Mudroom Combines Lots That’s OLD, a Few Things BLUE—And Hardly Anything NEW!

mudroom photos

Our Vintage Mudroom!

By Kim Whitley-Gaynor

We live in the land of sugar sand.   Sand so fine that it’s almost impossible to keep from tracking it indoors.

After we bought our house in Alto, Texas, we found that we were having to vacuum the kitchen — (which was the room we entered from the back door) – every few days.    That got really old.  Really, really fast.

I never thought I’d need or want a mudroom.  I thought mudrooms were needed just for snowy, muddy areas.   But it occurred to me that this might just be the solution for our almost daily cleaning predicament.

So, my husband and I started discussing adding on a small mudroom to the back of our house.  Last summer when it was time to start our window, insulation and siding replacement project, we knew that the time was then or never to build on a small mudroom.

Reclaimed Materials for Building

We knew we wanted the room to be large enough to be functional and roomy enough, but small enough to keep costs low.  We knew we had plenty of reclaimed lumber from our very first old home salvage project to cover most of the material costs, but we knew we would still had to factor in other expenses like labor, electrical supplies, lighting, insulation, roofing, and yes, more lumber.

After we considered everything, we realized that the pros far outweighed the large con of having to clean the floors every other day, so build it we did.

We finished the addition months ago, but have taken our time furnishing and finishing it. (When you’re salvaging old houses 5-6 days a week, there’s not a lot of time or energy left over.  So frustrating when you’re wanting to get some home improvement projects done!) Plus, I wanted to find the perfect antique bench, and while I wanted it to appear instantly — (Yeah, I am impatient sometimes) – it took months to find.

mudroom photosSweat Equity

First we moved the concrete steps using ingenuity, a homemade track system, a conveniently located tree, and a come-along.  I moved and stacked the bricks to get them out of the way…. finding a few scorpions and black widow spiders in the process!

After that, my husband, Mark, and a good friend, Mike Cochran, started the decking and framing process. To add some natural light, we decided to install a window on the east side of the mudroom.  I didn’t want the small room to feel like a cave.

After the wall framing was done, we hired an electrician to do the rough-in work. Next, the guys installed a metal roof.

Meanwhile, while the guys were doing the framing work, I sanded and cleaned the old hardwood floors.  My intent was to sand them all the way down to bare wood.  However, sanding them revealed many layers of wonderful old blue, red, orange, and yellow paint.  I decided to leave them that way.  Each plank is so lovely in its own way.

I did the same thing with the old, white beadboard that we wanted to use.  The old white paint was horribly flaky so sanding them was a must.  Sanding them revealed a lovely blue paint underneath and sometimes bare wood.I also scrubbed the filthy shiplap lumber using a bucket of mild, soapy water and a garden hose and let it all dry in the sun.  All of the above would be used for the finish-out.

One day I went to town to buy groceries and the guys had surprised me by installing the finished floors.   Admittedly, I was a tad perturbed because I wanted to be part of that process.  Heck, after all that work, I wanted to help choose the boards that were installed.  But, I have to say they really didn’t need my help.  They did a great job!

Next they moved the concrete steps back into place.  They also installed the window and clad the mudroom in plywood …. Then it came time to have the insulation company do their thing, not only to the mudroom but the rest of the house.  After that, the guys stapled up a vapor barrier and installed the doors.

We clad the entire house in fiber cement smooth siding.  We chose their 4″ reveal product because it matched almost exactly what was on the house originally.  The siding is maintenance-free and it holds paint so well! Plus it will help with our homeowner insurance.

mudroom photosThe Fun Part!

With the exterior work done, the more fun (to me) finish-out process began.  The shiplap walls were installed and then the beadboard ceilings.  What we were left with was a very cabin-y looking room.  After much debate with my husband (who loved the bare wood), I decided to paint the walls a barely blue color.  I also polyurethaned the floors and the ceiling. This is always a super fun process because poly really makes the colors pop!

We installed a light from a home improvement store.  It has a vintage style that I like.  It works for now. I may eventually replace it with a vintage fixture.

I also bought the yellow cabinet at an antique store in Georgetown, Texas that closed down years ago.  (I really did get upset when that happened.)  I used it as a dresser in my previous home in Austin, and used it briefly in our guest bedroom here. Now, it’s happy to live in the mudroom and gets used much more frequently.  It’s so perfect for storing dog leashes, cleaning rags, tools, shopping bags, phone books and such.  Plus, it has a large countertop — always convenient for setting things down when coming in or going out. On it I’ve displayed some antique dog collectibles and a glass jar of dog treats (so handy when enticing our two dogs to come in). I also displayed some of the dog collectibles I LOVE on an old watchmaker’s cabinet that I’ll be listing on Etsy soon.

Our old dogtrot house was built in 1853, so it’s certainly not new, but it’s new to us.

Have I said recently that I love the floors?

Click here to see more Mudroom Photos!

Formerly a high-tech project manager, Kim Whitley-Gaynor decided to follow her heart.  She is now an old home salvager, home improvement fanatic, and builder of little houses … using reclaimed materials, of course!


10 Responses »

  1. Trish,

    Who thought a mudroom could look so great! It’s actually cozy – and I love the ceiling treatment! Great story on the process. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Love the look and love even more the fun these guys had in saving the old materials and prepossessing them into a functional work of art that celebrates their creativity and the history of their area.

    I have over 1 million board feet of similar material for sale a a very reasonable price in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

  3. I congratulate you and your team for combining your passions, and creating such a inspiring and functional addition to your home. well done! If dogs could talk, they’d be saying “that’s the room they built for our new yummy doggy treat jar.”

    I love sitting with people, listening, taking notes, clipping pictures, then going to work building dream spaces, as you’ve done.

  4. Wow- it’s beautiful!

  5. I like this too. However, why are we one of the few countries to not go by this rule? Take your shoes OFF! Can you say, pesticides, lead, etc…

  6. In Arizona, except for today, we don’t have much of a mud problem. We do, however, have lots of nasty desert thorns that stick to the bottom of your shoes and then in your house, your carpet and ultimately your feet; or your pet’s paws. I turned part of my laundry room into a shoe room with a chair to sit and untie and remove your shoes. I can’t tell you the difference in my closet without those stinky shoes, much less the stickers.

  7. I really enjoyed the article and the photos of the “Sand” Room that Kim Whitley-Gaynor and her husband built onto their old house. It was well written and shows how something good can come from things that other people might discard.

    As I read in this post, Kim and her husband do a lot of salvage. And I expect they are well versed with the issues of old paint and varnish, and how much lead can be stirred up into the air when the old surfaces are sanded, cut, scraped, and banged around as the salvage process takes place.

    Kim is very likely taking precautions to be lead-safe for her own sake and the sake of her family, but this article was about the concept of reuse and not a technical piece on how best to go about it.

    For those who might be thinking about starting to do their own salvage and renovation , they should become aware of the health implications and the ways to protect the home occupants, and those who are doing the renovations. I do hope you all will take the proper steps when scraping, sanding, and even handling this old wood with loose paint chips. All of those layers of paint are sure to be lead based paint. Even varnish on floors and other woodwork contained high levels of lead.

    I would enjoy having Kim write about how she and her husband manage the dust and prevent it from entering their home while they work, and how they avoid bringing the lead dust home from a salvage site. A follow-up article would be great. And if this sort of technical writing is not her niche, then let’s get some other salvage pro to write a post on the subject of lead safe Renovation, Repair, and Painting practices.

    As an individual doing small repairs, you may not need a special waste disposal permit if the quantity of trash is under a specific limit. But you should definitely assume that nearly all older homes have paint and varnish that contain lead.

    A recent article from Scientific American:

    And directly from the EPA:

  8. “The old white paint was horribly flaky so sanding them was a must…”
    Hope you wore a respirator and didn’t sand the beadboard inside…old white paint = lead paint.

  9. Trish, I absolutely love this! Too nice for a mud room but casual enough you don’t feel guilty dropping your gear and such. Thanks for sharing!


  1. Safety Precautions in Working with Old Wood - Living Vintage

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