Monthly Archives: July 2013

Design Your Multi-Purpose Room Thoughtfully for High Functionality

It’s an all too common occurrence. Many homes today have at least one multi-purpose room where every activity that doesn’t have its own dedicated space occurs. So often, however, rooms that have to perform double-duty lack clear definition and as a result aren’t highly functioning.  But not this room…

This laundry room — mudroom combination designed by Rock Paper Hammer in Louisville, Kentucky struck a chord with me as it seems so well thought out. The designer’s attention to detail is evident in the careful selection of materials — high gloss paint on the ceiling and walls, brick floors sealed with a gloss clear coat to create a clean, “wet” look, and the unexpected choice of zinc for the countertops  — all blend so nicely with the rest of the elements in the room. Large cubbies for storing everyone’s belongings help to bring a little bit of order to a busy house. Additionally, having the laundry room reside in the mudroom with a nice big sink and large counter for folding certainly makes sense when you consider how much dirty laundry passes through that space daily. At least the chore of folding laundry would be a little bit nicer in that bright sunny spot looking out the window.

I am a big believer in the “if you build it they will come” theory of organization. If you can design and build a place to store everything, then you set yourself up for success. Before we built a mudroom in our home several years ago, our kids would come home from school every day and drop their shoes and belongings by the front door. My front hall was always cluttered with smelly sneakers, backpacks and sports equipment. Truthfully, I couldn’t really blame them: at their ages they were too small to reach the rod in the closet to hang up their coats, and there was simply no place for them to put their things.

When we built our mudroom, I planned a cubby for each child. Inside there are several hooks for coats, a spot for backpacks, and an area underneath for shoes that can be easily swept out if dirt or turf grit comes in from outside. An upper cabinet with a basket offers extra storage for off-season items that aren’t being used. Once the mudroom was in place it was easier to teach the kids to put their things away since there was a place for everything. Do they always put everything where it belongs? Of course not…they’re now teenage boys…but with a dedicated spot for all of their stuff they’re more likely to hit the target than just drop their things in the front hall.

The mudroom designed by Rock Paper Hammer reminds me that good design can really make life easier. If you take the time to consider how you will use a space and then plan for that, you will have a room tailored to your family’s needs, which will likely result in a little bit more order. I would certainly put this mudroom to good use if it were in my own home. The only modification I could possibly make would be to substitute my black and yellow labs for the cat…but then there would be dog hair everywhere.

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Add Some Independence Day Style to Your Kitchen

Traditional Holiday Decorations by Other Metro Furniture and Accessories Pottery Barn

Today is the Fourth of July, my all-time favorite holiday, so this is the perfect opportunity to talk about adding a little bit of Independence Day style to your kitchen.  Since red, white and blue together make quite a bold statement, it’s no secret to share that clearly a little goes a long way.  While these kitchens are by no means Fourth of July themed, I was inspired to find examples of kitchens that embraced any one or more of these significant colors.


This Lake Michigan kitchen designed by Martin Horner uses the color blue as a design element so perfectly.  When combined with perimeter cabinets painted white and a dark stained island, the use of this color in select materials adds blue in a way that isn’t overwhelming.


This Windsor Smith kitchen and adjacent dining area takes a bold shade of red and employs it throughout in a series of accents.  By introducing pops of red through the chinoiserie-style chairs, lantern and pendant light fixture, tremendous interest is added to the space.  The tension that is created by the contrast between the white cabinets, dark stained floors and bright red accents is so appealing.  Notice that just these few elements of bold color are all that is needed to add a little drama to an already beautiful space.

The next time you want to add a little bit of color to liven-up a quiet space, you might consider taking some inspiration from the flag by adding a touch of red or blue.  What a great statement that would make!

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