Spring Cleaning Never Looked So Good With This Mudroom Makeover

Using practicality as a guide, two designers created a space that is highly functional as well as attractive. 

“I don’t function well in chaos,” says Megan Gorman.  

Not only was the dual-purpose laundry and mudroom dated and tired – it was also the messiest spot in her mid-1990s Colonial Saltbox-style home, with shoes piled on the floor and nowhere to sit. And it was the first thing she saw when entering or leaving, often with her two small children in tow.  

“You’re coming in from the garage and ready to wind down, or heading out. The flow and function were not great to meet their family’s goals. This transitional space needed to be a fresh atmosphere,” says Rory Palubiski of Fein Design, tasked with architectural design and project management.  



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Mudrooms are a fairly recent addition to homes, emerging 30 or 40 years ago. These days, many of Palubiski’s clients are asking to have a mudroom added on or remodeled, he says. With an eye on mimicking a mudroom she spotted on Houzz, Gorman instructed Palubiski and Jessamy Tsoris of Color Zen (who handled the interior design) to adopt a “clean” look. The plan was for a white-on-white palette, including the cabinetry, shiplap and walls, but Gorman changed course midway. “I thought, ‘This isn’t me,’” she says. “I need to have color. Our house is full of color.” Instead of white walls, the team chose a light-green hue, achieving the goal of a tranquil space that’s also vibrant.  

“It’s very calming,” says Gorman. “Now we actually have space for all our stuff.” 

For a family that plans to stay in their home for the foreseeable future, the renovation made the space functional, organized and attractive. “There’s just a positive vibe in there [now],” says Palubiski.  


Bridging the mudroom with the deck was a major bonus. A door with windowpanes did the trick, pulling in natural light. “It connects us more to the backyard than before,” says Gorman. 

Two wall-mounted drying racks were custom-made to match the cabinetry. A shelving unit on the same wall serves as a drop zone for lunchboxes and purses, with space underneath for shoes. Two-tier shelving on the left provides spots for running gear, mittens and hats.  

To add color, Gorman painted the walls in Sherwin-Williams’ Rainwashed. The hue conjures the tones of the beach and helps create a serene atmosphere. 

Practicality guided the selection of porcelain tiles for the floor. “I knew I wanted something that hid dirt well and wasn’t susceptible to staining, but I also wanted contrast to the rest of the room, which is light and airy,” says Gorman. “For cleaning, I only need to sweep up loose dirt and then use a wet rag to wipe them down and they look brand-new.” 

For the countertops, “I liked the look of wood, but without the maintenance, so we chose a Wilsonart laminate,” says Gorman. A backsplash wasn’t originally part of the plan, but now Gorman loves how the tiles blend with the cabinetry.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s May issue.

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.