Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Perfect Mudroom: Before & After Photos

I can't believe how many people have no idea what a mudroom is. For as long as I can remember, and even moreso since I started a family, I have dreamt about the perfect mudroom. A mudroom isn't as formal as a foyer, which is a landing just inside the front door for greeting guests. It's not a breezeway, as it doesn't connect a barn or garage to the house. It isn't what Davison thought either. "It's a room filled with mud."

Mudrooms are primarily found in homes located in northern states-which explains my familiarity with them, since I'm originally from Massachusetts. Commonly located just inside the back door, the mudroom is a receiving room for muddy boots and winter jackets during the cold-weather months.

The house I grew up in on Spring Street in Amesbury, MA was a late 1700's colonial. Our mudroom was a small space just inside the back door that was outfitted with built-in peg racks along the walls and baskets for hats and mittens. The knotty pine floors were worn through from all the foot traffic.  There was a pond in our backyard so our space doubled as a place to put on ice-skates and thaw out firewood for the wood stove-our only source of heat. 

My mudroom here in Florida will never experience the commotion that accompanies the cold weather months in New England. It won't see the days of winter boots and waterlogged mittens in need of a thaw. However, it will cheerfully hold the flip flops from our feet and be a comfortable place to brush the white sands of Pensacola Beach from between our toes. In fall it will be packed with school bags, muddy cleats and football pads.

I incorporated every item from my list of "must haves" into the design of our new mudroom. From sunny window seats with flip-top lids for storage, to a place to hang my collection of vintage tourist plates bought over the years at each of our duty stations, everything has its place.

This picture is of the original finished garage the day we closed on the house. It was taken standing in the back doorway. The door off to the right leads to the laundry room. Straight in front of you, on the other side of the wall, is the kitchen. In the end this space will become three dorm-style bedrooms for the older boys on the right, and a mudroom.

This picture is the same view as the picture above, after some work was done. We cut through the wall into the kitchen to make a doorway. On the right Dave framed walls to make the boys' bedrooms. Notice the position of the attic access on the ceiling in each picture-that will help you make sense of the space.

Finally, the space is transformed. Again, this picture is taken from the back door looking in. The opening to the kitchen is not visible but is off to the left along with the laundry room door and the built-in desk area. We did every inch of this work ourselves from framing, built-ins, hanging cabinets and crown moulding, installing the tongue and groove pine on the walls, tiling, painting and of course decorating the space.
This picture was taken from the kitchen doorway
looking toward the back door. Cal's bedroom
door is on the left. The window looks into the
driveway. The back door is to the right.
This is the same view taken from the kitchen doorway
looking toward the back door. Now, Cal's bedroom door is
between two window seats with flip-top storage under the
custom seat cushions. The wall cabinet holds keys, 
outgoing mail and store returns.
A bookshelf built into the 6" wall studs holds books and displays collections. Dave's maternal grandmother's blue glass dishes and my paternal grandmother's elephants collection are displayed on the shelves. A vintage plate collection, one from each state where we have been stationed, hangs on the wall outside Austin's bedroom.
Lockers for each child hold shoes and sporting gear. An old shrimp boat sign reading "Thistle" sits above the lockers adding a splash of color. A primitive painted white bench offers a place to sit.

A hand forged iron wall rack that we had made in Sicily hangs just inside the door.
Hand painted tiles show Mt. Etna in a typical Sicilian scene.

Mudroom Design Must-Haves:

  • Location near the laundry room for washing uniforms and gym clothes
  • Lockers for each family member
  • Shoe cubby for guest shoes
  • Storage for totes and bags for trips to the beach or sleepovers
  • Pet supply storage and hangers for leashes
  • Cabinet for store returns
  • An area for outgoing mail
  • Desk area for the family calendar, lateral files for each child's school papers and permission slips 
  • Area to display artwork
  • Clock
  • Bench for changing shoes
  • Seat near the window for waiting for company or a ride
  • Hanging coat rack near the door
  • Storage for bug spray and sunblock
  • A closet