Before and After: From Cramped Laundry Room to Super-Functional Entryway
A little creative re-working can go a long way in making your home more efficient and practical for your life. Jess Gassaway of The Brain and the Brawn can attest. When she bought her 1980s house, the laundry room—situated right inside the door to the garage—felt too cramped to be useful. Since it was in the main entryway for her family, it got a lot of traffic in and out. And, Jess says, “Add in the larger modern washer and dryer, and it was nearly impossible to move around in there and do laundry.”
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“Everyone needs a good drop space for when they come home, plus a good place to sit and put on and take off your shoes,” Jess says, and the family lacked that with the current setup. “After some brainstorming our options, we realized we could flip our laundry room onto the other side of the wall—a spare bedroom—and that would enable us to make the old laundry room into our mudroom.”
Jess started by demolishing the existing laundry room and moving the washer and dryer, then allowed a smart “in-between” phase where the family could test out a temporary mudroom. She installed temporary hooks on the wall and moved in a chair so everyone could try out the space and see if they really liked the design before it came to building and installation.
The test phase was a success, so Jess had a contractor create new built-ins from white MDF that included shoe storage, a bench, drawers, hooks, and room for lots of baskets. One side of the room features an adult-height bench and shoe cubbies, while the other features a lower kid-friendly bench for slipping on shoes. “The kid bench has probably been the number one used spot in this mudroom!” Jess says.
The project cost about $4000 for the materials and labor—money that was well spent. “We love having a place where we can sit and put on shoes, as well as all the storage baskets,” Jess says.
Having a trial period was vital in making a room they all loved, so Jess advises to do the same in your own space whenever possible. “We figured out so many things we liked and didn’t like through that process, and so I think that’s one reason we’re so pleased with how the final mudroom has worked out in real life,” Jess says.
Inspired? Submit your own project here.