UPDATING A MUDROOM/ LAUNDRY ROOM IN A 1920’S BUNGALOW
I have been working on the ‘restoration’ of a 1920’s bungalow over the last few years with some great clients. Recently we completed the mudroom/laundry room which happens also to be the most used entrance to the house—connecting the garage, the backyard patio and guest suite, the kitchen and the main living areas beyond.
The original house was built as a bungalow farm house in the 1920’s and was remodeled by the current owner twenty years ago. That remodel included the addition of the mudroom/laundry room, a two car garage, and an attached guest suite consisting of a bedroom and full bath which is accessed from the patio.
The 1993 remodel added the much needed mudroom/ laundry room, however, the room was finished out in a purely utilitarian manner. This included an off-white linoleum tile floor on the concrete slab, white slab panel laminate cabinets with an oak strip, an un-inspired laminate counter top and builder’s white painted walls. Two inexpensive fluorescent fixtures with exposed bulbs illuminated the main space.
When I was invited to redesign this space, we had already completed the remodel of the main part of the house. So it was natural that we would continue with the updated Craftsman style established in the rest of the house. This includes new metal clad wood cottage windows and doors, custom wood wainscot paneling, custom cabinets, recessed and decorative lighting, and upgraded but budget-conscious finishes.
Upon analyzing the space, the aspect of the room that struck me as the most problematic [and potential] was the tall and narrow 12’-0” high space ascending triumphantly to two exposed fluorescent fixtures! This soaring space, full of potential, had been ignored. This being the most used entrance to the house it seemed that it would be appropriate to treat this room as a proper entrance to the house, which it truly is. I also felt that it needed the addition of some of the architectural elements that had been successfully added to other parts of the remodeled house [see Klein remodel].
It was my desire to add visual interest to the upper regions of the laundry room that became the inspiration for the ceiling design which, it turns out, has became the signature element of the entire space. Three substantial recycled pine beams were sourced from a local supplier to add a touch of historic ‘authenticity’ to the twenty year old space, as well as infuse it with the raw beauty of the reclaimed timbers while at the same time adding spatial dimension to the ceiling plane. Add to this, smaller wood perimeter beams, a two-piece painted perimeter trim board and tongue-and-groove wood ceiling boards to complete the ceiling composition. Four, contemporary black iron light fixtures with cream linen shades cascade from the beams, creating another layer of interest and good ambient illumination.
Other features of the room that contribute to and reinforce the craftsman style of the remodel is the tall two-tone painted craftsman paneled wainscot and the custom Shaker style cabinets with inset bead board panels in a hand-brushed cream colored glaze. Rustic cast iron cabinet pulls and knobs add period flavor and an interesting counterpoint to the 1920’s style cabinets. A large format [18”x 18”] porcelain floor tile in shades of brown, tan, gray and gray-blue was carefully chosen for the ground level floor which is but a few muddy steps away from the vegetable garden and the perennial flower border which surrounds this comfortable country bungalow.
Finally, I would like to point out that the ‘café-au-lait’ paint selection for the painted wall above the tall wainscot would not be considered an historic Craftsman color. Rather, this color was selected to evoke the Craftsman bungalow style. It is the perfect color for this client and works wonderfully with the other paint colors in this warm and self-assured Pacific Northwest home.