As international design has an increasing influence on local design, the mud room is coming in from the cold.
Already a fixture in many American and European homes, the mud room is a space intended for removing coats, (muddy) shoes and anything else you don’t need before you enter the main part of the home. It’s a sensible way to keep the house clean, but also a convenient way to add storage.
Principal architect at Hobbs Jamieson Architecture, Adam Hobbs, says mud rooms are becoming popular with larger families.
“Traditional mud rooms are a little different to the quasi-mud room/storage space that we are seeing today,” Adam says. “They are part of a rural home tradition where you’d come off the land and dump your muddy boots and clothes.”
Although the concept of the mud room as a farm-only necessity has changed, its basic ideal has not.
“I recently worked on a home where we put in a mud room for a keen golfer. He could sit down, take off his dirty shoes and pack away his clubs,” Adam says. He says a traditional mud room will have its own entry.
“Ideally, it would be much like a service entry, where you would come in, take off your coat and leave your bags,” he says. “It would also have more robust finishes to the rest of the house, with tiling on the floor and durable joinery.”
Items that are top of the list for a mud room include storage boxes for school bags, coat racks, a seat to take off shoes and even storage for bikes.
Adam says if you’re near the beach, your mud room could also have a shower to wash off sand before you head inside.
Mud rooms can also be worked into a renovation, though it might need adapting.
“We are definitely seeing them in bigger renovations, but if you don’t have the space, then it can be combined with the laundry,” he says. “Those two spaces work well together.”
The Aussie mud room Director at The Little Design Corner, Clare Le Roy, says mud rooms can be flexible to service each family’s needs.
“I still find that clients will asks, ‘what is a mud room’, but once I explain it to them, they love the idea,” she says. In this era of decluttering, the mud room acts as a communal organisational space.
“I have a house full of boys, and even with my husband, it’s good to have somewhere specific for him to leave his wallet and keys,” Clare says. “Every family member has a shelf to put away their stuff.”
Clare says that if you are building a new house, then the mud room should be at the back. Otherwise, anywhere near the laundry is good too.
“If you can’t fit it into the house, then the garage or under the stairwell works well,” she says. “Aside from a bench seat, hooks and shelving, you’ll need power to charge a cordless vacuum or somewhere to charge the iPads, so they’re not sitting on the breakfast bar.”
Clare says a pin board with a timetable is good in this space so each family member knows where they need to be at any given time.
“It helps to keep everyone on track,” she says. “They can pack everything they need, like sports shoes or musical equipment, out of the mud room — and not in the bedroom.”
If you’re in the market for a project home and you’re keen on a mud room, you’re in luck. Fowler Homes managing director Frank Grippaudo says they are offering customers the opportunity to include a mud room in many of their designs.
“It’s a great optional extra for our clients and is something that is being requested more frequently,” he says.
Frank says it’s hard to showcase a mud room in a display home, as some buyers initially don’t understand it.
“The most logical location would be to position the mud room close to the garage,” he says. “It depends on the client’s needs and available space. Essentials would be hooks for hanging jackets and shelving.”