A modern solution for a cramped back entry

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 9, 2013 - 3:47 PM

A 1920s foursquare gets a modern multifunctional mudroom that’s filled with light and storage.

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A back-of-the-home addition created space for a new mudroom outfitted with individual lockers, a computer station and plenty of storage. Four windows draw light into both spaces.

Photo: Photos by Adan Torres,

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The challenge: The 1920s foursquare in St. Paul had a cramped kitchen and a tiny entry from the back yard. “The back entry was originally the nook for the icebox,” said homeowner Katie Archbold. “There wasn’t even room for a boot tray.”

Katie and her husband, Patrick, wanted to incorporate a mudroom and powder room in plans for a bigger, modern kitchen.

 

The design team: Architects Todd Hansen and Cori Sandwick, Albertsson Hansen Architecture, Minneapolis, 612-823-0233, www.aharchitecture.com.

 

The solution: Hansen designed a 430-square-foot addition on the back of the house for a new mudroom, as well as a kitchen and powder room. “As part of the design, we had to add two steps from the kitchen to the mudroom to have access to the back yard and basement,” said Hansen. But this feature proved advantageous. The steps helped contain most of the outdoor grime in the mudroom.

 

Everything in its place: The three Archbold children have their own lockers and shoe storage. “Now they know where to put their coats and soccer cleats,” said Katie. “Even the dog has a place for his leash.”

 

Strategic windows: The bank of four small casement windows above the lockers provide privacy at the mudroom level, but there’s a view of the outdoors from the kitchen level.

 

Two-faced design: Hansen put in a Carrara marble-topped cabinet dividing the kitchen and mudroom. On the kitchen side, it serves as a computer station. “It’s handy, and we can monitor the kids when they’re on the computer,” said Katie.

On the mudroom side, open shelves store pet supplies and miscellaneous stuff. “It also blocks the view of the messy mudroom floor, with boots and shoes, from the kitchen,” said Hansen.

 

Expand the view: Mudrooms are often closed off from the rest of the home, said Hansen. “This one was designed to provide a visual extension from the kitchen, which is long and narrow. Now the kitchen feels more expansive.” The open kitchen also draws in natural light from the mudroom windows.

 

Framing element: Hansen put in white painted wood panels above the transition countertop. “It turns the large opening into a doorway and frames the mudroom from the kitchen,” he said.

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  • After: The two steps up to the kitchen help contain outdoor dirt in the mudroom. There’s also a designated feeding area for the dog.

  • Before: The back entry into the home.

  • Todd Hansen

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