How to Make Your Mudroom Shine

Article by: Mary Jo Bowling

A recent Houzz Call for your mudroom photos drew a lot of praise for this drop-it-all zone off the entryway — and some strong opinions. Perhaps the highest praise came from reader lake1114, who said, “The mudroom is one of the best house creations since indoor plumbing.” When we talked with Houzzers who have created great mudrooms, we found out more about the layout, setup and cost of this hardworking space. All of them emphasized one thing: A mudroom is as individual as the people who use it.

Architects Byron Haynes and Andrew Garthwaite of Haynes & Garthwaite Architects say that mudroomsare essential in New England and other areas that have wet and/or cold weather. In fact, the home feature is so key, when the men launched their practice 18 years ago, “No mudroom is too small” was their private (and only half-joking) motto. “I believe one of our first projects was a mudroom off a garage,” says Garthwaite.

Nearly two decades and many mudrooms later, they still believe in the importance of the space. According to these New Hampshire architects, the front door on most New England homes is ceremonial. “Most people enter through the garage,” says Haynes. “But the key thing is that it has to be in a location that’s convenient.” And by “people,” he means guests too; that’s why the architects generally make the mudrooms fit the style of the house.

The configuration of the room depends on what their clients want. “We have clients who don’t like to see any clutter, and they want everything put away. For those people we give them closets and cabinets,” says Garthwaite.

“But for some others, such as people with kids, it’s more important that everything be accessible and easy to find. Those are the people who do well with cubbies or hooks,” Garthwaite says.

When it comes to cubbies, the architects have found that a stack of niches — one for shoes on the floor, one for coats in the middle and one for less frequently used items on the top — works nicely.

A lot of mudrooms on Houzz are more than mudrooms — some incorporate laundries, message centers and even craft tables. When clients ask Garthwaite and Haynes for additional functions in the mudroom, it’s generally a powder room, a dog shower or a small countertop that can hold keys and mail.

In terms of surfaces, the architects think the key surface is the floor. They say that most of their projects have some variety of a slip-resistant natural stone, such as Vermont slate, but they have also used porcelain tiles and Marmoleum. “We think the best mudroom floor materials don’t absorb water, aren’t slippery and are easy to clean,” says Haynes.

Travis and Arielle Weedman, of Weedman Design Partners in Oregon, do all kinds of mudrooms, but in general their philosophyis “less is more.” The two remodel a lot of older homes, and they find that there’s not always room for a large mudroom lined with hooks and cabinets. “In my opinion, mudrooms that work well have just what you need on a daily basis,” says Travis. “There are other places in the house to store the rest.” 

Case in point: The small but mighty drop zone seen here, which the Weedmans created in the entry of an older home. It holds the bare essentials: a bench for removing shoes, a mesh-front cabinet for hanging jackets and stowing backpacks (note: Each family member has one jacket space here, and the bottom of the unit is divided into two backpack cubbies), drawers under the bench for stowing shoes and a small drawer for keys.

“I personally don’t think every pair of shoes belongs in the mudroom,” says Travis. “That’s what the bedroom closet is for.” Following that line of thinking, the two adults and two kids in this household each stow just one pair of shoes here.

The key drawer is seen at right; the small cupboard below is for the dog’s leash and waste bags.

The Weedmans have designed mudrooms with painted cabinets and with natural wood finishes. “Natural wood wears well and does not chip, but wood painted with a semigloss paint should be easy to wipe down,” says Arielle. “A lot of it is simply personal preference.”

Individual styles also come into play for colors of walls and floors. “We have clients who don’t like to see dirt, so they choose darker colors,” she says. “However, we have others who want to see the dirt so they can clean it.”

Shelly Lindstrom, of Fluidesign Studiohas designed a number of mudrooms that were built by Barak Steenlage, of Anchor Builders, including this one. In her design mind, the room should be laid out carefully with an eye to operations, just like a kitchen. “There’s a high level of traffic in these rooms, so you want to make sure there’s good flow,” she says. “It should be easy to enter and exit, and you should be able to do so without causing everyone to shuffle around. You don’t want people to have to move so others can walk in or out.”

Other layout considerations include sight lines and seating. “In general you want to make sure you can’t see directly into the mudroom from other parts of the house. Not everyone wants to see a row of drying boots,” Lindstrom says. “And you will always need a place to sit to remove boots and shoes.”

Lindstrom echoes the other designers when she says that flooring needs to be durable and not slippery. For other finishes she favors beadboard paneling painted in a semigloss finish. “I like the lighter, brighter feeling of painted wood, and I’ve found it much easier to clean and maintain than drywall,” she says. The designer says she usually reserves darker wood for the top of bench seating, because that area takes the brunt of the wear.

Many of her clients with kids choose open hooks for coat and backpack storage. Lindstrom favors hooks with two prongs — one for coats, one for backpacks.

Costs: You can create a mudroom inexpensively with freestanding lockers and cubbies, or you can invest in custom built-ins. The consensus among the architects and designers interviewed is that setting up a built-in mudroom can range from a few thousand dollars to $10,000, depending on the amount of cabinetry and built-ins.

Haynes and Garthwaite estimate that a budget between $5,000 and $10,000 would be needed.

Arielle Weedman says there’s quite a range in costs of mudrooms, and notes that many of them are folded into kitchen renovations. She would budget roughly $3,000 to $10,000 for a mudroom project, and says a mudroom similar to the one shown previously from her company would cost roughly $7,500.

 

“In Minnesota you could spend between $1,000 and $8,000 to do a mudroom in a renovation,” Lindstrom says. “For a mudroom addition, you would expect to spend $15,000 and up.”

A comment from fern6951 sums it up nicely: “Each person/family has different lifestyles, so each mudroom needs to be designed differently. Some people need and want a simple, bare-bones, workhorse of a room; others prefer something more refined. There are no right or wrong ways to set up a mudroom as long as it works for the family living there.”

Pet-Friendly Design: Making Room for the Dog Dish

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When I say there is nothing quite so unpleasant as stepping in a dog’s water dish, I speak from experience (no thanks, Augie). Like a good pet owner, I keep my pup’s water bowl filled with fresh water. It’s located in the kitchen, where I inevitably get busy and distracted and step in the drink. It has happened a lot, which goes to show you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

When I next remodel, I’m going to plan for this condition, using the clever ideas from these fellow pet owners as inspiration.

In this project, by Buckenmeyer Architecture, finding a space for the dog dishes was a key design consideration. “A recess at one end of the island keeps the bowls out of the way,” says Marty Buckenmeyer.

Judging from the gray around his or her muzzle, I’m guessing this sweet dog is a little long in the tooth. I’m sure the elevated bowls are appreciated.

The designers at Haddad Hakansson employed a similar strategy in this kitchen, but they placed the bowls at the end of a cabinet run as opposed to an island. It’s a smart move in a kitchen that has the room. “One of the highlights of this space is the custom dog dishes,” the designers write. They are “inset into a small slab of white quartzite. The cabinet above has a tilt-out tray for dog treats.”

Perhaps the feature helped the space win first place in the 2014 NKBA northern New England kitchen design competition. And, as you can tell by the blur running toward the eating area, it clearly has won the popular canine vote too.

In this kitchen, by Shannon Ggem, the lucky dog can pretend he or she is eating in the wild, thanks to a dining niche lined with artificial turf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A closer look reveals the other features. Not only does the space have bowls printed with a grass image, but it has a faucet with an above-counter control. As the designer says: “No bending!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With built-in bowls and the same material treatment as the kitchen island, this dog eating area, by Studio Zerbey Architecture + Design, is almost undercover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This niche, by Plain & Fancy by Dandamudi’s, is outfitted with a pullout drawer and an easy-to-clean stone surface.

Some smart and space-endowed homeowners take the dog dishes farther from the kitchen triangle. In this project, by Kathleen Donohue, Neil Kelly, the eating area is under the command center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this project, by Anthony Wilder Design/Build, an eating and storage area for the dog is tucked into the end of a wall. Below are the bowls; above are dog accessories and treats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This mudroom, by Dreamstructure DesignBuild, is outfitted for everyone — four-legged and two. Due to the recessed and elevated nature of the bowls, you’d be unlikely to step in them — but if you did, you might be wearing your boots.

8 Ideas for High-Functioning Mudrooms

Mudrooms help us transition from our adventures in the great outdoors to the comforts inside our homes. But when packed with clever built-ins, space-maximizing storage and nifty organizers, a mudroom can also become a high-functioning, double-duty space that can accommodate anything from folding laundry to making crafts. 

Don’t believe me? Check out these fantastic mudrooms and my space-saving mudroom organization tips to see how you can make the entry to your home attractive, functional and clutter free.

Office space. Transform your mudroom into a double-function space with a built-in desk and file storage. One wall is all you need if you plan it right. The cubbies and hooks help keep outdoor gear and clutter separated from the desk area. 

Helpful hooks. Turn an awkward or a dead space into something you’ll actually use. A row of simple hooks around the perimeter and a few well-placed wire baskets have turned this once-empty nook into a valuable drop zone near the home’s entry. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neat and clean. Not all of us like to have our jackets and coats on display. These floor-to-ceiling cabinet doors keep clutter out of sight and add an architectural statement.

 

Laundry time. If you have a spacious mudroom at the back of your house, take advantage of all that room. Consider including a laundry section to make life a little easier. A washer, dryer and small sink mean you can throw dirty clothes right into the wash as soon as you get home. 

Pet station. If you share your home with furry friends, your mudroom is the perfect place for a doggie stop. This pet-friendly mudroom’s special space for cleaning pets means the owners will never see a muddy paw print in their house again. A sophisticated palette of durable materials makes it feel sleek, despite its practical purpose.

 

Seasonal storage. Mudrooms can be the perfect place in which to store outdoor sports gear for all four seasons, with the right organizational techniques. This ski-loving family came up with a great solution to keep their winter gear under control: Cubbies for gloves and hats up top, spots for boots below the bench and custom ski racks keep everything neat and tidy.

Personalized. Clever and colorful solutions help bring this mudroom to life. Let your little ones choose a favorite color to make their special space in your mudroom more fun. Color-coordinated baskets add a little personality to an all-white space with minimal cost and effort.

 

Get crafty. If you have the room, incorporate a workstation into your mudroom. Wrap a gift, help your child with a school project or prepare a package for the mail on your way out the door. Having everything in one spot will make multitasking much easier. 

Prep your home for spring


Colorful-Spring-Garden---Wikipedia-Commons.jpg

Photo: Anita Martinz from Klagenfurt, Austria (Colorful spring garden) via Wikimedia Commons

Spring officially sprung on March 20, 2013 and now is the perfect time to begin prepping for the season ahead. From refreshing your decor and removing winter layers to performing needed home maintenance. The tasks on this checklist will get your house ready for spring inside and out.

Swap Home Accessories: after you remove its cozy winter layers, your house may feel a bit bare; take that as your cue to bring in spring color. A few bright throw pillows, a colorful glass vase and a fun printed rug are easy ways to wake up your rooms.

Switch the Bed Linens and Rotate the Mattress: give your bedroom a spring awakening by pulling off the heavy duvet or thick blankets and layering on lighter bed linens. Remember to have quilts and blankets cleaned before storing tem to avoid moth damage.

Freshen Your Entry and Mudroom: After a winter of snow, road salt, mud and grime; our home’s entrances are bound to be a little worse for the wear. Mop the floors, wipe down walls and doors, and declutter. Now is also a good time to take a look at your doormats and consider rolling out fresh rugs for spring.

Spruce Up Your Landing Zone: take a moment to assess the place where you put your belongings when you come in the door. Remove anything that doesn’t belong and make a neat spot for keys and mail. A green plant or small vase of flowers on a pretty tray and a dish for change are prefect finishing touches.

Remove Layers: in winter layering your home with textiles feels cozy, but spring is the time for streamlining and shedding excess. Roll up your fluffiest rugs in favor of flat-weave ones or bare floors, and put away throws and pillows that feel too wintry.

Rotate Toys and Books: after months of playing with the same toys, kids are primed for a room update. If you keep a portion of your child’s toys and books packed away in a closet, you can rotate in a fresh selection every few months – without buying anything new!

Bring in Spring Branches: if you have blooming branches right outside your door, by all means clip some and bring them in. Displayed in a large vase or jar, they can last for months. Even if it will be a while before the flowers appear, branches with green buds or leaves can make a lovely arrangement. 

Clean Gutters and Inspect Your Home’s Exterior: it’s important to remove debris from gutters before spring rains and melting snow overload the system – you can hire someone to do this or take on the task yourself (carefully) with a good ladder. Now is also a good time to take a quick walk around the exterior of your home with an eye out for damage that may have gone unnoticed during winter, and if you use storm shutters, now is the time to remove them.

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Your March Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

Prep your home for spring by shedding its winter layers and bringing in nature and fresh colors!

Photo: Anita Martinz from Klagenfurt, Austria (Colorful spring garden) via Wikimedia Commons

Spring officially sprung on March 20, 2013 and now is the perfect time to begin prepping for the season ahead. From refreshing your decor and removing winter layers to performing needed home maintenance. The tasks on this checklist will get your house ready for spring inside and out.

Swap Home Accessories: after you remove its cozy winter layers, your house may feel a bit bare; take that as your cue to bring in spring color. A few bright throw pillows, a colorful glass vase and a fun printed rug are easy ways to wake up your rooms.

Switch the Bed Linens and Rotate the Mattress: give your bedroom a spring awakening by pulling off the heavy duvet or thick blankets and layering on lighter bed linens. Remember to have quilts and blankets cleaned before storing tem to avoid moth damage.

Freshen Your Entry and Mudroom: After a winter of snow, road salt, mud and grime; our home’s entrances are bound to be a little worse for the wear. Mop the floors, wipe down walls and doors, and declutter. Now is also a good time to take a look at your doormats and consider rolling out fresh rugs for spring.

Spruce Up Your Landing Zone: take a moment to assess the place where you put your belongings when you come in the door. Remove anything that doesn’t belong and make a neat spot for keys and mail. A green plant or small vase of flowers on a pretty tray and a dish for change are prefect finishing touches.

Remove Layers: in winter layering your home with textiles feels cozy, but spring is the time for streamlining and shedding excess. Roll up your fluffiest rugs in favor of flat-weave ones or bare floors, and put away throws and pillows that feel too wintry.

Rotate Toys and Books: after months of playing with the same toys, kids are primed for a room update. If you keep a portion of your child’s toys and books packed away in a closet, you can rotate in a fresh selection every few months – without buying anything new!

Bring in Spring Branches: if you have blooming branches right outside your door, by all means clip some and bring them in. Displayed in a large vase or jar, they can last for months. Even if it will be a while before the flowers appear, branches with green buds or leaves can make a lovely arrangement. 

Clean Gutters and Inspect Your Home’s Exterior: it’s important to remove debris from gutters before spring rains and melting snow overload the system – you can hire someone to do this or take on the task yourself (carefully) with a good ladder. Now is also a good time to take a quick walk around the exterior of your home with an eye out for damage that may have gone unnoticed during winter, and if you use storm shutters, now is the time to remove them.