The clients for this award-winning Concord, Mass., remodel by Estes/Twombly Architects needed a place to keep shoes, hats, gloves, and other outdoor accoutrements. So architect James Estes designed a nifty shoe bench and sandwiched it between a pair of mudroom closets. The seat is built of vertical-grain fir stair treads supported by painted, turned wood legs. Shoes are stowed beneath the bench, and everything else fits into the drawer just below the seat.

Handsome uplighting, painted beadboard, warm touches of natural wood, and a perfectly placed window elevate the space from utilitarian to sublime.