Words by Kelly Schulz
Photography by M. Schleif Photography

When my husband and I moved into our North Fargo home five years ago, the mudroom had more than enough space for us. A countertop with cabinet space below and closet proved to be adequate storage for our every day in-and-out needs. Fast forward five years and two children later, and the room grew small in a hurry. We knew that increasing the square footage of the space, which doubles as our laundry room, wasn’t an option for us or our budget. That meant we had to get creative to maximize the current space. To do this, we consulted with Rebecca Knutson of Floor to Ceiling Carpet One to lend her expertise in cabinet design; and she did not disappoint.

The Coat Closet

When we started the project, I wanted the room to be practical and functional. To me, that meant a lot of coat hooks instead of coat hangers. I’ll be the first to admit that hanging coats on hangers is a huge pain to me. That’s why our coat closet was eliminated from the room – it was never used for our day-to-day items, but instead, for storage of things that rarely got used. The closet was transformed into an open space with hooks and bench seating. Preston Flaten from Floor-to-Ceiling, designed a piano-hinge opening in the bench seat, allowing us to utilize the space below for storage.

The Lockers 

Opposite the closet was a narrow countertop that, especially in the winter, became a chaotic mess of jackets, hats, gloves, kids daycare artwork, coffee tumblers, purses, keys, wallets – you name it, and it was on that countertop. A lack of hooks, organization and designated space for each family member created the perfect storm of a mudroom catastrophe. I was certain a locker system would solve all my mudroom problems. That was until we received the estimate and my financially prudent husband put the kibosh to all my locker hopes and dreams. That’s when thankfully, Rebecca came to the rescue.Since the first estimate was more than we (ahem, my husband) wanted to spend, Rebecca suggested that we go with a mock-locker system instead. This would eliminate the physical dividers between each section and instead, we would place trim board to create a visual divider, providing significant savings.A 4.5-inch shelf above, lends storage for small items and each section has two rows of hooks; the lower row is the perfect height for our kids to reach. Beneath the locker bench are two rows of shoe storage. I wanted the bottom row slightly taller so that larger items, like winter boots, could easily fit beneath.

Feedback from the Designer: Rebecca Knutson, Floor to Ceiling Carpet One

“When Kelly and I first met, we discussed everything their family needed to function, then we dreamed up a mudroom chock full of organizers and locker dividers. We threw the book at it, knowing this was our ‘go big or go home design.’ Once the visual met the budget, it was time to scale it down. We discussed with Kelly their true needs and budget max and we chipped away until their budget was comfortable and the space was perfect.””Even though lockers were out of the budget, Kelly still wanted to keep a visual divider between each family member’s wall hooks. To do this, we created a wainscoting look by applying trim pieces to the flat wall paneling. The paneling is extremely durable and dresses up the look of the wall. Sometimes I feel the locker dividers can be stuffy in a tight space so I was happy to suggest cutting them out and saving money.”

The Laundry

The laundry area of the room included a sink that was never used as a sink; it amounted to more of a laundry basket. We removed the sink, and installed a large countertop area that now has…take a guess…a real laundry basket! I also use the space, which includes a pull-out garbage cabinet, to stage items that need to go to daycare the next day and to fold clothes.

The previous wall cabinets, above the washer and dryer, were tall and placed too high on the wall so I couldn’t reach the top shelf without using my handy-dandy little step stool. The new cabinets were installed at a lower level so my five-foot, four-inch self can reach everything in the cabinet and even baskets above, should the need for more storage arise.

Saying goodbye to mudroom madness has been a lifesaver. These rooms are often the entrance and exit points for families, meaning functionality is crucial for saving time in our busy lives. Now, if I could just figure out how to get the laundry to fold itself.

FUN FACT: I have a love for junking – most of the décor in the room has been thrifted.

Find the Finishes at Floor to Ceiling Carpet One:
Cabinetry Design – Rebecca Knutson, CID / Interior Designer & Cabinet Dept. Manager
Cabinetry Install – Preston Flaten

Countertop: Black Forrest Cake finish by Pionite

Cabinetry: Diva finish by Decor Cabinetry