Great Escapes: For Mudrooms, Use Sturdy, Resilient Materials

Decorative storage bins add visual appeal and reduce clutter in this transitional space from outdoors to in.
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mudroom hadley.jpg

mudroom hadley.jpg

Photo by: Image courtesy of Sylvia Small Communication

Image courtesy of Sylvia Small Communication

Families, particularly those with twins or more than one child, benefit from a mudroom where they can shed their often soaking-wet layers of jackets and boots. It's an especially important transitional space for those who garden or do a lot of work outside.

Of all of the rooms in your house, the mudroom in particular emphasizes function over form.

“You want materials that are, above all else, forgiving,” says John Tabor, of Tabor Design Build, in Rockville, Maryland.  “They have to stand up to snowy boots and anything else that might get tracked in.”

That goes double when twins are involved, as is the case with this mudroom. “We have twins – they're 12, going on 21 – and we know all of these other parents who have multiples, so we end up designing for a lot of families for twins,” he says. “We know from our own experience that if you don’t get organized in a hurry, you can quickly get overwhelmed with just day-to-day issues like clean-up and storage. So we usually base our clients’ projects on ideas we’ve tested in our home.”

For flooring, Tabor usually opts for African red slate tiles (pictured at left). “It’s easy to clean,” he says, “and, handily enough, it’s the color of dirt anyway,” Tabor says, “My wife prefers white carpet so I’ve learned the traumatic way not to track mud into the house.”  The tiles withstand moisture. “Any lingering water puddles won’t damage it.”

Walls, too, should be ding-proof. “We normally use paneling rather than drywall in a mudroom,” he says, “because it can take an accidental blow better.

schweitzer mudroom.jpg

schweitzer mudroom.jpg

You also want enough elbow room for hyper, fidgeting children to remove their parkas, he says, and storage space can be maximized with attractive, wicker baskets.

“You can find shelving and hutches for affordable prices at Pottery Barn, which is also where we get our baskets of different sizes,” he says. “They add a decorative touch to a practical room, but they also hold more than you might realize, especially incidentals.”

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