The Mudroom Laundry Room

Often a house's back door is the main door, and its vestibule the mudroom and makeshift laundry room where dirty footprints, drippy umbrellas, and cast-off clothing are on display for the homeowners and, even worse, their guests to see. Such was the case in this 19th-century farmstead in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where family members were always peeling off their mucky clothes and tossing them right into the washer before making their way to the adjoining kitchen.

So when undertaking a renovation of this high-traffic, multipurpose entryway (Slide, 6 #1), designer Barbara Herr was charged with not only making the space more functional but presentable, too. For starters, Herr commissioned two banks of wood base cabinets (Slide 7, #2) finished with an oil-based paint that resists mildew (moisture can be a problem in laundry areas) to flank opposite walls of the long, rectangular space. The larger unit holds the GE front-loading washer and dryer (3). And because the green-thumbed homeowner wanted the room to do extra duty as an indoor potting area, the smaller unit opposite houses a large stainless-steel Elkay sink with a pull-out Franke faucet (4), and two pull-out bins (5) that contain potting soil and garden clippings. A butcher-block countertop provides an ideal surface for cutting flowers on one side, while providing a smooth table for folding clothes on the other (6). Open shelves (7) above both units hold cleaning supplies and vases.

A terra-cotta tile floor (Slide 6, #8) is easy to sweep and mop but also gives the new laundry room a warm and rustic feel that's well-suited to an old farmhouse. "Now it looks like a real entrance," says Herr.
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