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The New Laundry/Mudroom


September 25, 2016

We’ve been seeing it everywhere. Homeowners are making their lives more organized by renovating mud and laundry rooms, and these types of projects not only make them more functional, but beautiful. KBB spoke with seven designers well acquainted with this craze to find out more about where it’s going and how other designers can best outfit these spaces.

KBB: What are some of your secrets for making a small laundry/mudroom seem larger?
“Lots of illumination – LED preferred. Please avoid fluorescent! It’s not good for your soul! So often laundry rooms do not have good natural light, or you’re trying to wash your kid’s uniform at midnight – so good lighting is essential.”
                                                                                  -Cathy Osborne, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Auer Kitchens

“The most important thing to keep in mind is to keep the cabinets in scale with the room. It’s okay to make cabinets shallow or deeper if need be. A shallower base cabinet can still give you storage but helps to keep the footprint open.”
                                                                                -Christie Board, Prescott, Ariz.-based Board by Board Inc.

“Add a mirror. It’s the perfect location for a lastminute check of your outfit before heading out the door. Also, have the built-ins run all the way to the ceiling – it’ll help with the clutter and draws your eyes upward.”
                                   – Michael Winn, owner and president of Falls Church, Va.-based Winn Design + Build

KBB: What challenges do you often encounter in these types of projects? What are your solutions?
“Every family is different, and personal routines, needs and lifestyles will determine the ideal arrangement and inclusion of mudroom amenities. Questions we like to ask include: Is the mudroom for you, kids, pets or guests? Are you considering mudroom spaces for daily routines, weekly chores or long-term storage? Do you need a dedicated mudroom, or will a hallway drop zone storage system meet your needs?”
                                                                    -Stan Williams, CEO of Apex, N.C.-based firm Stanton Homes

“Typically, homeowners do not want to spend a lot of money on these types of spaces. Helping them understand the value of a well-designed room and the efficiency the associated utility can bring is a less exciting conversation than dreaming about the beauty of a new kitchen or bathroom.”
                                                                   -Dave Stimmel, Ambler, Penn.-based Stimmel Design Group

“As much as we wish we could turn 11-year-old boys into tidy humans, it really won’t happen. If you have a bench seat for putting on shoes, don’t expect kids to put their own shoes in a drawer below. Leave the bench open so they can kick them beneath.”
                                                                             -Cathy Osborne, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Auer Kitchens

KBB: What are some unique storage solutions you have included in one of these spaces?
“Maximizing storage is always good. Taking shelving up high is great to store seasonal items in the room, leaving lower shelving for everyday needs.”
                                                                            – Wendy Sorenson of Columbus, Ohio-based Dave Fox Design

“We love finding clever ways to hide daily essentials while still making them easy to find and use. Building in charging stations for the family’s smart devices, hiding rods of wrapping or craft paper behind cabinet doors and whenever possible, including tall pantry-style cabinets to hide virtually any and everything.”
                                                                            -Rachel Roberts of Raleigh, N.C.-based Kitchen and Bath Galleries

“People love central vacuum systems but often forget to prepare a space for storing the hoses. A long, shallow cabinet provides a place to store these hoses without having to tangle them into an existing closet space.”
                                                                          –Dave Stimmel, Ambler, Penn.-based Stimmel Design Group

KBB: What materials do you recommend for use in one of these hard-working areas?
Mudrooms are usually decked out with cubbies, open shelving/hooks, cabinets, interior closets and hooks, all of which are ideally designed for specific lifestyles. These areas could take some rough use, so make sure everything is washable!”
                                                                    -Stan Williams, CEO of Apex, N.C.-based firm Stanton Homes

“There are so many great products on the market now, you can achieve almost any look you want. Whether you have a stained or painted cabinet, I always include knobs and pulls. They keep the cabinets from becoming scratched, and they add that little pop.”
                                                                 -Christie Board, Prescott, Ariz.-based Board by Board Inc.

“Tile and luxury vinyl tile are two hardworking floor surfaces that will stand up to the abuse these rooms get. Avoid soft woods, such as pine, for cabinetry. Instead opt for oak, cherry or another hardwood with a natural finish or light stain. Painted finishes eventually need touch ups. If/where you do paint, semi-gloss paints will be the easiest to clean and stands up to stains.”
                                Michael Winn, owner and president of Falls Church, Va.-based Winn Design + Build


KBB: Where do you think the designs for these types of rooms are headed?
“A mudroom area is one of the most asked about spaces in homes these days.  Having a place for everyone to hang coats/bags/back packs is always desirable. We see this coming in new home designs, and for remodeling, we are reworking space to provide the same use.”
                                                    – Wendy Sorenson of Columbus, Ohio-based Dave Fox Design

WendiSorenson                                                          Design by Wendi Sorenson
“Technology has had huge impact on designs for kitchens and baths, so I am excited to see where it takes us in the laundry room. Smarter washers and dryers of course, but am interested to see what new gadgets and accessories we come up with to improve how we perform the chore of laundry!”
                                                            -Rachel Roberts of Raleigh, N.C.-based Kitchen and Bath Galleries

“I definitely hear my clients saying they want a larger laundry room, more decorative storage, a bench to sit on for shoe removal, cubbies for quick storage of hats, gloves, etc. Most importantly they want a room that is bright, well-planned and cute!”
                                                                         -Christie Board, Prescott, Ariz.-based Board by Board Inc.