The absolute, very last ever post on the mudroom…maybe


Because it is finally finished. And I have to say this final bit was all Mr. H.C. The only share I had in this last wall was painting one coat of paint on the door.

There won’t be too many words about this, because words cannot describe how completely and utterly finished it looks.

Unfortunately photos can’t do it justice either. Because it is all painted in Sherwin Williams’ lovely creamy white color — Steamed Milk. The same color as the kitchen walls. The same color as the dining room walls. The same color as the living room walls. The same color as the ceiling in all those rooms as well. Yes, we like creamy white walls. And ceilings.

In my humble non-decorator-just-average-person opinion, creamy white walls make a humble cottage look bigger, lighter and brighter, and just all-around more cheerful. And anyone who saw the cottage before, with its orange walls and wallpaper and 70s dark paneling would agree.

So without further ado, here are some befores, durings, and afters of our finally-finished-after-five-years mudroom entry to Apple Hill Cottage. (Trumpet sounds here…)

One can see that it is so new, there isn’t even any art on the walls.

This gallery below shows the progression of the outside wall of the mudroom — from the initial window, cedar shake walls, and plastic ceiling — to what it looks like now:

The next gallery of photos shows the progression of the second wall:

The floor has been done for a couple of years, but it still merits a before and after photo shoot:

The finishing of this room took so long because an exterior roof was necessary before the interior ceiling could be installed. Since the roof was finished this past summer, this winter we were able to proceed with the ceiling:

The last wall to be finished (February/March, 2017) was the wall with the most issues. There is an electric panel two feet from the wood stove; there were wires traveling the whole length of the wall that hooked into the electric panel; and this wall was also the orginal entry into the kitchen before the mudroom was enclosed and was just a porch. When we took off the cedar shakes, the wall was down to its original siding and it wasn’t pretty:

These photos below show the electric panel side of the doorway:

The sliding door that covers the electric panel is made from concrete board and trimmed with wood grain concrete board so it mimics the other interior doors in the cottage, but it is safe for being next to the wood stove. It hangs from the ceiling with pocket door hardware.

One of the best things about having the mudroom finished is that now the doorway into the kitchen is finished as well. In the last post on the mudroom,  I showed you the photo on the left. Now the far right is the finished picture.

Five rooms down, two to go. Three if you count the back porch; four if you count the laundry room.

But who’s counting?

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:


42. Tackling the mudroom

This wonderful warm weekend I discovered that it’s not just the sun I miss during winter; I also miss being outside without coat, hat, mittens, and boots!

Wait! What’s that yellow glow? It’s the Sun!

It was really warm this weekend. Like 65 degrees warm! The sun was out occasionally, peeking through the clouds, but mostly it was gray. I didn’t mind. We turned the heat off in the cottage, and opened the doors. Henry went in and out and was happy. I went in and out and was happy. We even had a bonfire on Saturday night (just a small one) and it was warm enough to stand outside next to it WITHOUT jackets! Mother Earth Farm –the garden center next to the cottage (How wonderful is that statement!) has the countdown on their sign — 10 weeks until spring!Bonfire in January
Mr. H.C. was rebuilding the last window down in his workshop (and kind of grouchy about it) so I was on my own. But he actually gave me permission to start destroying the mudroom. Demo, as it is known in the trades, is a blast, and usually he gets to do it; but with the door open, and my crowbar in hand, I started taking off the cedar shakes that are were the “walls” of the mudroom. (Probably he was grouchy because he wasn’t wielding the crowbar!)

One of the mudroom walls covered in cedar shakes

One of the mudroom walls covered in cedar shakes

I know you are going to ask why we would begin messing up ANOTHER room in the cottage before we are even half-finished with the kitchen… Well, you see, the mudroom is attached to the kitchen. In fact, it is the Entryway to the kitchen. And the doors that we are going to put between the two rooms have to go in NEXT. So the doorway/wall between the rooms had to be taken down, so we can rebuild it to fit our new beautiful French doors that we got for $70 last fall. (You can see them  here in post 16. The Color of Apples .) They aren’t quite the same size as the old sliding glass doors, so building the frame for these doors is the next project.

Let me tell you — taking down and rebuilding is a S-L-O-W process! It took me all day and I didn’t quite get all the shakes off. I was trying to be careful because we might want to reuse them for something. Don’t you think a chicken coop sided in natural cedar shakes would be poulet heaven?

I found this rustic chicken coop sided in cedar shakes at I fell in love with it and even pinned it to one of my pinterest boards.

I found this rustic chicken coop sided in cedar shakes at
I fell in love with it and even pinned it to one of my pinterest boards.

20130112-232710.jpgAfter Mr. H.C. primed the last window, he came up to help. His mood visibly improved once I shared my crowbars. I understand. Windows have gotten me in a funk before as well. (See post 29. Being Thankful for Failure Takes a Better Man than I.)

The downside of the warm weather and demo-ing a mudroom were ladybugs and stink bugs. They were everywhere. Behind the cedar, under the cedar, in groups, single, falling from the ceiling, crawling on the floor… We thought it was just because we were taking off old cedar that had been there for thirty years, but it turns out this warm weekend brought out the stinkbugs in Everyone’s houses, not just ours. We ended the satisfying weekend with only two splinters, several boxes of acceptable-to-reuse cedar shakes, and almost-bare mudroom walls.

Yep, the walls ain’t pretty!

On to Door #2!