Monday, March 7, 2011

Family Command Center

I am really excited to share this project with you!  In our house, we have two halls that go on either side of the staircase.  They both go from the front entry into the kitchen.  One hall does go past a bathroom and the laundry room, but it seems a bit silly to have two halls that go to the exact same place.  So I call the back hall, the Redundant Hall.  Now the kids love the Redundant Hall because they it provides them with a great way to sneak up and scare each other.  They staged a protest when I suggested we close off part of it and extend the laundry room.  So I’ve been looking for a way to make better use of the space.  The Solution…

The Family Command Center


(Please pardon the picture quality.  It is incredibly difficult to get a good picture in a hallway.  Especially of a reflective surface.)

I wanted to have two calendar months up at a time, a place for messages, and a job chart.  The basic construction materials were:

  • a 2’ x 7’ piece of sheet metal - I bought mine from a local heating and duct company.  They cut it to size and it was much cheaper than the home centers.  There are a few imperfections, but they are not too noticeable.
  • Trim of your choice - Mine is very simple.  You need enough to go around the outside edge of your sheet metal.  You want to cover the potentially sharp metal edges. 
  • Art Tape – IMG_6229I found this at the office supply store.  It makes nice clean lines for my calendar and job chart. I used the 1/8” for the calendar squares and the 1/4” to outline each month.

You can erase over the top and the lines do not get messed up.  They can be removed without damaging your board if your needs change later.

It comes in a few different colors and widths.


  • Ribbon of your choice – I used a classic black and white to keep with the overall clean look
  • Magnetic tape – I used the sticky-back magnetic tape on my ribbon so I could use it as a divider between the sections.

The rest of the supplies will depend on your preferences. 

1. Sheet Metal - When determining how big you want your command center, locate the studs in your wall and mark them.  You will need to screw the sheet metal to into them to make sure it is secure. Use a level to be sure you get it up nice and straight. Lesson Learned – Your wall may not be perfectly flat.  In fact it probably is not.  There may be some bulging of the sheet metal.  You can fix this later.

2. Trim - Measure and cut your trim pieces.   IMG_6234Remember the saying “Measure twice, cut once”?  Believe me, it’s an important step. 

You can choose to miter cut the corners to make them match up or you can choose a decorative corner like I did. I used Scrabble tiles to spell out words.

Sand trim pieces and paint desired color.  Believe me, this step is much easier to do BEFORE you get the trim on the wall.  Lesson Learned - Use a good paint.  I bought the inexpensive can of rustoleum latex paint.  It was horrible to work with.  The paint kept separating in the can in between coats and it took more applications to get good coverage.

Attach trim around the sheet metal and to the wall.  I suggest using a nail gun to do this.  It’s a bit tough to get through the sheet metal on your own.  This is also where you can flatten out any bulges you may have in the sheet metal. 

Use wood putty to fill in any nail holes, let dry, sand and touch up with paint.

Use clear paintable caulk to make a nice edge where the trim meets the metal.  

3. Decorate – This part of the project will all depend on your needs.  IMG_6231 I wanted two months of calendars.  So I created them with the art tape and made each day a 3” square.  I used a 3” square piece of cardstock to help keep my lines even. 

I found cute bingo pieces to use for the numbers.  I used super strong magnets on the back of each one, so they are moveable. 

Scrabble tiles glued to more super strong magnets spell out the months and letter stickers show the days of the week.  I used my ribbon mounted on the magnetic tape to divide the two calendars. Scrabble trays are also glued onto magnets to hold the dry erase markers.

IMG_6239 We needed a good job chart that was easy to change up if needed.  I mapped it out with the art tape, used scrabble tiles for the title and letter stickers for the days of the week. 

IMG_6222I found these plastic tiles at our local craft store on clearance.  You could also use glass tiles, mod podge onto chip board or even just print out on cardstock, laminate and attach a magnet. 

I printed the names and jobs onto a clear label, attached it to cardstock and put contact paper on the back. This is to prevent the super glue from soaking through your paper. Then I used a glue stick to adhere the names and jobs to the plastic tiles.  Use sharp scissors to trim around the edge and super glue to attach on the magnets.


I LOVE the way this project turned out and learned a few lessons along the way.  We will be attaching a board with hooks for backpacks and coats in the near future.  I’ll post pictures when we are done.

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  1. What a GREAT use for that space! I love the idea of hooks for the backpacks too. I'm glad you finally found a use for your redundant hall. :-)

  2. Oh my gosh, you are a woman after my own heart! I LOVE it! That's got to be so helpful with teenagers. :)

  3. It is lovely :) It has definitely made it easier to keep track of 3 teenagers crazy schedules. Plus, they can no longer say they didn't know what their job for the day was.

  4. I love it!! I'm going to make one for myself!! I can't wait to see more of your ideas.

  5. You amaze me! I am excited that you will be sharing all of you crafty ideas with us!

  6. Wow. I saw it in person, asked questions, heard your description and explanations, but this step-by-step is amazing. There is a lot of great detail you have put in here! Thanks for sharing!