In the days before every new home was kitted out with multiple closets (not to mention walk-in closets), hall trees and coat racks were an essential part of an entryway or foyer.
Not only were overcoats and hats placed on the hall tree's multiple hooks but there were special sections with iron drip trays where you could rest your umbrella to avoid damaging the floor. Some hall stands had marble table tops or drawers to serve as a "landing strip" for wallets, keys and other materials. Some had mirrors. Many had special shelves or bins built in for depositing particularly unappealing boots and shoes. These lovely — and practical — hall trees are still available today at thrift shops, antique stores and through carpenters and artisans across the country.
While many chains, including Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs, offer various kinds of "mudroom" pieces, you will likely get better value for your buck if you go vintage, antique or handmade, which tend to be made from solid wood and bring a sense of history and character to your entryway. After all, this is the place of first impressions! Some of my favorites (images 2,4,5 and 7) were created by artisans out of old or antique doors and wood scraps.
• 1 //www.yatzer.com/House-in-Nisyros-by-George-Koukourakis
• 2 LG Custom Woodworking.
• 3 Pooterolooms, $700.
• 4 PA Farm Furniture, $550.
• 5 Gentlemen's Hall Tree. Reused Relics. Reclaimed old screen door with a six pane storm window still bearing some original glass. Vintage mirror has been installed and most of the original paint has been maintained. A small crown molding has been added, as has a bench, which is secured to the door. Vintage looking coat hooks have been added to complement the original door-knob.
• 6 Oak hall tree circa 1900. The Antiques Market, $675.
• 7 Reused Relics. Antique 2-panel door reclaimed from an old house. A mirror has been installed. The shelf, newspaper bin and moldings are made of pine. Original paint is left on the door and the added bits are hand painted and antiqued with eco-friendly paints and stains. $300.
• 8 U Antique. Solid oak petite hall tree with iron hat racks and bench seat with arms, circa 1910. $495.
Images: as linked above