83. The Mudroom Demolition

The mudroom has some problems. Even its name assumes trouble — Mud Room.

But let’s not sugar coat it, or white wash it; it is the entryway into our beautiful kitchen from the muddy outdoors. No just walking inside from a warm garage — this here’s the country! And for most traditional houses, the mudroom is not the main entry into the house, but guess what readers? The cottage is not the traditional house…

Mudroom, Before

This is just one short five foot wall on the left side of the entry way into the kitchen. It just about shows perfectly the hodge podge that the mudroom is…The gray shadow on the siding also showed us where the original door was.

The mudroom was originally the front porch to the cottage; when Joe and Clara renovated in the seventies, they enclosed it. But being a lowly front porch, the concrete floor is on, well, the ground — no footers, no basement, maybe some gravel, although that’s doubtful. So the concrete floor has some serious cracks. No Problemo! We just put down some rebar, pour some concrete, smear on floor leveler, and tile over it!  :-)

Joe and Clara used cedar shakes to cover the walls. This means that under the cedar was a mishmash of old siding, holes where doors used to be, holes where an air conditioner used to be, and just plain holes. On the plus side, we now have six boxes of cedar shakes just itching to be a glamorous cedar chicken coop!

Did I mention that the electric panel box is out there too? Joe ingeniously made a hidden door of cedar shakes to cover the box and all the wires, but now that we’ve taken off the shakes, there is just an ugly plywood door that isn’t acceptable for much of anything. Well, maybe for a glamorous chicken coop…

The ceiling was plastic vinyl wainscot panels that Mr. H.C. made short work of taking down. Clara put twenty dozen hooks in the ceiling and hung her baskets from the ceiling. It had a certain charm, but I was always afraid a bird or a squirrel would jump out from one of those baskets and land on my head…

The front wall under the window is a mixture of concrete block and bricks. It is the back wall of the brick planter that is out front. I planted some test flowers in it this spring, completely sure they would die and I could say, “See, nothing will grow here. It doesn’t get sun, it doesn’t get water. Let’s take it out.” And of course, the white impatiens and red coleus thrived. (We did have a wet summer…) So the planter is staying for now. Oh, and there is a chimney. It takes up one corner, and it looks like someone who didn’t know how to mortar bricks together did the mortar job. Probably my grandfather…

We have big plans for this small, narrow room: a wood stove on an elevated platform, a rocking chair, French doors that will lead you into the kitchen, and this lovely DIY combo of bench and coat rack. We already have the floor tile and the French doors; we purchased them both eons ago at Habitat for Humanity Restores. The wood stove will be coming down from our city house basement; the ceiling will be the same beadboard as in the kitchen. But first things first:


13 thoughts on “83. The Mudroom Demolition

  1. Ah, the joys of working on an old house! Never know what one will find. When we move in to our house (circa 1908) it still had the original knob and tube wiring which had been “modified” over the years. I got shocked more than once working on circuits that had been switched off. Our old house has been completely rewired. Plumbing was the next big adventure. Then the drain lines from all locations out to the main sewer line. On this one I discovered a broken pipe from a plumber who cleared the sewer line at some point. Let’s just say the soil in this area was… um…well satuated with…well…sewage. Lovely project. I use to dislike replacing wax seals on toilets but after that job…not so bad.


    • While we don’t have knob and tube wiring; we have Joe’s Electric. Joe was Mr. H.C’s dad, and he didn’t believe in ground wires…so we are rewiring each room as we do it, and we got a new panel box at the very beginning of the whole project. I don’t pretend to know a thing about wiring. I just put on and take off outlet covers. But yes, one never knows what will actually show up during renovation! It certainly keeps things from being boring! Give me an old house any day…


      • We love our old house. It has all of its original features. We have attempted to do each renovation with the houses character in mind. The city has worked with me by “ignoring” modern code requirement in the interest of historical accuracy. It is just six blocks to our downtown where there are many excellent restaurants. Our valley is actually the oldest wine growing region in California (all the tourist go to the Napa Valley). This past weekend we had a huge car show that closed down all the downtown streets. I worked as a volunteer and enjoyed the opportunity to watch people and look at a few cars. I see us as care takers of our old house.


        • Yes, I’ve seen a photo of your beautiful bungalow.
          Ours is just a little cottage built in the 40s in no particular style, but we’re still trying to keep it true to the decade–or at least at much as we can. It’s hard because it was redone in the seventies — ugh — so we’re trying to take it back. But we just caved and bought a window from Home Depot for the mudroom. We’ve been searching the Restores for a year and a half and just couldn’t find the right size. And Now, it’s Time to put it in, so I relented. I hope it won’t look too terrible…


  2. Our mudroom is also our main entry, so my biggest challenge has been making it pretty and presentable, but also super functional. I find living in the country a mudroom is absolutely essential. Even if it’s not muddy, dirt, gravel, leaves, grass still track in so easily. I need an intermediary location between outdoors and indoors where the wild detritus can live.


    • Yes — lawn clippings! It drives me crazy to see grass on my beautiful new kitchen floor! :-) And we don’t even have the chickens yet!!!
      We do have a side entry that goes into a split level basement, so we are trying to train ourselves to use it when we can. But right now it is filled with paint cans and renovation materials, so…
      I’m sure that will be my biggest challenge as well — keeping it pretty while still functional. Have you noticed all the mudrooms in the decorating magazines are white? Hmm…
      Thanks for stopping by! I will visit you as well.


      • I’ve found that flooring at least that’s mud-coloured is helpful. As well, since it’s the main entrance, closed storage so that I can tuck things away and not have to look at them. Open hooks are super convenient, but not always the most attractive.


    • Oh Thank you! But it’s not built yet….
      And see the comment about hooks not being the most attractive? I’ve been thinking about that! Notice how all the hooks you see in magazine mudrooms are empty???


  3. Pingback: 4 Tips On Giving Your Mudroom A Makeover, by Steph Noble, Northwest Mortgage Group | Oregon Real Estate Round Table

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