Mud room has its pros and cons

Design Line

June 22, 2008|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Tribune Media Services

We recently bought an old house in the country that needs some serious renovations. Among its charms is a large eat-in kitchen with a rustic look that we'd like to retain. There's no attached mud room, but there is a sizable closet right next to the back door that leads directly into the kitchen. Although the closet has a brick floor, it's not in very good condition otherwise. Can you help us decide what to do about storage space for boots, coats and hats?

Storage areas such as closets and enclosed cabinets may seem ideal places for stowing all sorts of stuff. Their big advantage is that unused gear can be kept out of sight; the less obvious issue is that these repositories often become so cluttered that it takes forever to find a specific item.

The simplest solution would probably be to hang new shelves and a shoe rack in the closet. You can keep its door closed and focus on sprucing up the kitchen itself. Or, you could tear out the closet and go in the direction suggested by the accompanying photo, which comes from the Taunton Press book Decorating Ideas That Work.

In a country kitchen, it's perfectly appropriate to remove the door of a closet and integrate its storage function with the rest of the space. The result will be an alcove in which you could install a bench with storage bins for boots built in beneath the cushions. Hats and coats could be hung on a simple wood strip above the bench. I suggest that you seal and wax the part of the brick floor that will remain inside the reconfigured storage space, while replacing any segment of it that extends into the kitchen itself.

Rita St. Clair is a Baltimore-based interior designer. Readers with interior design questions can e-mail her at

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.