Northshore Magazine

January/February 2013

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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ne Home improvements Mudroom Madness Making room for life���s comings and goings is a serious challenge, but a savvy remodeling company has some ideas for how to keep the mess to a minimum. when it comes to remodeling projects, Before Organized Chaos Howell, top, and before and after shots of a client���s mudroom. After Cubbie Corner Homeowners with kids can use cubbies for hanging jackets and tucking away backpacks and schoolwork. On the Bench Benches are often stationed for putting on or taking off shoes and commonly include additional storage space. Closet Case At least one closet is usually present in which things can be stored while being kept hidden from view. Drop Box A place to stash mail, packages, and miscellaneous items is desirable. Charging Station A charging station for cell phones and laptops. This is a more modern use for a mudroom. Pet Stop A place to store pets��� leashes, food, toys, beds, and other supplies. Recognizing that the room���s dimensions may be a limiting factor, Howell encourages creativity and optimization. She suggests looking at the ���empty spaces��� for storage inspiration. The area beneath the stairs can be used to store pullout drawers, wall junctions can hold kitty-corner drawer units, and floor-to-ceiling surfaces lend themselves to fastened shelving. If designed well, Howell says, an effective mudroom is capable of evoking ���a feeling of a well-managed life.��� To that end, she says, ���What is really essential to a [successful] mudroom is knowing [its] demands before it���s even built.��� howellcustombuild.com ���Kiley Jacques Photos courtesy of Howell Custom Building Group the ���mudroom��� might not be the very first idea that comes to mind. It certainly isn���t the most glamorous prospect for home improvement, but as it turns out, it can be an incredibly gratifying place to begin. In fact, Susan Howell of Howell Custom Building Group says, ���At our company, we have a saying: ���It always starts with the mudroom.������ And it may very well be something to consider as winter stands at the door. Homeowners willing to get down and dirty in the mudroom should first compile a list of the things they���d like stored in the space. As Howell points out, ���Everything needs to have a place.��� Project doers should approach it with a clear ���vision��� of how the room will present, what functions it will serve, and how it will integrate with the home as a whole; uses of the space should be determined at the get-go. Is the aim to create an organized utility area? Is the room to be something of a foyer meant to make a favorable first impression? Or is the room intended to serve multiple purposes? In addition, does the space need to accommodate the family in the same capacity year-round, or should it be flexible and change with the seasons and offer alternate uses? Once the mudroom���s purpose has been determined, Howell suggests getting clear on how the functional aspects of the design will work with the demands of that space. She notes some characteristic ways in which mudrooms serve a household: 30 nshoremag.com January/February 2013 REV_NSJanFeb13_Home.indd 30 11/20/12 4:11 PM

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