Home » Just a Mud Room? I Think Not.

Just a Mud Room? I Think Not.

You have no idea how much space in my brain one of the smallest spaces in our house has taken up since we moved in. That damn mud room! It is in the back of the house, situated between the kitchen and powder room, has the back door to our backyard, is also a laundry room and serves as our pup’s main living area when we’re not home. In other words, just like most mud rooms, it’s a highly functioning, high traffic room. Unfortunately, ours is UUUUUUUUUGGGGGLLLLLLYYYYY. (You know it’s serious when there are that many letters in all caps for a 4-letter word.)

When we bought the house, I vowed not to let any area go undesigned. I didn’t want to be thoughtless about anything we bought, reconfigured, painted or renovated. So, even though it’s just a mud room, it’s also kind of everything and my vow applies to this room.

Here is where we started: An ugly and very dirty drop ceiling, the same bulky, gray cabinetry that is in the kitchen, the same ugly and dirty wallpaper that swallowed the kitchen and powder room, the same ugly and dirty vinyl flooring, some weird gray (Formica, maybe?) paneling on one wall, a back door that is smaller than standard size and falling apart, and window and door trimming that doesn’t match the style of the original trim found elsewhere in the house. That is a lot wrong for such a small room, right?

The one, stand-out feature in this space is the stained glass window, but I felt that the darkness of the room and the bulkiness of the cabinetry didn’t let that feature really shine.

Shortly after we moved in, I removed the drop ceiling, which exposed pipes, ugly lighting and an uneven ceiling with gaps. Shortly after that, we got a puppy that decided the mud room door frames would be her teething rings and that she would claw away some of the wallpaper and vinyl flooring for us. So…yeah…not a great start.

For these reasons, I decided that the mud room would be our next renovation. We got an estimate, balked at the cost, asked them to come back with a way for it to be cheaper, which they did thankfully and then…nothing. Here’s what happened: we don’t have any money!

Okay, slight exaggeration, but after getting a fence in March and with vacations planned for this year, we just can’t afford spending thousands of dollars on something that isn’t urgent.

So, this small room that has already taken up so much space in my brain is now going to take up so much space in our timeline since we are working on it in two phases. You may be asking, “Why not wait to do it all at once?” Answer: Because I want to keep on making progress on the house and because it was just so UUUUUUUUUGGGGGLLLLLLYYYYY!!!!

Phase 1, a.k.a., the work that we can do on our own: Remove drop ceiling (done), remove wallpaper (UUGGGHHH and done), remove all cabinetry (done), use joint compound, mesh tape and a sander wherever possible (there are a lot of holes and dog problems to fix), paint, and get new shelving and storage that we actually like.

Phase 2: This is next year. Hire contractors to fix the ceiling, install flush-mount lighting, get a new backdoor, remove weird gray paneling and install drywall, switch out door and window frames and add baseboards.

Then there is the matter of the floor. As the mudroom is between the kitchen and powder room, we’ll wait until we do those more expensive renovations and do the floor all together.

My goal for Phase 1 is to have it all done by the fall when we need to store bulkier coats and shoes back there. This gives us plenty of time to work on this project leisurely while also enjoying the summer.

As I mentioned before, the one not ugly aspect of the mud room is the stained glass window. I have a few design ideas that will highlight that unique feature as well as overall bring more light into that space: have storage options that take up less room, an interesting paint design to draw out the colors of the stained glass, and add a glass backdoor. Here’s the mood board for the mud room. Click on this link to see my comments on each image within the mood board.

image (1)

So what do you think of this design plan? What do you think about doing it in two phases (three, really) instead of one phase (okay, two)? Sound off in the comments below!


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