Design Idea File: Tidy Treasure

With its custom-designed storage options, upscale trim, built-in desk and big, beautiful windows, this clutter-busting link between the outdoors and in proved to be an attention-grabber.

April 01, 2006

Luxury Custom Residence

While the mudroom may often be overlooked in the hierarchy of a home's key living areas, that certainly was not the case when it came to setting priorities in this luxury residence in Plymouth, Mass. With its custom-designed storage options, upscale trim, built-in desk and big, beautiful windows, this clutter-busting link between the outdoors and in proved to be an attention-grabber for those who toured this model home at Stones Throw in The Pinehills located 45 minutes southeast of Boston.

Thoughtful planning and beautiful execution by architect Stephen Hart and custom builder Kistler & Knapp elevated the function of this important connection between the home's three-car garage and the rest of its living spaces from a mere "dirty job" to a true full-service entry.

With its main-floor master suite, the 4,300-square-foot, shingle-style home was originally designed for the local empty-nester buyer market, according to project manager Reihl Mahoney. "But, we broadened the spectrum of the project to complement the lifestyle of a family as well." With its flexibility, convenience, and emphasis on organization, this mudroom suits both equally well.

"We actually set two main design goals for the mudroom," says Mahoney. "We wanted to provide the homeowner with a well-conceived area that would absorb items that would otherwise migrate into the rest of the house and add disorder. And we wanted to make it feel as though it were a part of the main living space by including comparable detail in terms of quality of light, windows, finishes and trim. Our intention was to incorporate the best elements that we've done in other higher-end homes into this one."

The L-shaped design of this home's mudroom features distinct, function-specific zones such as an entry vestibule from the garage with its own window seat, a laundry/hobby area, and a separate desk. An abundance of custom built-ins including hooks, bins, compartments and shelves increase storage options so that "less mess gets a chance to get into the house." The desk provides a convenient place to sort mail, recharge a mobile phone or plug in a laptop computer without adding clutter to the kitchen.

"In reality, this space is one of the most frequently used spots in the home," says Mahoney, who says that he was inspired not only from past projects but from his own life experiences when deciding what amenities were important to include in the space. For an upcoming project, he says will include a built-in shredder in the mudroom, creating a handy sorting station for the disposal of junk mail and papers.

Upon entering the home from the garage, the view corridor extends the full width of the house and out through the breakfast room which is surrounded by windows. "We definitely wanted to move away from the closed in feeling of a conventional closet-type entry," he says. By incorporating several windows into the space, the builder was able to maintain the same high quality of light in the mudroom that the rest of the living spaces enjoy. Because the home is located along the first green of the community's signature golf course, capitalizing on the views offered by the site was an important factor, as well. "The use of windows in a space like this is unusual, but in this case it was very important to the overall ambiance."

The gray-green color palette that was chosen for mudroom walls and trim gives the space a soothing, peaceful feel," says Mahoney. "The colors were chosen to create a relaxing place to unload from the day. "I describe it as a cool exhale as you enter the home."

The home was completed in June 2004 and has been sold.



Style of Home: New England Shingle

Location: Plymouth, Mass.

Total Square Footage: 4,300 sq. ft.

Estimated Market Value: $1.7 million

Architect: Hart Associates Architects, Belmont, Mass.

Builder: Kistler & Knapp Builders, Acton, Mass.

Interior Design: Maria Churchill, Plymouth, Mass.

Major Products Used: Windows & Doors: Eagle Window & Door Hardware: Baldwin

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