...because home doesn't happen overnight.

On the blog, I’ve affectionately referred to this room as the “everything room” but in real life we usually just call it the mudroom. Here’s what it looked like when we bought the house…

mudroom before

mudroom before 2

There was an A/C unit in the window and an ominous ceiling fan. We thought the laundry closet was cumbersome. The dryer vented directly into the attic! Ugly tile and a remnant of green shag carpet completed the mess. We did like that this room served as a pause when entering from the backyard through the sliders (on the left) and from the garage via the man door (on the right).

mudroom after 1

Out of necessity we assigned this room multiple purposes: mudroom, dining room, craft room, game room and laundry room. Knowing the room would receive abuse on a daily basis, we opted for durable, dirt-colored tile on the floor and a forgiving tongue-and-groove wainscoting on the walls. (The tongue and groove is a repeated element also seen on the vaulted ceiling, planked TV wall and kitchen desk backsplash.) We were in need of closed storage for seasonal outerwear, reusable shopping bags, a broom, crafting supplies and a small collection of home accessories. We added a pair of freestanding wardrobes to serve as closets. One is customized with hanging rods at different heights (for outerwear) while the other is full of deep shelving (for crafting supplies and home accessories) and even a hidden litter box!

mudroom after 3

In an effort to optimize wasted space under the window, I commissioned a local woodworker to create a custom wood bench out of Douglas fir. We hung sconces above the bench on side panels of each wardrobe to create a cozy nook without actually changing the structure of the room. It’s a great place to read, play a game of Uno or watch the kids get on / off the bus. The bench is surprisingly large!

mudroom after 4

A long, farmhouse-like table is perfect for dining, crafting, sewing or enjoying family game night. I chose a lighter wood tone to avoid overpowering the space. A mix of knockoff tulip and wishbone chairs surround the table for a laid-back vibe. I had the tulip chair seat cushions covered in a vinyl leather-lookalike. They are so kid-friendly! The iron pendant is industrial and beautiful all at once – which is fitting for a mudroom-slash-dining-room. We DIY’d a fauxdenza to house board games and incoming mail. The sleek profile and floating installation free up precious floor space. Cleaning underneath it is a breeze.

mudroom after 5

I painted the walls THREE TIMES before falling hard for the velvety black. It’s a great contrast to the slick surfaces and oodles of white. A gallery wall of family photos and art dress up the space so when we eat in here it doesn’t feel like we’re eating in a mudroom.

mudroom after 7

We had the original sliders replaced with french doors. This room is our main entrance / exit on a daily basis and, for us, the doors are easier to open and close. Not to mention, they look better.

mudroom after 8

A small bench just inside the door gives the kids a place to put on / remove their shoes. A felt basket and a trio of hooks corral shoes, bags, jackets, backpacks and hats. We try to keep only the items we’re currently wearing or using out in the open. The rest is stashed in a wardrobe.

mudroom after 9

We nixed the laundry closet in favor of a laundry nook. (And the dryer now vents to the outside.) Discovering a recessed dryer vent box at Home Depot was like winning the lottery. It allows the dryer to hug the back wall. We built the wood countertop using boards we found in the attic during renovations. A small “lid” opens to reveal the washer controls and detergent dispenser. In a perfect world, I would have a dryer with a flat top and controls near the front so the countertop could extend all the way to the back wall. But I have never lived in a perfect world so until my current dryer konks out, I’m stuck with a raised control panel on the back of the dryer and, consequently, a tiered, shallow shelf above the countertop. For fun, we added a metal strip along the shelf to display family photos held in place by magnets.

Fabric panels hang from curtain wire to conceal the washer and dryer while still allowing easy access. I also keep a rolling cart and small ironing board hidden behind the curtains. Two upper cabinets hold laundry essentials, instruction manuals and lightbulbs. A leaning mirror bounces light around the dark corner.

The idea behind the laundry nook was that it could function as a serving area / bar when we entertain. I’d love for it to pull double duty as a dry bar someday. And who said doing laundry wasn’t fun?!

mudroom after 12

mudroom after 13

mudroom after 6

mudroom after 14

mudroom after 11

mudroom after 10

mudroom after 2

Admittedly, we eat most of our meals at the kitchen island but it’s nice having a designated dining table for special occasions and entertaining – even if, technically, it is in a mudroom. I never have liked formal dining rooms that are only used once or twice a year anyway. The small laundry nook forces me to fold and put away clean laundry as soon as it’s dry. That might seem like a disadvantage but it’s super effective and keeps me honest. This (unusual) setup totally works for our family and we’re happy we aren’t wasting money on unused space. It’s such a hardworking room!

Resources of note:

wainscoting & trim paint – Benjamin white dove, semigloss finish
wall paint – Ace Paints besalt mixed in the Clark + Kensington line, flat finish (I LOVE this paint.)
pendant – Crate & Barrel Hoyne pendant
pendant lightbulb – Bulbs.com
dining table – West Elm Boerum table in natural
succulent centerpiece – DIY
vintage kilim rug – etsy
tulip chairs – Overstock, reupholstered by Springboro Upholstery
wishbone chairs – Home Emporium
wardrobes – Pax units, Bergsbo doors; both from Ikea
hardware – Värde handles from Ikea, spray painted black
sconces – Jonathan Adler Havana wall sconce
woven shade – petite rustique from Overstock
wood bench – custom (I found the woodworker via craigslist.)
Hmong pillow – OrientalTribe11 on etsy
ochre throw – Target
sheepskin – Ikea
woven basket under bench – Wayfair
fauxdenza – DIY featuring Ikea’s Akurum wall cabinets
fauxdenza hardware – Home Depot
faux horns – Home Emporium
wood sculpture on fauxdenza – thrifted
white picture frames – Ikea
metal picture frames – West Elm
wood picture frames – Target
art – various DIY, Clare Elsaesser, Amelia Kay (The baby pointillism piece is Steve’s work.)
saddler bench – Wayfair
wall hooks – Home Depot
felt basket – Target
laundry cabinets – Ikea Lidingö wall cabinets
laundry countertop – DIY
magnetic strip – Home Depot
laundry nook mirror – Feiss Cleo mirror via Wayfair
curtain wire – Ikea
curtains – Ikea Aina panels, hemmed

If you feel like reading more about this multipurpose room, here are a bunch of links documenting its evolution:

































You can access this mudroom / dining room tour via the “See My House” link in the side bar along with a general house tour and tours of individual rooms. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

wardrobe misc 1

This is the third post in a series I’m devoting to all things closets. {You can read the first two here and here.} Last time, I shared one of two freestanding wardrobes in our mudroom. That wardrobe mainly functions as a coat and broom closet. The second wardrobe is more of a miscellaneous catchall.

wardrobe misc 2

Instead of hanging rods, we chose to install only shelving in this wardrobe. The shelves are adjustable so we have the ability to move things around when / if our needs change. Originally, we thought this wardrobe could act as an overflow pantry. {The mudroom is just off the kitchen.} We don’t have many upper cabinets in the kitchen but, surprisingly, plentiful base cabinets provide ample space for our dry goods so we’ve never had to resort to putting food in the wardrobe. In fact, this wardrobe is pretty bare – thanks in part to some purging earlier this week!

wardrobe misc 3

Higher shelves hold fragile and less used home accessories. There are baskets {I use some of them as Easter baskets for the kids}, candleholders, vases, decorative bowls, tablecloths, cloth napkins and napkin rings. Since the mudroom is also our dining room, this is the perfect spot for storing table linens.

Taller items are placed in the back and shorter items are staggered in front. This gives me a clear view so I can find what I need quickly. Or, in this case, I can briefly scan my inventory to see what I’m in need of next time I make a trip to Target. =)

wardrobe misc 4

Lower shelves hold heavy and frequently used items. There’s my sewing machine, sewing box, a large basket, lunch boxes {a few are missing from this shot} and other random stuff.

I keep treats for the neighbor’s dog, Pepper, here. The boys grab one – or a handful – before heading out to the bus every day. Pepper is the nicest dog ever. He doesn’t jump or bark. He’s always watching out for the kids. Also, my kids want a dog now.

HH keeps a foam roller and tennis ball on hand for rolling out his muscles at night. Don’t ask. I think it has something to do with CrossFit or Becoming a Supple Leopard?? I dunno.

And then there’s Blokus, the perfect game for serial furniture rearrangers. Really, it’s my favorite board game. The only drawback is that it doesn’t fit in our fauxdenza

wardrobe misc 5

…where all of the normal sized board games live. Such the outcast. There are also a few crafty supplies in the wardrobe for the kids.

But the best thing about this wardrobe? We left room to grow. As our family changes and evolves so will our storage needs. I always like leaving empty spots in each room to allow for the inevitable onslaught of more stuff. But that’s the beauty of it. If I’m mindful of leaving empty spots, then we’re never bursting at the seams.

wardrobe misc 6

Maybe one day I’ll identify a more specific function for this wardrobe {gift wrapping station? storage for interior design swatches and samples? styling props? I dream!} but right now it works as a miscellaneous catchall.

Do you have a designated space in your home for miscellaneous items? Do you purposefully leave spots empty for acquiring more things? I love the design aspect of homes but I’m also curious about how and where homeowners store their belongings. Since downsizing, I’m obsessed with modest, tidy homes that seem to have a place for everything.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking