Back-To School Storage for a Side Hall Colonial

Back to School Storage
Back to School Storage in the Front Foyer

My clients, in close-in Silver Spring, MD are looking to improve the space usage of their home.  One of the problems is the lack of a mud room entry or a foyer with room for a closet or other places to store the back packs, coats, boots and everything else that comes along with pre-teen and teenage children.  Today, everything gets piles into one corner of the living room.  The living room, is also awkward – long and narrow – making it difficult to find a comfortable seating arrangement.  In fact, even though the house is very small and they are quite cramped, the living room is rarely used.  And, like most of us, they are on a tight budget.

I proposed a simple, relatively low-cost solution that solves both problems.  I proposed moving the non-load-bearing wall between the tiny foyer and the long, narrow living room about 3 ft into the living room.  Thus creating a spacious foyer with a wall well suited to a low storage bench for seating and cubbies and hooks for coats above.  Changing the swing of the front door, helps with a more natural flow.   If the homeowners wanted, they could also switch the entry flooring to porcelain, stone or ceramic tile.  But simply patching and refinishing the oak floor would be less expensive.

This family is informal and the tight budget suggests the use of cubbies.  The ones drawn here are custom but stock components from IKEA or The Container Store would also work well.

For a family with a larger budget or that do more formal entertaining, the solution below provides a more formal approach to combining the mud room with a main entrance.

Combination Foyer & Mud Room
By Using Built-in Storage You can Combine a Mud Room with the Foyer

And if you want a greater sense of openness, you can eliminate the wall altogether and create a visual connection to the living room like the option below.

Combined Foyer & Mud Room
Removing the Wall and Adding Open Shelves Creates a Connection with the Living Room

To visualize in greater detail the room changes, I’ve included after and before floor plans, below.  Notice that the “after” plan also proposes solutions to issues with the kitchen, family room and indoor/outdoor connection.   I’m currently working the family to think through what improvements are most important at this point with the idea of phasing in the other improvements as finances allow.

Floor Plan After - Foyer with Mud Room
Floor Plan “After” – A gracious Foyer with Mud Room Storage
Floor Plan Before - Tiny Foyer with No Storage
Floor Plan “Before” – A Tiny Foyer with No Storage
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