just right.

One of the split studs included in the kit is very warped.

The center pair of split studs must sit on tile.  Ugh.  I have to figure out how to attach it to the floor.  Researched adhesives.  Might drill through.

Retrofitting my pocket door has not been as easy as I expected.  Most of the directions online start with ‘once you have your rough opening…’.  Getting to the rough opening was hard!

As crappy as it has been, I don’t think I’ll regret doing it.  In a test run, that door rolls as smooth as butter.  Let there be light!

installing a pocket door



Crazy busy day, but I snuck every minute I could and got the door officially hanging!   I ended up getting a tile bit and drilling through the tile to secure the center split studs.  It worked….okay.

Realizing now that I haven’t worked with sheetrock much, but I need to go buy some to finish the wall.  Also wondering what I’m in for with the rest of the project.

Planning to tear out the bench/shelf in the morning.

Mudroom locker ideas


Wahoo!  I cleaned up all of the crap!  My goal today was to finish with demolition and I think I got there.  I tore out the shelf and bench and baseboards and pulled out extra nails.  I swept and mopped and took out all of the debris/boards/garbage that had collected over the week.  Perfect that it was garbage and recycle day.  So relieved to be at this point.

I have never taken more photos or written more about a project in my life.  I barely even document a vacation like this.  And this is no vacation.

installing a pocket door

I know there’s a crazy amount of work ahead, but at least I won’t be tearing our other people’s work anymore.   When I tore into the initial wall and found that pipe I could have cried.  In the end we made it work, but it was so much harder.  I feel like most of the problems ahead should be foreseeable (though from experience I know that’s not always the case).


Wondering what to expect as far as plans go.  Wondering what I would have come up with if I did it on my own?


Malisa tackled the pocket door installation on her own.  She told me she had received the hardware and I anticipated Skyping the next day …but she texted me a picture of the wall coming out instead!  I felt like a proud mamma.  :-D  She’s a real go get-er done-er!

Make sure you check out the other Sawdust Diary projects too?
Find out more about my design and DIY coaching  on my “Services” page if you have an awesome project you’d like to make come to fruition.



  1. Kylie Thompson says:

    This is exactly what I wan to do in our new home but don’t have much space. Just wondering what the dimensions are of yours particularly how wide & deep. Would help me out heaps!

  2. Cathy Michels says:

    Wow, Malisa, I am so impressed with your courage in tackling that pocket door! I have done a lot of renovation projects but usually leave structural changes to the pros. Not that they always get it right but at least then I have someone else to blame if the ceiling starts to sag. :) This has been a wonderful site to visit and ‘meet’ all of the female builders. I have been renovating on my own for 30 plus years (hubby has no interest) and it is great to finally meet more females who get excited about tools and lumber!

  3. Wahoo! So weird to see myself up on your fabulous blog! Excited about what lies ahead…and maybe a little exhausted just thinking about it. ;)

  4. Linda S. in NE says:

    If Malisa can’t find her hammer, it’s laying on the stud directly above her head. Maybe wearing hardhats indoors isn’t such a bad idea afterall? I am really enjoying this new feature of your blog, but please be careful ladies!

    • Haha, I wondered how long it would take for someone to bring that up. I have done that so many times myself. Screwdrivers, pry bars, hammers…

      Thanks for looking out. :-D

      • Hahaha! If you must know, my mother and father once put a bathroom scale up in the ceiling they were finishing (to even out the drywall or something) and then forgot it was there. I imagine it’s still up in the basement ceiling. :)

  5. Jeremy N. says:

    Very nice work!

    Yeah, you have to be super careful about the stud lumber you pick up at Home Depot and friends; much of their lumber resembles a hockey stick. I generally eye-ball every single one (set one end of the board on the floor, prop up the other end, stare down the length of the board–it becomes really clear, really fast, if there’s any warping). I also have a strong preference towards “dry” ones; the wet ones frequently warp as they dry. (maybe that’s just an Oregon thing though)

    My wife and I did a mudroom on the backroom of our house; I based the design of the bench/box primarily around:,,20301255,00.html

    Post is here, although unfortunately the photos are broken, but my wife is the blog-tzar, so I’ll have to see if she can fix them:

    Just curious: is the bench seat going to fold up so you can store stuff underneath? Or are those drawers that pull out on the bottom? In general, love the design though–looks really nice, particularly the beadboard (which is particularly nice for snowy/rainy days, particularly if you use an exterior paint so it has a bit more protection).

    • I have to inspect every piece of lumber I buy, even the “select” pieces. Nothing is ever straight! LOL
      The bottom of the bench is drawers.

      • I was very careful in selecting my boards…I thought. They were the straightest out of lots and lots. :/

  6. Hillary @ The Friendly Home says:

    This looks amazing! Sandra, I’m so glad you’ve added this element to your blog. It’s so much fun to follow along with what someone ELSE is doing. Much less dusty than doing it myself. :) I wonder if there’s an easy way to get electrical outlets into the lockers or cabinets? An outlet on the other side of the wall that could be pulled up? It might be a nice option for charging cell phones.

  7. Anne @ Unique Gifter says:

    I bought one of those tools last weekend (B&D tho), it cut my baseboard chunk off perfectly :-) It seems like it will be pretty darn useful.
    So – when I saw the picture, I figured there was nothing in the little alcove. Then, I saw that it already had a bench thing. Then, I saw the silly door and the lack of maximization of space. That’s when I realized why you were taking this on – it’s going to be So Much Better when it’s done!! Congratulations on overcoming so many obstacles. Things seem so easy when you go to start, then I find they take forever, when you have to figure out how to deal with other things.