When a Bethesda family with three children hired Barnes Vanze
Architects to build a house, an effective mudroom was one of its key
components. Calling it the home’s “nerve center”—it had to store mail,
coats, bookbags, sports equipment, and cell phones—the owner says, “I
wanted a space that could stay organized.”
Barnes Vanze’s Ankie Barnes designed a mudroom that has
something for everyone. In the center is a small counter where the owners
sort their mail every day, placing important letters and bills in slots
above and recycling the junk into a large pullout bin below. Cell phones
can be charged at outlets over the counter.
The kids can sit on the benches to put on and take off
shoes—and throw coats and bags on the hooks above. (“Kids will not hang
anything on a hanger,” Barnes says.) The overhead baskets offer immediate
access to seasonal necessities, such as gloves and scarves, while the
off-season items are stored in the top cabinets.
A bonus is the radiant-heat stone floor: Lay shoes and
snowsuits out on rainy or snowy days, Barnes says, and by morning they’re
Meanwhile, a coat closet (not shown) stores the bulk of the
coats, and Barnes installed a laundry chute within it so dirty socks and
muddy jeans could be shed immediately when children enter the
“We are in the mudroom all the time,” the owner says. “It’s a
really effective, well-used, well-organized space. It’s a good balance of
closed and open storage.”
Use cubbies or baskets, making orderly storage
as easy as tossing a ball.
Designate a bin for “sticks”—hockey sticks,
baseball bats, golf clubs—and balls. It’s a good way to use a dead corner
in a closet.
Hooks, hooks, and more hooks. When Mom, Dad,
and the kids are trooping through the door, who’s going to take time to
find a hanger, much less put a coat on it?
Make sure each member of the family has his or her own
drawer, basket, or shelf. “Give people a repository,” architect
Ankie Barnes says, for whatever it is that would otherwise land on the
A designated electrical outlet for each family member
is key. See that everyone has a place to recharge