The dirty truth about open storage mudrooms, and kennels too

karennanaSeptember 30, 2013
Moving soon to a smaller country home. Wondering whether to build in an open-style mudroom and what to include. There is a space about 6-8x3-4 feet just inside the back door. Now it has a barn wood rough counter with a skirt, that is all. I think the former owners had their (larger) dog kennels behind that skirt, but removed them for showing the house. My Scottie doesn't need that much space, although I will likely put his smaller kennel space in that area, or else in the laundry room nearby.
So, those of you who built an open mudroom in a similar space, what would you now do differently?
CHALLENGE: go take a pic of yours as it is RIGHT NOW and post it!
No tidying up, now, that's cheating! I am wondering how to make best use of this space in a very small house, and whether this will work for me or if it will just save steps for others while making extra work for me? Does the family use it properly, or does mom have to constantly clean it up? Do you now long for doors to sometimes hide a mess you don't have time to clean?
And cabinet dog kennels: what happens when fido barfs inside the cab? Does mom stick her head inside to clean up, and does acidic dog barf eat paint? Does it run down in the cracks? Do odors linger in there? They're cute, but do they really work well?
In short, are these mudroom improvements a faddish trend that won't stand the test of time? Will we all be adding closet doors over all this fine carpentry one day?
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senelbos
I don't have a mud room, but have been debating having the built in in the master bedroom ripped out and replaced with one that either has a built in kennel in the bottom, or will accomodate my dog's kennel, so I am waiting for responses to this question!
1 Like    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 6:18AM
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Mari O'Connor
I don't have a mudroom either (sigh) but have been in homes that did and, oh my, beautiful. Two that I have seen, and lusted after, had a built-in wall of beautiful wood with hooks for easy coat hang-up along with a shallow bench to enable one to sit and get boots off. The boots could be tucked under the shallow seat, along with an area for dog bowls. Adding a basket or two would allow one to toss in dog leash/bags/brush to keep them in one place. I use a bench in our kitchen, with baskets tucked under to place dog leash/bags/brush so that I can easily scoot out the backdoor with the dogs. For return walk I leave one of those cloths that sucks up moisture to rub the dogs down. Oh, I also have one of those odor eaters placed at the backdoor where the dogs enter and I store smelly shoes.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    September 30, 2013 at 6:32AM
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karennana
Senelbos, I am leaning toward making a space for my dog's current kennel because he likes it just fine, and I can clean it easily by taking it apart for disinfecting if necessary. I doubt he'd be impressed by a fancier new wood one, and I don't relish crawling on hands and knees to clean out and repaint a wooden cabinet/dog kennel.
Mari, thanks for the tip about the moisture sucking cloth. We are now in a space that requires dog walking so I guide him away from mud and such. But in the country we will have a fenced yard so house dog can go outside and play leash-less! No doubt he will get plenty wet and muddy out there unleashed! Still hoping for honest opinions from people who have invested in these open locker spaces! And real photos too!
1 Like    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:35PM
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amberm145
We are in the process of designing our mudroom now. I think the key is a combination of open and closed storage. The open lockers are for the items being worn right now, with closed storage for the out of season, special occasion, etc overflow. Open cabinets with a couple of hooks seem to work a lot better than hangers in a traditional closet. I am personally guilty of throwing my coat on the back of a chair right in front of a closet rather than hanging it up. A hook would keep my chairs free.

I went to look at a house for sale which was being flipped. The investors had converted a weird side add on into a mudroom and also moved the front door there. When the house was empty, it was beautiful. I pictured it filled with coats and would never want my guests entering to see that. It should have been left as a side door for the family's use only. (They had added fencing to the previous front door and changed the address of the house so the side street entrance is now the main entrance - corner lot.) Even if all the coats were hung up, it would still look messy as it was completely open.
    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 5, 2013 at 3:36PM
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spansell
Let's see some pictures people! I am in the process of designing a laundry/utility room with open storage and would love to see how one functions in reality. I am enough of a realist to know what my boys will do without content prompting - hooks yes, closets no, for the jackets/hats and backpacks. Though I am including a coat closet for less frequently used coats and such.
    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 5, 2013 at 3:58PM
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karennana
Not ONE photo? Am I on to something here? Are these beautifully designed open-storage mudroom spaces really just a messy trend that will soon have many folks installing closet doors infront of all that lovely carpentry after all?
    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 3:54AM
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amberm145
Or... People with beautiful mudrooms aren't trolling Houzz for mudroom ideas. That's actually promising, since if they were annoyed with the mess, they'd be here looking for better solutions, see this question and be ranting away about their mudroom.
    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 14, 2013 at 2:04PM
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vygriffin
My mud room is really the walkway from my garage to the butlers pantry/kitchen. It is 6x8 feet and contained the hookups for the washer and dryer. I did not want to enter my house each day from the garage into the laundry room so I moved the washer and dryer into a back spare bedroom. I went with the closed concept for storage in the mud room. Here are two pictures.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 14, 2013 at 2:17PM
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karennana
Very nice Vy! I like your space!
1 Like    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 2:34PM
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koyse
We tore out a closet with bifold doors and built open cubbies. While it does get messy, there's much less mess than with the closet; kids did not use the hangers for their jackets and shoes, when they were put in the closet, were in one big heap on the floor. I use cloth bins above for out of season stuff and wire mesh bins below for shoes/boots. Here's a picture. Hope this helps.
5 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 14, 2013 at 6:37PM
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karennana
I like it Koyse! Bet the kids do too. Sometimes we forget that little arms have a hard time hanging clothes on hangers so high as a standard closet rod. (Imagine a closet rod hung 2-3 feet above your head: you'd think the builder was nuts! LOL!) Your space is great and so easy for the kids!
    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 4:11PM
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amberm145
Then what's my excuse? :)
1 Like    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Mari O'Connor
Gosh, these photos are encouraging me to look at my two large, walk-in, mudroom closets with new eyes. I know that it could be better and love the photos to help give me ideas. I'll try to attach photos to see if folks have ideas. When I look in to the closets I see so much wasted space. One closet has shelves for shoes/boots and hanging space for coats, with the dog bowls tucked under that. The other closet is used as my laundry area, for drying indoor clothing, storage. But there is so much wasted space.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 7:08AM
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karennana
Wow, Mari TWO LARGE walk-in mudroom closets? Together that's practically a-whole-nother room! ;) Gee, I'd go back to throwing coats all over and create a craft room, LOL!
1 Like    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 9:04AM
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Mari O'Connor
I have attached 4 (ugly) photos of my mud room/dog feeding area/laundry/two closets area. The closets are about 6x5 and the other closet is 3x4. I did NOT clean up the closets before taking the photos (that is obvious!). We only recently moved in to the house. The closed door is to the garage. I need help with this area, need suggestions on how to make it work for my family. This area needs to be for clothes drying, coats, dog water/feeding area plus shoes, and storage. I have a disabled son so am always washing and drying his stuff. HELP please with ideas. Lots of space, just no organization.
    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 19, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Mari O'Connor
Karennana, you did say photos 'as is'. Yup, these photos are that.
    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 19, 2013 at 2:03PM
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karennana
Mari, I like your space! I do like the new open storage spaces, but I don't think everybody has to have that. Seems to me you have good closet space and just need time to get them organized as you choose. Sometimes it's nice to have doors that close off the stuff! Or you could choose to remove one set of doors for the open storage and keep the other set for closed storage., that way you don't have your space taken up with so many doors.
I'm seeing a lot of oak tones in the wood. Last time I had an oak
kitchen (military DH, so I've had a LOT of different kitchens!) I
chose blue and white checked curtains, in fact I bought some sheets and made them myself. The dark blue pops with the orange of the oak finish. Added some blue accessories, dishes, even found some lil' blue checked flower pots. I hated the oak cabinets at first, but really liked them after I added the blue checks. Blue ticking stripes are good too, or toile is lovely. Me, I like to work with what I've got and come up with a way to make whatever it is look it's best. So, paint whiter walls and blue 'n white curtains or little roman shades (you can make those out of fabric and mini blinds without sewing: google it if interested. I did it so you can!)
Try some simple inexpensive decorating and organizing first, and
then live with it a while since you just moved in. After you see how you live in the space you will know what to do to remodel later! :)
OR! I see laundry baskets sitting round...maybe the smaller closet could have laundry-basket-sized shelves installed. There would be some more space for laundry related storage too. There are some good ideas for that online. Some have baskets with
chalkboard tags labelled "whites, colors," ect; while others have a basket for each family member.
My daughter recently put a name on each of 5 baskets on shelves near her washer. The kids know to put dirty laundry each in his own basket. When she does the laundry, the clean clothes get
folded into same labeled baskets for the kids to take back to their rooms to put away. Then they return the empty basket to it's shelf for the next round. Her three boys and DH are getting the hang of it, and she no longer lugs laundry around: kids and DH are responsible for the lugging and the putting away now! Also no dirty clothes pile up anymore in the kids' rooms and closets, nor in her DH's closet or in the bath either! What a great idea!
1 Like    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 4:37PM
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sstarr93
..." does acidic dog barf eat paint?"
Yes.
    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 19, 2013 at 4:44PM
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karennana
I thought it might! LOL. My dog likes his airline approved plastic with steel grate door. When he has a mess in there, I take the thing apart and scrub it in the laundry sink, put it back together with a fresh blanky. Then he goes in the laundry sink for a bath! (Scottie dog) I can't imagine having to get down on hands n knees to stick my head in and clean out a dog barf cabinet, much less prime and repaint it! Wally (the dog) would not like his bed outta commission for that long! It's his space: he naps there sometimes,
escapes there sometimes, and if he does any no-nos, he heads straight in to punish himself! At 8 pm on the dot, he comes to me and whimpers a bit to let me know he wants to go pee & be
tucked in there! That kennel might not look like much to you & me, but to HIM it's home sweet home!
    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 5:14PM
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sstarr93
Right. I have 4 dogs,and can appreciate what you're saying ;-)
You want easy maintenance!
My mud room right now has, in addition to the carefully selected furnishings, the back seats from my minivan, which have been in there for two weeks .... this kind of thing tends to happen.
Mudrooms require vigilance, perhaps more than I have!
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 19, 2013 at 6:41PM
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Mari O'Connor
Amen (about mudrooms needing vigilance)! I chose to share mine at one of the low spots. Yuck (I looked at my photos again and, phew, what a mess)! Karennana, my husband was military (Marine) for many, many years then switched to another government agency that took us mainly overseas, so we too have lived in many, many homes over the years. We've only been in this house (our retirement house) for 4 months and are taking it very slow on decorating and figuring out colors/decorating/what to do. I'm trying to be slow on putting nails in the walls. No rush since this house is for the rest of our lives (well, you know what I mean). The house has LOTS of oak in it. It's beautiful, but gosh there's a lot! I've been studying on Houzz how to tone down oak.

One of my dogs (black Lab) loved her kennel when she was young, but now, at the ripe old age of 11, she likes to stretch out on her memory foam bed (two single memory foam toppers folded up and put in to a dog bed zippered cover. Works really well and at a far lower cost than a memory foam dog bed.). When her kennel got dirty I would take it outside and spray it down with a hose, letting it dry in the sun. New bedding and she was happy.

I need to figure out what I need those two closets for and then get organized. I agree that shelves in the smaller closet would be a nice addition. It would help to get the stuff off the ground and organized. The closets have 9 foot ceilings (as does the entire house) so I just hate to waste that space up there. I'm considering one of those drop-down-from-the-ceiling-clothes-dryer things.
    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 19, 2013 at 9:06PM
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vygriffin
The drop down clothes dryer racks is the first thing that came to mind when I looked at your pictures.
    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 19, 2013 at 9:29PM
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karennana
Mari, great idea about the memory foam topper as a dog bed! I'll have to share that w/my DD, who has a larger breed dog. I have bought many really nice cushions for Wally but he ignores them, LOL. He wants to sit on my chair next to me, or on my ottoman or DH's! LOL? Good thing I have several washable slipcovers! At Bedtime he still wants his kennel, his treat, and yes I sing him a lullaby...heehee
Semper fi to your DH! Thanks for his service and thanks for all
your sacrifices as a military spouse, too! My DH Navy now retired, then fed govmt, now contractor...all still Navy-related. But twins are Army, DD was Navy, her DH army...and so it continues...
We thought the house we are in was our final house too, but it's too far from relatives now. Mom is going blind, Grandkids and DD need us more than ever, sis is disabled: we drive 2 &1/2 hrs there
and back too often! We have more friends and cousins, aunts and uncles there too. Time to go home (at last!) Country-club doesn't beat a country-house in home-country for me!
    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 3:16AM
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Mari O'Connor
Karennana, I tried to figure out a way to send you a personal message but failed. We are sort of 'stuck' in the house we moved in to 4 months ago for a good, long while. Once our disabled son, 21, finally receives services (we're still waiting, with him at home, day in and day out, with my DH and me caring for him. Phew!) he won't be able to easily move communities. We need a stable, caring community for him where he can live in an ICF/DD (Intermediate Care Facility/Developmental Delay = for the medically fragile/DD folks). We may downsize eventually, remaining in this small community (17,000, about one hour south of Minneapolis). We're trying to make this house work for us now and for our future, hoping to not have to move (been there, done that far too many times. My DH just retired with 41 years of federal government service, which moved us all over the place.) The house is 4,800 square feet (yikes! What a retirement house!) with a full basement (no windows though). We live on the main floor and are reserving the upstairs for when our two adult daughters visit. The main level has a full bath plus a half bath, plus a steam shower and two 'bedrooms' (one room is a den). The upper level has 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths. So many toilets to clean!

My hope is to make these 2 large closets, off the garage entrance, inside the laundry room, work for us. I'd like to use every square inch of this space so that we can continue to ignore the upstairs. It sounds pathetic but at 56 I don't really want to go up and down stairs! Our last house (rental in Florida) was a one level and I got spoiled. I don't mind going upstairs once a month, or so, but don't want it as part of our regular useable space, if that makes sense.

So, off to figure out if a drop down clothes rack will work in these closets. That would be the cat's meow!
    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 7:48AM
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gretchgly
No room for dog kennels, but plenty of room for 3 kids and their stuff. We also have a coat closet on opposite wall.
    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 20, 2013 at 8:18AM
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karennana
Gretchgly, best of both, with a cubby and hooks system on one side and closed closet on the other! Like it!
    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 10:55AM
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karennana
Mari, have I got a craft for you! Take a nice little 8x10 dollar-store frame and then paint the cardboard back of it with a bit of chalkboard paint, and flip it over so the chalkboard is now framed. Screw two eye-hooks into one side. Thread a ribbon, preferably burgundy velvet, through the eye hooks. Tie it across the stairwell at the bottom and write on the sign either "out of order" or "no visitors allowed past this point" (like they do with those velvet ropes at Biltmore House.) Before your final trip down, make sure each bath has cleaning supplies, and set some furniture polish cloths in each bedroom. Once every 6 weeks call Merry maids.
Keep the clean towels and sheets for those upstairs bedrooms in your laundry closet, and just set some out on a pretty stool or chair near the bottom of the staircase when the girls are coming. (You can tie those with velvet ribbon too, LOL. Let the girls clean their bathrooms before and after: you will cook and do other hostess things for them, but just say "I don't do stairs MUCH anymore." Then say nothing else: no further explaining needed. The "MUCH" qualifier allows you to "do stairs" whenever YOU want without anyone having reason to comment... ;)
The velvet rope trick will be divine! If it's good enough for Biltmore mansion, i think it's good enough, right? LOL.
    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 11:16AM
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karennana
Sstar, (way above) I thought i entered a post to you earlier, but maybe didn't hit submit??
Wanted to say the spare minivan seat is a great idea for a comfy dog bed! Just put one of those paw print seat protectors on it, and soon everyone will be looking for old minivan seats to be repurposed! Your room will be the new hit of Houzz! LOL: Why not? :)
    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 11:30AM
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sstarr93
LOL karennana, that may be just the boost I need on Houzz!
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 20, 2013 at 1:20PM
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maggiemaxwell
We combined a small rear entry hallway and built-in closet with a dysfunctional laundry room and stole 18 inches from the end of our attached garage to create a more usable space for dogs and people. It's now a laundry room - pantry - dog bathing area with a super deep stainless sink large enough for our terriers. The bench at one end has shoe/boot storage underneath, and pantry type cabinets became the new hanging closets. The wall over the bench could easily be cubbies or hanging hooks. Stock cabinets, Formica counters and a porcelain floor kept the cost down. Super easy to keep clean with plenty of storage for everything.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 20, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Mari O'Connor
Wow! Your space is something to lust after. I love this space (if I had such a space the counter tops would still be covered with junk. But I could see getting yourself organized with such tall cabinets and so many drawers. Gosh, beautiful. Did you design it or did you have it designed for you?
    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 3:12PM
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maggiemaxwell
Thanks, Mari. I had the basic concept of "give me lots of cabinet space, counters to fold laundry and do gift-wrapping, and a deep sink for dog washing." My design contractor did the CAD drawings and sourced the materials for me, which saved me a TON of money. All all that stuff usually on top of the counters is why there are so many drawers. These hold everything from office supplies to cleaning cloths.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by karennana    October 20, 2013 at 3:21PM
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karennana
Wow Maggie! What a great job! I like it a lot! Way to go, customizing your space for your needs, and of course, your four-legged family members needs too!
    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 4:02PM
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weaser714
Here's my mud room. It is in a hallway that goes from the garage to the kitchen. The laundry room is across the hall. There is a small coat closet to the right of the cubbies.

We've been in the house just a couple of months. I'm still trying to figure out how I want to use the cubbies. I put a couple of baskets we have in the lower cubbies to see how they look. I'm also going to make a cushion for the bench. I have a bunch of fabric swatches laid out that I just picked up today.

This is one of my favorite things about this house! I'm still figuring out exactly how I want to use it.
    Bookmark   February 19, 2015 at 5:44PM
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