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With the hooks installed and the small baskets in their place, this built in hits the mark for style and function!

I just finished working on a small built in with a bench and upper cubbies. Most of these spaces tend to be more utilitarian versus having some design character, so this is a good opportunity to highlight some simple design changes that help put a bit of a twist on the proverbial mudroom. First off, “All mudrooms do not have to look like white rectangles hanging on the wall!.” I see them everywhere.  But keep in mind, It is easy to build boxes as they do not take much time to construct. However, it does take a bit more time to build that same mudroom with a few architectural details that provides the function you need but looks great as well.

For years, the area at the back door of a home has been refereed to as the mudroom. Ok, I get it. A place where you come in from the outside and hang your hat, coat and sit down and take off your dirty boots and tuck them under your bench. Well if I was a character on Charlie Brown’s Peanuts, I would be Pig Pen. So with that thought, why in the heck do most of the folks who build mudrooms install a white painted bench seat and paint the floor area where your muddy boots are going to be stored? If I were using that bench, I would be repainting it on a monthly basis. My second question is why do they always look like rectangles hanging on a wall? Not that I am the most creative person on my block, but even I can think outside the box on this one.

When I began this project, my first observation was that this particular space for the proposed built in was more part of the home than a separate room. The white rectangles hanging on the wall was not doing it for me and due to the space they had to work with, the owners would also be losing valuable bench sitting space by going with the typical mudroom design. Further, the owners were also expecting a new baby and were on a bit of a tight budget so the challenge was on. Create something that is affordable, while building a functional area that would flow nicely with the rest of the home. I should also mention, building something with a little “POP” is always more fun then a plywood box. My immediate thought was to eliminate the painted top and bottom of the bench. Since the bench was only going to be about four feet long, I did not want to restrict the bench seating area. I also wanted to skip the boxed in locker look and build a functional wall panel that really looks nice. So with those thoughts in mind, here is my twist on the small mudroom. Click on the gallery to follow the design and building concepts used to accomplish this little addition.