Back-to-School Make Over for the Mudroom!

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I really wanted to finish up our mudroom space before school started this year, and we made it, just under the wire! I was really excited to get to team up with Amana again on this project. You might remember that one of the first projects we tackled in our house after moving here was paneling in the mudroom. We held off on paneling the closet walls, just because there was a lot of work to do there first.

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This was my rough plan for each of the cubby nooks:
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I really wanted the nooks to be flush on the sides and tops, and I wanted to add some benches. So last month, I hired my handyman to come in and prep the closet spaces and then Kate and I installed and painted the paneling, just like in this tutorial. It’s really not hard to do, it’s just a little time-consuming.

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The basic idea is we used inexpensive sheets of hardboard cut down at the hardware store to make shiplapping on the walls. The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Day’s End in a flat finish.

 

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I wanted the girls to each have a nook space of their own, complete with a bench and a high shelf for paperwork storage.

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To help keep the floors in my house clean and to make it easier for the kids to get ready for school, we made separate nooks for jute shoe baskets. One is for casual shoes and the other is for dress shoes! It was a little tricky to find baskets that fit the nooks just right. These two were contenders from Homegoods, but the sizing was a little off and they were pricey (not to mention, I would have had to drive all around Phoenix to find six matching baskets).
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And then I totally hit the jackpot at World Market with these Jessica baskets. They were 50% off, which made them only $12.50 each! They’re made of really thick jute and so far they’re holding up beautifully!
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For the bench tops, I made a bench cushion using upholstery foam that I cut to fit the nooks. I made the fabric with drop clothes and fabric dye before sewing them into box cushions. My girls helped me with parts of the fabric painting, which made them so proud! They love getting to display their work in each of their cubbies!
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The hooks ended up being a bit different from what I had initially envisioned (with a vertical row of hooks), but I’m so happy with these. I spray painted simple hooks from Target a bright acid yellow, which I think really pops against the navy paneling, and epoxied wooden craft balls to the ends to give each of the hooks a sort of Eames feel.
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I think the more hooks in a utility space, the better! The original vertical hanging idea would have been awkward anyway – things would have been stacked on top of each other. We keep all sorts of things on these hooks, from the obvious, like backpacks and lunch bags, down to swim goggles and binoculars! :) These hooks are doing wonders for my sanity – it’s so easy for the kids to hang up their stuff now.
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On the top shelf of each nook, I added labeled storage boxes that say either Artwork or School Work. My girls come home from school with adorable projects and work all year long and I love the idea of having an easily accessible place to store the most special of these keepsakes!
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At the back of each nook, we installed a magnetic chalkboard for tacking up notes and writing messages! I made my own white chalkboard paint with latex paint and non-sanded grout and painted it on to a sheet of galvanized metal from the hardware store. We glued these sheets up to the drywall and paneled around them. It is wonderful for the girls to have a spot to leave each other and themselves messages every day!
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I dressed up super simple ceramic magnet circles and dollar store alphabet letter magnets by spray painting them all with gold spray paint! Making them all a uniform color makes them feel special and less cheesy. The little cupcakes are containers filled with chalk for the girls. We epoxied magnets to the cupcakes so they can stay up on the chalkboards.
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Across from our cubby nooks, we made our after-school-snack pantry extra pretty by painting it a bright, poppy red. Inside we have snacks for my kids (and any of the neighborhood kids that stop by!), including fruit leather and granola bars, and snack-sized microwave popcorn (my girls favorite!). We actually keep our Amana microwave in this pantry, which makes popcorn an even easier snack!

 

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I’m so happy with our (finally finished!) mudroom. It has made the back-to-school transition so easy and organized. I’d love to hear what things you’re doing to help make back-to-school easier on you and your kids!

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This post was a collaboration with Amana, a wonderful, eco-friendly company devoted to making life easier on families, one appliance at a time! :)
  1. You have SUCH clever ideas for storage and for adding colour to spaces. I think even I would be willing to go back to school if I had such a sweet nook! And the inside of the snack pantry is just great. Filing some ideas away for when we have more space!

  2. Kelly

    Such a wonderful space for your girls! It must be so much fun to play with these big spaces after apartment living! Love the acid yellow hooks – attaching wooden spheres would have never occurred to me, but what a difference they make! Well done!

  3. Trice

    I need to find something to keep my girls' art and school papers. Where are those boxes on the top shelf from? This is amazing. You are so talented :)

  4. This is awesome! All the clutter kids bring home has a place to go! I love it!

  5. Love, love your work! So neat that they each have their own nook. Did you consider/have a need for a nook for you and your husband? I'm working on a mud project and would love to know if you feel like you would use the space too?
    Would you mind sharing the dimensions?

    Lovely as always!

  6. I love this mudroom so much…except for the hardboard "shiplap" that you guys did. Unfortunately, I think it looks like concrete cinder blocks and is too busy with the floor. I really like how your dropcloth fabric turned out!

  7. I love the buckets for their art and schoolwork. Keeps their projects neat and saved. Brilliant.

  8. Jenny, I am a broken record everytime I comment…you are a genius and you never cease to amaze! Plus, there are like 5 posts worth of projects today!! happy long weekend, friend!

  9. I agree that the paneling looks like cinder blocks. I love most of this reveal, but it's just so distracting and sloppy looking with the edges and gaps being so inconsistent.

  10. Jenny, I truly love what you have done with your house. Have you ever posted a floorplan? I think I have read every post about this house but I am dying to see how the spaces connect.

  11. Erin

    There are some really wonderful ideas in here – thanks for sharing!

  12. This post makes me want to have kids! Is that weird? I just want a reason to have one of these cute little storage areas! Can you be my mom??!

  13. Kyla

    This is amazing! I love shiplap in almost any incarnation. And I wish more Arizona homes had these kind of utility spaces – although it'd be more of a dirt room than a mudroom – hah! So many great ideas here

  14. I recently installed mud room cubbies in a hallway using your idea of built-in Pax wardrobes. The space is tiny, but it is so functional because there is a place for everything. The artwork and school papers boxes are genius! I'll have to try that in my own space.

  15. I think I'd just love to live in your mudroom! What a great space you've created for your family!! I feel like I should go paint something now ;-)

  16. Am always mad for abundant storage so hurrah for you and your children!

    With the risk of being redundant, I really admire and appreciate your willingness to share your imperfect projects. So many of us struggle with appearing perfect, right? I remember when my eldest was a newborn and going to these other new mommies' homes which were spotless, and they themselves were gorgeous, their hair done, and they looked well-rested. As I sat there in yoga pants and an easy-to-pop-out-a-breast tank top with probably something organic dried on it I felt like "what am I doing wrong?" Nothing, of course (except for not having a night nanny and housekeepers and groundsmen), but I fretted and fussed before it was my turn to hostess and you know, the house wasn't perfect. My appearance wasn't perfect. I'm not perfect. Well, I mean, I am perfectly human, and our house was perfectly lived-in and real. But it took me a while to own that sentiment. Wish I'd come to it much earlier in life ….

    So I love that you share what you're doing in your own home, regardless of the level of finish. It is a true inspiration that completed can be good enough, esp if you are pleased with the results. That is such a potent reminder across the board, and to us DIYers.

    I do love all the specified storage you created, and perhaps IRL your faux shiplap looks truer. Good for you!

  17. Patty

    awesome! adopt me ))

  18. Wow. Wow. Wow. 1. that fabric: I remember when you first shared that you were painting the pattern yourself = total win! 2. those hooks. I'm in awe of the idea to add the wood spheres. What a fun space for the kiddos!

  19. Spending this weekend organizing my home and the way you have this done is so inspiring and beautiful! Love it.

  20. as usual you do not disappoint! What an incredible, functional space…utilizing an existing space and not just "building a mudroom" which can drive me crazy…I only have one teensy tiny thing which baffles me…and maybe it just comes down to taste and what we like…but FLAT paint? I tend toward the pearl finish myself especially where my kids are involved…but the chalky texture alone has always led me away from Flat… I know you probably have a great well thought out sensible reason behind the choice for FLAT..or maybe it is simply Taste.

  21. Such a great space! I can't stop thinking about that paint: does it really move vertically from grey to blue or is it an illusion? It would be just like you to do an ombre thing in that room! Please explain :)

  22. Jenne

    Oh my god, how big is your house?! It seems like every week there is another giant room! (My house is not quite 500 sq feet so it is incredible to me how much space you have!)

  23. You are a genius! That storage area for your girls looks is fabulous, love every single detail – it's amazing how you can think for everything and make it real and so good looking! The snack pantry looks awesome too, the red colour of the shelves and backs is gorgeous!
    Home cleaners Croydon

  24. griffy

    Lucky girls, that is so so nice! Your house looks like it's coming along beautifully.

  25. NoMad

    This is amazing- every detail is so well thought out. I love the concept of the snack space- making the girls feel independent and helping you keep your sanity with serious organization. Blown away, as usual!

    http://www.nomadluxuries.com

  26. HOLY COW. This is perfection! I would have killed for a space like this as a kid (my obsession with organization started early). The acid yellow hooks are my favorite part. Just a few simple changes made a mundane element really pop.

    http://www.stateofsunshineblog.com

  27. I want to try your DIY hooks. Can you pls share what size wooden balls you bought and where?

    Thanks!!

  28. How big are each of these cubbies?!coat/bag drop it seems. Two girls can play inside of just one and you have three!!

    Maybe you can comment on how us regular people can do something similar with much smaller spaces? I would love something like that that is slightly more accessible. I have three kids and about 40 inches of width TOTAL to work with! Did you do anything like this in your NY place? That might be a place for me to look…

  29. So lovely babies you have. You also arrange things decoratively. They are so lackey to have beautiful home.

  30. AG

    I love it !!!
    You gave me a lot of ideas, thank you :)
    I know that koocam.com are looking for people who know how to design /DIY etc.
    Recommend you to check it out …

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