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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Mudroom Makeover

Sunday, April 26, 2015

And Spring cleaning continues at my house... 

Wait 'til you see my mudroom makeover! 
A catch-all mudroom is becoming an organized 
fun place to store tools, flower vases, over-sized pots, 
and vintage bits and pieces. 

While cleaning the mudroom, a makeover began taking place in my mind. 
Turn it into someplace to hold my favorite French wire basket, flower pots, 
a collection of vintage gardening tools, small construction tools, and vases. 

Turn it into a small attached 
indoor tool shed. 

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. 

The mudroom was truly built to be a mudroom. 
The front entry is small with the front door directly across from 
what was the back door when the house was built. 
Coming in the back door after working in the yard 
and garden brought all the mud and dirt right into the front entry. 
Not a pretty sight. 

We talked about needing a mudroom and one summer while I was 
chaperoning students for two weeks in France, 
my husband built the new mudroom. 
When I left for the trip, no mudroom; 
when I returned, there it was, a wonderful surprise, a new mudroom. 
At least there was an enclosed space with a brick floor. 
The new back door (it was new in the early 90s) matches the original back door 
so that light comes into the mudroom and on into the front entry. 

Whitewashed pine beadboard walls and ceiling were added right away. 
A small bench was built to use as a place to sit 
to take off muddy shoes before coming into the house. 
One small shelf was built about six feet from the floor 
so that people would not bump their heads while sitting on the bench. 

Over the years, the bench, shelf, and floor under the bench 
became a catch-all for the things that did not have a designated home. 
No before photos... 
Remember I had this brainstorm while cleaning. 

After removing everything and cleaning about two weeks ago, 
two new shelves were added between the original bench and top shelf. 
I whitewashed the new pine shelves and sealed them with clear polyurethane 
to try to match the existing wall and shelves. 

The original top space is roomy enough to hold large ceramic drink dispensers 
and a metal box to store unsightly items. 
The new shelf holds antique fruit jars and a bottle from a French flea market 
with plenty of room for a rustic bucket to hold flowers. 

The new large shelf, big enough to use as a work counter, was built at just 
the right height for me and with plans to keep it fairly uncluttered. 

The mudroom is a small space but with room for antique tools and bottles 
as well as the more utilitarian tools regularly used around the house.  
Rearranging already took place between photos. 

The space is smaller than many closets. 
There are 31" between the back door and the wall behind the shelves. 
The width of the shelves is 32". 
The smaller top shelves are about 11.75" deep, and 
the big counter height shelf and bench are 20.5" deep. 

This same look and design could be used to convert a closet 
into an inside tool/garden shed either with a solid door 
or with a door with divided glass panes. 

The original bench at the bottom is sturdy enough to hold large ceramic pots 
and metal bins for holding small construction and garden tools. 

Small shovels, forks, and gardening gloves fit into the ceramic pots. 

The old gardening fork came from Chipper's antique store in Alabama 
and the verdigris metal sprinkler parts are left over spare parts from 
a sprinkler system that was installed in the back yard. 

The top three cloths are bath cloth/dish cloth size and came from HomeGoods this spring. 
The four larger cloths are dish towel size and have been collected over the years. 
I can hardly pass up a periwinkle blue or lavender dish towel/cloth. 
100% cotton is one of the few prerequisites ~ along with pretty. 

Old metal tarnished a verdigris color is another weakness 
especially if it belonged to a loved family member as these two did.  
The odd-shaped tool has a flat-head screw driver at one end 
and two sizes of hex bolt dodads at the other end sticking out of the jar. 
Dodad is the name of a construction gadget, isn't it? 
This is the only one I've ever seen like this. 

A selfie! 

My husband used to laugh and to tell others that I wore matching 
outfits even to work in the yard and garden.  
True, my outfits do match. 
Of course, he was referring to matching blouses and pants, 
but when I noticed my blouse matched the dish towels and cloths, 
I had a laugh that my outfit matches what I'm working on. 

Marley has that, 
"I can't believe you actually let people see the mudroom," look. 
This is before he explored the cleaned room with the new shelves. 

The floor space under the bench is large enough for a plastic bucket, 
rubber boots, and for a shelf out of the refrigerator, 
one of those catch-all items that needs a different home. 

There is still more to do. 
Actually, there are a couple of things already in place not in these photos. 
In addition, I want to add some hooks to the wall above the new large shelf, 
hang some vintage gardening tools, to add new caulking, 
and to repair the back door. 
Then there's the other side of the room that needs rearranging. 
Spring cleaning and organization continues... 

I really like the mudroom as an inside tool/garden shed. 
Plus, it still functions as a mudroom from the backyard. 

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  1. Brilliant idea Judith! You have just the right space to do this. We love our home, but one this it is lacking is a mudroom, and we need it with our long and messy winters. You have just the right space for this, and to Frenchify it, it works! You would have loved the free home tours going on this weekend in the Twin Cities. We went yesterday, and the homes we saw....from cottages to homes to a 1906 mansion. The mudrooms, the kitchens, the exposed beams, the gorgeous renovations...all for free on a day to peruse the cities. LOVELY!

    I just love your blues and pine combinations. Bon dimanche! Anita

  2. You really do add beauty to whatever you are doing and even to a work space. I love your pretty shades of lavender! Enjoy your day my friend! Hugs, Diane

  3. Judith, I grew up with a true mud room that should have been called a spare room. It was so big running the length of the baxk side of the house and deep enough or a king size bed and everything you need but, no bed was ever placed in it, but it would have been a great day bed porch. It was wall 4" feet up siding on the attached house side and bead board over 2 hundred years old. Then old swing out windows that stayed there unti the passing of my grandfather 8 years ago. Washer and dryer out there, huge old headboard cabinte coat racks and a wash sink, and an old fridge. I loved entering the back side of the home which is the way everyone entered that was family parking garages was on the back side, only rare guest parked on the street and entered to the front door.
    So wish I could have brought that mud room with me from one home to another.

    This is why I feel you attachement to your perfect petite mud room and what a sweet one it is, as for the photo bombing your arm did to show the matching of linen colours? You made me smile.....I can tell you why! I have family and friends who always say! ..... "Do you ever wear anything that does not match your home?" Nope! I reply, well, maybe on a rare occation. I find that all my home town die heart shabby friends do the same, and the one friend who is cottage colour she is the only one who wears all her colour that matches her colourfull cottage. Love that your hubby feels you do the same thing.....we are our home, and our home is us :)

    Love, love, love your charming French home....I need to work on my kitchen closet for coats, I have been wanting to turn it into a pantry.

    See you and your beauty soon.


  4. I love this transformation! What a great space and all of your charming treasures are displayed -- such beauty!! Have a great evening Judith!

  5. Absolutely gorgeous, Judith! Such a fabulous little space. Jane

  6. Just popping in to say hello!
    I was a participant in a block link event on Friday. I couldn't be in blog land without a stop here.
    Your mudroom is wonderful. As always, you inspire projects and creativity all the way to 34th Street!

  7. You are so creative, such a great use of space!
    Thanks for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  8. You had me at the blue door and then I saw the blue floor - wonderful!

  9. What a fabulous space to have and I love how beautifully you have displayed your treasures.

  10. Oh, I love it! Along with all the pretties on the shelves. :)

  11. I absolutely adore this space. Fantastic idea. I would love it if you would share this fabulous post at our WIW Linky Party. Hope you can join us!


  12. hmmmmmmmm this is GREAT, and gives me an idea or three for an area in the edge of my garage. Now I just have to find some sort of filter for my dryer so that it doesn't spew lint all over the area!!
    Thank you for the great ideas!
    Be blessed,

  13. You've made a utilitarian space beautiful! Our laundry room is between the house and the garage so it really acts as the mudroom. It is not so beautiful -- guess I need to take a hint from you and make it beautiful as well as useful! It has great potential as one wall is shelves floor to ceiling. The other side holds the washer and dryer with built in cabinets above. That's the only space I've made pretty with my collection of old blue Ball canning jars, a copper wash boiler and an antique quilt top draped from inside the copper boiler. That side I like. The shelf side? Not so muich - it's just cluttered storage. There is an old washing fork and wash board on the wall and I do like those. As always, you have inspired me. Now if someone could motivate me! LOL


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