A niche tucked in a garage potting bench creates a cozy spot for the family pet.
If you are like pet owners everywhere, your pets are an important part of the family. Pets have other advantages besides being lovable; they are known to reduce stress in their owners. In fact, some studies show that people with pets actually live longer than non-pet owners. A lot of people must buy into this because the American Pet Products Association, says there are 86.4 million cats and 78.2 million dogs in the U.S.A.
Because pets truly are family members, they deserve special consideration in the home. There are a number of things that can be done to pamper dogs and cats alike and make life easier in the bargain.
Most people prefer not to have pet supplies in the kitchen but a nearby laundry rooms are a perfect place for pet needs. Consider a pull out trash container with a lid to store dog food or kitty litter. For the ultimate in pet luxury, consider a shower (I am not kidding) for Fido’s bath time. The one shown below was indeed installed in a multi-purpose laundry room. A hand-held shower (shown) is a perfect choice for the puppy spa. Nearby counter space for drying off smaller dogs and cabinet space for grooming supplies and tools made the job even easier.
Finding a space for water and food dishes is a challenge too. In the photo below, a spacious mud room was designed with the family pet’s mealtime in mind. While I have seen a cabinet’s bottom drawer modified to hold water and food dishes, I find them a tripping hazard. Using an increased depth wall cabinet installed with an open space below is a safer option. Frankly, this configuration is much easier to keep clean and sanitary.
Let me end with a quote: “Dogs aren’t our whole life but they make our lives whole.”
Did the home where you grew up have a special niche that you were drawn to? Was it cozy and did it make you feel safe and full of imagination? We often think of window seats as that special place that makes a house a home. We most often associate window seats with older homes sometimes they can be just as wonderful in a contemporary home as in the photo below.
Over the years it has been older homes where I have used built-in seating most often. In one case, I used a window seat beneath a low window in a Victorian home to connect the cabinets in the kitchen and the serving area in the adjacent breakfast area. Not only did it connect two runs of cabinetry but it gave a place for friends to sit when the homeowner prepared a meal.
One of the biggest advantages of built-in seating is the extra storage. Whether it’s a flip up lid or front access, the space created will provide room to store everything from spare linens in the bedroom to picnic supplies in the kitchen and extra towels in the bathroom.
Many times a heat run is placed under a window and can be incorporated into the window seat cabinetry.
Sometimes storage has to be given up if there is a radiator under the window. In that case a grill front will be required but seating may still be a possibility if the radiator is low enough to allow for a comfortable seating height.
One of the best tricks in a small dining room is to build in seating (often called a banquette) along a wall and slide the table up to it. Adjust the location of the center light fixture and add chairs on the opposite side for a cozy dining area with more room for traffic to flow.
Mudrooms are are also a very practical place to add a built-in seat. Not only is the storage valuable but the seat is helpful for putting on shoes and boots.
Create a special place for your family with beautiful Waypoint cabinetry!
A few months ago, I moved into a ‘new’ old house. It’s a 1940 Cape Cod with all kinds of charm. When I bought it, one of the big selling features was the side entry. At about 6’-0” x 8’-0”, it even had a shallow closet for cleaning supplies and recycling items. AND there was a bathroom adjacent … perfect for guests or washing up after an afternoon in the garden. Frankly, I have never had a mudroom in all my years of home ownership. Now, I am in mudroom heaven.
Mudrooms can perform a lot of functions. From a place to hang up jackets and organize everyday shoes to a charging station for all our handheld electronics, life gets better with a mudroom. Here are some other tasks that can be worked into a mudroom if there is enough room:
- A chalkboard or cork board to post the family’s schedules
- A space to keep keys
- Leashes and other pet supplies
- A chair or bench for putting on shoes and boots
- Umbrella stand
- A place for outgoing mail and even dry cleaning to be dropped off
- A water dispenser for the kids to save on muddy feet throughout the home
This interesting mudroom in an older home was created as part of a major remodeling. It is just off the kitchen and is the primary entrance for the family. It features tall storage cabinets that hide all the family clutter. Just think of all the ways you could get organized with this much storage! Hooks on the grooved paneling make a perfect place for jackets but my favorite part of this area is the bench with a lift up lid and loads of storage beneath. It was created on the job site from matching cabinet materials and makes the whole space even more useful.
Adding a window seat to a room brings value and extra storage. And, no home ever has enough storage. I’ve done window seats in older homes where a lower window in the kitchen couldn’t be altered without ruining the look of the exterior. As a designer, this is something I never want to do. Sometimes you just have to work around the existing architectural elements. A window seat below a tall kitchen window can tie two cabinet areas together with something of beauty and practical value. Window seats can also be helpful in bathrooms, mudrooms and a similar application is often used as built-in banquet seating for an eating area.
Window seats are best if captured between two walls (like an alcove) or between cabinets. While you can build bench seating with a flip up top, another option is to make it from increased depth wall cabinetry built on a platform. You never have to remove the cushion and/or pillows when you want to access the storage. A total height of 18” to 20” is ideal for a window seat. So, if you want a cushion for extra comfort, allow for the two or three inches of upholstery in the finished height. Recessed toe kicks are helpful so be sure to factor that into the overall height.
Here, a window seat fits under a window in a master bedroom with a spectacular view. These cabinets are perfect for storing extra linens.
I’d love this in my home, how about you?
If you have children in the house or grandchildren as regular visitors – or if you’re an outdoor enthusiast yourself – it won’t take long to decide that a mudroom is a must if you have the space.
Mudrooms are where the nitty-gritty of home life begins. It is where backpacks are dropped off, mail and dry cleaning staged for lunch hour or after-work errands. So if you’re about to remodel your home – and you have extra space near a back door – consider adding a mudroom to your plans.
Here are a couple of ideas:
Adding seating to the mudroom is great for kids and adults alike. A cushion can be added to for extra comfort and the storage below is great for hats and mittens if you live in a wintry climate. Beaded board and hooks makes hanging up coats a pleasure.
Personal lockers are great for families with children. Kids love having their own individual cubbyholes for jackets and treasures. A design like this looks as good in a contemporary style as well as this more traditional look.
Some other bright ideas for mudrooms:
• Add a water fountain to the mudroom so the kids can get a quick drink on their way outside.
• Add a place to hang calendars and messages. Putting cork board on the inside of a cabinet door can conceal permission slips and coupon and still keep them handy.
• Add mail slots to organize incoming and outgoing mail.
• Hide recycling bins behind cabinet doors to keep the area tidy.
• Don’t forget your pets. Dog food can be stored in a mudroom and since the flooring for these areas is usually durable; it’s a great place to have the dog’s water and food dishes.
Mud rooms are….well for mud but they can add a lot of organization to daily your life.