Mudroom 2013

dee1304home9Photo by Brian Vanden Brink /Hans Warner Design Association

Sarah Steinberg loves the mudroom. The practical, hardworking entry and its older cousin, the breezeway, might even be her favorite spaces of all the rooms in a house. “Mudrooms can be very beautiful and they can be very Maine in the way they look, but they are truly a functional need here based on the climate we have and the activities we pursue,” the Cumberland interior designer says. “You put your muddy boots there in spring and fall, and your coats, hats, and boots in the winter. In summer, the mudroom keeps sand and dirt out. It really is a very Maine thing because people are involved in so many outdoor activities. The things that get stored in there are all the things you’d expect: dog leashes, bug spray, even Band-Aids.”

No mere storage place, a mudroom is the household staging area, where family members launch each day of fun and work. Yet a well-functioning mudroom does not necessarily require a lot of space, says Steinberg, who has even created a mudroom on the footprint of a coat closet. Efficient use of space targeted to the family’s needs is the key.

Here are Sarah Steinberg’s mudroom essentials. 
Seating. Usually a furniture-style bench or two, depending on the space, but it also might be part of a built-in storage unit.

Stone or tile floor. Choose a durable material like slate or corsite — this is not the place for easily scratched and stained marbles! It should be tumbled or textured so the floor is not slippery when wet. Choose earth tones that minimize mud and dirt.

Boot trays. Made of plastic or metal, boot trays contain mud, dirt, and water from melting snow.

Built-in storage. Cubbies and lockers custom designed for the space store gear more efficiently than coat closets. Allow room for hooks to hang coats and other items.

Baskets and totes. Choose a variety of sizes to segregate items like sunglasses, keys, hats, mittens, golf clubs, dog leashes.

Virginia M. Wright is the senior writer at Down East.

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