Mudroom advice please!

teddychicagoNovember 14, 2008

Hi, we are putting an addition on the back of our house. Currently we have a window over the kitchen sink that looks out onto our garage and driveway. In the addition, we are putting in a mudroom so the window will then look out into the mudroom.

The architect says we will need a closet, not lockers or cubbies, in the mudroom so I can close the closet doors to all the coats. That way, no one will see them through the kitchen window. I say I don't mind seeing the coats hanging there but he thinks I will... and I'll want to hide them from guests who walk into the kitchen and immediately see the coats hanging there!

But putting doors up will not allow me to have a bench in the mudroom, which I need to put on children's shoes, etc...

My question is this - should I put doors as the architect suggests? Should I get my bench and cubbies and just get a window shade to pull down over the window? Any other ideas?


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I think this is the time to really examine how you think your family will use the room and what it its purpose. You will know that better than the architect. One reason for the popularity of cubbies and such is that kids may be more likely to hang things on hooks or toss in cubbies than use a closet. And because sometimes by identifying spaces as belonging to one person or another, then each person can organize his own space and perhaps some will be kept neat! A closet used by several people may revert to the level of the messiest person. The closet would have to be specially organized if it were to serve the same purpose. But you shouldn't get cubbies and lockers, or anything, just because you associate that with "mudroom"--you need to do what works for you. Are you going to have a window or skylight in the mudroom so you will have some kind of light or view? Can you afford to give up the
kitchen window? Certainly your idea of a window shade, or shutters (which could even be on the other side of the window) is a good way to hide" clutter" rather than subsuming the whole design of the room to what's viewed when in the kitchen. Many kitchens are actually open to an entryway or mudroom type area.

So, just give it some thought and be sure to get as much functionality as you can in the sense of, areas that are very easy to use and built to handle your family's needs are more likely to be easier to clean and keep neat. Don't get a closet if what you will end up with is a great big mess you close the doors on. Here's another idea--if the space allowed for a recessed area or shallow closet-type space, you might also be able to have folding shutter doors so that the "closet" is open and has cubbies or whatever in it, but the doors can be pulled shut to hide it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 11:01AM
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I don't want to cause trouble for your architect.....

We are also going to do a renovation and an addition. Currently my kitchen is in the middle of the house. The PO added an addition to the side and back of the house (behind the kitchen) so I don't have a window in my kitchen and I can't see the backyard. It drives me crazy and that is why we are undertaking this renovation/addition (we will be moving the kitchen to the back of the house so I can see the kids while they are playing in the backyard).

So to me, the bigger issue is do you have other windows in the kitchen (to keep an eye on the kids if applicable) and to give you enough natural light (take it from me, a kitchen without any natural light is like cooking in a cave).

I am planning on putting cubbies in my mudroom and am also tackling the issue of open/closed. My kids are not the neatest. Then again, would they remember to close the door to the cubby?

I would google mudroom, cubbies, storage in google images and see what comes up. Also check out the renovation and kitchen forums there is a ton of great information there as well.

Let us know what you decide and post photos!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 2:06PM
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Thank you, both, for your thoughtful responses. I truly appreciate the time you put in on MY problem!

I like the idea of cubbies and/or lockers because they give everyone a space of their own. Just looking at the jumble of shoes by my side door in the morning is a nightmare. At least with designated spaces, the kids could find their own shoes relatively quickly.

I envision the mudroom mainly as a place for the kids' shoes, bags, coats, etc.. to be set down. I also want a place for my purse and coat so I can grab them on the way out. The kids are shorties (ages 6, 4, 1.5) so a closet with way up high hangers would never work. I am thinking hooks on 3 sides of each cubbie, both at the top and midway down, so kids can hang their own things.

I really like the idea of bifold doors in the recessed "closet" area to hide the cubbies when necessary. I think I will explore that option.

And yes, the mudroom door will be half window on top. And the current kitchen side door is becoming a nice bright window in the new kitchen. And from the addition, I will have a wall of windows through which to keep an eye on the shorties in the yard as I cook. I hope I thought of all those things. I just am stuck on this mudroom vista. Thank you!!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 8:39PM
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If it were my house, I'd cover up the window w/ plasterboard and put a tile mural there. Or, put 2" deep shelves across the space between the cabinets, and set plants, or anything. Or add a really snazzy pendant light over the sink. (It's not like your resulting plan is going to end up with no exterior light in the kitchen.

And have A BENCH! and HOOKS! and BINS on the floor.

So that my kids can sit down and change their shoes, and so they will HANG UP their stupid coats, and so their backpacks, etc., have a place to be chucked.

I have this bias against architects in that I think many of them worry about aesthetics far more than they do about function. And in a mudroom, FUNCTION RULES.

Really, why do you want to look into the mudroom? And in today's kitchens, w/ dishwashers, few people spend THAT much time standing at the kitchen sink anyway. I would just truly make it an interior wall. (I think windows in interior walls are silly looking anyway, personally; I'm a little surprised your architect isn't opposed to leaving the window.)

I wouldn't have doors to cover the cubbies--what a waste. Those things break all the time anyway, and the doors themselves are always in the way.

It's a mudroom. It's not a display space.

Make a display space on the wall in your kitchen.

(my vote, anyway)

I'm so envious I could cry; a mudroom!!! And your architect wants to screw it up?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 8:11PM
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If you have plenty of natural light coming into the kitchen with the new addition, I would vote with talley sue nyc and go even further to design the kitchen wall for best function and not a window. Anyway, the point is, be sure the mudroom is really great as a mudroom and don't fret over looking at it. Unless your architect has some great design concept that we are missing, it does sound like he may be trying to keep everything smooth and tranquil (walls and closed doors) at the expense of your whole concept of mudroom in the first place. The mudrooms I like best end up being kind of still- lifes of "life" with their jackets, balls and bats, shoes in different sizes, some punchy posters, maybe a few treasures displayed on a high shelf, and so forth. Of course, all such photo shoots are highly contrived and artfully posed, but still, it looks okay by virtue of that area being the place where that stuff is supposed to be, instead of being on the sofa.

So, keep working on it 'til it fits your needs.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 5:47PM
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If and when we ever add on to our entry, I am thinking that a built in "mudroom" might be my only option for ever having something like that. I've linked below what I've been drooling over, may something like this could work for you too. You could extend the bottom shelf out a little to make more room for seating.

There are some other pictures on this site too, just search for mud rooms. You're so lucky to be able to have a dedicated space!

Here is a link that might be useful: mudroom

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 11:01AM
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