PER capita I'd imagine we North Shore folks are among the most active on the planet.
The very thought that something as grueling and tortuous as the Grouse Grind would become as popular as it is says everything about our mentality. We're a hardy bunch and we get outside no matter what, hell or high water.
And this November has tossed us a hell of a lot of high water, and mud and dirt and everything that goes with it, so when we arrive at our front door drenched and filthy we need a little processing before we enter our abode. What we need most is a well-designed mudroom to take care of our processing.
A mudroom, as its name describes, is a room that controls mud. It's the processing point that takes the dirty household entrant and transforms them into the clean and presentable household occupant. Wet kids, muddy dogs and trail-mauled hikers can be efficiently cleaned up without spreading their mess to the rest of the house. For active people, a well-designed mudroom will become one of the most important rooms of their home.
A mudroom should be located near the main entry point to the house - this is not necessarily the front door but rather the entry point the occupants typically use - and should have the capacity to be visually open or closed to the rest of the home as its clutter dictates. I always try to locate the mudroom as close to the garage as possible so that bikes, skis or strollers can be dropped off at the entry.
A mudroom should provide a bench for taking footwear on and off while having a space below to store them. Hooks for hanging coats and packs should be located on the wall above with one row at adult height and another at a child's reach. Smaller cubby spaces for gloves, hats and the like should be close at hand. A drying rack in a mudroom is always a welcome addition, especially in our wet climate.
In larger mudrooms, individual storage units can be provided for each member of the family allowing for even better organization and containment and, if space allows, the provision of additional coat hanging space for guests will never be regretted.
The floor of the mudroom should be made of a hard, easy cleaning surface that allows for quick cleanup (a drain in the centre of the room is worth a thought for the particularly outdoorsy types) and can be incorporated with an in-floor radiant heating system to make for pleasant greetings to cold, bare feet.
Providing a toilet, shower and washer-dryer as part of the mudroom will make it a bigger space but also a much more useful one. I love the notion of coming home wet and dirty and being able to unload my clothes into the washer while jumping into a hot shower, all in the same space - the ultimate in processing.
Big or small, a mudroom is the perfect room to manage the realities of dirty, daily life. Design a good one and you'll never regret it.
Kevin Vallely is a residential designer in North Vancouver. Follow along his "small house" design at cliffhangerhouse.com.