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Irene’s hallway makeover project

An old apartment certainly has a charm of its own. But along with the joys of having a period-styled home, comes sometimes challenges. For instance, hallways in a typical ‘60s style are often narrow, long, lacking light and the storage solutions are oftentimes not very practical. Irene’s hallway was no exception. It needed a total makeover.

In 2019, Irene and her family moved to her old apartment, built in the ‘60s. 10 years ago, she lived alone in the same apartment, and even then, the storage possibilities left much to be desired. Now, when her partner and daughter Elli, also lives here, Irene had to see to that there was enough room for them and all their stuff as well. In particular, the family needed a new storage solution in the hallway, with room for all their outerwear clothes and shoes, but also Irene’s casual wear.

Before pictures

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After pictures

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Planning of the hallway wardrobe

To plan a makeover like this, what’s better than a good portion of inspiration? Irene started off by looking at Elfa’s website. She also visited Elfa’s showroom near Helsinki, where she got some valuable advice.

After that it was time to look at the family’s needs and likes. What did they want to store in the hallway? They agreed that their hallway storage should be divided into two sections - one for outerwear and shoes, and one designated for Irene’s cloths.

Irene put a lot of through into how to best organize their garments. Finally, she settled on having all her casual wear closest to the front door. For easy access, she decided to put the family’s outerwear a little further away from the door.

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With the 3D planning tool found on Elfa’s webpage, you can design your own wardrobe.

Choosing the interior storage system was however far easier. “I’ve lived in so many different apartments and so I know what I need and how I deal with everyday life”.

On top of her wish-list was lots of hanger space. “I hang most of my cloths. Only t-shirts and underwear are kept in baskets. I’m not one of those who’s folding, you see”. Here’s the final drawing.

Mirrored sliding doors is said to create a sense of space. To Irene it was however more important to bring out the warm tones, as these blend so beautifully with the rest of the hallway. She chose therefor a door filling in beige tone that was very similar to the colour in her walls. An oak parquet floor, walls in beige and a door filling called Sandstone blend perfectly, and create a warm and calm atmosphere in the hallway.

The wardrobe is taking its shape

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The old wardrobe was dismantled and the wall behind smoothed and painted in the same beige colour as the other walls in the hallway. After that the storage system was mounted onto the wall and the sliding doors were installed.

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After having sorted all her belongings, and cleared away all the things not in use, it was finally time for the best part of the project – to put all the cloths back.

It is surprisingly satisfying to sort out and get rid of cloths and things that you no longer need. Five sacks went to a flea market. Today there’s plenty of space for the things that I’m actually using and it’s a relief”, she says.

The final result

“I am very pleased with how it all turned out. What a change. This is so much better than before. The beauty of it is that all the plastic boxes were I previous kept most of my clothes, are gone. Also, this new hallway wardrobe is much easier to keep in order. I used to stuff everything on solid shelves, which made it close to impossible to find things. Today I have a good overview, and can easily find what I’m looking for”.

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With no separating walls, you get a useful overview of what you have in your wardrobe. And, thanks to the wire shelves, it’s also easy to see what you have on the top shelf.

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Irene appreciates Elfa’s mesh baskets because, she says, they are both decorative and functional. And, as there’s a flow of air, cloths stay fresh.

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The pant rack is new to me and quite convenient. Previously, when I piled all trousers on just ordinary solid shelves, I never used any of the trousers at the bottom of the pile”.

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Angled, gliding shoe shelves give a good overview, and you can fit in a lot of shoes there.  

Irene’s everyday life after the hallway makeover project is so much smoother.

“When I know what I have, and get a good overview of it all, and everything is in its place – it’s so much easier to pick out your clothes in the morning. It’s as simple as that”.

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Lasts for generations

Soon this apartment will be too small for the family, as Irene is expecting another child. The family will therefore likely move within short. Irene is however keeping the apartment and hopes that this hallway wardrobe will bring joy to her children in times to come.

“I hope that Elli can live in this apartment when she’s leaving home. And I’m sure, a storage system of such high quality as this, will work like a charm also then.”

Irene Naakka 

Influencer and journalist. Lives in Helsinki in an apartment building from the ’60s with her partner and daughter Elli, 6 years.

Podcast: Kroonisesti ärhäkkä  @kroonisestiarhakka  

Instagram: @irenenaakka

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