Artichoke’s design team is fairly obsessed with boot rooms. In fact, the general domestic back end of a country house holds a rather geeky fascination for us, and while a boot room is hardly glamorous, it does present a good variety of design challenges.
For Artichoke, a country house is largely organised by storage and fitted furniture, and a well designed boot room can significantly improve how the back end of a country house performs. In this blog we will explore some of the main requirements to consider when successfully designing a boot room.
A boot room’s primary function is to act as a valve between the exterior world and the interior of a house, and boot room (or mud room as our friends from the USA call them) should above all be practical. It should not be a place simply to hide clutter. A good boot room should be a room that everyone in the family uses, as well as the occasional dog.
When designing a boot room, it is crucial to fully understand the family for whom you are designing. Do they have children and what age are they? Do they have pets and what type? What sort of outdoor activity does the family get involved in? Does shooting, fishing or riding form an important part of the families day to day activities? Where is the country sports kit kept? Does the client need a place to store gardening tools? How muddy do they or their dogs get? What do they do with the mud? What sort of hats do their own? Do guns need to be stored or do they have a separate gun room for them? If so, what are the security requirements? How many sets of coats do they have? Do they own sticks and how long are they? What are the exterior lighting arrangements and is a re-charging point for torches needed? How many pairs of boots does each member of the family own? Is a place to securely store house-keys needed? The list of requirements can be almost endless, so a thorough understanding for the family and their needs is required before design can take place. Taking a full inventory of the existing boot room space is often a sensible place to start.
Knowing the answers to questions like these will inform how the boot room is designed and laid out, what goes into it and what comes out.
One of the common oversights when designing a busy family boot room is how to deal with mud. If the room is likely to be used heavily, then careful consideration needs to be given to what floor material is chosen. A hard-wearing stone or tile floor is the obvious choice in a country house, although a vinyl floor is also a good and cheaper alternative if looks come second to practicality.
In many country houses, boot rooms act as the main back entrance to the house, and if this is the case, consideration should be given to the addition of a smaller entrance valve to ensure that cold and wind can be trapped within the valve as family members and guests enter and leave the house.
Consideration also needs to be given to drainage. Artichoke recently included a drain located at the centre of the floor for mud and dirt to be swept directly into. Another key consideration is water and often we will advise clients to consider an externally mounted tap for muddy boots to be cleaned off before entering the house.
If a sink is required in a boot room, consider the material of the sink, as robustness will likely be a key requirement, particularly if boots (or pets for that matter) are to be washed in it.
Depending on the size of the house, clients will also often use their boot room to store tall vases in and to cut flowers. If this is the case, consider the height of the sink tap to ensure that tall vases can be filled from the sink.
Obsessing over the small details for how a family operates is vital if one is to create boot rooms that work for each families very unique needs. Like much interior design, there are no right or wrong answers, but there is certainly poorly considered design which can be avoided by asking the right questions.
If you have a boot room project you’d like professionally designed, we’d love to discuss it. Email email@example.com or call +44 (0)1934 745270.