Yvonne Blacker: Getting Out the Door

July 31, 2012

In order to get up and go with the least amount of effort, a well-organized exit strategy is a must. Whether your living space has a large foyer or a small entryway, there are some key design elements that will help ease the transition from “I’m home” to “I’m going out.”

My mudroom must-haves: bench with storage, key rack, chalkboard, family photos, coat rack and a touch of whimsy. Photos courtesy of Yvonne Blacker unless otherwise noted. Collage above designed on Polyvore.com.

I recently took on this design challenge in a space I created for the North Shore Design Show at the Wenham Museum. My vignette featured a mudroom staged for a young family. In just an 8 ft. x 8 ft. space I was able to showcase a lot of storage ideas designed to contain everyday clutter while still saying “welcome home.” One of my favorite elements was the six cubby storage unit from Circle Furniture. Even in a small entryway, this type of piece would work well to organize items needed for outside activities while serving as the keeper of daily essentials like keys and sunglasses. Bonus: it’s available in dozens of colors.

Mudroom designed for the North Shore Design Show at the Wenham Museum. Photo by Michael J. Lee Photography

While my design show space had to be easily assembled on-site and just as quickly deconstructed after the show ended, my goal was to offer an “I can do this myself” solution that mimicked the look of a mudroom equipped with custom built-ins. This space by Howell Custom Building Group, below, is around the same size as my design show vignette. It, too, has a place to sit while putting on shoes, well-placed hooks for coats and hats, baskets to contain clutter and shelves for additional storage. Also important in a mudroom is a floor that can withstand a lot of foot traffic. My mudroom space already had a wooden floor while this space is tiled for extra resilience to water, dirt, sand or mud.

Photo by Greg Premru

In this large mudroom in the home of one of my decorating clients, a traditional braided area rug softens the look of the ceramic floor tile while providing maximum square footage for foot wiping.

Across from the cubbies, a family command center was created by their carpenter, Dennis Sullivan of D.A. Sullivan &  Sons. I love how this built-in wall unit has a place for everything including family photos, a cork board to pin notes and school papers, a chalkboard for messages, a place to organize mail and even a bit of bench seating.

By adding some vintage elements like the blue velvet-covered carriage seat, this space is both functional and conversational.

If you only have a small area at your entrance way, similar results can be achieved. The key is to utilize vertical space.

Photo courtesy Weaver Brothers of Lynnfield

If you prefer not to see the contents of your mudroom, a standard coat closet can still do the trick. For this room, I chose paint colors straight from nature for the walls, doors and trimwork. Green is known for being a calming color, making it ideal for a mudroom, which can often be a hectic spot at the beginning or end of each day. My client reclaimed a church pew as her seating area and then tucked beneath it a number of boot trays to keep the space tidy.

If a non-traditional look is more of what you are after, this locker-style metal console designed by Doug Meyer of Rustbelt Rebirth would certainly add a retro vibe to any entryway.

Photo courtesy of Rustbelt Rebirth

Pair it with some funky wall-hung cubes for storage, like this “Shift” wall system by Doban Architecture

…and a cool place to hang your shades.

Board by Design: I Wear Rack sunglass holder on display at the Architectural Digest Home Show

Grab-and-go sunglasses and scarf holder is placed by a one-last-check full-length mirror at the exit door to this home’s garage. Space designed by Linda Hentschel of Renaissance Interiors.

Whichever design direction you take your mudroom or entryway, be sure that it reflects your own personal sense of style.

In the end, it’s all about having a place to hang your hat. You might as well make that place be a pretty one.

To see more of the Modern Family Mudroom that I designed for the North Shore Design Show, visit my blog Design Vignettes.

–Yvonne Blacker

As an interior decorator and color consultant, Yvonne Blacker coaches her clients on how to make design decisions with confidence. She shares design related stories on her blog, Design Vignettes as well as on the pages of New England Finery Magazine. She also works for the Designer Bath showroom in Beverly, Massachusetts as their marketing director. Check out her interior plus fashion-related designed sets on Polyvore.