Great Spaces: Mudroom With a Bar

Here's a functional space that does double-duty.

Photos by Jenn Verrier

It was love at first sight—despite the small, dated kitchen and orange shag carpeting. Tiffany and John McAvoy purchased an old stone house in Arlington Ridge for its generous room proportions, unusual wrought-iron stair railing and distinctive crown molding in the living and dining rooms.

They immediately started renovating after they closed in 2012, keeping the home’s 1948 floor plan mostly intact, except for one unsalvageable space: a termite-infested porch. Soon they were talking to their friend and neighbor Liz Mearns, a designer, about enclosing and repurposing the porch to address some of their unmet needs. They wanted to convert it into a pantry for overflow from the adjacent tiny kitchen. With the addition of a new side entrance, it could also serve as a mudroom for sons Jack, 14, and Rand, 12, and daughter Arden, 10.

Photos by Jenn Verrier

“And I knew it needed a beer fridge!” Mearns jokes. More to the point, she says, “what we were really dialed in on was the proportion on the front of the house—we wanted to make it as big as it could be without it looking like an annex.”

Mearns incorporated deep gray paneling and cabinetry with warm wood surfaces to complement an exposed stone wall and contrast with the remodeled kitchen’s lacquered surfaces. A bar niche sits opposite a window overlooking the front yard (you can see it from outside), while a glass-paned door offers a pretty sight line from the kitchen.

The long built-in bench was initially designed for the kids, but with the addition of some tables and stools, the space has assumed a dual purpose. “I really use it as a bar,” Tiffany says, “but I didn’t plan it that way. People come over here and say: ‘This is my favorite room in your house—let’s have a drink!’ ”

Project Credits: Imagine Design by Liz Mearns |
Cabinetry by: Alex Cardoza, Springfield, Virginia

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Categories: Home & Design