My Mudroom Builtins – Five Year Review
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It’s been almost 5 years since we’ve lived in our house and almost 5 years since we had these mudroom builtins installed. I’ve lived with them long enough to know if I like them, what I would keep or change if I were to do them all over again
Before and After
In addition to the builtins, we changed the lights and the paint. Goodbye fluorescent lights and blinding yellow! My current lights are from Home Depot and the paint color is Misty by Sherwin Williams. (I actually don’t like the paint color – it’s too blue – but I haven’t decided if I should repaint or do some wall treatment like shiplap. To be determined!)
The mudroom builtins were one of the only two things we added shortly after we moved in (the other one being the shutters in the living room). We loved the bones of our house and the property it sat on but we knew that it was 15 years old and there were plenty of areas that would need improvement and updating. (You can read about our Kitchen Remodel here.)
However, we had limited budget and weren’t able to do all the changes at once. But I was able to convince hubby that installing builtin lockers to corral the kids stuff was a necessary immediate expense, despite the initial spending freeze after buying the house.
These mudroom builtins are also probably the one feature of the house that elicits the most questions and admiration. So I will take this opportunity to answer some of the most common questions here:
Who Did The Mudroom Builtins?
The lockers or cubbies, as I like to call them, were built by a local custom cabinet builder. I used to spend a lot of time browsing inspiration photos on Houzz and I took advantage of the Find Professionals feature on the website. I submitted my information and the type of pro I was looking for. Jon contacted me, came over to my house, and after seeing my inspiration photos, came up with a design.
As much as I loved working with him and he did an amazing job, I hesitate to list his business contact info. I have referred him to numerous friends and what I kept hearing back was that he was so busy that he either didn’t respond at all, or his lead time was a year to 18 months. He did tell me at the time that he did custom cabinetry and trim work for new builds. I must have lucked out and caught him at a slow time.
How Much Did The Builtins Cost?
Let me preface this by saying that I do a lot of research and get multiple quotes any time we have to hire out jobs. I didn’t get multiple quotes this time. It’s hard enough to come by a single custom cabinet maker in our area. In addition, when Jon quoted me the job, it was less than some ready made lockers from online retailers that I had been considering. I believe the whole thing cost around $2900. That included demoing the existing cabinets (they were base and wall cabinets that the guys were kind enough to move and install in my garage), the custom design, fabrication, painting, and installation of the lockers.
Doors Or No Doors?
I spent quite a bit of time considering whether I should have doors on the lockers. I think both options are beautiful and have their advantages and disadvantages. You just have to decide what’s important to you.
Doors provide a clean seamless look and the ability to hide a mess behind them. However, they are a hassle to constantly open and close, especially by little kids who tend to be rough and slam them, leave fingerprints, dirt, etc. Ultimately, I decided to go with the open locker look because I actually like the way it looks better. It has that traditional schoolhouse cubby appeal if that makes sense.
Similarly, when it came to the shoe cubbies, I chose to leave those open and sitting directly on the floor. I knew that it would be easier to mop and vacuum the dirt from the continuous floor surface as opposed to from inside drawers.
What Would I Keep, What Would I Change?
The color: I knew I wanted white but I was very worried about how painted white cabinets would hold up. It was going to be my test run before I committed to a white kitchen. I wouldn’t change the color. The finish is such high quality that any dirt and prints wipe right off. Scratches and chips do happen but they’re not very obvious and don’t bother me at all.
The layout: I love that the builtins go all the way to the ceiling. I hate dead space above cabinets (a dirt trap). The cabinets at the top store rarely used items or some are empty. The baskets below them break up the space, add texture, and are easy to pull down from the floor for easy access.
The hooks: spacing them on different heights was genius on my part! Great for little kids to reach but able to graduate to the taller hooks later. I just wish I had more than just one hook at the tall level.
The shelves: I love the adjustable shelf that can accommodate different height baskets or items below it. If I were to do these now, I’d make the adjustable shelf space a drawer. In addition to backpacks, jackets, and shoes, the kids have a lot of little knick-knacks, papers, and small items that find a home in that space.
It would have been nice if each cubby had an outlet and a little shelf for personal electronic devices. That would be an easy enough add-on from the garage side of that wall. One day!
Also, if I have to be perfectly honest, I wish I had doors on the cubbies. I know I said I liked the look of open cubbies more but nowadays my OCD is outweighing that aesthetic.
The Mudroom – Not Finished
The bottom line is, after five years, I’m still extremely happy with these builtins. The mudroom is probably the hardest working area of our house. I’m sure that’s the case for any house with a large family living in it. An adequate mudroom space was one of my requirements when we were house shopping. Even though mudrooms seem to have become a must-have for new builds, they’re not so easy to find in 15 or 20-year-old houses. I was so lucky that this house had enough space to allow for these lockers to be added.
At the same time, there are more things that need to be done to it. I don’t like the tile floor or the old melamine sink cabinet that sits next to the washing machine (purposely not pictured anywhere). There’s a half bath there too that needs new flooring and a sink … Lot’s of projects on my list! But most days, I ignore those things and look at my pretty mudroom builtins and feel extremely grateful to have them.