This post was originally shared on my former website, OurFiftiesFixerUpper.com, in Fall 2017.
When we bought our home, there was no mudroom. The dining room was a very long, awkward space with two chandeliers, a shelving unit, and a door leading out to the backyard. According to our neighbor, who has lived here since the 50’s, the people who lived here loved to have large dinners with family and friends and had a long dining table for entertaining. We didn’t want or need a massive dining room like that- but we did want a functional space for storage, hanging coats, shoes, etc. Minnesota winters are brutal and messy- we needed a mudroom.
So, after finishing our kitchen and dining room, we set out to create the mudroom. We had gutted the space during the same time that we gutted the rest of the home right when we moved in- we had to rip up the tile, linoleum, and tear down the wood paneling and shelving.
After Josh framed in the space, we started planning the design. I was envisioning an L-shaped bench with overhead cubbies. My style (you’ve probably noticed) is all about black, white, gray, and wood (and greenery) accents. I was originally thinking of doing all white benches and cubbies with a wooden coat rack, but Josh actually had the idea to do a stained wood bench. I’m so happy we went with that- it is much less sensitive to scuffs and marks than the white would’ve been!
I picked a gray washed looking 12 x 24 tile from The Tile Shop. I laid, grouted, and sealed the tile in a couple of days. I wanted to get it done with as fast as I could because the back door is our dog’s main exit to the backyard, and it was a pain to have to walk him from the front door out to the backyard!
After the tile had set, Josh installed the beadboard walls. This actually was much more frustrating than we had thought it would be. Beadboard is flimsy and breaks easily- it was tough to cut and nail up without denting or breaking it. However, after quite a few swear words and a lot of grumbling about how he was “never going to put up beadboard again” (eyeroll) it was all up- complete with about 300 nail holes. His mom and dad had offered to come help us so I actually had his mom fill the nail holes with white wood glue. After the holes were filled, I sanded them and then did a coat of white semi-gloss paint over it all.
Josh built the bench cubbies first, using oak plywood from Menards and his Kreg jig. Once they were screwed into the walls, I filled nail holes and painted them white (the same as the walls)- it took about 3 coats of paint. Then came the bench top, which was another piece of oak that he had used a router to round the edge. I stained and put two coats of poly on the bench top before it was installed.
The overhead cubbies were more or less the same process. I painted them after they were installed. After the benches and cubbies were installed, Josh put up the baseboards and crown moulding, which really helped to complete the space. I caulked both the baseboards and moulding and painted over the caulk to prevent it from turning yellow, which can happen over time.
The final step was installing the coat rack. We actually used an old piece of dimensional lumber that we had out in the garage- I sanded, stained, and poly’d it and Josh screwed it into the walls. I wanted some black contrast to the white and wood so I chose black tri-hooks. The light fixture I chose matched the other light fixtures in our kitchen. We did have a slight disaster when Josh bumped into the light and broke the glass- so we had to order a whole new light. Luckily it was cheap!!!
The final step was installing the barn door that I built (hardware from Amazon). We wanted the dining room and mudroom to have more of an open flow but also the ability to close off the mudroom if we liked. The barn door was perfect for this, and adds a great touch to the dining room.
I added a gallery wall and some baskets for decoration and functionality. The gallery wall has a place to store our keys, a place to hang Dexter’s leashes, and a mirror for a quick running-out-the-door hair check! We store winter gear, extra shoes, and random things like sunscreen and bugspray in the baskets. We still have to replace the back door- right now it has a tiny diamond-shaped window. I’d like to have a door with a large glass window with blinds inside the glass panes. For now though, we’re so happy with how it turned out! It’s been a great catch-all storage space and acts as great functional back entrance to our home.