We Bought a Farmhouse

stories of renovation, home decor inspiration & sprinkles of country life

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Mudroom Renovation: Phase 1 Is Complete

This past Winter, I started to renovate our mudroom, and talked about the reasons why here. It was kind of a casual process - this Winter I lacked energy more so than usual (I blame all the amazing snow we had), so I was a bit of sloth when it came to working on the house at all. I kind of did work when I felt like it, and would even take two weeks off at a time if I didn't feel like chipping away at it. But now, I'm happy to report Phase 1 is done. In total, they'll be three Phases, so while it's nice to have this done, we still have two more to go.

Our mudroom is a central space for both of us. Even though we have two entrances to the house, we pretty much always go in and out of this one. I had started to fix up this room shortly after we moved in, but I just couldn't quite grasp how we really needed to use the space. So I let the project go, knowing I'd eventually come back to it. I had started with a coat of beige paint, and a new coat rack and even then, it didn't feel right. And after about another year of using the room every day, it just clicked and I knew what we needed to do to make it functional and also, fit in with the rest of the house.

So anyhoo, here's a before and after:

Bad quality iPhone Pano picture, but you get the idea.

The biggest change I wanted to make was the flow. I never liked how we hung our coats on a rack on the wall you see right when you walk in. It makes the space feel smaller, and the actual logistics of getting in and out more out of sync than they needed to be. So we kept that wall clear of any storage, and pushed all storage over to the other wall, which allowed more breathing room.

We started by trying to remove the wallpaper on the bottom half of the walls. And it was IMPOSSIBLE. Like, legitimately impossible. We tried everything, and this stuff would not budge. The only way we could remove it was by ripping the heck out of the drywall. We debated this a ton, and decided that since we were planking that part of the wall anyway, we'd just leave it, and cover it up. Which I know, is like a huge renovating faux pas. I'm almost ashamed to even be admitting we did that. BUT, it had to be done since we didn't feel it was necessary to re-drywall the entire room just to get rid of some wallpaper. So yeah, we did it. No regrets.

Once that decision was made, we started to remove the old trim and the closet door, and drywalled over the ceiling tiles. That made the biggest difference. Having a nice, smooth ceiling helped to open up the space a lot, and I started to wish we had done this sooner.

This was very not fun.

I came in to prime the walls and Josh did the ceiling (since, you know, he has the height advantage), and then we started to install a faux shiplap three quarters of the way up all the walls. I was torn on how far up to go (I debated this for like, months - I know), but something about the aesthetic of the planks going almost all the way up was appealing to both of us, so we just went for it. Thankfully, we were able to re-use the reject plywood planks from our first (failed) kitchen ceiling attempt, so we ended up saving about $100 or so, which was nice.

Me, before reality sunk in that I would not be finishing this wall. I tried for a few days, though. A for Effort.

Installing the planks, we thought, would be simple. I actually jumped right in and started to install the first row, thinking I could totally do this myself. Wrong.

So, so wrong.

But also, I'm the type of person who, if it isn't 110% perfect, I can't move on until it is.

Here's the thing: the room wasn't level (surprise!). I would start a row, and keep checking each plank with a level, and everything would be going great until suddenly, one plank wasn't level. And I couldn't figure out why. I would take them all out, start over again, adjusting the bottom row, trying new things, and it never came out right. Josh stepped in, and did the whole room in like an hour. I asked how he did it, and he just said, "you have to let go of the fact that each plank will never line up perfectly with the next." He's able to let go of these things, whereas I can't. But, it got done. I was just mad I couldn't do it myself. But anyway, moving on.

Once they were up, I had to prime and paint those. I used, you guessed it, Simply White by Benjamin Moore. Then we installed some trim to join the wall with the new planks, using caulk to hide any seams, and then built a new shelf to go along the back wall. Underneath, we put in some new cast iron coat hooks that had more of a farmhouse feel to them.

As a side note, we just bought this leash for Betty on Etsy, and I'm kind of in love with it. See below for link to the shop.

There was just no way I wasn't putting a wreath up somewhere in this room.

We also really, really wanted a chalkboard in this room. I honestly couldn't tell you exactly why, but whenever we both talked about the idea, we were so excited about it and just needed to make it happen. You'd think we were a couple of 8 year olds or something. We bought a good-sized piece of chalkboard from Lowes, and then cut and stained some 1x4's as a frame, and hung it on the wall opposite the new shelf.

This is one of the many moments I wish I didn't have the penmanship of a serial killer.

The cage light fixture we've had for a while, actually. It was probably one of the first lights we bought for the house (the existing one was red or pink or something and shaped like a flower, so it had to go). We wanted something basic and almost industrial since it's just a mudroom, and I'm thankful it still works with the design after two years of having it. It's funny because we had a friend over that's been to our house several time since we've moved in, and during his last visit a few months back when we had just finished painting the new drywall ceiling in here, he said, "Oooo, I love this light! Is that new?" We laughed, and were like, "No, we've had that since your first visit here, but it just looks better now with the white ceiling."

Finally, we hung some baskets on the wall that I found on eBay to use for mail. We have a serious organizational problem with mail - it ends up all over the house because while renovating every room in this house, we never thought to pick a designated area for it. We got two baskets - one for magazines and one for regular mail. And I love having it up on the walls so it's not cluttering up our dining room table, or coffee table, or kitchen island, or wherever else it was ending up in the house.

And that completes Phase 1! There still a lot to do in here, and you can see that there's paint on the floor, that I didn't photograph the closet area and there's a lack of floor and ceiling trim. And that's because since it's an on-going project. We didn't want to put a lot of effort into clean-up since we'll still be cutting wood for trim and building bench seating.

Phase 2 will be building the storage bench that will go underneath the shelf and coat hooks. We've already planned out the design, and recently bought the lumber for the frame. This will be Josh's first carpentry project, and I'm so excited to see how it turns out in the end. Once that's assembled and painted, we'll finish off the trim on the floor and ceiling.

The final phase, Phase 3, will be re-doing the closet. We have to do some demolition work and drywalling in here. Right now the door is down, and I've gone ahead and primed and painted it. But we can't put it back up until the closet is done for a variety of reasons. So right now, it's an open storage space for lumber, tools and a lot of random crap.

For now, though, we've already accomplished making this room way more functional than it ever was, just by using the space more wisely. And walking into a bright, white room after being at work all day is soothing, and totally makes me smile.

Things pictured:

Coat hooks: Signature Hardware
Cotton and greenery wreath: Afloral.com, no longer available, sadly.
Ribbon to hang wreath: RibbonSweets on Etsy
Wall baskets: No longer available, but purchased from this eBay seller
Rope doggie leash: SixTails on Etsy
Crossbody bag: Angela Roi
Goat tote bag: Beekman 1802 (different design, but it's the same bag)


  1. Another winner. You all should do a book on your renovation. It is so interesting. It is hard to believe it is the same house that we saw on video when you purchased it.

  2. This farm house is certainly amazing and wonderful. The colour scheme is pretty awesome. I want to live in such a house. Will share these pics with my hubby and kids asap.

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