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Imperfect ][ Wannabe Mudroom

February 20, 2012

I have this wonderfully imperfect space in my house. [Actually there are a lot of them, which spurs on my grand floor plan re-drawing fantasies, but today I am just going to fixate on the one space...]. It is the back entry to our house–the entry from the garage, the primary one we use 400 gajillion times a day. The tragedy is that there is great potential space, and good basic elements…but they just don’t come together well and are horribly designed for our house of messy kids and friends and dogs and overflowing laundry.

So, the space: we have a nice long tiled hallway where we enter from the garage, as seen here. There is a small half-bath [quite convenient when you are working outside or in the garage] and a nice laundry room [which ALSO has it's own entry to the front porch so there are two, count em TWO ways for snowy-booted kiddos and wet dogs to come in, without disturbing the main part of the main house] off of the hallway. All tiled [in a blechy brown tile, but I digress]. All before you get into the main house. I don’t know the total square footage, but it is a pretty decent amount. So great to have a sort of “hidden” back area–there are even nice wood paneled doors to close the whole bit off from the main area.

Mudroom Entry hallway by Upcycled Home

This is the hallway AFTER I gave it a little facelift. Better, but still a long narrow tunnel.

Now, the real problem for me isn’t with the amount of space, it’s with the layout. Two long, narrow hallways plus the tiny bath. I would much rather have it all as one big open space with room for a bench and maybe a counter for folding in the laundry area. I think I would even forego that extra little convenient half-bath [there is another half bath off the front entry hallway on the same floor] to get more actual mudroom and laundry-sorting real estate.

And actually, to be honest, I do hate to even pick at it at all, because in our last house we had NO mudroom entry whatsoever. The garage simply entered straight into the great room, with just a tiny square of hardwood flooring transition in between. Which meant there were perpetual boots and coats and backpacks and wet puddles to step over and no alternative for anything otherwise. So this is a big step up from what we had. It really is. But it is still imperfect.

Laundry Room Redo - before

This is what the laundry room looked like before I attacked it with my decoresse.

However, a full-scale wall-knocking remodel is not in the cards right at this moment, so I have had to embrace the imperfection. I’ve had to just work with what I’ve got and try to make it a little better. A little more beautiful. And I think it is a little better. Not perfect, but better. As you can see, the previous owners had installed coat hooks in the laundry room. This really made it feel tight to me, and I was forever knocking coats off when I tried to maneuver with overflowing laundry baskets. And the walls were boring beige, and while the built-in storage is nice, the ugly oak cabinets made me cringe.

So after I gave the garage entry hallway an upgrade with some wood paneling, I moved the coat hooks and boot trays out there. They are still kind of in the way and we are forever telling the kids to make sure their shoes are IN the trays not scattered all over the hallway floor, and for GOSH SAKE pick your coat up off the floor, but at least it’s easier to get in and out of the laundry room with laundry baskets. Not perfect, but better.

A wall of coat hooks in the mudroom entry

The wall of coat hooks at various heights really does work pretty well for corralling winter gear.

So I painted everything inch of the laundry room, including those god-awful built-in wood cabinets. And I added some board and batten paneling. And hung drying racks which fold neatly out of the way, but can handle all of my Lululemon with ease. I still have one more big diamond peg hook to hang in that empty space on the wall, but haven’t officially decided for sure whether I want it there or not. And I am also still undecided about the main gray wall paint color–hence the painters tape still on the board and batten trim. [I am thinking I might want the walls the same white as in the stripes--Valspar's Woodlawn Dewkist-- for more of a contrast with the gray trim and cabinets and to further lighten it up. But I'm not sure. And I'm not sure I feel like painting...again.] And I don’t like the drum pendant with the industrial pendant, but haven’t found–or committed to spend on–what I want.

Laundry Room Makeover

I installed the drum light pre-painting. And now I don't like it in the space, but haven't found what I want yet, for the right price. Imperfect, but ok.

I figured if I can’t knock down the walls, at least I can make them look better…white subway tile with gray grout, and black-and-white stripes are much more our style. And I had my favorite electrician add a metal pendant light over the sink area, which was perennially dark before. The sink still needs a new countertop, but that will happen eventually. I haven’t found an affordable stone remnant that’s the right size yet, so will just have to keep checking the stone warehouses….I am confident it will show up eventually. And I’d like to put a bamboo roman shade on that door window, but haven’t had the will to spend any money on it yet. And maybe I’ll paint that door, too and….incomplete and imperfect, but better.

Striped walls in Laundry Room

Subway tile and striped walls add a little interest to an otherwise boring laundry room.

Painted high gloss gray cabinets

I now love the high-gloss gray painted cabinets and shiny chrome pulls. And getting the pedestals for our washer and dryer have made all the difference in my laundry enjoyment.

This broom closet had a door on it, which was awkward to get into and out of and so it stood pretty much empty. I figured giving it a coat of bright orange paint and eventually a built-in bench with two drawers for hats and gloves will make the space a little more usable. It’s not the wall of family lockers and cubbies I dream of, but at least a convenient place to sit and take off boots. Adding a pendant light to the closet will also make it a little less of  a black hole. Not quite done, and still imperfect, but better.

 unused broom closet becomes a built-in mudroom bench

This unused broom closet will be a lot more functional with a built-in bench with drawers for hats and gloves. Some additional hooks above will provide even more hanging for sports bags and purses. Bright orange paint and the addition of a light inside help to brighten up the space.

So, it’s not the space of my dreams. It’s certainly not perfect, and it’s clearly not even done. But it sure looks a whole lot more like US and it works better than it used to. And by God–stripes, white subway tile, and cheery orange paint will always be beautiful to me. So, in the spirit of It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect To Be Beautiful, I am linking up my imperfect Wannabe mudroom/laundry room area to Nester’s It’s Not Perfect But it’s Beautiful Party.  Cheers to that.

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