Over and over again, we hear you say, Tree House is moving along so quickly! There’s not much else to do! First, this makes us nervous laugh, because you guys, there is still so much more to do. But it also makes us realize that it’s partially our fault that you think so; how many times have you seen this view of the living room, am I right? If I turn the camera around, you’ll see that we don’t have a kitchen. The mudroom is plumbed, but those pipes are bare, exposed and waiting for a washer and dryer. The opposite corner of the room has a folding table and old patio chairs, and we don’t dare walk in the bathroom barefoot (because despite numerous cleaning sessions, there are age spots worn into the tile that refuse to come up). Also, remember when we ripped up all the baseboards?
We have a shared running list on our phones. Every time we go to Tree House, we do our best to get that list to the point where we no longer have to scroll to view each task – it’s such a satisfying feeling! Although we knocked down the list quite a bit the last time we were there, if you were to look at our list right this second, you’d see that, once again, the list is long. Like, really long. But it’s also very, very exciting, because we’re kicking off the renovation of the kitchen and mudroom!
A couple of weekends ago, we shared a big behind the scenes on our Stories from a recent planning session with Lowe’s. In case you missed it, we’ll be diving into every step of that process on the blog, too, but today, we want to talk about how the two rooms look now, what’s inspiring us, and how we see them evolving. Let’s go!
Tree House is laid out so that you have to enter through a side door (we don’t actually have a front door; here’s a video tour to help you make sense of the layout), and you’re welcomed by into the mudroom. The mudroom is located right off of the kitchen, and once you’ve walked through the kitchen and into the living room, you see this:
Well, you used to see that. We’ve since demoed the cabinets and island, refinished all the flooring and had new drywall (and insulation) installed to replace what was once soggy and moldy. The only appliance we’re temporarily hanging onto is the refrigerator, because beer + priorities. We also replaced the track lighting with a placeholder fixture, and we’ve since added an HVAC system (you’ll notice one of the new vents, below). Now, you see this:
The Kitchen Inspiration
I’ve pinned, bookmarked and saved countless images as kitchen inspiration, but there’s one image from Studio McGee that sticks out as the winner time and time again. Although every last detail isn’t what we have in mind, it’s preeetty close, and my goodness, does that layout look familiar (or what)?
via Studio McGee
Can you see it? In a game of Spot the Differences, we’ll have a refrigerator to the right of the stove, and we’re considering an exposed range hood to keep things a bit more open. We’ll also be nixing the upper cabinets to the left of the window (our room doesn’t have as much length as our inspiration kitchen), but those L-shaped shelves to the right are a sweet and simple use of space. We’ve gone back and forth on the best placement for appliances and cabinetry, but this photo serves as a great reminder that the layout of our kitchen already works!
When it comes to the finishes, we noticed a reoccurring theme showing up in my idea boards: wood + neutral paint colors. Although one of these photos below is not a kitchen, it definitely had us excited about adding a wood finish in the midst of a sea of painted cabinetry:
The Kitchen Bullet Points
- We’ll be keeping the original layout the same, although we might be replacing the current window with one that’s taller, and we’ll likely need to shift around some electrical for a sconce and island pendant.
- Floating shelves will get installed to the right of the window, but we’ll keep the wall to the left bare. Maybe we’ll hang art, or we may just let it breathe.
- The island – or peninsula? – will get a wood finish, whereas the L-shaped cabinetry will receive a painted finish! We’ll also lower it from it’s former bar height to a more user-friendly counter height.
- At this point, we’re thinking that the stove wall will receive upper cabinetry, and we’ll be moving towards a smaller counter depth refrigerator. (For a getaway home, Tree House doesn’t need excessive fridge space.)
- We’ll add a tile backsplash, although we’re undecided on whether it should go all the way to the ceiling or stop halfway up the wall. We can see the merits in both, but we’re leaning towards halfway, stopping around the middle of the window. We’re looking for uncluttered and fussy-free. Simple. Clean.
- Note: It’s been a fun challenge to think of this kitchen as one that will serve different needs than our everyday home (i.e., does a freezer really need to hold more than a bag of ice and a box of popsicles?). We’re looking to create the perfect blend of function and ease.
I absolutely love a mudroom. It doesn’t matter how small, if there’s any sort of space that can be separated from the main living areas, I’m all about it. The mudroom in Tree House could actually be considered on the large side, and there’s about to be so much function packed into this 8′ x 9′ room! Hooks and benches and mirrors and laundry and storage! Man, I get excited about mudrooms(!).
The blue-gray door below is the main entrance/exit, and the other side of the room used to be a wall of closets and a water heater. Needless to say, the closets came down (peace out louvered doors!), and we’ve since converted our water system to tankless. We had our contractor add plumbing for a washer and dryer, and our electrician added outlets that can be hidden inside a pantry – more on that in a second.
The Mudroom Inspiration
Much like the images we were drawn to for the kitchen, this mudroom photo has been our go-to. I pull it up multiple times a day. And although those dividers are adorable, it doesn’t make sense for our limited space. Instead, we’re honing in on the storage above and below, the painted cabinetry and the natural wood backdrop. Yes. Please.
The Mudroom Bullet Points
- We’re thinking of the mudroom as an extension of the kitchen, rather than an isolated room. Because of this, the space will see the same cabinets and wood finishes.
- On the back wall of the mudroom, below, we’re envisioning (from left to right) a tall pantry, a low built-in bench and a stacked washer and dryer. Cabinets above will connect the pantry to the washer and dryer, which will in turn create a little nook for the bench area.
- The pantry will be close enough to the kitchen that we can access it easily, but in general, we plan on this extra storage being a place for liquor, dog food and stuff – like light bulbs, batteries, scissors and notepads.
- Just as our inspiration photo above suggests, we love the idea of adding wood to the back wall of the bench seating.
We’ve begun working with a Design Specialist at Lowe’s to build out these rooms, and we’ve already learned so much. We could not be more excited to start taking you through that process!