First person: Creating a family-friendly entrance and mudroom for $7,200

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living in our home for almost 11 years, our chief complaint was that we only had two options when entering our house: the front door and the garage. With three children and many bicycles, ATVs, and sporting equipment, navigating our garage was an "enter at your own risk" undertaking. Likewise, we were sick of our children kicking off shoes and dropping backpacks in our front hallway. On one side of our garage was an unused fifth bedroom , too small for guests, that we decided would provide a perfect side entranceway into our home. With two months off between job changes, it was the ideal project for my husband and I to tackle with the help of some outside professionals. Here's how we did it.

Opening a new entrance

The first task at hand was to cut an opening to the outside. By pulling back the siding from an existing window it was easy to remove the window from the framing. The width of the window matched the width of an external door. By cutting through the studs to the existing floor and adding some additional 2-by-6 boards, the doorway was framed. We purchased a pre-hung door for $250 and an automatic door-lock set for an additional $250 and within two days there was a new door into our home. We could have tried to save the existing siding, but since the area to be covered was small, we opted to call in a siding contractor to replace the siding and put molding around the door. The materials and labor cost an additional $1,200 but only took a day and a half to complete. By doing the complete side, the slight color change of the new siding from the existing siding was not noticeable.

Finishing the exterior

The room had b

een about 2.5 feet higher than the foundation of the home, so it required a set of stairs. We contacted a decking specialist who cut through the driveway, poured concrete foundations, and made a 4-by-4-foot platform and stairs , finishing it in decking that complemented the external facade of the house. Rather than doing straight stairs to the doorway, the platform allows us adequate space to put down packages and enter the key code for the door in a comfortable open area. The cost of the deck added $2,400 to the project and the work was warrantied for two full years. 

Creating an organized mudroom

Finally my husband built a set of lockers in the mudroom that could be assigned to each family member. He ordered a set of five drawers of custom cabinetry to use as the base of the lockers for $2,700. Using cabinet grade lumber purchased at the local hardware store, he put a base over the drawers with 24 inches of depth to allow seating. He placed six 12-inch-wide panels at equal intervals and hooks to create locker space and used small spacers above to create cubbyholes.

Using decorative and crown molding to complete the finishing, he then matched the paint to the drawers and painted the constructed lockers to match . The additional cost of the lumber was approximately $400.

For the investment

of $7,200 we now have an organized space for the kids to drop their backpacks, coats, etc. With the addition of a white board and calendar, we exit the house clearly seeing the events planned for the day. 

We love entering the house into this bright and open space. We just can't believe it took us nearly a decade to make such a valuable and easy improvement.

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