When kitchen and bath designer Liz Schupanitz  started working on designs for Ann Johnston’s home, they were focused on the kitchen. Schupanitz, a Plymouth resident, recommended redesigning the mudroom, but it wasn’t until the project was underway that Johnston decided she really needed a mudroom plan.
The resulting remodel won the American Society of Interior Designers’ first place award for special purpose spaces, as well as a second place award from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Johnston was very happy with her redesigned room. The cabinetry and colors match the custom colors in the kitchen, and it “flows nicely and feels like it was all done purposefully,” Johnston says, even though Schupanitz had just a few weeks to come up with the designs.
With clean lines, elegant cabinetry, white wood and blue-gray walls, the mudroom and kitchen share a “new traditional” style where simplicity meets utility. In the past, Johnston says, the mudroom felt like a hallway. There was a closet, but no place to sit and remove boots; shoes got thrown into a heap in the walkway. Now the same space feels bigger and includes a bench, as well as a large armoire with drawers for shoes, cubbies for smaller things, and five big J-hooks for coats and purses. The hooks are noteworthy — both Johnston and Schupanitz are enthusiastic about them. “You can hang four coats on one hook,” Johnston says. Schupanitz calls the hooks “phenomenal.”
A redesign that turns a walkway into a proper room means big changes. Besides replacing one door with a window and replacing a closet with an armoire, they added the bench, and also moved the door that leads to the kitchen. The result is a more functional space with improved traffic flow. The new cabinetry keeps any mess contained, and the changes help keep the laundry from migrating out of the adjoining laundry room. While there’s about the same amount of storage space as before, the finished product is more accessible and easier to organize, not to mention offering a sophisticated look.
When it comes to restyling existing mudrooms, there are some simple things homeowners can do to make them more organized and functional. A bench is really helpful in Minnesota because it makes taking boots on and off easier, Schupanitz says. Although she couldn’t add storage to the bench in this project due to a large heat vent, she likes that benches can often double as a place to stow large or out-of-season items.
Another tip Schupanitz offers, particularly for families with several children, is to designate a specific hook for each child, maybe with their name or a letter above it. This can keep some of the family’s outdoor gear contained and organized. For organizing small items such as hats and gloves, designating a whole basket or drawer for each person is ideal. And Schupanitz points out that since a mudroom takes a lot of abuse, a tile floor is more durable than wood. If a mudroom has a wood floor already, homeowners can use area rugs and boot trays during the snowy and muddy seasons.