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Ask The Audience: How Do You Design A House For Rainy Weather?

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So I’ve ordered my ‘there is no bad weather, just bad clothes’ plaque and it should get here any day. We are all set, ready for the rain. Yes, we are still a bit nervous to leave sunny California for less-so-sunny Oregon – it’s why it took us 12 years to make this move. We truly know that the benefits of Oregon are worth it, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be fully prepared – both emotionally as well as physically with our home. So as we are designing this house a lot of questions keep coming up on how to embrace the weather and avoid some PNW amateur pitfalls. For those that don’t know I grew up in Coos Bay, OR (a coastal town) which was overcast and rainy 80% of the year (it’s different now what with climate change and all). But it’s been a while since I lived here. So here are my questions for all you natives or long-term transplants (former Californians are very invited to weigh in on what helped with their weather transition).

MUD – ALL THINGS MUD

For the first time, we will have a mudroom, because for the first time we will have MUD. You don’t really need one in LA (you need a drop-zone but not something to actually deal with mud and shoes). When my friends visit from Oregon their kids immediately take their shoes off without even thinking and at first I was like, ‘oh my, how well behaved these angels are’ and then when we were visiting up there last we realized this wasn’t a matter of manners, in Oregon you HAVE to take off your shoes or you will have mud everywhere (they are also very well mannered, of course). So we are designing this fantasy mudroom to withstand all the mud, dirt, and soccer clothes. Here are the questions:

  1. Muddy Kids: Many moms have told me about how muddy the kids get, especially during rain-or-shine soccer season. Some have their washer/dryer in the mudroom so they can immediately strip down and throw their clothes in the laundry. I’ve even heard of people who have a little shower in the mudroom (or right outside) so they can shower before they come in. While the level of that mud preparation is rather terrifying (do kids really get THAT muddy?) It’s also great to think about in advance. I don’t think we have room for a shower (inside at least), but we do have room for a washer/dryer. I’m pro- laundry room/mudroom but curious about the need for a rinse-off station either inside or out. Thoughts?
  2. Muddy Dogs: Do we need a dog washing station? WHY oh WHY did we get long-haired dogs before moving to Oregon??? Such an amateur move. As my brother put it, ‘Oh, you are screwed’. Some of you have already helped, but any tips on this would be awesome. As of right now, we plan on putting a warm/cold water hookup outside our mudroom (and maybe the back patio too) to rinse them off before they come in (and then dry them with a towel inside? – Gah the labor!!!).
  3. Muddy Boots and Raincoats: I saw a debate in the comment section the other day about ‘lockers’ in the mudroom and how each kid has their own and how great it is to close them when a PNW mom weighed in and said that because of the rain we can’t have doors because they need to dry out and drip a lot. So what are we doing up there? Big boot trays? Plastic baskets and bins? Hooks? I know I was raised up here, but I’m unprepared and need help.

OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING, YEAR ROUND?

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: two reveals, one post: the portland outdoor living spaces and a lot of styling tips

The Patio: Obviously everyone loves a covered patio for the rain but our issue is that it blocks so much natural light from coming into a room that needs more natural light (our living room). My brother has a great covered patio area (with full TV and fireplace) and they use it often, but admittedly they traded that for a darker family room since it blocks the light. How much do you guys use your covered patio areas during the spring or fall when it’s warm but still raining? I know that you can have skylights in them as well as make them all glass. Is it a matter of heat lamps?

Heat Lamps: Speaking of, do you need them? Do you REALLY sit outside when it’s chilly? Or if you did would a firepit be better? Curious if it is worth planning them into the covered patio. It’s also super hard to plan for eventually having people over because right now, no, we don’t need one but will we regret not integrating one into the design? Also, we might have a sunroom that opens to the backyard and if so then wouldn’t we just sit in there where it’s not warm?

Ceiling Windows and Skylight Cleanliness: If we do decide on a covered patio with windows or skylights how dirty do those get? Do we need to clean them monthly or does the rain just wash off? Is it one of those things that sounds pretty but will mostly look gross? And actually this isn’t just an outside question – do skylights get dirtier in Oregon? Any tricks on placement to keep them as clean as possible?

The Deck: What is not slippery when wet and yet also drains well?? We have a pretty big outdoor entertaining area planned but what should it be made out of? I LOVE our tile in LA and while I wouldn’t do that one, I love the idea of something classic and happy. But tile is for sure slippery (not something we have to worry about in LA). Is a wood deck too high maintenance? It’s wildly more affordable than stone or any sort of masonry. Do you use a deck composite? Will that cheapen the house? I love the idea of no maintenance for decades. I know that concrete pavers aren’t slippery but that doesn’t sound as beautiful… Good news is that we have no trees over the deck (unless we put one in) so no sap or leaves to deal with. What is the best patio or deck material for the rain?

Year-Round BBQ?: Now, I feel like grilling year-round isn’t out of the question (or at least fall/spring/summer) up in Portland. But are we delusional? Should we just get a range with those things that make grill marks (clearly versed in appliances, remind me to read my own chapter on ranges in my book)? We are going to have a BBQ, but whether or not we cover it is the question…

Now I’m pretty good at this point at knowing what is kid and pet-friendly so I think I’m set in the rug and furniture department, but surely there are other tips from rainy-natives on designing to live through the winter months. We are embracing fireplaces, a lot of warm materials (so much wood), and good ambient lighting.

So please if you have any answers to those rainy day questions above, please help. I know that we aren’t alone and even some Portland natives while remodeling right now are asking the same questions. It’s like you don’t want to miss an opportunity, but you also don’t want to waste money on something that is simply a ‘fun’ thing to have that you never use.

Thank you very very very much in advance.

Your future PNW resident. 🙂

Opening Image Credits: From: 12 Strangely Useful New Fashion Obsessions

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We live in southern Indiana, and I like to joke that winter just means it’s muddy and cloudy for 4 months. Occasional snow, but mostly mud. Anyway…is there any chance for you to have an attached garage? It’s seriously the most boring, adult luxury of my life, but I never want another house without one. We don’t always have it cleaned out enough to park our cars, but it’s heated and that’s always where we take off and store our most wet and muddy shoes, boots, jackets, etc. Then, from the garage, you go into a little mudroom-ish area where we take off and store everyday shoes, coats, backpacks, etc. But having that extra triage area in the garage has been amazing. Also, that’s where we keep all our animal related things (dog and cats) which further cuts down on the mess that makes it inside. Good luck! Whether or not a garage is an option, I predict you will get very good at taking shoes off right when you come in the house. And if the space makes sense, the mudroom is a great spot for the washer and dryer. Bonus points if you can incorporate a laundry shoot… Read more »

Sandra

We live with three muddy boys in Denmark. We don’t have all these things,but if I were building/renovating I would prioritize:
-heated floors throughout the house
– well insulated windows and doors
-mushroom with rinsestation. Maybe just a large sink
– some heat source for drying wet outerwear (we have a cupboard where all the heat pipes run through so it’s energy efficient. )

Best of luck ! Love following along

Sandra

NOT mushroom MUD ROOm 😂

Rachel Ludwig

It’s also so nice to not have to get wet every time you go back and forth to the car! (Groceries etc). We love our garage and have a mudroom attached to it.

Grace Morrison

We just moved to Washington (AND LOVE IT!) and we’re adding a full glass sunroom off of the living room. We want a covered outdoor space, but also don’t want to block any light. There are obviously tons of options, but since we’ll be doing it ourselves we’re going with a Rion Sunroom kit. Also, something to consider— in our mudroom area we have “lockers” and within those we have shelves with railing to keep gloves, hats, etc. as it seems to be a catch all area. And if it’s within the budget, I’d recommend heated flooring.

Best of luck! Welcome back to the PNW!

CA2WA2CA

Be warned those glass sunrooms are super noisy due to all the rain, they do not absorb any sounds and all the rain will be constantly amplified. They are also very cold, again because nothing can absorb warmth. You will want a regular sunroom with a roof, some insulated walls, warm wood and insulation floors on slab, and big windows/doors or a La Cantina door for summer if you can fit it in the budget. Trust me.

Jaime

Live on a lake in IA, so lots of water and sand.
– definitely suggest W/D in the mudroom, so nice to just throw everything right inside without dirtying the rest of the house.
– we have an outdoor shower on the back of our house to use after exiting the lake. Kids love showering outside and I like less mess inside. Just a simple copper exposed pipe and head with hot hook up.
– We have a large natural wood upper deck that isn’t covered and then a concrete paver patio that is covered by the deck. They are 24” square with pea gravel between and IMO look cool and modern. And I’m just not a fan of any fake wood so the small amount of maintenance is worth it to me.
– We have several hooks in our garage to hold messier items and then an open locker system inside. We had closed lockers in the past and they were a PITA.
Good luck! Can’t wait to see what you do!

Kat Mac

Your new farm house is just delightful, I am so looking forward to following your renovation story. 😍 We live in Scotland and rain is year round for us…I would highly recommend getting a ‘pulley’ (not sure if that’s what you call it over there, but it’s like a clothes dryer you pull up to the ceiling) ours hides away in a small vaulted area of the ceiling in our back door laundry / mud / dog / room that also has a door to the garage. We have underfloor heating through our house but have two tall radiators in the entrance / mud room areas, brilliant to quickly dry soaking wet coats or wellies. I would think about ways to catch rain and mud at all of your doors, I’ve found it impossible to get the kids to always come in the same door when they are out playing…most of the time they do but there are other times. A small shelf lined cupboard area in your mud room to store seasonal jackets and boots/shoes is great. We pack away our winter heavy gear in a big plastic box when winter comes and bring out the lighter gear and… Read more »

Susan

We stayed at an Airbnb in Glasgow with the pulley you’re describing, but our host called it something else, something more formal, and I can’t remember it though I’ve tried! Anyways, we did laundry there and I was surprised by how well the system worked.

Kirsty

I think it sometimes gets called a Kitchen Maid!

Caroline

Also called an clothes airer.

Liz

I wonder if any houses in the US have those pulley things. I’ve seen them on TV, in UK houses, and it took a while for me to figure out what they were or what they were used for, having never seen one here. I wonder if it’s a ceiling height difference — or just something that has never really caught on here for whatever reason?

Allana

I had one I bought at Ikea and it was fantastic!

Emma

Maybe it’s because houses in the US tend to be bigger (on average – not always the case). The pulley rack is nice but if people have enough space they probably just have a rack that stays out where they can hang their clothes. I live in a small apartment and I use a retractable clothesline that I installed over my shower. Doesn’t require additional floor space and clothes can drip dry into the bathtub without worrying about getting the floor wet.

K

Isn’t the pulley sometimes also called an ‘airer’ ? Like this:

https://www.thegritandpolish.com/blog/diy-how-to-build-a-hanging-laundry-rack-english-airer?rq=laundry

They look like such a clever idea!

Amber

I have one of these in my laundry room. It’s brand name is Sheila Maid. There is a remodelista post about them if anyone is interested.

CHRISTINE

The hanging drying racks on pulley system are called “Sheila Maid”.

Stefanie

So so excited about your new farm! So gorgeous.

Love this drying pulley system idea! Here in Seattle we just have a collapsible drying rack we grab out of the closet on muddy days but am now going to consider one of these.

I will say that I love that we have next to the front door a bathroom that’s in the style of a European wet room with a curbless shower. it’s soooo nice to pile in the bathroom, strip down, hose/shower off, and be able to hang wet clothes etc. without getting in a formal shower, and having the whole room great for dripping/drying jackets etc. I think it’s even nicer than a mud room since it is all in one.

Also just a word to think about mold/mildew. I’m curious about the glass roof on a covered porch, but will say the mildew battle is very very real on surfaces here.

Jenny

I think that pully is called a Sheila, and I am putting one in my mudroom!

Beth

If you decide to do a covered porch- invest in some type of in floor heating. I have a fireplace on my porch but it cannot really heat my room enough to make it comfortable for half of the year. The floor heating spreads the heat throughout the space making it more comfortable in the cold and rain.

K

Yes! In general I would HIGHLY suggest radiant flooring where ever you can, but in bathrooms/tiled areas especially. I’m from coastal Alaska and it makes such a difference to have warm feet when it’s dreary and grey out.

Camille

I live in Gothenburg, Sweden, which is more rainy and cloudy than Oregon. All of the preschools here have a drying closet right by the door, which I am very jealous of. They’re not very beautiful, so you would probably want to hide it somehow. You will need space to dry your shoes and hang your clothes right by the door. Our kids have very waterproof rain clothes that they have to wear most of the time they’re outside–they can sit in a deep puddle for 30 minutes and be fine. Polarn och Pyret sells good quality rain clothes.

Laura

I live in Newfoundland, Canada where we actually get more rain than Portland and snow besides. Our rain happens all year long but for whatever reason mud isn’t a huge issue here (maybe because we have really rocky ground?) Anyhow, my kids are small and one thing we love here is a Muddy Buddy for playing outside when it’s wet. They’re super cute but they only go to 5T. https://tuffo.com/muddy-buddy/ However, are lots of rain suit options out there. Stripping a muddy rain suit is much easier than taking off muddy clothes in my opinion.
It’s a norm here in Canada to take off shoes in the porch/mud room area. I can’t imagine tracking all the dirt through the house.

Dd tiz

Yes! We love our muddy buddy suit too! And crocs rain boots.

Ilana Smith

Yes to rain suits and boots, but after years of outdoor preschool, we recommend Oaki. Their rain suit and rain pants are really durable (and not too expensive) and a bit sleeker than the Muddy Buddy bubbles, and their neoprene boots are amazing. Light enough for year around, but add some wool socks, and they do fine when there’s snow or it gets below freezing.

Kate

Bogs boots are fantastic – neoprene top and rubber shoe part – my kiddo went to an all outdoor school and wore them every day year round. Never had cold feet and they’re practically indestructible.

Lindsey

Love our Oaki Suit! I bought one and it lasted all my 3 boys through their years at nature Preschool. We paired with Bogs because they transitioned into cold Michigan winters.

Kristin

I was going to say the same. We’re Portlanders and a Muddy Buddy was the one “school supply” my daughter’s preschool required. It made such a difference for the kids and teachers to be able to easily play in the mud.

Annie

Firstly, it’s really lovely to be reading your blog and to hear about all the exciting and happy times ahead for yo and your family in your new home. However, regarding your question here, I implore you and your readers to think carefully before installing and using outdoor heaters.

“Heat Lamps: Speaking of, do you need them? Do you REALLY sit outside when it’s chilly? Or if you did would a firepit be better?”

The most aesthetically pleasing forms of outdoor heating are the most dangerous environmentally. Please set a good example.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/what-on-earth-outdoor-patio-heating-1.5763692

Evelin

Agree, the outdoor heaters are even forbidden in many European municipalities due to CO2 emission and high energy consumption. Too many restaurants used them for the smoking area outside or to extend their terrace business. I can imagine that the transition from sunny LA to Oregon climate ist hard. But pls dont try to life the Californian lifestyle in a different climate zone. Sozialising with warm boots, fleece blankets and warm drinks is nice as well. Just different. You will see and experience when you actually live there.
I am sure your brother and local siblings step in and tell you about the daily life and habbits.

Rusty

Yessssssssss!!!👍

sarah

Gotta agree with with this. I don’t wanna be a killjoy, and am excited to see what amazing things you do with your new home….but just want to politely say, part of the reason we’re in the environmental catastrophe we’re in, is because we all think we can have all of the things all of the time. Meanwhile California and the rest of the planet are burning on the regular. Rather than indulging in grossly dangerous outdoor heating, please just stay indoors in winter – I am confident your house is gonna be just spectacular, enjoy it!

Rusty

Yaaaaaaaaassssss!!!!! 👍

Rusty

Yaaaaaay, Annie!!!🤗

Honestly, wrap your bidy up in warm clothes or go inside!
What’s with gaving to adapt the temperature in every, single, spot our body happens to be?!

We humans need to get a grip and wake the heck up!

THERE IS NO PLANET B!!! 🌏

Rose

We have amazing bodies that are healthier when we use them – and one of the things they can do is regulate our temperature!!! When we insist on Always making ourselves completely comfortable with heaters and heated blankets we lose those abilities (they atrophy) Enjoy the warmth and coziness of your home, and warm floors and a roaring fire and Also enjoy the thrill of the outdoors and how alive it feels to Feel!!!!

Jessica

I dogsat in England for an abnormally cold (& wet) March (way grosser than the winter I spent in Eugene, OR), and the family had a big greenhouse/wood shop that was WAY more pleasant than a heat lamp sitting area ever could be. No wind, no sprinkles, bright and cozy even when it’s grey and raining.

They had a little outdoor settee and a cafe table… you could have a super cute tile floor moment… Plus it was wired for tools and lighting, so they might have even had a heater (I never needed it).

Tons of comfort just using that totally environmentally friendly resource called the sun 😉 AND you have a FARMHOUSE so it makes sense on multiple levels

Sandra

So many dreamy greenhouses to use as winter gardens!

Shannon

The greenhouse you’re describing reminds me of the room/greenhouse in the first Peter Rabbit movie!

Rachael

agree! something disturbing about heating the outdoors, especially given the current climate crises.

io

Thank you to everybody who already said it!!!

Carolyn

I second this!!

Evelin

Living in Germany, Bavaria = snow and rain, we have hooks in the entrance area and a closed wardrobe. “Closets rooms” are not common here. Pls consider enough space in between them: at least 15cm/6 inch, better 20cm/8″, especially between the lower mounted hooks/peg rail for kids. So the rain and snow gear have space to air and dry. If your gear is too crowed, because of “cute” double hooks, they stay damp and touch each other all the time. When dried, and I feel fancy or expect guests, we put them in a closed wardrobe in the entrance area. And hooks are easy to use for kids.

Evelin

we = my family. I dont speak for total Germany/Bavaria 😉

Annie

Here in NJ, we have all the seasons, the beach and snow and mud. Our best trick for drying shoes and boots is not very pretty, but really works. We use half sheet pans with those metal cooling racks, like you’d use for baking, set inside of them. We keep them in the closet or by the door, depending on the season, so when you take your boots off, the snow and mud drip off of them into the pan, and the cooling racks keep them lifted up so that they can dry out underneath. And you definitely need hooks for raincoats, as well as a roomy umbrella stand – although the racks work for umbrellas, too. If you have a floor that drains in your mud room, and then maybe a bench for sitting and taking off the boots with a rack underneath, you could be set.

bh

Heating lamps … seriously? Sure, if you want to ignore the local climate in the short term, and contribute to global warming in the long term.

Olivia

It’s entirely possible she didn’t know about the environmental impact of heating lamps. Maybe use this space to educate rather than degrade.

ASL

Ditto…I had no idea until I read the comments about this. I live in Oregon and so many people have outdoor heating setups.

Molly

I had no idea either. I actually bought one for this winter just because of Covid. Ordinarily I wouldn’t think that my outdoor space needed to be heated, but with not being able to see family/friends indoors I thought this was a good solution. Trying to be responsible as far as the pandemic goes but also take care emotionally by being able to see people. But glad I have been educated as I will definitely avoid using it now!

Rusty

I don’t read that comment as “degrading”.
Emily WANTS to be more environmentally conscious and isn’t a princess about comments.

Julia A

Maybe try to educate rather than just going off. Some people are not aware of the impact they have and some kindness never hurts anything.

Rusty

As above.

LouAnn

The info was good; the way the poster put it was rude. Someone higher up made the same point but wasn’t obnoxious about it.

bh huchet

Well, sorry, it didn’t cross my mind that someone may not realize that heating up outside cold air is not environmental efficient. I’ll try to keep it in mind.

Gayle

Apparently bh doesn’t do kind, another snarky comment. I, didn’t think of the impact of one heater but now will think before I consider buying one, so the info was good!

Karen

We grill year round in the North East… even in snow…. even in 20 degrees. But if you don’t grill a lot in warm weather, you won’t in chilly, wet weather.

That is a really good point! I totally agree, if lots of grilling isn’t already part of how you cook, I doubt that will change…especially if you’re switching to a climate that’s less “ideal.” But if you grill a lot, it’s worth incorporating a covered option, because you’ll adjust and appreciate it. In fact, it was a balmy 46 here yesterday and we grilled for dinner because it was so “warm”!

Kristin

My parents are year-round grillers, living in Michigan. They just roll the grill over next to the back door (it’s a door wall, so no ‘door swing’) so my dad stands inside but can open the grill to flip meat, etc. It’s not the fanciest solution, but it’s much less work/cost than a covered grill area, especially if you aren’t sure you will even use it.

Rusty

Ha! Yes, good point.
Don’t nerd to make soup outside and if you want grill marks, get one of those pans. I have one, they’re fab!

Alyssa

We live in Seattle, if you plan on grilling a lot – get a covered area. We don’t have one and I desperately want one because the lack really inhibits our desire to grill out in the pouring rain. Also, please note that grills mold out here if not covered/used frequently.

Roberta Davis

I live in Seattle, too, and have been lucky enough to have covered areas near the door in booth places I have lived. So it’s no trouble to grill every day of the year! I love it! And you don’t need a parka! Just some lighting so you can see the food! 🙂

Tracie Draper

Adding to this since I live in Seattle area as well-our last house we built a clear polyurethane roof for outdoor and loved the light that it didn’t take away from our interior and we could grill and still sit outside with a fire pit in the winter months. We recently moved and I miss it a lot.

Mags

I concur with Alyssa. A covered area is key to living in the PNW and I desperately would like one, but have survived for 17 years without one. I have trained my dog (goldendoodle) to always get her paws wiped off when she comes in as it’s wet year-round here. I keep a towel in a basket by the door. As far as mud goes, you can control that in your yard by having grass, gravel and hardscaping. We keep the kids’ shoes, sports equipment and coats in the garage (Elfa storage) which is right by the door to the laundry room. The laundry room is too small to house any of these items and it has seemed to work well. I have a good mat (H2O) in the laundry room which captures a lot of stuff. My biggest complaint are the fir needles, but we’re not willing to chop down the trees because they are majestic.

Jenny

I live in the PNW & when we had the opportunity to build a family home, these are some of the things we did that have really paid off:

We have a small covered porch off our back door. This is where our grill lives & we have an overhead light that points down at it. It’s so helpful to really have bright light on the food 🙂

We have an outdoor hot water faucet & it’s been a lifesaver. We used it to rinse off the kids when they were little & now we use it for washing our dog.

We have a mudroom where everyone has their own space for hanging up their coats. Underneath the bench is a mudtray where we put all our boots.

Our washer/dryer & all our cleaning supplies stay in the mudroom. We left out one cupboard bottom to create an open space. This is where we keep a basket of towels to clean off our dog’s feet & it’s where his food & water bowl live.

Emily

Yes yes yes to the dog washing station, even if it’s just a hose and a place to keep towels. Keep the stomach and leg fur trimmed as best you can, it helps a lot. We use the hose when they are real bad, but a squirt bottle with water that you can use to spray down just their paws works wonders when they’re not total disasters.

Rusty

I watched a video of a Korean dog owner who wiped his dogs3paws as they came jnside. He took his shoes off as is customary – i.e. nit bringing things into the home from the pavement, etc.
I thought I’d experiment with my dog and was massively surprised, because she wasn’t keen on having her feet touched or held to start with.
I put a spoon of yoghurt in her bowl, wet the cloth with warm water and said “paw” and she gave it to me (trained as a puppy) and co tinued to do all four paws! Then, she lapped up her yoghurt (which is good and recommended by the vet-she has a sensitive GI system).
I now do this every day after her walk around the neighbourhood. 🐕

Which always makes me get the heebies when I see women put their handbags on the floor, bathroom floor (spewk!) and other eandom places that could’ve had anything on it… tgen they go home and plonk it on the bench, sofa or…. the kitcgen counter!😳

Emily

I live in Dublin, Ireland (moved here from Los Angeles) and we swear by coveralls- for the kids so they don’t get their regular clothes so muddy. Our dog wears a waterproof coat when he goes out in the winter/rain so that he doesn’t get quite so muddy and then we usually just towel him off-although he’s a lab so easier to deal with fur-wise. definitely hoping to put in a boot room with a dog/boot shower when we renovate, and get rid of the carpet in the entryway (why you would have carpet in your entryway in ireland, I couldn’t say.)

For the deck, I think wood is the worst option. We’ve had one and not only do they create a space for critters to live underneath (rats, mostly.) They also are very slippy in the rain, and get very splintery. Not great for kids especially who never want to wear shoes outside. If you want a wood look, composite decks can look really nice, and last much longer, as well as not having the splinter issue. Because of the rat thing though, I’d really only do a paved patio, here at least.

Lori

Agree about the critters! I have a huge covered deck/sunroom situation out back, and I plan to replace as soon as I have the funds with a smaller setup with a concrete foundation and permeable pavers. It doesn’t help that the moist soil underneath the deck is an ideal mosquito breeding ground.

Heidi

Wood is very expensive these days. Not all composites are created equal. You can find pretty ones that don’t scream “fake-trying-to-look-like-wood.”

Roberta Davis

I’m not a fan of decks! Give me patio! Even then, some critters will dig under it to create a dry space.

Maria

Not just rats but spiders. We get relatively harmless but big and fast spiders in the PNW during the late summer and fall. I hate the idea of their houses being just under my feet when I’m sitting on a wood deck!

Kate

We live in Vermont: lots of melting snow and two months of “mud season.” The best advice I have is radiant floor heating (at least in your mudroom)! You don’t have to blast your heat as high, because starting at your feet is the coziest way to heat… and in the mudroom, it will quickly dry boots! We have Shaker pegs on our mudroom walls and the kids rain paints and snow suits hang on low pegs and touch the floor, so the radiant heat dries the outer wear quickly.
PS – Don’t get outdoor heating lamps, that seems silly unless you’re hosting a wedding. Let your kids build fires in a fire pit and have a more real outside experience!

Rikki Lee

I second the shaker pegs. We have them and they are awesome. Put baseboard heat (with a timer) under them and there is your drying solution 🙂

Dd tiz

My family loves sunrooms in the gloomy Cleveland, Ohio area. My mom wouldn’t buy a new home with out one. We have a sky light covered with trees and it needs desperately cleaned about once a year. I still love the light it gives though. We have a floor vent near our garage entrance that is great to lay wet shoes on to hell them dry out. Give yourself grace to not remembering what would be helpful for the weather. Of course things that didn’t bother as a kid would drive you crazy as a mom. <3

Christina

Splurge for the dog wash station if you have the space. I wish I had one. Live in Toronto so we get rain and lots of snow. It’s easy to teach kids to take clothes off at the door, hang things etc. Dogs – nope haha. They barrel in and my dog acts like I’m torturing him when I take a towel to his feet. Half the year it’s too cold for us to bathe him outside and we end up having to use our shower and then clean the bathroom immediately after. Not ideal. And you have two to wrangle. The dog wash station would also be really convenient for things like washing mop buckets, washing bulky items like your garbage inserts or fridge shelves, feet washing in general, toddler hand washing (know you’re past that stage). If I had the space I’d invest the money in a heartbeat.

Rusty

Very. Good. Point.
Dog wash station.

Di

Use a baby gate to keep dogs in mud room until they are clean.

Paula

I live in Washington state (lots of gray and rain), but I walk my long-haired dog nearly every day of the year on the beach where I live. My husband recently (finally) put in an outdoor shower and built a bench into it for dog washing. This is a lifesaver for my back! My pup has learned to jump up on the bench and have her warm-water foot wash after every walk. Then she jumps on the lounge chair to get dried off. It’s just part of the routine. It will be harder with two dogs, but necessary if you want to save your furniture and floors. I highly recommend a bench or raised dog wash area to save your back and a hook to tether the second dog’s leash while it waits it’s turn. Good luck!

Margaret

Re muddy dogs: With that amount of mud and that coat texture I would do two things. First, in your mudroom I WOULD make a paw-washing station–a tiled shower pan with a flexible shower hose. Then, get a groomer’s force dryer–looks like a small canister vacuum, but blows out rather than in. Have a groomer show you how to use it and convince the dogs that it’s just fine. My dogs actually enjoy it. I can get them (a Flat-Coated Retriever and a Keeshond) bone dry in just a few minutes.
Also, you might want to think about making space for a grooming table. It will really save your backs over the long haul.
If there is any way to make a lesser-used door that opens into a graveled potty run, go for it.

Kathryn Carlson

+1 go flexible shower hose for dog washing station

Rusty

Yep. I gave a flexible hose and it’s so great!

Rusty

Yes. Yes. Yes.
Emily, start now with the dryer so they get used to it while they’re still young.

Caroline Charles

Re: pet dryers – it’s entirely worth watching the Netflix documentary “catwalk” just to see a persian cat getting a blow dry. Absolutely hilarious. You’re welcome.

Rachel

Ooooh, I know someone who has a dog door in their office that goes into an enclosed dog run with gravel. This makes so much sense. I want one! It’s a dog bathroom!! 😀 (I have a dog door for our dogs and I LOVE it, but it just goes into the regular backyard like the peasants we are…)

sarah

Woah. You’re a pro.

Yvonne Bouma O'Brien

Mudrooms are the best, and since you’re putting a Norwegian saying (translated) on your wall, I would recommend a Norwegian mudroom, with UNDERFLOOR HEATING. I’m a PNW girl who lived in Stavanger for 3 years recently with her family, and discovered the Norwegian way of living works so well. With the right setup and some good habits, you can just relax and enjoy the great outdoors. They take off their shoes as soon as they walk in the door, and if your floor is heated, your boots will soon be dry. Lots of wall hooks over the tiled area for wet jackets. Many Norwegian mudrooms will also have a toilet cubicle, shower and laundry in them. Many of them have dogs, but we never saw a special dog area, so they must make do with the shower, or wash them outside. Next bit of advice: leather furniture. They love it, and it cleans up so easily, be it kids or dogs, and is so lovely and warm in the winter. And last but not least: get a SAD light lamp, and put it next to where you sit in the morning. Not only are you moving somewhere that gets a… Read more »

Charlotte Nordbakken

Yes! I am Norwegian and I second this. I also posted most of these suggestions myself in another post, apart from the shower and toilet tip. But this is n important one, so I just had to comment again. It’s so practical to be able to use the bathroom in the mudroom when you or the kids are outside and muddy/wet/dirty. Then you don’t have to take everything of just to go to the bathroom. An it is true, the dogs are taken care of in the shower. Also, as I said in my own post, underfloot heating is everything.

Jane

Yes to this! It’s a lifesaver for the kids to use and also for me, when I’m out gardening to be able to run into the mudroom & not have to worry about taking off dirty boots to come into the house.

CB

Here to agree with what almost everyone else has said! We live in Western MA and it’s a mix of snow and mud. Our kitchen door opens directly into attached garage which we treat as a mudroom. Dog leashes and things hang in a closet in the garage. Dirty boots stay out there. We have a bench and some boot trays. We also have a basement mudroom which has stairs to our garage. Down there we have concrete floors, shaker pegs, benches, a washer dryer, and a giant vintage soapstone sink that could basically fit our dog! 😂 It’s not ideal but when we renovated we didn’t want to take space away from our main floor or garage for a mudroom, and this works out! We couldn’t fit both a dog wash station and the sink and the washer dryer, but if we could have, the dog wash station would have been there! In a dream mudroom, I would also have radiant floor heat and a drain. As for the outside, no wood decks and no gas powered patio heaters. Do radiant floor heat if you do covered porch. Can’t wait to see!

Mary

I regret not putting in a shower or dog wash in the mudroom when it would have been easy. Do it! I love my covered porch. A sunroom is lovely, but it is still inside. Also, we grill year-round, and it gets very cold where I live! Good luck! (This is fun!)

Emily

We’re in Long Island in a 1920s Colonial revival. When we replaced our wood deck I wanted to do ipe but my husband insisted on trek. I’ve grown to love it – it still looks nice and I don’t have to worry about maintenance. It is not slippery when wet. A few things though: it does scratch, which isn’t a big deal for us but may be for dog owners. It gets hot in bright sun. And if you damage it, you can’t sand it down.

Shelly

You need a good sized mudroom with a dog washing station that doubles to clean your muddy boots. Large windows are nice to let in more light since some days can be gloomy. A hot tub or steam room can get the chill out of your bones when you come in from the weather. Another must have is a bar station of some kind for a hot toddy or mulled wine and some snuggly throws.

Emily

Yes to all of this, plus it’s probably mentioned elsewhere but make SURE you have a fireplace or two that puts out a lot of warmth, whether it’s wood burning or gas, it makes a HUGE difference to sit by a cozy fire in the winter. (Redmond, WA)

Kathryn Carlson

A dog washing station is a must! Just letting them out to use the bathroom will result in muddy paws 75% of the time and having a spot to be able to quickly rinse them off or give them a bath is key! Especially a place where you can be warm and dry!

For outdoor bbq, we have a smoker and bbq outside year round! Just try and place it where it’s a quick and hopefully covered walk for you with food to and from inside.

Molly

If the dogs will get muddy 75% of the time they go outside even just to pee, then a dog run with gravel sounds essential. I have an older dog and a puppy. Because I am now home all day due to Covid, they literally go in and out ALL DAY LONG. They drive me crazy because it can literally be every 5 min or less that I’m opening the door to let them in or out. But I don’t feel like I can ignore any of their requests because the puppy is not 100% housetrained. If they were going to get muddy every time I would either go mad or learn to tolerate furniture covered in mud! Get the dig run for sure.

Jessica

You NEED a dog washing station. We live in Pittsburgh, PA, which is second to the PNW for the most gray and rainy days in the U.S. We have three dogs and lots of property for them to run and dig, which means muddy paws all the time. We use the dog wash in our mudroom daily, and sometimes 5 or 6 times a day. It makes it so easy to just spray off their feet, or give them a full wash, and I don’t have to stand outside in the cold or rain to clean them. It’s also a great place to clean off muddy boots and leave them to dry. We are building a vacation home and it was at the top of my “must-have” list.

Rusty

Absolutely.

Shanelle

We live in Seattle and we are building a house with a Mudroom and brick floor this year. Yes your kids will track in mud and dirt. Your dogs will too! The biggest thing for you will be gardening and yard work. The mud gets stuck to your shoes and garden tools. Get a big mudroom sink to wash all of it! Not a fancy one! A sink that can be destroyed on a regular basis. Have a hose in the garage that can go in and out to wash off you mud boots etc.

Jenny

Ooohhh. Brick floor indoors! Love the idea of that!

Roberta Davis

brick floors are very hard to clean, aren’t they?

shanelle

I mean, We will just sweep them or use the romba. The key here is they look good dirty and are indestructible.

Mindy

We just recently moved AWAY from the Eugene (Or) area after 20+ years partly bc of the weather so I’ve got some thoughts! We used our covered patio (with gas fireplace & heaters, kitchen & tv) every single evening. Hands-down one of the best investments! We had an outdoor wash station w/shower to wash off 4-wheelers and such (and with the thought that we’d use the shower for muddy kids & dogs) but never once used the shower part in the cooler months…. just too chilly for kids and dog. As for a specific dog-wash station (bc you do need to bathe your dog more frequently) – the easiest way to wash your dog is in the shower and that’s become an excellent chore for the kids as they’ve gotten older. Trying to hand wash your dog while keeping yourself dry is nearly impossible so why bother!? 🙂 Underfloor heat (including up the shower walls is fabulous for keeping mildew away in the shower) is great, too, but an additional, more direct heat source will also be needed in the mudroom for drying wet gear – and a strong, retractable line to hang things on is best. You’ll not want… Read more »

Sarah

Underfloor heat inside the shower walls?? Genius!!

Amy

Consider the door the dogs will be going in and out of most and ensure the hardscaping right outside the door is big enough to help get the mud off before they even get inside. For example, we have a large wooden deck that the dogs have to cross in order to get to the back door, and the rain on the deck actually helps chean off their feet before they even come in. Inside, I have 2 large beach towels laying on the floor to catch wet/muddy footprints and I keep a bath towel right there to dry their backs and bellies if its raining. Not aesthetically pleasing, but it keeps the rest of the house much cleaner. My heart stopped when I saw the pic of your dogs’ muddy paws on that beautiful couch and pillow!! I think if you expect to bathe the dogs whenever they come in muddy, that will get old very fast. It is hard on your back to bathe a dog, then they run around the house wet, get the zoomies, and flail around on your beautiful beds, couch. pillows. I also second the 2 car heated garage that leads into mudroom for… Read more »

Rusty

Ya ya yaaaaas!

LE

The dog wash station, while very nice sounding, seems overkill for a home and for a permanent home where pets may not be permanent. My biggest suggestion regarding muddy pets is to change habits. When it’s rainy and muddy, take the dogs out on a leash to go to the bathroom, bring them back in and quick wipe their feet of with a towel. If you’re planning to let the dogs roam outside in daily rain and mud, then the pet station might be useful. We have one in the garage, rather than the house, but it’s not solely for pets. We use it to rinse off from the lake if we are sandy. If you have the room and money to do it, it’s nice. But if it’s not in a place you’d regularly traverse through and you don’t create the habit of it, it’s pointless. As for wet stuff, you need an open place for it to dry. Boot trays, or shoe shelves with trays on them, hooks for gear to drip off onto, maybe boot warmers to flip boots up onto in colder months to dry out and warm the insides (so consider electrical outlets in practical… Read more »

Rusty

Excellent point about the Vitamin D. It’s important to ensure your levels are checked regularly though, because you can get too much from supplements. (Causes hair loss, skin problems ).

I disagree thpugh, that dogs aren’t permanent. The Hendersons have made it pretty clear that they are dog people, so there will be dogs.
Got dofs = dog wash station makes it so so so much easier!

LE

Yes! My doc regularly checks my levels multiple times a year.

And that’s a fair point regarding the dogs. I guess what I’m trying to say is if you do it, make it multi functional, not solely for the dogs, because while you may have them now, you may not always, and you want it to have purpose for the dogs and for your kids and for your life. Your kids won’t be small forever, they will grow into teenagers that can better manage their mud. I’ve made the mistake of designing things around my season of life of small children and not planning for as they age it being multi functional and regretting it a bit.

Emma

It’s a good point. I feel like a mop sink or something similar would be very functional here – you could rinse off muddy paws and boots all in one spot. Having a whole dog washing station that can’t be used for anything else seems unnecessary. I live in a small space so everything is multi-functional by necessity, so searching for small space solutions is probably a good way to find ideas that will be functional long term. When I lived in the UK my flat was even tinier but people find a way to make things work, as evidenced by all the folks from Scandinavia and the UK adding very practical ideas in this comment section!

Also AGREED re: vit D! I get checked twice a year and take a supplement daily. Between my religious use of sunscreen and living in Oregon I really need a boost!

KD

I’m from Las Vegas and now live near Buffalo, NY — the third grayest city behind Seattle and Portland. I was prepared (kinda) for the cold, but I underestimated how much the gray would get me. Love that you’re planning lots of windows (yes!). I remember in your Portland House posts, people warned you not to paint rooms gray (agreed!). I would add to make sure you plan tons of lighting, which I’m sure you will. I find myself turning on every light in the house some days just to liven things up.

Elisabeth

This!! I lived in OR most of my life and cannot for the life of me figure out why Oregonians paint everything grey or grey blue. Lots of windows and lighting is key. And we never had a mudroom but probably would be nice.

Suzanne

I also agree to avoid grey. I personally love the pale yellow in the earlier kitchen photos. Plus, yellow looks great with the wood trim. You just need to make sure to get the right yellow. I have both a buttery one and a golden one in my home, and the both lightened the feel, since I have stained wood trim (a lot, plus wainscoting).

Megan

I live in NE Ohio just south of the lake effect snow zone (aka 10-30 inches of snow possible during storms that blow off of Lake Erie). It’s basically rainy/snowy/gloomy for 5 months out of the year. You are smart to make s big mudroom. I have my laundry in the mudroom as well and love it. My big issue is not ever wanting to see it (or hear the washer and dryer) from the rest of the house because it gets trashed with shoes/coats/laundry/purses/bookbags/etc. We moved recently and my deal breaker was having to walk through the laundry room/mud room from the garage. In our current house we have an attached three car garage. I made a drop zone for my 3 kids in the part of the garage closest to the house. They have to leave their shoes/bookbags/sports gear there, it absolutely cannot come into the house. Seems mean, but makes my house so much easier to pick up. I don’t care if they trash the garage. I am nice enough to let them bring their coats inside in the winter, though. Ha! I also have a dog. My big tip to deal with the muddy paws…shave them… Read more »

Charlotte Nordbakken

Hi! I live in northern Norway and we have more weather than OR in every possible way. My tips: – Have a hose with cold/warm water outside your mudroom/laundry room to wash of the worst from clothing/shoes before you enter. – A mudroom or laundry room with direct access to the garden is important – I love the combination of mudroom and laundry room – makes things so much easier. Even better if this room altso is close to the kitchen (just for everday work flow) – it is important with a lot of hooks to hang up clothes and other equipment that need to dry. – A “drying spot” for the dogs in the mud room would be nice. If they are completely soaked they can lay there for a couple of minutes until they are dry enough to enter the rest of the house. – Ideally you would have heat in the floor so that clothes etc dry faster (and you can also place clothes on the floor to dry). – Outdoor space with a roof and and heater definitely increases outdoor time. There will probably be nights and days where you want to be outside because it’s… Read more »

Rusty

Charlotte!
Fantastic ideas. I can tell you’re living it!😊

Jen

Here, here to the suggestion to keep dogs contained in a space when they first come inside from the wet (and muddy) outdoors. We don’t have a mudroom, unfortunately, but we primarily enter through the side entrance into our kitchen, which does have a drop zone. This is where we have a bench and a towel to dry off the dog’s paws and underbelly. When he is very wet, though, we just shut the gates that keep him contained in the kitchen while we are not at home. This way, he dries completely in a way that is comfortable for everyone. All the rugs in the kitchen are the waterhog mats from LLBean, so they are great for this scenario as well.

Charlotte

I actually have to emphasize the use of a material that doesn’t need sun/heat to be comfortable to walk on on the deck. Some people here for example have tile, and it is freezing and super uncomfortable to step on 80 % of the time. Wood is always comfortable, even in below zero temperaturen. As to longevity there are several wood options that stand the test of time really well, for example siberian larch. And underfloor heating in bathrooms/mudrooms is a total essiental.

Vera

This post and the comments are so interesting and helpful! I live in Canada in a 100 yr old house and we are planning a major reconfiguration so I’m taking lots of mental notes from you all! I agree with one commenter who said it’s not too hard with kids – my kids wear waterproof everything and then strip down at the door so a shower is not needed for us. As long as there is enough elbow room / floor space for everyone to undress, a place to hang everything to air dry, and waterproof floors, it’s fine. We have zero closets at our entrances and I don’t think we’ll change that – outerwear needs air! Thanks to everyone who mentioned radiant heat floors – I will look into that too! Now if there will be muddy sports equipment, that is definitely something to plan for. We are planning to add an entrance to our basement where that stuff will go when the kids are older – and there WILL be shower and laundry right there. So I guess what I’m saying is, for general playing outside, a few keys things are needed (hooks etc) but for specific activities… Read more »

Shanelle

The problem with a covered porch is during the winter months it’s dark by 4:00pm and it’s a wet cold. So you won’t want to be out there. We did a small covered porch and then left the deck off the living room without a cover so more light comes in. Have as many East and West facing windows to bring in the natural light! For decks 100% go with composite! And a cedar composite shake roof!! Actual cedar looks like garbage after a year or so and rots! Have French drains put in for drainage around the house so the water runs off and doesn’t pool on your deck or pavers

Wally

Regarding the patio – what about a little covered walkway out to a covered patio so that it isn’t right up against the house and doesn’t block the light? I just had a flash of the covered walkway being like the one at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma: https://www.azahner.com/works/chihuly-bridge/ but it could even be like a trellis with plants up at the top or something. Also, couldn’t the patio not have a solid roof? Like could it be like a greenhouse with a glass ceiling? My aunt and uncle had a space like that in Maryland – it was basically an outdoor room and I loved it.

denise

I was thinking the same thing! A freestanding structure would be beautiful.

Beth

As far as the dogs go, if you have the room and budget for a dog washing station, I think that’s the way to go. I think you’ll find that it’s too cold in the winter to hose them off outside.

As for decking- wood is more maintenance (like yearly maintenance- especially if stained rather than painted); the composite is definitely way less maintenance and looks decent, BUT the composite decking I have on my front porch is slippery, especially in snow (but also when wet). Not sure if it’s just the brand, but I really didn’t expect it to be as slippery as it is.

I agree with others about heated floors in the house if you can make that work- if you plan on putting tile in the kitchen or bathrooms or mudroom, then it’s a must. Tile floors in cooler climates are COLD on the feet (even if you think you’ll wear slippers most of the time, not everyone visiting in your house will have those), and you’ll really appreciate heated tile floors. It makes SUCH a big difference in having a cozy home when it’s cold or rainy out.

Rachel S

Can confirm wood decks are yearly maintenance. Mine are painted, as is typical in certain New Orleans neighborhoods, and they get destroyed every rainy season. I really regret not going with composite.

Sarah

We replaced our wood decks with composite, simply because they were in areas of our yard that never saw any sun in winter so the wood was rotting no matter what we did. I love the ease of composite, but it can be slick and it can also get HOT with sun. We did a gray, lighter tone to help with it being too hot, and outdoor rugs (power wash at the end of the season) make it less slick. 10/10 would do it again, or look at concrete.

We live in Seattle.

Alisha

I live in MN, so don’t deal with rain as much as snow, but we do have kids covered in mud for months every spring. I agree locker doors are pretty, but not functional for drying (unless you use the kind that can slide back into the locker). We use a boot drying rack for boots, mittens, and hats, and it has been a game changer. In our old house, we had a combined laundry/mud room, and I hated having them together. Ideally, I would prefer a small stacked washer and dryer in the mudroom with a larger laundry room elsewhere. In our current house, I just keep a basket in the mudroom for dirty clothes. I also think it’s important to think of the mudroom as an active space, and not a storage space (only keep clothing for current season in the mudroom). Love following along with this reno!

ASL

Well, I’m a resident of Salem, Oregon, so I have your future weather. Here’s what I’d say! Outdoor Heater: YES. You’ll want to sit outside when you can, and even in the summer it gets chilly when the sun goes down, so you want heat that’s under the covered area. We have an outdoor woodburning fireplace, which I love and is pretty, but it’s not in our covered area, so we don’t use it as much as we should. Which brings me to… Covered outdoor: YES. I know it blocks sun, but you’ll use it 1,000 times more if it’s covered. I’ve lived in two Oregon houses…one with covered outdoor, and one without, and we use the covered space sooooo much more. Gas fireplace inside is a must. We flip ours on every single day starting in the fall. You’re already on that. Our first Oregon house was 110 years old, and we also had this little blower mechanism on the fireplace that blew the heat out into the room. Great in an old house which can get drafty. Mudroom rinse station: I don’t find this necessary. My kids do get muddy and I’ve definitely made them strip when they… Read more »

ASL

So, I just read down the comments and honestly didn’t know that outdoor radiant heaters were an environmental issue. We don’t have them, so I guess I didn’t do that much research. What I’d say as follow-up is that if you can have a wood-burning outdoor fireplace where the fire’s hearth are under your covered area, do that. I have a friend with that setup, and it’s great.

Amber

While natural light is definitely superior to artificial light, I’m not sure adding a bunch of windows and skylights will have the effect you’re looking for, especially for the cost. Also consider that Oregon is North of LA, so the daylight hours are shorter. I’d approach this as more of a design challenge — lean into the climate and design cozier rooms with moody lighting. A bright and airy California style would look out of place anyway.

One thing that is nice about Oregon is that it doesn’t usually get super cold. In the same vein, I’d lean into the cozy vibe outside with a fire pit and warm outdoor accessories. Grilling can be a four season activity too, but if you use a charcoal grill, you’ll definitely need a covered area, otherwise you won’t be able to light the charcoal in the rain.

Amy

I agree with this comment. I live north of Seattle in a house with tons of huge windows and skylights and it is just as dark as our old house built in 1920 with tiny original windows and no skylights in the winter. It gets dark early in the day and when the sky is grey and dark, there’s no light to let in anyway. I’d say play up the coziness you already have going in that gorgeous living room instead of trying to install huge windows. We do enjoy the light in the summer, but honestly when the sun comes out we just want to be outside. At the top of my list would be a mud room with laundry, heated tile floors, open hooks for hanging wet clothes so they dry and don’t mildew. If you could do a powder bath with a small shower stall next to your mud room that would be ideal for washing dogs, kids etc without having to track mud through the house. I would also say heated tile floors in bathrooms and a covered outdoor area would be excellent investments. It’s nice to be able to spend time outside without getting wet.… Read more »

Emma

I agree. I love the idea of a skylight and big windows but they can only do so much when there’s literally no sun outside. Plus you might be grumpy when in the summer you are woken up by sunlight at 4:30 am – it goes both ways! If I were renovating I’d focus on orienting windows for views and natural daylight but understand that it won’t always be there! Amping up the cozy vibe is really important – personally I like ambient/indirect warm lights and using lamps with fabric or paper shades for a really gentle and homey feeling. If I wasn’t in a rental I’d definitely install some sconces as well, and maybe even a light near the entry that’s on a motion sensor for the days when I commute home in the dark!

Skylights everywhere…winter can get dark.
Those wormy looking, ultra-absorbent dog mats are great for puppy paws (you’ll still need towels by the door and a spray nozzle outside).
Leather couch if your pets get on the furniture because even with spaying them down and all the towels in your car and by the door, mud still gets on the furniture.
Make sure your builders use extra flashing on windows (especially South facing). The envelope is so important here. Really you need Patagonia to build it.
Yes, still bbq in the winter and we use our fire pit and covered porch especially to visit an occasional friend during distancing.
Find a winter sport so you still get out…And, get to Bend in January and February whenever you can…I’m missing the sun right now!
You will be fine! So happy for you…it’s a great place to raise a family.

Molly

It’s so great that you are thinking all these things through! We left Portland in 2018 after 15 years because I personally couldn’t stand the rain anymore. To answer a couple of your questions… boot trays are your friend. And if you can have a small covered area outside the door to your mudroom, you can keep a few things there so they don’t ever have to even come inside. I would go with a covered patio and heaters for sure but keep in mind that there isn’t really a “raining but still warm” season in Portland. If it’s damp, it’s cold. I live in Lake Tahoe now and my winter layers here are the same layers I wore in Portland Nov-May. Also, any of your outdoor decking/patio materials are going to get mossy. (Fencing too) A power washer will be your friend when you power blast the moss off of it each year (or every two). We had 5 acres and 3 roof tops (1 house, 2 barns) and there will be added maintenance for each building – cleaning clogged gutters, moss removal etc. And…. you will need a place to keep a ride on mower, power washer, etc.… Read more »

Agree with Molly that “spring or fall when it’s warm but still raining” is not really a thing in Portland. I was raised in Los Angeles and have lived in Portland for the past two years. We keep a towel on a hook in the mudroom and the dog is now “trained” to stand (fairly) still while I wipe her feet when she comes inside. But I dream of having a dog-washing station. You may want to clip your pups’ legs and feet in the rainy season, as someone suggested, but not their bellies as they need that hair to keep warm. Recommend IKEA boot trays and some kind of vertical storage for all the shoes and boots that come off when people come inside. We replaced the gravel outside the back door (where mudroom is) with pavers, and that’s made a huge difference in dog and human feet cleanliness. Think about making a hardscaping buffer zone around your doors. And welcome home to Portland!

Rachael

I grew up in the PNW and now live in Seattle. We recently remodeled our home and have three young kids. The BEST choice we made was having a hot tub. DO it! When the winter days are cold, raining, and dark (sunset at 4:30) it helps to have an activity for the evenings. I would recommend covering the hot tub and have a dedicated space for all the things 🙂 Also, my husband and I love our heat lamps. We will sit outside from about March – November because of the heat lamps. We love being outside and these two things help us enjoy it more!

Rusty

What about the environmental impacts?🙄

Molly

I second the hot tub! A really nice, relaxing way to be outside when it is cold and dark. We had a cedar tub for 7 years and did not ever have to use any chlorine/bromine. We were on a well and routed the water from water changes to planting areas.

Lindsay

Hi Emily! I meant to mention this more generally for family design how-to-avoid-mistakes post, but as you research rain prep, and life prep, and how to design the house to accommodate, definitely talk to friends with teenagers up there–design for the big kids you will have (tons of muddy football, field hockey equipment, school projects, their friends over,etc) rather than the adorable little tykes you have now.
We kinda made that mistake with our prior house and yard–too focused on “little kid” friendly rather than 5-10-15 years down the road. We only had a couple years where they really used the playroom etc. and then we had to make a ton of changes. They grow so fast!! Good luck! Very excited for your family!

Rusty

Good points!

Teresa

We’re in Southeast Texas (Beaumont to be exact) and actually get more rainfall on average per year than Portland although Portland does have more actual rainy days than we do. We have Siberian Huskies so I completely understand the pain of dealing with muddy dog paws. The best advice I can give is to have a hardscape patio (preferably with overhead covering) outside each exterior door. Our old house didn’t have this and it was much harder to keep things clean even with wiping off dog paws and giving their bodies a quick dry as well. So bc Siberian Huskies are such escape artists we decided to have a smaller fenced area right off the back of the house that we can let the dogs into and not have to worry about them being able to dig or climb out of. The master bedroom and main area of the house both have exterior doors that open to the covered concrete patio that’s enclosed within the dog yard fence. We keep old towels by both entrances for when the dogs are wet/muddy. The yard area the dogs access has an outdoor water spigot we can use to spray them off when… Read more »

Emma

I live in Portland but am from the south – it honestly barely ACTUALLY rains here. It just kind of gently sprinkles all the time. I would describe more as wet/misty/lush/cloudy than strictly rainy. In some ways it’s nice because it’s often just a gentle mist that barely impacts outdoor activities (no frog stranglers here) but sometimes I miss having a big thunderstorm and knowing it would be over in an hour or two! lol

Caitlin

I live in Minnesota and haven’t seen a lot of this fancy stuff! The important thing is a big entry space with hooks and shelves for shoes. Our mudroom growing up was tile and then covered in rugs that were regularly washed. Our current entry space is both the front door entry and from the garage and we used luxury vinyl planks so it can get really dirty and wet and won’t get damaged. I don’t quite see the point of floor heating in a mudroom if your shoes are usually on? It sounds nice if you’re walking barefoot though! We had floor heating in a couple bathrooms with ceramic tile and it felt so nice in the winter.
Almost all the houses around my area have normal wood decks and they hold up great (and we have very intense seasons and weather). They usually get stained every 5 years or so. Some of the houses have composite decks and they seem great too if spending a lot more money on no maintenance is important to you.

Rusty

Portland has moss though. Moss, like everywhere. Stand still, moss grows on your head! Hahaha! 🤣

Rachel Ludwig

We live outside of vancouver…and my best advice is to avoid wood outdoors, which includes furniture, decks, trim, siding, doors, etc. In this wet climate it just rots. We have had to repaint our wood trim twice already, and replace some of it (our siding is composite: Hardie plank, but next house all trim will be too). Our wood patio furniture was ruined in 3 years. Our deck looked bad within 5 years (pressure treated)and we couldn’t replace until 15 years and discovered the joists were completely rotten. We replaced with composite and it is wonderful. Also, invest in a pressure washer! You will need for any concrete surfaces, the green builds up quickly.

We would love to be able to have a larger covered deck, but I wouldn’t sacrifice the natural light for it. The months of dark and dreary means any and all natural light is much needed. 😊

Breanne

So many questions, but this Seattle transplant has answers to a few. 1) the skylights. We have them in our owned home and our temporary home. I am a big fan since they do so much to add natural light. I am now embarrassed to say that we have never cleaned them in our 4 years of owning the home. The rain just cleans them for us, really. (And they aren’t spotless, but how often do you look up?!) 2) grilling. absolutely can be a year round activity. I would just recommend having it under a covered and vented area and you’re good to go. Ours is under a carport. And don’t forget a light! Being further north means having light well into the 9:00 hour in the summer, but it gets dark about 5:00 here in the winter. 3) heat lamps vs firepit. I would definitely say plan for heat lamps for an outdoor covered area. If you want to go big, get the built in ones that mount to the ceiling. It doesn’t get THAT cold here (moved from IL), so with that set up you could be outside a good stretch of the year. 4) have you… Read more »

Rusty

Heat lamps? Climate change! Wear more clothes.

Breanne

Apparently you haven’t heard of electric heat.

bh

oh yeah, and if it’s too hot in Texas but you still want to have lunch outside, let’s just air condition your garden (apparently you haven’t hear of AC)

Beth

Hi Emily, certainly in the UK you can get self cleaning velux windows (skylight windows) so would recommend that. When it rains it cleans the glass.

We have a big mud situation and we put a thermo static valve and new outdoor tap on next to the regular cold water tap. We have a short length of hosepipe and a regular garden hose spray gun which we use to hose down the dog after walks – guess you could do the same for kids if you really needed?! Remember you can store wellies outside they dont need to be inside.

And finally get a practical towel radiator, so you can throw wet stuff on there and dry it off easily. And put some extra hooks either side of it so coats etc can be hung on them and also dry from the radiator.

Beth – Yorkshire, UK

Rusty

Use shower caps over the top of wellies outside to keep the crawlies out!

Beckie KC

Beth, I am follow Yorkshire reader too! I am just about to start re-doing our “garden room” AKA dilapidated potted shed and we currently have no outside tap at all. I shall add your suggestion to the plan of works. Thank you!

Pat

As a former kindergarten teacher at a Seattle area Waldorf school (which means being outdoors for a long time every day whatever the weather), I strongly agree with the recommendation of good quality rain pants. Get rain bibs for your kids, but also rain pants for you and Brian. Then, when the kids are muddy, hose them off before they come inside, just as we did at school. Easy peasy. We also recommended Bogs as good waterproof boots.
My husband hated walking the dog in the rain until I bought him rain pants. . . a simple thing, but a real opinion changer. For myself, besides rain pants, I bought a weatherproof wool cowboy hat to keep the rain off my glasses.
As for our dog, his paws were usually the only thing he got muddy and we wiped them off with an old towel. We used a soggy doggy microfiber shammy to dry the rest of him.

Jane

Can you recommend a good brand?

Ash

Best raingear for kids are the Helly Hansen rubber sets. I live in a place that rains almost 3 times as much as Portland and this raingear keeps my kids dry, and is super easy to clean.

I also have a set for days that goretex doesn’t cut it.

Margaret

Look into warming/drying cabinets for the wet coats. They come in all different sizes and are usually marketed toward cold, snowy places, but would be great for all the wet coats and boots too. And you can put delicate laundry in there to dry much more gently than in a dryer.

Rusty

My brother lived in a place that had one of these and in winter, they hung their washing in there and it dried so well and in a way that reduced the need to iron.,
Fabulous.

Beth

Also maybe get the dogs some drying coats / equafleece type jumpers – they are polar fleece and wicking so we pop them on in the car home or after a quick rinse if they have been seriously rained on and the dog dries a lot quicker and stays cosy.

Janet

Hi, love this project, can’t wait to see more. Lifelong Oregonian here, raised my family here. If you can, every entrance to the home needs to have some sort of covering. We grill year round so a covered outdoor kitchen is a must, even if it’s not attached to the house. You have lovely fireplaces you’ll want to use, so you’ll need a good covered area outdoors for that wood pile. Also, ask your neighbors if the power goes out very often (some areas still have above ground electrical wires). If yes you’ll probably want a backup heat source. We replaced our wood deck with composite and LOVE IT.

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