November 21, 2010
My Old House: The Mudroom
A friend and reader has requested that I do a series on the rooms of my house; she felt teased by the tiny glimpses seen in previous photos. I hope other readers will enjoy this walk through my 1821 farmhouse. The house, with a 26 x 32 foot footprint, is of plank construction, meaning the walls are built up of thick horizontal wooden planks, one above the other. The mudroom and shed––the "ell" (not "L" shaped but an extension)––are post and beam, as is my barn.
A mudroom, common in the Northeast, is a room between inside and out, a place to remove outerwear and dirty boots so as not to track mud in the house; it's the entry room, as coming in through the front door is rare. In my house it's also a laundry room, a storage area, a place to keep the freezer, to bring in wood for the day (you can see the woodbox in this post). I imagine that farmhouses across the United States have similar rooms. When I moved here, the mudroom was unfinished and bitterly cold in winter; a couple of years ago I had it insulated and finished.
My wonderful contractor, Ed Shields, built a shelf for me to hold some of my collection of containers.
This simple old cupboard was in the mudroom originally. Ed rehung it and now it's my tool cabinet. I put an old rugbeater on the wall alongside the cupboard; I like its refined lines alongside the rough-hewn wood.
Ed built in a corner cupboard so that now I could hide away my cleaning tools. The door is one of several old doors that were stacked in my barn; it adds character and beauty alongside the newer elements.
When I began rug hooking, my idea was to make rugs for the house, not to make art. This rug of teapots with a decorative border was the only representational rug I made. After doing it, I realized that I was not at all interested in making images in this medium; I would keep that for painting. The rug now resides along the mudroom bench, a place for putting on outdoor shoes, and for tossing hats and gloves. The hat you see is my hunter's orange cap for walking in the woods during hunting season. The two old metal baskets came with the house.
And to end, a still life on top of the dryer: dried marjoram in an antique tin, clothespins in an old bucket, and a coffeepot-shaped painted wood container, which I was told was originally for storing powdered detergent. It's a very jaunty addition to this mainly utilitarian room.