mudroom: a tribute

on the eve of our mudroom tear-down, i thought it would be nice to reflect on how this appendage has rotted off the back of our house for nearly five years now, and for many more before that, i’m sure. it will make victory in a few weeks’ time that much more sweet.


when we first saw our house with a realtor, he gestured at the mudroom door and said, “the house pretty much ends here.” we ventured on, of course, into the little vestibule (it was october) and down into the basement. after we bought the house and moved in (it was december) it became readily apparent to us that the house did — indeed — stop at the mudroom door. the mudroom was freezing and the basement was full of cobwebs and bugs.

by the following february, i’d had enough and set about trying to improve the space with the things we had lying around: a new door, extra paint, ikea shelving from our apartment, and a vintage exit light fixture.


while these changes improved the use of space, they didn’t quite improve the space. fresh paint on the walls made things look fine for a time, but the mudroom being unable to be anything besides what it was — an uninsulated lean-to off the back of a small house — soon showed its true colours once again.


less than six months later, i set about improving it again, repainting, adding more shelving, hooks, homemade treads for the stairs, and plants. for all of its bad qualities, the mudroom does have one deep-silled window that i thought the philodendron my mom had kept alive for 25 years would survive on. the heat and drafts did the plant in quite quickly, though; the speed at which the mudroom brought about its death was fairly impressive.


that vintage light, by the way, was never a good idea (predictably, it cast a red glow over everything, making it impossible to actually see anything in the dark).

even in the red light, things looked pretty good for a while. but the plants all died, owing to the no insulation factor. the shelves became a mess of mud and dirt. the floor tiles peeled up during the hot summer months. and then the mould set in.



the mudroom is being torn down tomorrow, to be replaced by a structure equal in size, but much more beautiful, energy efficient, and watertight. things are already inconvenient — i’ve had to select just four pairs of shoes to get by with over the next few weeks as the mudroom has been emptied out and its contents divided between the basement (soon to be inaccessible) and the foyer. in addition to inconvenient, the next couple of weeks will be expensive, dusty, and loud, but i am so excited for the end result: a warm, waterproof mudroom that gets us between floors and out to the backyard all four seasons of the year.

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