Before and After: A Designer Turns a Cluttered Catchall into a Pretty, Practical Mudroom Using IKEA Cabinetry
A dedicated mudroom may seem like a luxury, but when you’re lucky enough to have one, it’s crucial to make sure your setup is working for—not against—you. That’s exactly why designer Gina Gutierrez of Gina Rachelle Design was brought on to tackle the California space seen here. Prior to her firm’s involvement, the mudroom had off-white, textured walls and a dated orange-and-yellow linoleum floor that just didn’t jibe with the rest of the modern, Spanish style house. “With a bookshelf and a few Eames chairs lining the wall, the room started to fill up with books, jackets, and shoes with no particular order,” says Gutierrez. “It was a space that had a lot of potential, but the homeowners needed help with the overall vision.”
Gutierrez’s clients, a couple with a baby on the way, did have a clear sense of what they wanted out of this room though: all the storage they could get. With the kitchen nearby, they were hoping to create a spot for overflow appliances like their espresso machine, a juicer, and, if possible, a second sink for washing all the baby bottles in their future. Other requests also included shelving for their large cookbook collection, which was currently occupying space on a clunky bookshelf, plus a place to sit and put on shoes.
As far as design style goes, the inspiration behind the project was California modern meets the great outdoors. “They were dreaming about a neutral palette with pops of color, specifically grays, light pink, sage greens, and navy,” says Gutierrez. To let light flood into the space and highlight the view of their backyard, the couple decided to forgo both curtains and blinds. After taking down the window hardware they wouldn’t need, they hired help to smooth out the textured walls. Then came the spatial planning; Gutierrez recommended keeping the footprint the same but bringing in a mix of cabinetry, cubbies, and shelving, all placed on the perimeter of the room, to keep things open and functional.
For fixtures and finishes, Gutierrez suggested a few smart design choices to get a high-end look for less. Rather than spring for custom cabinetry, they opted for an equally stylish alternative with IKEA cupboards and Semihandmade Shaker-style doors in light gray on two of the room’s walls. A small apron front kitchen sink, also from IKEA, was placed on the shorter wall for easy access to the plumbing without moving lines.
To address putting on and storing footwear, Gutierrez commissioned a custom L-shaped bench (directly opposite of the short wall) that starts at the edge of the longer wall’s cabinets and has a hidden storage component in its corner for odds and ends like gardening tools and dog toys. “As the bench continues to wrap around, we created cubbies for baskets and go-to shoes,” says Gutierrez.
The storage didn’t stop there either. Vertical space was also tactfully used. Floating shelves above the sink provide a perch for decorative accessories, while a custom shelf above the windows spans the perimeter of two of the room’s walls for all of the homeowners’ books.
The couple splurged on Clé hex cement tile for the floors in a gorgeous sage green that sets the tone for the whole space and should patina nicely over the years. “It brings the outdoors in, creating a bright, airy, and natural space,” says Gutierrez. “Other finishes we love that helped pull the space together included a porcelain countertop from Integrated Resources, Semihandmade floating shelves in maple, Delta’s Trinsic faucet in matte black, and a mid-century modern sconce by Cedar and Moss.” Brass knobs and brass pulls from Schoolhouse Electric further personalized the cabinetry and shine like jewelry in the space, echoing the finish of the simple but pretty Sputnik chandelier overhead.
Now the mudroom’s an organized offshoot of the kitchen that’s also the perfect drop zone for entering and exiting into the home. Even better, with this new purposeful layout, there’s enough room for the couple to grow into the space, whether it’s their cookbook collection—or family—that’s expanding.