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Before and After: Mudroom Chaos Controlled

A high-energy family creates an orderly flight path for kids, dogs, and friends who come and go via the back door. Here's a look at the "Before" photo

Kitchen Floor Catchall: Before

Mudrooms have to have it both ways: serving at once to trap debris and disorder while turning a pretty face to incoming traffic. Some households think of them as containment zones. “Before, the kitchen floor was our catchall,” says Liz McBride, referring to the footballs, backpacks, shoes, and outerwear her three young sons like to shed as they walk in the door. Add one outdoorsy husband, Mike, a black Lab named Maddie, and a family passion for hiking on trails paved with South Carolina clay, and you sense what their Fort Mill house was up against.

Shown: The back door opened into the kitchen, where flotsam washed up on the floor and a catchall desk.

Chaos Controlled: After

Photo by Brianne Williams

With design/build help from Mary Ludemann, the couple added a mudroom with tough finishes, assigned storage spots, and a heavy-duty sink. When they aren’t using the basin to fill the dog bowl or scrub off mud, “I treat it as an emergency salon—my boys come down some mornings looking like porcupines,” Liz says, only half in jest. Tall wainscoting and baseboards fend off “dog dishes and kids who kick off their shoes,” says Ludemann. Adds Liz, “Our friends and neighbors don’t bother with the front door—they come right to our beautiful new entry in back.”

Shown: The new space gets its airy look from a 10-foot ceiling plus lots of glass and light-reflecting finishes.

Paint: Sherwin-Williams Bracing Blue (walls) and Extra White (trim)

Mudroom Sink

Photo by Brianne Williams

The “slop sink” is handy for watering plants, and during parties it can hold iced wine.

Sink and faucet: Regency

Blackboard Scheduler

Photo by Brianne Williams

A custom 7 1/2-by-5-foot magnetic blackboard, trimmed to match the door, makes reminders hard to ignore.

Paint: Krylon Chalkboard Paint in Black over Krylon Magnetic Primer

Homeowner Tip: “We opted for square-cut baseboards, which have a clean look that balances the built-in’s more traditional crown molding.”

Liz McBride, Fort Mill, SC

Shoe Storage

Photo by Brianne Williams

Designer Mary Ludemann likes to allow 18 to 30 inches of horizontal stowaway space per kid, or enough for three pairs of shoes.

Baskets: HomeGoods

Looks Like Slate

Photo by Brianne Williams

Porcelain tile mimics the look of slate and is easy to care for. The grout is tinted

and sealed to hide and fend off dirt.

Tile: American Olean

Floor Plans: Before

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

A kitchen desk area near the back door doubled as a landing pad for shoes and backpacks.

Floor Plans: After

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

The new 135-square-foot back-entry mudroom draws foot traffic to the kitchen by way of a storage-packed built-in and a commercial sink.

1. Built an addition off the kitchen for a mudroom with a new entry porch.

2. Kept the windowed wall and removed the exterior door.

3. Created a cased opening between the kitchen and the mudroom.

4. Relocated the back door and added a transom; the door opens to the entry porch.

5. Added a built-in with hooks, cubbies, and shelves.

6. Installed a freestanding utility sink.

7. Put in a coat closet with shelves.