Dear friends,

Because I couldn’t wait — and because I just KNOW you are as excited as me about my big reveal — I finished up my Mud Room Friday evening so I could show it to you today.

I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.

And because, of course, I want the biggest ahhhhhh possible, I’m going to make you sit through two “before” photos one more time.

Here’s the space before we bought the house:


And here’s what it looked like for the first two years we lived here. (This photo is taken from the opposite side as the previous photo. The reflection in the mirror is the view of our laundry room, which sits just to the west of this alcove.)  And, yes, all I did initially to “improve” this space was hang a mirror and throw a bucket in the corner as a catch-all for shoes and other junk. It’s clear it wasn’t much of a catch-ALL, as most of our junk ended up on the floor.


I have only one word for this photo: YUCK.

But all traces of yuckiness have been banished. And here’s what it looks like now, after my flurry of online shopping and with Mr. Mom’s help:


This photo is a tad underexposed so you can get a sense of the new light fixture, which I love, love, love.

And here’s my very favorite part:


I knew I wanted something to really give a punch to the accent wall and I had my heart set on individual letters that spelled out something appropriate for the space. I decided on MUDandSTUFF because it just seemed so . . . so perfectly descriptive.

This addition was my biggest expense. The letters are custom fabricated from aluminum and painted in a high gloss paint. I chose this professional sign company as my source because they offered many font choices, virtually any size, and custom colors. They are adhered to the wall with a fast-setting epoxy glue that was a pain in the butt to use. As you can see if you look closely, we messed up a little on the capital D. And Mr. Mom hung the lowercase n upside down, but figured it out about 30 seconds later and managed to pry it off  the wall just before the glue set so hard we would have had to take a sledgehammer to it. In total, my MUDandSTUFF art cost just over $300 — definitely a splurge but worth it, I think.

By the way, the coat racks (there are two of them hung side by side) are from Bed, Bath & Beyond. I thought they were a bargain at $29 each.

Here’s another view of more wall art. I bought a $10 poster from Urban Outfitters and a $25 K-Mart frame. It helped offset the cost of the custom lettering.


And here’s a close-up of the key rack, also from Urban Outfitters.


By the way, the beautiful girl in the photo is our niece. And the vase is a vintage treasure from my beloved native state.

Here’s a close up of the bench, from West Elm:


My West Elm rug is on backorder, so the one you see in the photo is a runner from Urban Outfitters that I purchased for the hallway leading to the kitchen. It’s roughly the same color as the one I’m waiting on, so it worked as a stand-in for this photo.

I’m under no illusions that the space is going to stay this organized. By next week, there will be 25 pairs of shoes strewn around the bench and 14 jackets on the coat rack, but it looks nice for now and that’s what matters when the post-DIY glow is still strong.

And because I just can’t get enough, here’s one final look:


With gratitude {for Mr. Mom who puts the “Y” in DIY and who graciously did all my fetching, toting and hanging for this project},

Joan, who has loved wallpaper since she sold it for $4 an hour at Barlow Interiors, her very first job in 1981, which convinced her a college degree might be just the ticket out of retail hell

The mud room. Errrr, space.

Dear friends,

As if I wasn’t planning enough activities for spring what with my newly rekindled passion for needlework and sewing, I’ve also got another big project on the front burner — a new mud room.

Okay, room is a stretch.

A mud corner?

A mud alcove?

Mud space?

Whatever you want to call it, no matter the size, I’m planning a re-do. Actually I’ve been planning a re-do since the day we bought our home, it’s just that it took me two years to move from planning to doing.

I perused untold photos on Houzz and Pinterest looking for mud room inspiration. And all this time, I figured the perfect execution of my plan involved hiring a carpenter for built-ins.

Finally, I realized my little spot just needs better organization, function and decor — and all of that could be achieved without custom woodwork.

You see, my space is five feet wide and nearly three feet deep. It sits right between the garage and the laundry room, so it’s the perfect spot for shoes and coats and bags and all that stuff that accumulates near doors.

Here’s a photo of the space that I snapped on the day we toured the house with a realtor in February 2011. I’m standing in the laundry room looking toward Mr. Mom, who’s going out the door to the garage. The hall to the kitchen is behind him. You can see my mud space is a perfect little spot. You can also see the former owners cared more about functionality than decor.


I mean really . . . could the space have been anymore boring?

The first thing I did when we moved in was paint the walls in this area a nice gray (Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore), which I continued throughout the hallway and the kitchen. I also took down the previous owners’ ugly coat rack, which is the only thing in this photo they left behind, thank goodness, and which Mr. Mom was thrilled to put in the garage for his grimy motocross gear. I also hung a mirror and added a big basket to catch shoes, but you know that wasn’t enough. The space is still dreadfully plain. And horribly cluttered.

So my plan is to add a bench, a pillow, a coat rack, a key hook, some artwork, a rug, and a new light fixture. Oh, yeah, and I’m going to hang some wallpaper for a graphic punch. Here’s my source board of all the items I ordered on a day off two weeks ago.

PicMonkey Collage2

Can’t you just IMAGINE it? I can! All the items have arrived except the rug, which is on backorder until May. Mr. Mom has already hung the new light fixture and a professional wallpaper installer is coming on Wednesday. After that, there’s just a few more things to do, including picking up my poster from the frame shop, and I’ll be done. If all goes right, my mud space might be finished this coming weekend.

I’ll be sure to take the “after” photos I know you can’t wait to see.

How do I know you can’t wait? Because I can’t either . . . and you know what they say about birds of a feather.

With gratitude {for online inspiration and a tidy little tax refund that is finally making my mud room project a reality},

Joan, who thinks turquoise blue and seafoam green are two of the best colors of all time