Mud Room Mayhem

Yes, when I say mayhem, I really mean it! Our mud room had been the most disfunctional space since we bought the house in 2008. The idea of having a mud room is glorious, but this space had been difficult to figure out and it took along time to actually have a vision for the room. In addition to the poor design, the room was also poorly constructed and we knew it would entail lots of hard work to fix-up the endless list of problems. It is for this reason, that our mud room is the last room in our house to be touched (other than our unfinished basement, which at this point still seems like a pipe dream).

Although the room is a good size at 8′ X 12′, with beautiful vaulted ceilings stretching up to 20 plus feet at the highest point, there are so many structural fixtures that the space is almost impossible to use effectively. There is one unobstructed 8 foot wall, but the garage door swings open onto it and a large 6 foot window butts up against it on the opposite side. Further down from the garage door is a set of cement stairs that lead to the basement, so that wall really only has about a 3 foot section between the door and the top stair and it is essentially a walk way. Beside the basement stairs, on the wall opposite the plain 8 foot wall is another staircase that leads to the kitchen. The original stairs had a landing at the top (junk collection center) and a turn in the staircase, so basically, the entire wall is stairs! The last wall has the window (previously mentioned) and the door to the back yard as well as the large landing at the top of the kitchen stairs. With so many “openings” to deal with, you can see how difficult it was to make the area work as an efficient “mud room”.

Here is a very rough floor plan of the space. You can see how wonky the stairs are and how poorly planned out the room is.Mud room floor plan

On top of the structural issues, the workmanship was lousy and all of the moldings were cheap, poorly aligned and nothing was square. To make matters worse, the fir floors had been painted and we were almost certain lead paint had been used, so these too would need to be replaced.

So, it is from this disaster of a room that our “things to do list” evolved. This job was one of the biggest we’ve taken on with our tasks including:

  • demo and remove kitchen stairs
  • replace stairs with a simple set that would go straight down to back door (without the turn)
  • install railings for the stairs and around basement stairwell
  • lay reclaimed oak hardwood floors, sand, stain and urethane
  • demo all baseboards and moldings
  • trim down all of the window and door casings in an attempt to square them
  • buy, cut, install and paint new moldings and baseboards
  • paint oak ceiling beams
  • prime and paint walls
  • purchase and install shiplap on main 8 foot wall
  • prime and paint shiplap wall
  • build up the basement stairwell walls to cover exposed concrete
  • figure out what to do with the basement stairs as far as paint or covering (still not sure)
  • paint all doors
  • attempt to incorporate as many reclaimed pieces as possible into the overall design of the space – it became my mission to use leftover crown molding, casing and furniture pieces that we already had on hand (My vision was not to create a mismatched mess, but rather to effectively use what we already had on hand and declutter our garage and basement).
  • design a space that will be visually appealing while providing our family with adequate storage for outdoor clothing, shoes and backpacks
  • various DIY projects that will be incorporated into the final design of the room

I consider myself to be pretty handy, but this room relied heavily on my husband. There were way too many “construction” types of projects that were more than I could take on. I felt really bad about this because I was so dependent on Tim to do so many of the bigger jobs and yet it was me who had the summer off to work on projects. For Tim, it was a super busy summer. He worked more overtime than ever before and on the few days he had off, he spent endless hours trying to pull this mud room project together. It soon became apparent, that unlike most of our summer projects, there was no way this would be done before I returned to work in September. Despite the slow progress and a never ending list of things to finish, I am super pleased with how much we got done with the limited time Tim has had to work on it….I am so lucky to have him! We will continue to push through and hope to complete it in bits and pieces over the next few months.

I will attempt to share the project at various stages of completion, but for starters….here’s what it looked like before we started.

About Cindy RoyI am a busy mother, wife and kindergarten teacher. I have a huge list of loves! I love my family, Springs Church, old houses, "up-cycling" and DIY projects, scrapbooking, volleyball, interior design, cake decorating, party planning, healthy eating, and sleeping. I am very organized and reflective, and am continually striving to do life more lovingly, passionately, effectively and successfully.

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