Getting Muddy: A space for modern living

I’m not one of those people that doesn’t allow shoes in the house. I do live in a city, and I am certain of this, all manner of unmentionables are tracked into my home on the bottom of my shoes. This is something that I have chosen not to give myself over to considering in depth. It will only lead to another phobia, or anxious obsession, which frankly I have no time for. It’s likely to cause more damage than the germs I trek in. We have to build our immune systems some way, and this feels as good a way as any.

Not Custom job here – beautiful nonetheless. Architectural Digest

I do draw the line when it comes to rain and melting snow, and nobody, and I mean no—-body, enjoys tripping over someone else’s shoes when all they wanted was to have a nice cup of tea and read a book for a half hour. Am I right?

A tiny space, a custom bench, a shelf and a few hooks. Ca Marche

Shoes, hats, coats, bags, tennis rackets, balls, don’t think I couldn’t go on and on, because I certainly could, deserve a place, as close to the outdoors as possible. A relatively new invention – think 1950’s suburban living, and the advent of loads of free time and space – mudrooms don’t in fact have to be a whole room. A simple transitional space between garage and main living space – outdoors and in, will do. The general intent is to keep these wet, sometimes stinky, often dirty items, out of view for guests and people like me that can’t stand the sight of them, guest or no guest, and from my beautifully curated interiors – or yours as the case may be.

All in one. Ballard Design.

My challenge today is taking a small hallway closet and converting it into a mud room, or a mud space, you know what I mean. It does have doors on either end of the corridor, so in my book it qualifies as a room. If you aren’t careful, I’ll have it designated as a bedroom. Narrow it may be, but it’s got a window and a closet with a door, and with the price of square footage, I could get creative if this home didn’t already have so many bedrooms.

A clean, simple, but likely expensive custom built-in.

A mudroom ideally would have a tile floor or a material that was easy to clean, flagstones, vinyl flooring, concrete, but when you are making due, we work with what we have. Hard wood isn’t a terrible material because it cleans pretty easily, and nowadays you can find some pretty amazing indoor outdoor carpets that can take the elements with a smile on their face.

Narrow hallway, put to maximum use. HGTV.

There are a number of prefabricated storage/bench and hanging systems intended for mudrooms. I like them quite a lot. Having a custom built bench and shelving will cost you much more, but will likely adapt to the quirkiest of spaces and/or desires. I offer up and even simpler alternative for those that are seeking utility, rather than conformance with some predetermined notion of what constitutes a “real” mudroom. A beautiful bench, some great hooks, a simple shelf, and some storage containers, maybe a little paint – et voila, the elements remain on the right side of the door.

Add these happy Hable Storage bags in canvas.

Tap twice if it’s love…Instagram


Blue Print Store . Dallas . TX – I would go every day if I could.

Back when I worked in the architecture firm I used to browse the aisles of the design library in awe of all the materials. Samples of wood, tile, plastic laminate – yes, and ugh, Forbo sport flooring, paint decks, you name it, it lined the shelves.  I loved it, and had no idea that it wasn’t sexy.  We designed public schools and libraries — the materials primary characteristics where durability and durability.  Still, I was inspired, and longed to be one of the lucky few that got to put together the design sample boards for Client approval.  It feels like a long time ago now.

Visiting The Design Center in Boston (now called the Innovation Center) was a rare, and intimidating adventure.  Back in the day, a non-designer like me, was not welcome.  They made it abundantly clear that they’d rather I leave.  My desire to see, touch, and be exposed to all those lovely textures, furnishings, materials and wall coverings, superseded my need to follow the rules, and I tamped down my fear of those foreboding dictatresses of design, in favor of five minutes inside the vault.  They exhibit a modicum of welcome nowadays.  Do go in.  It’s worth it.  Act like you own the place – pretend you’re French.  You’ll be fine.

Pink perfection….

In-between these rare visits  I scoured design magazine for inspiration.  This remains a favorite pastime, but with just 12 editions annually the mags can’t fulfill my rapacious desire for design.  Enter stage right….Instagram.  It’s like an old friend that one day you awake to realize is full blown love.  It delivers constant inspiration.  It connects me to people, and places I would never have known, or visited.  I see old things in a new light.  New businesses that harken back to a time when things weren’t mass produced.  I see just how I will design No. 5, and I owe it to InstaG.

As I scroll through the feed I feel almost as happy as if I’ve received a love note, aka a text, from a boy I really like.  That vulnerable spot between my belly, and my breast is aflutter with wonder.  Everything I have ever wanted, and some that I never knew I needed, is there.  The tech savvy of the grammers, use tags.  These tags tell you the designers or materials that are the point of focus in the photo.  Fear not, if the item you are interested in isn’t tagged (by the way, you won’t see these tags unless you tap the photo once), you can simply send a note through the comment section to get the product details.


The community is so friendly, so willing to share.  So happy to promote others.  It’s lovely.  Today I will open the boxes that arrived this week (I have not intentionally been delaying the moment of gratification), and examine my new lucite and brass curtain rods, courtesy of LuxHoldups via Etsy.  These I found on Instagram through Collins Interiors, a sister design firm to Blue Print Store in Dallas Texas.  My favorite.  Lux is a Brooklyn based woman-owned company that does amazing things with lucite.  Do check it out, and if you don’t already have an Instagram account, what are you waiting for?