Brownstone Boys: Adding Character With a Custom DIY Coat Nook

Our DIY coat nook project is now complete. We love having a space to hang our coats

Editor’s note: Welcome to the 53rd installment of Brownstone Boys Reno, a reader renovation diary. We’re excited to publish their tale of buying and renovating a brownstone in Bed Stuy. See the first one here. They also blog at

For better or worse we opted not to carve up our floor space on the parlor floor with a coat closet. We didn’t move many walls on this floor so there just wasn’t a great place to build one. Every closet location we considered intruded too noticeably into the space. But we still have coats! And so do our guests! So one of our projects over the past few weeks as it gets colder was to build our long planned coat nook.

brownstone boys coat hook

Vintage three prong hooks have been added to the paneling

When you walk through our front door, you’re greeted by our amazing original staircase and banister. Then beyond that are the stairs to the garden level that wrap around behind them. Except those stairs now lead down to a locked door to our rental unit and the cellar. Since this is an area that will be rarely traveled we thought it was a perfect place to create our coat nook.

We also wanted to make a feature out of what would have been a dead space. One of our secret renovation weapons to inexpensively add character and create a feature are wainscoting panels. Extra molding and shelves can create even more of mudroom feel, but in this case we wanted to keep it simple since it is a hallway that will be used even if not that often.

brownstone boys

Before and after: new paneling and coat hooks

We went with a beaded recessed panel that echos the Shaker-style cabinets and doors we installed but has a bit more detail. The same baseboard wraps around it with the same semi-gloss paint to create a cohesive look.

We mounted two custom library lights angled back toward the wall. They create some drama in the lighting plan and signal that the nook is a focal point. The final essential component are the six vintage triple prong coat hooks screwed into the panels. It gives us room for 18 coats, and more if we double up!

It was a fun do-it-yourself project. We’re happy with the way it came out. It made a feature and focal point out of an area that was dead space. We love the way it looks and it has done a great job keeping our coats off of furniture (and the banister, and the floor… 😬).

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