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:
- 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?
- 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!!!).
- 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?
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