Here is one of the ways I am trying to achieve this (hopefully not impossible) dream!
There is a dirty zone and a clean zone. The dirty zone, our mud room, has everything a dirty adult or child would need to access. The mud room is rather large as mud rooms go. It is separated from the “clean zone” ie. the rest of the house, by a door. Ah, the door. That wonderful visual reminder that says, “NO, you may not come in here looking like that.”
There are two other doors in the mud room that lead to the outside…two different sides of the house. Why two? Because we humans can be pretty lazy and tend to go in the door closest to us. Even if it is not the mud room door…AND we have muddy feet. So to accommodate laziness, there are two doors.
The mud room is equipped with a small bathroom. No need to come in the main house when you gotta go so badly you can’t stop to take your shoes off, or your dripping wet from a hose fight, or plastered with grass clippings from use of the weed whacker.
The mud room also has a utility sink and countertop for all those messy projects…cleaning paintbrushes, potting plants, washing muddy hands or caked baseball cleats, or even wonderful art projects.
There are cabinets galore to hold all the sports and beach equipment that tends to be full of hidden sand or dirt, cleaning supplies, shoes, winter gear, biking gear and tools. No need to keep those things in your room or the attic. There is a long bench for sitting to take off shoes and boots and is long enough to accommodate several kids after a few hours of sledding in the park.
The mud room is also home to the dog and all of his necessities. This is where he gets fed and watered. He has a bed in the mud room to access from his dog door. The door to the rest of the house can stay closed and keep him contained when we need him to be….still with access to a nice warm house but not able to track muddy paws up on the couch to take a nap. I want my dog to have indoor/outdoor access when he wants it…I just don’t want to clean up after him. And I know my life will always be full of dogs.
The mud room is where the trash and recycling go out the door. It is also where the groceries from the car get unloaded while it’s raining.
The finishes are all rugged and easy to clean. No ridges or bumpy surfaces that hold dirt. Just smooth surfaces. The cabinets are easy to wipe off. Did I mention the door to the rest of the house?
So, whereas mud rooms in many houses occupy maybe a four foot by six foot space mostly taken up by the swing of the door, I am declaring the mud room ELEVATED in importance. Perhaps to the top of the list. In exchange, I anticipate less carpet cleaning, less sweeping, less “reminding” to take off shoes, less yelling, less chasing children back outside followed by a trail of mud, less dirty paw prints on my comforter, less frustration….and more peace. I hope to achieve this…through this intentional design process. For me, it’s how I “long” to live.