...because home doesn't happen overnight.

On the blog, I’ve affectionately referred to this room as the “everything room” but in real life we usually just call it the mudroom. Here’s what it looked like when we bought the house…

mudroom before

mudroom before 2

There was an A/C unit in the window and an ominous ceiling fan. We thought the laundry closet was cumbersome. The dryer vented directly into the attic! Ugly tile and a remnant of green shag carpet completed the mess. We did like that this room served as a pause when entering from the backyard through the sliders (on the left) and from the garage via the man door (on the right).

mudroom after 1

Out of necessity we assigned this room multiple purposes: mudroom, dining room, craft room, game room and laundry room. Knowing the room would receive abuse on a daily basis, we opted for durable, dirt-colored tile on the floor and a forgiving tongue-and-groove wainscoting on the walls. (The tongue and groove is a repeated element also seen on the vaulted ceiling, planked TV wall and kitchen desk backsplash.) We were in need of closed storage for seasonal outerwear, reusable shopping bags, a broom, crafting supplies and a small collection of home accessories. We added a pair of freestanding wardrobes to serve as closets. One is customized with hanging rods at different heights (for outerwear) while the other is full of deep shelving (for crafting supplies and home accessories).

mudroom after 3

In an effort to optimize wasted space under the window, I commissioned a local woodworker to create a custom wood bench out of Douglas fir. We hung sconces above the bench on side panels of each wardrobe to create a cozy nook without actually changing the structure of the room. It’s a great place to read, play a game of Uno or watch the kids get on / off the bus. The bench is surprisingly large!

mudroom after 4

A long, farmhouse-like table is perfect for dining, crafting, sewing or enjoying family game night. I chose a lighter wood tone to avoid overpowering the space. A mix of knockoff tulip and wishbone chairs surround the table for a laid-back vibe. I had the tulip chair seat cushions covered in a vinyl leather-lookalike. They are so kid-friendly! The iron pendant is industrial and beautiful all at once – which is fitting for a mudroom-slash-dining-room. We DIY’d a fauxdenza to house board games and incoming mail. The sleek profile and floating installation free up precious floor space. Cleaning underneath it is a breeze.

mudroom after 5

I painted the walls THREE TIMES before falling hard for the velvety black. It’s a great contrast to the slick surfaces and oodles of white. A gallery wall of family photos and art dress up the space so when we eat in here it doesn’t feel like we’re eating in a mudroom.

mudroom after 7

We had the original sliders replaced with french doors. This room is our main entrance / exit on a daily basis and, for us, the doors are easier to open and close. Not to mention, they look better.

mudroom after 8

A small bench just inside the door gives the kids a place to put on / remove their shoes. A felt basket and a trio of hooks corral shoes, bags, jackets, backpacks and hats. We try to keep only the items we’re currently wearing or using out in the open. The rest is stashed in a wardrobe.

mudroom after 9

We nixed the laundry closet in favor of a laundry nook. (And the dryer now vents to the outside.) Discovering a recessed dryer vent box at Home Depot was like winning the lottery. It allows the dryer to hug the back wall. We built the wood countertop using boards we found in the attic during renovations. A small “lid” opens to reveal the washer controls and detergent dispenser. In a perfect world, I would have a dryer with a flat top and controls near the front so the countertop could extend all the way to the back wall. But I have never lived in a perfect world so until my current dryer konks out, I’m stuck with a raised control panel on the back of the dryer and, consequently, a tiered, shallow shelf above the countertop. For fun, we added a metal strip along the shelf to display family photos held in place by magnets.

Fabric panels hang from curtain wire to conceal the washer and dryer while still allowing easy access. I also keep a rolling cart and small ironing board hidden behind the curtains. Two upper cabinets hold laundry essentials, instruction manuals and lightbulbs. A leaning mirror bounces light around the dark corner.

The idea behind the laundry nook was that it could function as a serving area / bar when we entertain. I’d love for it to pull double duty as a dry bar someday. And who said doing laundry wasn’t fun?!

mudroom after 12

mudroom after 13

mudroom after 6

mudroom after 14

mudroom after 11

mudroom after 10

mudroom after 2

Admittedly, we eat most of our meals at the kitchen island but it’s nice having a designated dining table for special occasions and entertaining – even if, technically, it is in a mudroom. I never have liked formal dining rooms that are only used once or twice a year anyway. The small laundry nook forces me to fold and put away clean laundry as soon as it’s dry. That might seem like a disadvantage but it’s super effective and keeps me honest. This (unusual) setup totally works for our family and we’re happy we aren’t wasting money on unused space. It’s such a hardworking room!

Resources of note:

wainscoting & trim paint – Benjamin white dove, semigloss finish
wall paint – Ace Paints besalt mixed in the Clark + Kensington line, flat finish (I LOVE this paint.)
pendant – Crate & Barrel Hoyne pendant
pendant lightbulb – Bulbs.com
dining table – West Elm Boerum table in natural
succulent centerpiece – DIY
vintage kilim rug – etsy
tulip chairs – Overstock, reupholstered by Springboro Upholstery
wishbone chairs – Home Emporium
wardrobes – Pax units, Bergsbo doors; both from Ikea
hardware – Värde handles from Ikea, spray painted black
sconces – Jonathan Adler Havana wall sconce
woven shade – petite rustique from Overstock
wood bench – custom (I found the woodworker via craigslist.)
Hmong pillow – OrientalTribe11 on etsy
ochre throw – Target
sheepskin – Ikea
woven basket under bench – Wayfair
fauxdenza – DIY featuring Ikea’s Akurum wall cabinets
fauxdenza hardware – Home Depot
faux horns – Home Emporium
wood sculpture on fauxdenza – thrifted
white picture frames – Ikea
metal picture frames – West Elm
wood picture frames – Target
art – various DIY, Clare Elsaesser, Amelia Kay (The baby pointillism piece is Steve’s work.)
saddler bench – Wayfair
wall hooks – Home Depot
felt basket – Target
laundry cabinets – Ikea Lidingö wall cabinets
laundry countertop – DIY
magnetic strip – Home Depot
laundry nook mirror – Feiss Cleo mirror via Wayfair
curtain wire – Ikea
curtains – Ikea Aina panels, hemmed to size

If you feel like reading more about this multipurpose room, here are a bunch of links documenting its evolution:

MUDROOM RENOVATION

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/09/13/behind-the-walls-i-mean-scenes/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/10/07/mudroomdining-room-flooring/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/05/11/planking-in-the-mudroom/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/11/05/honest-mondays-repainting/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/02/10/our-biggest-renovation-regret/

ORGANIZATION

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/05/22/storage-in-the-mudroom-laundry-nook/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/06/22/wardrobe-function/

*http://www.wayfair.com/IdeaLounge/Tips-for-Winterizing-the-Mudroom-E878

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/01/15/diy-fauxdenza/

*http://www.wayfair.com/IdeaLounge/Create-His-and-Her-Charging-Stations-E877

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/11/14/making-the-most-of-small-closets-mudroom-part-i/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/11/22/making-the-most-of-small-closets-mudroom-part-ii/

DECOR

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/11/09/stenciling-the-laundry-nook/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/12/27/updates/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/01/23/a-last-minute-gallery-wall/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/02/21/the-everything-room-repainted/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/02/28/a-mini-gallery/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/03/01/easy-frame-hanging-no-nails-or-tape-measure-required/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/09/25/dining-room-progress-plans/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/09/26/two-quick-easy-projects/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/16/for-herdog/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/23/wayfair-in-the-house-a-cozy-nook/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/29/new-art-a-lightbulb/

You can access this mudroom / dining room tour via the “See My House” link in the side bar along with a general house tour and tours of individual rooms. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.19.14 / Made Me Smile

covet garden home

How was your week friends? Ours was FULL. It was Steve’s first full week back to work after his appendectomy three weeks ago and somehow Layne contracted chicken pox. (?!) Luckily, it seems to be a mild case but it has limited what we can do. We spent most of our time hiking and enjoying the polar vortex. (Btw, polar vortex in March = no bueno. But polar vortex in July? Me gusta!) We also squeezed in time to work on the clubhouse. We should have it finished next week just in time for a sleepover before school starts back up. The new driveway is coming along nicely! As much as we enjoy a good DIY, it has been completely satisfying to watch someone else do the dirty work. I’ll post an update soon.

A few more things to enjoy this week…

*I’m devouring Covet Garden Home, a special print edition.

*Genevieve’s Renovation aired this week. Did you watch it? Our satellite is disconnected while the driveway is being excavated and poured so I wasn’t able to watch it but I’m dying to. I’ve always loved G’s style.

*No satellite = time to rent a movie. Steve and I finally watched Tiny. I think it deserves its own post.

*Loft love.

*House lift. Fascinating!!

*If I were in Boston, I’d be all over Robin Luciano Beaty’s solo exhibition.

*Origami in space.

effortless style in a beach house

*DwellStudio founder Christiane Lemieux shares her beach house and tips for effortless style. “At the end of the day, our interiors are just the canvas for great memories.” So true.

I hope you make a few memories this weekend. xo

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Jonny Valiant

engineer print trend 4

Framed engineer prints are everywhere. Have you seen them? I especially love the ones featured here, here and here. I had been looking for a large piece of artwork to hang in the boys’ room when it dawned on me that an engineer print might be the ticket.

I had taken a photo with my phone of Layne and Everett on our recent trip to Florida. They’re mid-air jumping into a pool and it just exudes BOY. I had the photo blown up into a 2′ x 3′ black and white engineer print at Staples. (I quickly ordered the print online.) One day and $3 later, I had the print in hand. Since the print was so inexpensive, I “splurged” on a wood poster frame.

The print isn’t the highest quality and the paper is thin but for $3 I wasn’t expecting perfection. Also, the image doesn’t fill out the entire 3′ length – it’s more like 32″. This probably has something to do with the fact that I took the photo using the VSCO app. I might DIY a mat but next time I want the image to fill the entire frame. The frame itself is nice for a poster frame. The wood gives it a more expensive look and the facing is acrylic (not glass) which is ideal for a kids’ room.

engineer print trend 3

Layne and Everett LOVE it and that’s all that matters anyway. The plan is to switch out the print for a current photo of the boys each year. I really like the idea of this being a feature that evolves as the boys grow. And at $3 per print, we can afford to change the imagery whenever boredom strikes.

Have you tried enlarging a candid photo into an engineer print yet? It’s so easy and inexpensive and instantly adds personality to any space.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

I get a surprising number of emails asking whether or not I use rug pads or non-slip rug grippers. Up until a few weeks ago, the answer was no. I’ve never liked cushy rug pads for the sake of padding alone. For me, they make vacuuming more difficult and I feel like they’re just one more thing to collect and hold dust. And the good ones are expensive!

As far as non-slip pads go, most of the larger area rugs in my home either have a built-in, non-slip backing (living room sisal, boys’ Flor tiles) or are anchored by such substantial pieces of furniture (dining room kilim, master bedroom jute) which render rugs pads unnecessary. The shag rug in the living room is layered over sisal which has a textured surface that holds the shag rug in place. The cotton and jute rug in Mabrey’s room rests directly on the wood floor. When I first bought the nursery rug, I was sure we would need a pad of some sort to keep it from shifting so I was happy to discover that it stays put. I think it’s because the room is so small and doesn’t see a ton of foot traffic. The 4′ x 6′ sisal in the entry has a built-in, non-slip backing.

entry and kitchen rug  HouseTweaking

I don’t use a pad / gripper under the kilim near the kitchen desk – nor under the Persian rug near the kitchen sink. The kitchen is a high traffic, high mess area so I’m frequently taking the rugs outside to shake out crumbs and dirt. A gripper would keep them from shifting but I don’t want them stuck to the floor. I tried the cheap mesh grippers that you can cut to size but found them completely useless. They bunched up and only stuck to themselves. If we had elderly people in our household then I would consider anchoring the rugs properly (or forgoing them all together) but we don’t find them to be tripping hazards. We’re all subconsciously aware that they’re here, I guess.

The only rug that has given us problems is the seagrass runner in the hallway. (Btw, do you call it a hall or a hallway?) It has a cloth backing and due to all the traffic it sees, it shifted easily. I was constantly repositioning it and, more than once, it posed a tripping / falling hazard. Since the only functioning bathroom is the master, we and our guests have to walk down the hallway to use the restroom. Most OH SH@#! moments occurred as someone was exiting our bedroom and entering the hallway. I called it rug surfing. Fearing someone would inevitably experience a full on wipeout, I finally bought some gripper tape to keep the rug in place.

rug gripper 1

After measuring my runner, I bought two boxes of rug gripper.

rug gripper 2

I removed the runner from the hallway. I vacuumed the floor then wiped it down thoroughly with Bona and a microfiber cloth to ensure the gripper tape would have a clean surface to adhere to.

rug gripper 3

While the floor was drying, I vacuumed the underside of the runner. Preparing clean surfaces for the gripper tape is essential.

rug gripper 4

I applied the gripper tape around the perimeter of the (backside of the) rug then ran an extra line down the middle for added adhesion. This used up the majority of the two boxes of tape.

rug gripper 5

I removed the yellow backing from the tape then carefully put the runner in place and walked around on it to press the tape to the floor. Easy!

The rug has been in place with the aide of the gripper tape for over a month now. It hasn’t budged. Not even with kids running wild and weekly vacuuming. If you’re curious, I vacuum the rug weekly and use an attachment tool to vacuum the narrow space between the rug’s border and baseboards.

While we’ve had great success with the tape, the reviews are all over the place and, from what I can tell, results vary depending on the type of flooring and rug. It doesn’t look like it works well on carpet or on rugs with highly textured backing. But with our wood floors and fairly smooth cloth backing? Two thumbs up. Even so, I expect the tape will need to be replaced at some point in the future. But if it keeps people from wiping out in the hallway then I’m all for it. (FYI – I used this same rug tape in our previous home under a small rug in the entry. We had hardwood flooring in the entry. When we were preparing to move, I took up the rug and tape and there were a few sticky spots of residual adhesive but they cleaned up with a little Murphy’s oil soap and elbow grease. There was no damage to the wood floors.)

What about you? Are rug pads / gripper tape necessary in your home? Is there a particular pad you would recommend? Oh! In case you’re wondering, the seagrass runner is from Overstock. I love the texture it brings to the bland hallway. I can’t wait to add art to the walls.

P.S. – See who won the ShoeMint giveaway here. I added sources for my entire outfit since so many of you asked.