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Design

My Best Friend’s Basement Makeover – Starting With The Budget-Friendly Mudroom Reveal

As much as it pains me (and it does) I can’t design all my friend’s or family’s homes when they are looking to hire help. Sure, I’ve done some sponsored makeovers where the partner pays my and my team’s time but otherwise my lack of availability/bandwidth holds up the project immensely. Beyond that, contrary to the ‘hustle culture’ popular belief, one only has so much creativity in their brain, so the more projects we take on, the less good they are (I learned this the hard way). So I made a rule years ago that when friends/family need help and they have a budget, they could hire someone from my team or someone I trust to be in charge and take the lead, thus getting someone’s full attention and creativity, avoiding any friend resentment and still getting me to oversee it. I jump on calls when I can, approve major pieces, negotiate partnerships where appropriate and publish the reveals, but the project moves forward successfully regardless of my bandwidth. So, when my friends Robyn and Ryan were ready to embark on their basement remodel, I shouted fast – ‘OH YOU SHOULD HIRE PRISCILLA!’. Priscilla Frost assisted on the OG Portland project four years ago and impressed the hell out of us – she has the trifecta: design chops, amicability, and work ethic. She has that ‘on-top-of-it-ness’ that makes a project go smoothly. She started this makeover without me and I was brought in as a friend to help guide some decisions, as well as see when and where it made sense to bring in one of my partners. My friends are so happy, Priscilla killed it, the basement is DONE (and they are on to the primary bedroom as we speak!).

THE BASEMENT GOAL:

The goal was to totally reconfigure their basement. We would carve out a bedroom for their tween son, design a proper mudroom off the garage, move and remodel the previously carpeted bathroom, and furnish and style it all to be much more inviting, pulled together and grownup (like them). It was full of potential, but still a daunting task which is why they put it off til they just couldn’t any more (a ‘pandemic push’ they needed to take). It took a full year between demo and shoot (livable a few months before we shot it) and the project suffered from the usual supply chain issues and labor shortages. But Priscilla and JP Macy (the contractor) did an EXCELLENT job of absolutely transforming the basement, and thus this home.

They had the space, just needed it to work better for their family. Priscilla and JP worked together on the plans to make sure that they were doing the most efficient and affordable reconfiguration, move as few walls as possible, but make it make sense for the long run. Robyn and Ryan are in that typical position where they love their neighbors, school and community that they don’t want to move just to upgrade and have more space, but they have worked hard and were ready to enjoy their home more.

I’m pretty sure the “MUDroom” was coined in the PNW and this room is IMPORTANT if you are lucky enough to have one. Their mudroom was off the garage, below ground, where the boys exit and enter a few times a day. Sure, it’s in the basement with no natural light, and not where guests come in and out but y’all they really wanted it to look more welcoming. They needed to add function (shoe and coat storage), and to have it feel more inviting 🙂

Now while some of the rooms I was more involved with the design (the family room and the tween boys bedroom) this room is almost 100% Priscilla’s work (I gave advice throughout and styled the photos).

Priscilla created a few different design plans for them to see product options and design ideas.

After a lot of options and ideas, they went with the mid-budget idea that Priscilla pushed, that included a readymade piece painted and hacked to look more built-in. It was a great solution that didn’t cost as much as custom cabinetry (which is wildly expensive) but more sophisticated than any ordinary stand alone cabinet. Just a note: Priscilla did charge her time for this but it was less than a typical designer as this was one of her first clients and she was working towards portfolio work – i.e. sometimes the hourly you pay into someone else to do your DIY will add up substantially so it’s good to be upfront to avoid something costing $4k that you might have been able to do yourself 🙂

Are you ready? HERE WE GO.

Rug (similar) | Baskets | Paint Color | Cabinet | Remove Shoes Sign | Umbrella Stand | Tray

It’s quite the transformation and has brought so much happiness every time anyone walks through that door. This is a proper mudroom. Priscilla created both open and closed storage, peg-rails for coats and bags, and really good durable products to make this space hyper practical and still so cute.

Please note the addition of the same vertical beadboard installed in the cabinet. It’s on on the same line as the peg rail on the perimeter of the mudroom and painted all to match so it looks built in and seamless.

Boot Tray (similar) | Mirror

The cabinet painted the same color as the walls, plus the custom peg rails and bead board throughout give it a super high end look. It looks SO GOOD.

I collected all the hanging baskets from vintage shops around town (a lot of them are for fishing) and seeing them here I HAD to leave them, but expect many more in our home. What we didn’t get to shoot (because it was literally pitch black) was behind those sliding cabinets Priscilla put in more shoe storage – a readymade rack for their backup shoes.

A few notes about the products Priscilla bought – that rug is printed and SO GOOD. It’s affordable, very durable and obviously forgiving when it comes to dirt. The boot tray was one that I had shopped for for a long time – we love how narrow it is which suits the space, but allows for a lot of shoes. Priscilla intentionally brought in these hits of black to keep the space feeling modern – the mirror and umbrella stand really edge up the space.

But what makes a truly practical, functional mudroom?? I am glad you asked..

It is mostly making sure all the things you like to come and go with have specific, easy to access places to store them. This is why we love hooks and peg rails, and why that readymade cabinet is such a good piece for this particular mudroom. And durability is always a plus in a hard-working mudroom 🙂

Last but certainly not least, we can’t wrap up without a super satisfying before and after:

Priscilla Frost, you are wonderful 🙂 and JP Macy of Sierra Custom Construction I enjoy the heck out of your work 🙂 Stay tuned for more reveals from this project, coming to you in the next few weeks.

*Design by Pricilla Frost
**Styled by Emily Henderson
***Photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

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Cassandra
28 days ago

What is the little oak box on the floor by the shoes withe the chamfered front?

Great work!!

Reply to  Cassandra

i’m wondering the exact same thing! i must know!

Kat
28 days ago
Reply to  Cassandra

Part of me wonders if it’s a step to help put boots on! Like lacing up winter boots? But I’m from the south with very little need for winter boots so that’s a total guess!!

Priscilla
28 days ago
Reply to  Cassandra

I wish it was something exciting…but it’s the plumbing clean out that couldn’t be moved. A very un-fun detail that most basements have:)

anon
28 days ago
Reply to  Priscilla

It’s too bad you couldn’t have made it something practical too. Kat’s suggestion of a place to put your boots on made me think it could have been turned into a shoe polishing station with some extra storage for brushes and things. a missed opportunity? 🙂

Reply to  Priscilla

well, you can still use it as a step for putting boots on (per kat’s idea) anyway, right? if you’re standing and bending over? either way, despite it’s un-fun function, it looks pretty. wood always looks pretty to me. 🙂

Julie
27 days ago
Reply to  Priscilla

ha! commented above before seeing this response. I think could still be cast as a winter-boot-helper-onner!!

Julie
27 days ago
Reply to  Cassandra

literally on edge of my seat…

mouseface
27 days ago
Reply to  Cassandra

I also needed to know! I feel like a small wooden chair would give a great place to sit down while dealing with boots and its legs could could go right over the oak box? Here in New England I always want to sit down in my entry to deal with snow boots….may not be a factor in the PNW.

this is just beautiful! and so simple if you get the ready made cabinet. love love love. i totally thought it was built in from the lead picture. so functional. great color.

also, where are the pegs from?

Priscilla
28 days ago

Hi👋🏻. The pegs are from Ace Hardware.

Susan
28 days ago

Pretty and functional. Ditto on the wood box on the floor. What is it??

Donna
28 days ago

Smart solution! I’m wondering if the cabinet was painted before or after it was assembled? What kind of prep and paint was used?

Priscilla
28 days ago
Reply to  Donna

Hi Donna👋🏻! Here’s all the details…

-Assemble piece (minus doors/drawers…those were painted separately)
-Apply Liquid Sandpaper (I did this step twice to get all the previous finish off)
-Lightly scuff sand the entire price (120 grit or higher for this)
-Wipe it down with mineral spirits (super important to get all the debris off…even in all the grooves. Toothbrushes are helpful!)
-Spray painted thin coat of primer (using Husky paint sprayer)
-Sprayed final 2 coats of Farrow & Ball Card Room Green

*Thin, multiple coats are key:)

-Didn’t add a finish b/c F&B’s Modern Eggshell finish is super durable (plus poly and even waxes can start to yellow w/ time)

Hope this is helpful😊

Liz
28 days ago

Looks so nice!
But I can’t resist wanting to put a high and low line of pegs on the mirror wall for coat hanging, and put a bench over the boot storage tray (or get or make a simple bench with a ledge for shoe storage) just to add even more functionality. I’m sure there is a place for the mirror and key hooks somewhere else, and I just love having somewhere to sit when putting on shoes with laces! But of course it LOOKS amazing – calm and cool.

anon
28 days ago
Reply to  Liz

A bench over the boot tray is a nice idea. Or even a chair.

Cris S.
28 days ago

Great job and very inspirational for the mudroom redo we need to do. The only thing missing that I find really helpful is a trash can.

Reply to  Cris S.

yes! didn’t even think about this. but we just added a small pretty trash can to our entryway and it is soooo convenient!

DeniseGK
26 days ago
Reply to  Cris S.

I really really really want a trash can for junk mail in our entry hall. Alas, there is no room right now, but once we get the kids stuff from the winter squared away….It will be a different story.

Roberta Davis
28 days ago

Very nice!

🥰 Rusty
28 days ago

Luverly duverly!
It’s ALL good!
I wondered if the eooden box was a shoe polishing box. Know I know. Cpuld it have been hidden in something useful? I dunno, like a base of an umbrella stand or something? Is a teensy bit like a trip hazard.
Fantabulous wotk Priscilla. Love it!🤗

🥰 Rusty
28 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

worrrrrk.

Michaela
28 days ago

Does anyone have a resource for custom IKEA Pax doors? We bought some Pax closets to build out a mudroom in our basement, but the widest cabinet doesn’t have a door option from IKEA! I thought I could live with it open, but then every time I see a beautiful mudroom like this one, I wish I could streamline mine a bit more.

Chris
27 days ago
Reply to  Michaela
BeckyB
28 days ago

Priscilla, did you consider using a Ruggable rug? I know what you used is affordable, durable and looks great, but I’m curious if the machine washability of Ruggable’s product would make it a better fit in a mudroom? I don’t think I’ve seen these rugs on this site at all, and I’m curious as to why. Maybe the designs are too ubiquitous? We have a couple in high traffic areas (big yard, large dog, PNW rain/mud, 3 kids) and being able to throw the runners and doormats in the wash is everything.

DeniseGK
26 days ago
Reply to  BeckyB

I’ve seen them mentioned by commenters a few times, most recently in the last post we had about basements. I think Emily’s friend had redone theirs and it became the inspiration for how to use the basement area in the apartment they are renting while finishing up the farmhouse. I’d never heard of them before, so went and checked out the Ruggable site. They do seem well made and convenient, but yeah, you are probably right that it’s the designs that probably keep them from being recommended in the articles/posts themselves. I think they are great for someone like me: I like design and care about *some* things, but I defo don’t care about rugs I just want something super practical that will have a long life in my home. I’m working toward having them in the small covered “porch” that is really an extended stoop before our front door. But drainage and yard re-grading must come first, so fun. 🙂

Roberta Whitmer
27 days ago

Very pretty. Love the green paint with the black touches and it looks quite practical. I think I would have to paint the door and frame green as well. Or the frame green and the door another hue. I find white entry doors tend to look dirty quickly. And maybe a wooden chair over the cleanout box or more coat hooks on that wall and a trash can. A family can never have enough coat hooks it seems. I also prefer a large metal hook that can take a larger load. I find my kids backpacks can be quite heavy and they tend to put them wherever with no thought to whether the hook is appropriate.

Michelle
27 days ago

Practical and beautiful! Well done, Priscilla!

Kristen
27 days ago

The flush mounts? Any links to those?

This is fabulous and I think the whole shebang is tres chic, P!

Kj
27 days ago
Reply to  Kristen

Minka Lavery 2-Light Flush Mount in Coal? Available on lots of websites. https://www.minkagroup.net/823-66a.html

Susan from FOAS
27 days ago

Priscilla – beautiful job. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

Krista
27 days ago

Is the boot tray no longer available? I can’t find anything like it online. The others with coir inserts have a distracting pattern and I already have a textured doormat. Even the brand name would be helpful, thanks. Love this shade of green, stunning space!

Kj
27 days ago
Reply to  Krista

It is the Anji Mountain Metal Boot Tray in Arrowhead pattern, currently out of stock: https://anjimountain.com/collections/metal-boot-trays/products/metal-boot-tray-arrowhead-017?variant=32913656283241. Natural Rug Co has some similar ones: https://www.naturalrugco.com/collections/boot-trays.

27 days ago

Love that green and all the pegs! I notice that there is a cushion that comes with the cabinet. Any plans to reintroduce that, or change the fabric?

26 days ago

Please say what kind of flooring you put in. Obviously you replaced the tile and I don’t see the mention of where the wood floor is?

JJ Seligman
22 days ago

Is there a link for the MCM bench/cabinet in the elevation drawings? When I click on what looks like a link, it opens the image larger but doesn’t go to the item.

Shawn Myhre
19 days ago
Reply to  JJ Seligman

I have the same bench; it is the “Mid-Century Entryway Bench” from West Elm, but sadly is no longer available. Sorry!

jax72
19 days ago
Reply to  JJ Seligman

Try wayfair or allmodern, they usually have dupes of west elm products that are mcm adjacent.

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