Houses with open floor plans need an out-of-the-way place where messiness can happen, thus mud rooms, pantries, and laundries are getting more attention in new houses. They can be separate rooms or one larger room to accommodate multiple uses.
Mud rooms with built-in benches and cubbies provide a drop zone to catch shoes, coats and backpacks. Built-in recycling bins help eliminate clutter and are a standard item in most mud rooms. Storage is important and can be customized for specific needs such as sports equipment or dog leashes. One mud room we designed for a duck hunter had special racks for waders to dry upside down over a tiled drainage pan.
Special pet areas in mud rooms are becoming popular. Many of our current clients are cat people who request custom cabinetry for litter boxes with exterior ventilation. Dog owners like dog washing sinks with grooming counters at just the right height.
Pantries range from formal with cabinets that match the kitchen to open shelves with visible storage. Historically, pantries have housed an extra refrigerator; now, one can find a second dishwasher, sink, wine cooler or ice machine in the pantry. Specialized drawers for linens and seasonal decorations are also popular. Desks, wrapping paper stations and craft areas are also showing up in the pantry.
The biggest innovation in laundry rooms are the laundry machines, themselves. I never thought that I would have washing machine envy, but using less water and energy gets my attention. Recently, I was appliance shopping with a client and was delighted with the new high-efficiency front load washing machines. The Electrolux front load steam washer’s entire cycle is 15 minutes; on my elderly 25 year old Maytag, the wash cycle alone is almost 15 minutes. Using 14 gallons of water compared to 40 gallons. The companion dryer dries in 14 minutes!
These hardworking rooms might become your favorite spaces in the house!