Before and After: Mudroom Renovation

By+Shelly M. Kurz

Backpacks. Coats and boots. Sports equipment.  This is the stuff of life.  It accumulates at your back door, if you’re a busy family with children. But for Kristen and Mike Morin and their six children, the clutter was becoming a particular problem due to a very narrow entryway. This narrow space also served as their mudroom and laundry room with a washer and dryer. “In the winter, the first person going in would take off their boots, and the others would have to wait outside,” says Kristen.  “There was just no place for all this stuff to go.’’ What were they going to do? Their answer:  A very large mudroom, with custom-made cabinets, shelves and cubby holes for each child,  plus plenty of space to do the 17 loads of laundry for children ranging in age from 2 to 13. The bright, new mudroom also opens up into the spacious kitchen through French doors. But if company comes, Kristen can still close it off by shutting the doors, which can be curtained. The South Bend couple hired Peacock and Company to design and construct the new 14-foot by 20-foot mudroom, keeping the original back door from the garage. Discussions began in April and construction began in May.  The project took about five weeks to complete. Peacock had to take out one of the walls from the former narrow entryway to open up the space, and tear out a hot tub in the adjoining room.  A skylight over the hot tub was also replaced with solid ceiling. “The hot tub was broken anyway, and we didn’t use it,” says Kristen.  “It was becoming a hazard when other families would visit because all the kids would crawl across it.  The skylight leaked, too.” Tearing all this out and opening up the space seemed like a daunting task but she found Scott Peacock to be very flexible and understanding. “He listened to what I was trying to accomplish, and he came up with his own ideas about how to help out with that,” says Kristen. “There were things that we changed, too, even after demolition began.  After the wall came down, I decided that I wanted to keep the vaulted ceiling that had been in the hot tub room, instead of making the ceiling all flat, which was the original idea. “He was also very thorough, and always checking on us to make sure that everything was clean and swept after the day’s (construction) work, so that the place was still liveable. “Sometimes, he was here until 8 or 9 at night, to accommodate us since both my husband and I work.’’ The biggest challenge for Peacock was replacing supports for the load-bearing wall that was taken out.  He accomplished that by building supports into the ceiling.  “This is the stuff I like doing,” says Peacock. “Good, structural engineering things that some people may view as impossible to do.  The beams that carry the load aren’t exposed, so you’d never even know there was a challenge about it.’’ The cabinetry was built in Peacock’s woodshop, with the children’s growth in mind.  Each child now has an adult-sized open locker with hooks.  A cubbyhole at the bottom of each locker holds their shoes or boots. Shelves in the middle will be used for baskets to hold schoolwork. “Before I had this, I would keep everything they did in school,” says Kristen. “But it was an all-day project deciding what to keep.  Now their schoolwork goes into their basket, and in a special place so I can go through it more regularly,” says Kristen. For busy families with lots of stuff, an efficient mudroom keeps life organized so belongings can be found quickly as people go off to work or school. “There’s a lot of interest in mudrooms right now,” says Peacock. “People with kids love to have things organized.  And this mudroom is primo.  It’s the best.”