Top: Restoration Hardware’s polished nickel coat hooks add high style to the foyer; Ikea’s Tjusig shelf/hook combo is a less expensive but just as useful alternative.

What’s worse than bone-chilling winter rain? How about the heavy, grey slush a few weeks back: rain that clings!

As I write this, it’s a glorious rosy-sunny snow-capped morning. A typical Vancouverite with weather-related amnesia, I barely recall January’s slushy hell.

I want to believe that the watery season is behind us, but deep in my rain-diluted veins I know there are weeks — nay, months — of the sopping stuff ahead.

In short, there’s no point packing away the umbrella and gumboots at the first crack of a drizzle-free sunrise.

We have made some progress. More people seem to be dressing more sensibly for the wet weather than we used to, thanks in part to the invention of Gore-Tex a couple of decades back, but more recently, to the proliferation of ultra-cute pattern-happy rubber boots. But that leaves those of us who live in apartments and condos with a new problem: where do we drop all our soggy outerwear when we come home?

House-dwellers don’t have this problem. They have carports and mudrooms where clothes and boots can drip away unnoticed, but our one front door might open right up into our tiny kitchen or living room.

Umbrella drips seep between the seams of our laminated wood floors; drenched trenchcoats have no home but back in our one overstuffed hall closet, turning it into a musty mess. The only choice we may have is to let it all hang out, in that few feet of wall space at the door’s entrance.

Condo-living is all about storing things in the open, so it’s not only about function. Some high-style, high-function ideas:

  • Make a statement by installing a row of three or four oversized 1950s-style polished nickel coat hooks along the centre of a wall. They can handle heavy handbags and soggy ski jackets but have an appealing sculptural quality when they’re not used in other seasons.

  • Install a similar-styled shelf of metal bars above the hooks or choose a shelf/hooks combo unit, for airing out damp mitts and hats.

  • Conceal a couple of large plastic trays with pebbles and position them on the floor to catch drips from soggy outerwear or to hold wet footwear.

  • Use something surprising as an umbrella holder, like a narrow cast-iron garden urn or a tall basket inserted with a plastic yogurt container. A brick or some pebbles will keep it bottom-heavy.

Carlyn Yandle is a Vancouver journalist with her own room-planning business, Home Reworks ( She dwells on urban-home issues every Thursday in Metro.

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