Spring is all the sweeter with a mud room

By Herb Lagois

What a great time of year! Daylight is getting longer. We’re anticipating spring, enjoying the outdoors, dreaming about the new addition, the renovations…

With spring in mind, enjoying the outdoors also comes with dirt, wet dog, muddy kids, flies, mosquitoes − and maybe your dream of a “mud room” as the everyday family entrance: the room that can accommodate all the everyday challenges from family traffic, pets, children (and their toys), adults (and their toys).

Traditionally older homes do not have a mud room entry other than a door leading to basement stairs. Newer homes often ask too much of a mud room entry. Typically, space is tight; there are limited closets, laundry facilities within the same area, door swings that impede the space and so on.

Yet the mud room is one of the more valuable rooms a home can offer, a room that often could benefit from more thought and planning. It should be an important design element, whether part of an overall holistic design or as specific mud room entry design.

If you’re considering a mud room, consider your family’s traffic patterns. It’s one thing to create an awesome mud room, but if it is never used, you’ve defeated the purpose.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Will we shovel snow around to the back of the home to access the mudroom?
  • Will we actually walk around to the side of the home or will we simply enter the home through the front door like we always did?
  • Does the mudroom enter into dining or family room space? Will this make sense for everyday traffic flows?
  • Will guests walk through the mudroom to the outdoors or to the basement?

Often, especially with older homes, it only makes sense to use the front entry of the home as both formal and family entry. In this scenario, a well-thought-out plan is important to accommodate both uses.

Here are some other considerations:

  • Will laundry facilities be required as part of the space? If so, is there space for folding and hanging clothes, ironing, storage?
  • Can the laundry area be kept separate from the actual traffic flow areas?
  • Do we consider dog showers?
  • If we enjoy gardening, do we have durable counter space and deep sink?
  • For sports, do we need to dry equipment?
  • Is freezer/fridge space required? Pantry storage?
  • Can the mud room be integrated with a walk-in pantry? Powder room? Recycling?

Ideally, mud rooms should be naturally well-lit by windows, skylights, or sun tunnels to create an open, airy, inviting space.

Consider sturdy, durable, cleanable finishes, slip-resistant floors, child safety (such as rounded corners). Use of cubicles is a great way to keep children and family organized. Think about a counter or bench to set grocery bags or mail. A bench for dressing children or tying skates. A key rack. A cell-phone-charging area.

With any successful project, proper professional planning and execution is important. Find a licenced design professional who will work with you to achieve your dreams.

Be sure to take a holistic design approach to ensure the ultimate end goal will be met. The more information you provide for the overall design, as well as for specific uses such as mud rooms (“We garden, we have dogs, our entire family plays hockey…”), the more it will help designers focus on your needs. (However, a good design professional will help you determine your overall needs and goals.)

Take your time. Enjoy the process.

The Last Word -2

When the designs and plans are complete and interior finishes selected, a professional RenoMark™-registered renovator will bring your dream to fruition. There are many types of RenoMark™ renovators, all with excellent skill-sets. Be sure to hire one suited for your project.

For all aspects of the project, be sure to GET IT IN WRITING! Have a clear understanding of what you are paying for. For additional information, refer to the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association website: www.gohba.ca .

Go ahead and allow yourself to imagine how good a mud room could be. There you are, coming home. You’ve had a challenged day at work; you’re frazzled; you have bags of groceries in one hand, mail in the other, muddy boots…

And then you walk into your tranquil, sun-filled “mud room”. You set down the groceries. You place the mail on a conveniently-located counter. You see that the kids have their backpacks hung up, their clothes organized AND all their baseball equipment ready to go for practice.

Ah…the anticipation of spring!

A mud room can only make it better.

Herb Lagois is the owner of Lagois Drafting and Construction, Inc.