While the log-home mud room is occasionally an afterthought, the purpose of the room — and its position in the home — are starting to change.

“I work with customers designing their homes and find that the mudroom has grown in popularity with all the various uses they’re being utilized for,” says Sue Hass, sales representative for Expedition Log Homes.

Here are some of Hass’ comments:

How have utility rooms changed over the years?
Utility/laundry areas have moved up in the world. People no longer carry dirty laundry down stairs to wash, fold and carry it back up. Although most laundry rooms are located on the first floor close to the garage, it’s not uncommon for people to have them close to the bedrooms on the first or second floor, or even to have one in the master walk-in closet and a second for the other bedrooms in the home. The utility rooms are now filled with natural light and have gotten much larger.

Why is it important to have a utility room right off the garage?
Most people want it close to the main hub of activity. When they get home, they can hang their coats, have a counter to drop their purse or briefcase, and install a place for the kids to hang their backpacks. It’s also convenient if you’re working outside and need a quick place to clean up.

Should more attention be paid to the utility room?
People look at what they’ll incorporate into the utility room based on their daily lifestyle. Most want a counter for folding clothes, plenty of storage or coat closets, and a general drop-off space when entering from the garage. That alone creates a larger space.

What are some new built-ins that customers are requesting?
The general look of a utility/laundry has changed because it’s not a hidden room anymore. People like to have cabinets in the utility room, just like the kitchen. Bins or baskets for clothes is important. Cubbies or open locker areas for coats, boots, and backpacks is always a plus. Drip-dry racks and places to lay clothes flat to dry are important in busy lives.

What other details need to be remembered when designing your utility/mudroom?
Make a list of things you’d like to incorporate. A few favorites are to have plenty of storage, a drop-down ironing board, a rod for air-drying or hanging clothes that come out of the dryer, and a counter area for folding clothes or doing crafts. Some people even request a computer desk even a deep sink for washing the family pet. Need someplace for an extra refrigerator? The utility room/mudroom is now that place.

This article ran in the July 2007 issue of Country’s Best Log Homes. Call (800) 258-0929 to order this issue, and click here to subscribe so you don’t miss the next issue.