LAUNDRY. HOME OFFICE. PET SHOWER. THESE MUDROOMS GOT IT GOIN’ ONNNNN.
Mudrooms are having a moment. They’re becoming a place families actively use vs just a dumping ground for backpacks and lacrosse sticks. They are evolving from humble keeper of coats and cleats, to Command Central in some cases – complete with desk and printer, washer/dryer, dog shower, island, sink, beverage fridge and cavernous cabinets for stashing your Costco haul. (36-packs seem SO SMART when you’re there. Then you get home and start wondering if you have survivalist/prepper tendencies.*)
*If something disastrous happens, we’ll be right over. Clearly you’ll have enough chicken stock and K-cups to tide us all over for a while.
Now at the tippy-top of priority lists, families are willing to give up room elsewhere to make these multi-use spaces live up to their Pinterest-perfect dreams. We recently did one that was the size of TWO dining rooms. With access through the front and back of the house, it’s a perpetually buzzing hive of daily family life, from elaborate kids’ crafting to bill-paying and dog-shampooing.
How to decide what makes the cut? We won’t prattle on about all the details, but here are a handful of needs/wants we typically cover off on:
And behind Door #1… Cabinet configuration is a biggie. What do you plan to stash? Long coats? Tall rain boots? Do you need a bench? Are you a sit-down shoe-putter-onner? And how many shoes are we talking? What about out-of-season storage? Patio cushions? Sports gear? Kids’ crafty stuff? We hone in on priorities from there.
Cubbies: to see or not to see. That is the question. Keep an open space with hooks? Or close it all off for a cleaner look with cabinet doors. Truth be told, much will still end up on the floor, but we’ll do what we can to create a system that works. (We’ll leave the system-enforcing ball in your court.)
Who cares about coat hooks? Everyone, it seems. This is a shockingly high-interest category for people. They are astoundingly emotionally involved with hook configuration. There are arms-out-to-the-side people, multi-hook, single-hook and even stacked-hook people. We ask a lot of questions to get this one right, starting with kid-reach and number of backpacks.
Shep’s whole shebang. We like to cover off on pet considerations in great detail. We talk crate. Bed. Bath/shower setup. Leash hooks. The works. We’ve done cabinets for food storage and roll-out drawers with built-in dog dishes as well, to get that whole scenario out of the kitchen. It often leads to the door/no-door part of the conversation as well.
Laundry reinforcements. Even when families have a second-floor space where 95.73% of the laundry magic happens, more often than not, they’re wanting another set in the mudroom for wet swimsuits, muddy sports uniforms, or coats and mittens.
YOU CALL THAT A MUDROOM? WE’LL SHOW YOU A MUDROOM.
. Anyone Seen the Water Wings? The pool out back drove many of the design decisions for this one, from storage for inflatable flamingos, mermaid tails and towels, to large-scale floor tile with some friction to it, preventing it from feeling like a Slip ’N Slide under bare, wet feet. (No disrespect to the Slip ’N Slide. It is an amazing feat of yard hose genius – ‘specially the Mega Shark arch version.) As we kept talking through their vision, so many other factors came into play that we ended up reworking the main level floor plan. It went from mere mudroom, to an octopus of multi-functionality, complete with home office space, powder bath, coat and boot storage, and space for the large dog crate. We added a built-in bench seat, magnetic dry erase and bulletin boards for family schedules, and finally, a long wall of storage for general stuff-stashing. Digging this mudroom? There's a separate blog post that's only about this project which you can find here.
––––––––A Place For Keys, Please This one’s an L-shape along the back of the house, designed to accommodate a large desk in a not-so-large space. And we added custom built-ins for a printer and office supplies. Oddly, one of the longest chats we had about this mudroom dealt with the critical question of where to put keys. Our solve was a cabinet with a wire mesh insert. We felt it would look tidier (and less janitorial) than the “key wall” they were originally envisioning. The cabinet stain color was a lively discussion as well. They have a lot of kids, and smudges happen. There’s only so much hand-wash patrolling you can do when you’re outnumbered 5 to 2, so they requested cabinet stain the “color of dirt.” We felt the need to give our custom shade a prettier name – something like Turned Earth or First Till, But regardless, the end game was the same – to eliminate constant wipe-down duty. Ain’t no one got time for that. Obsessed with this mudroom? Read all about this project here.
––––––––The Envy of Bulk Buyers Everywhere This space was a remodel, formerly two cramped rooms with large closets. The old configuration created a bit of a bottleneck with no space to get past all the doors without some sort of awkward choreography to move everyone through before backtracking to open the closets and stash coats and shoes. (“Welcome to our home. Now move it along, people.”) We opened the room up, creating enough space to move the desk from the kitchen, creating a mini-home office. Then we added laundry, open cubbies and a sizable storage cabinet for the homeowners’ self-diagnosed Costco-addiction. (We suspect there’s an effective 12-step program out there. But meanwhile – storage.) The window over the washer/dryer allows for lots of natural light – or DID, until we realized it needed a treatment thanks to the, um, “interesting” neighbor who likes to smoke outside. With a li’l more of his backside visible than we typically like to see from a neighbor. (TMI?) Dazzled by this mudroom? See more here.
––––––––Fridge Stays – All Else Is Fair Game Also a remodel, this formerly smallish mudroom had two big French doors and a closet, but was not particularly practical. On the plus side, it already had a full-size paneled fridge(!), so when we expanded the space, we kept the blue cabinets, and added in a built-in bench seat with chalk board above, plus a pseudo-closet that’s actually custom cabinetry, with shelves for shoes and hanging storage for coats. Because it’s tucked back off the kitchen, the homeowners got a little gutsy with the palette and patterns, choosing bright blue cabinets, a fear-no-color seat cushion and fun pattern on the tile floor. The biggest new-space coup may have been the relocation of the dog food (hands-in-the-air emoji). The kitchen is still thanking us for that one. Not literally, but we sense gratitude when we’re standing near the spot where it used to be. Like what you see? Read the blog post here.
––––––––Patio Pass-Through Breaking with the traditional off-the-side-door location, this mudroom is more “open to the public” so to speak – centered on the back of the house, and serving as a pass-through to the fab patio/yard entertaining space. (Helloooo, Lake Ellyn views. You are delightful and we can’t get enough of you.) We equipped it with ample storage for easy access to entertaining-esque things like trays and candles. And we prettied it up with a beautiful tile floor. We decided to keep the space as open-feeling as possible by using a horizontal slatted wall with easy grab-and-go hooks for the dog leashes. And in keeping with the dog-theme, we added a full bath complete with dog shower. (Clearly, this fella carries some weight in home-design decisions. We did not consult with him one-on-one, but he seems content with the results.) Fan of this look? Read up on this project here. And their basement? We have a dedicated post juuuuust for that here.
––––––––Glam Command Central Whoaaaa. Lofty vision would be an understatement. These homeowners wanted this space to be a serious workhorse. A great-looking one, but a multi-tasking ninja, able to accommodate everything from home office duties to laundry. The catch? It was a remodel, and the existing space was not what we’d call generous. The solve? Steal some pantry space from the kitchen – maybe more of a borrow, since the two are connected. Somehow we managed to squeeze in a custom cabinetry coat closet, desk, bench seat, kids’ cubbies – annnnd laundry. Sans counter space for folding, we had to get creative, and asked the cabinet maker for a roll-out drawer between the stackable washer and dryer (a Houzz/Instagram crowd-pleaser). The floor is a playful patterned cement tile, and the countertops are glitzy Quartzite, with a white Shaw undermount sink. We get a lot of questions about the cabinet color, so we’ll give you a peek behind the curtain at how some of this goes down. We did a dark stain on the flyover in the kitchen, and as we were on the job site thinking about the mudroom, we spotted a dusty piece we were digging, and asked the cabinet guy to mix a stain to look just like that. (Did we ruin the magic for you? Just keepin’ it real.) Like the mudroom? You maaaay want to check out the rest of this remodel here.
––––––––Those Lucky Dogs With a turf covered backyard, you would think the two resident 65-lb. dogs wouldn’t get all that dirty, buuuut their fur Is white so every speck shows. And there’s no turning a blind eye when they’re looking more beige-ish than whitish. Hence the dog shower in the mudroom. We went all out, complete with hand sprayer, swinging glass doors and walls clad in tile, because when they’re wet, they don’t sit quietly and drip dry. THEY SHAKE LIKE THERE’S A GRAND PRIZE INVOLVED. Full disclosure: this one was just too lived-in for us to tidy up and photograph (keepin’ it real again). So we’ll describe the rest (work with us here). There’s an island with a built-in beverage fridge, so kids can grab their Gatorade on the way to practice without traipsing through the kitchen (genius) – plus a second trash bin (even genius-er). There are two spaces flanking the main part. The Command Center (better known as the Pile-o-Papers Zone) is equipped with cubbies for kids’ schedules, bills, old to-do lists (that never got done), new to-do lists (that may or may not get done) – plus drawers for charging, cabinet for the printer – basically everything they need for a meticulously organized life (which we all know is pure fantasy, but let’s dream for moment, shall we?). The other part has a 6’ wide barn door that slides back and forth to reveal storage on one side and overflow coat hooks on the other, because individual cubbies just weren’t going to cut it. Assigned hooks were just not this crew’s style. Soooo, messy coats. And clean dogs. That pretty much sums this one up. Like the size of this mudroom? You might enjoy taking a tour of the rest of this new construction home here.
––––––––Bottom line, the mudroom is upping its game bigtime. We’re taking mudrooms from a catch-all for the chaos, to the hardest working (maybe even best-looking) room in the house. If you want to chat about yours – the one you wish you had – you know where to find us. Until next time... thanks for reading!
Photos by Picture Perfect House and Joe Kwon Photography
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