I was able to get the hall tree stained, sealed and installed over the weekend. It fit nicely into the alcove...
I made it in four pieces: the bottom cabinet, the seat, the middle section, and the top shelf. I kept the bench a bottom cabinet in two pieces, so I could fit the bench in snugly.
Here is alcove before installation. My DW pained the side walls and ceiling the day before installation. I glued and nailed a few 1/2" x 4" OSB strips across the back wall to give a good surface for mounting with 18 gage finish nails.
Once the four main pieces were in place I shimmed them to an exact fit and nailed them off. This made the hall tree look like one single unit. Here are the trim pieces...
I made the seat with the best boards I had - a couple of them had knots which I wanted to show for a more rustic look. I sanded the corners along the edges of the boards before assembling them, again to make the bench look more rustic.
The middle section took the most work. The 1/4" cherry plywood makes the base, with the battens and trim attached. I put 1/2" OSB on the sides to give them rigidity.
Building the base cabinet for shoes was pretty straightforward, holding two pair of shoes on each shelf..
I need to let the finish cure for a day or so, then mount the hardware.