Expanding on our wealth of experience in period home design to help you make the most of your space, we offer our expert and practical tips on how to design the perfect boot room, mud room or flower room.
As well as sharing our conceptual design insights, we advise on where to start with your boot room designand take you through the aspects of the design that should always be considered like storage and materials plus individual needs of family members… pets included!
Artichoke and boot room design
Artichoke’s design team is fairly obsessed with boot rooms. In fact, the domestic back end of a country house holds a rather geeky fascination for us. While boot rooms or mud rooms are hardly glamorous, they do present a variety of interesting design challenges, which, if done well, we believe, can add greatly to the “liveability” of a country house.
What is a boot room?
The primary function of a boot room is to act as a valve between the outside elements and the house interior. It should be a practical, functional room that everyone in the family uses.
Where should you start with a boot room design?
It all starts with a conceptual design. In order to produce the perfect boot room, it’s important to fully understand the family that will use it and to consider every aspect of their day-to-day life. For example, how many children or animals are there? Are shooting, fishing or riding regular family activities? What kind of sports kit needs to be stored? What sort of hats, and how many coats do they own? Do guns need to be stored? If so, what are the security requirements?
When we go through conceptual designs for clients, early into the design process we will produce a sketch that gives clients a clear picture of initial ideas and intent for the design.
We are the boot room design experts so you can contact us for an initial consultation.
What to consider when designing a boot room?
Storage in a boot room depends on the family that will use it and all the aspect of their day-to-day life, but essentially, when designing a boot room you should consider three levels of storage:
• shoe storage
• storage for coats and jackets with hanging racks
• storage usually with shelves, drawers or cupboards for hats, gloves and any other additional equipment
For extra boot room storage, you can consider a bench with lift-up seat, baskets or an all-in-one hall stand – a multi-functional freestanding piece of furniture with storage and hanging space.
This Edwardian boot room in a Queen Anne country house is the perfect example of a room with limited space that we expertly crafted to serve many purposes for a busy family.
Our considered design accounted for the free movement of people and dogs, and the fact that as children grow older, their needs will change. We managed to create a mud room that was beautiful and ‘liveable’ with plenty of practical ideas.
We revived an Edwardian-style “up and over” cupboard door so that when opened, the doors didn’t intrude awkwardly into the space. We also incorporated a peninsula and small drawers with brass handles to provide plenty of extra storage.
This is the reason why we also call boot rooms mudrooms. Different names, the same function – both are a link to the outside – a valve between the outside world of muck, mud and rain and the interior of a house with a primary function of stopping the mess from spreading throughout the home.
As practical spaces, that are likely to see heavy use, they require practical solutions and thoughtful consideration of materials.
Here, a hard-wearing material for the floor is essential.
In our designs, we often opt for natural materials such as stone or tiles. A great example of this is the Belgian Fossil which we chose for the flooring in this Regency country house project, because it is robust but also because its attractive flecks of fossils and white shells help to camouflage mud and dirt.
We also added extra practical features such as the grate and drain, set in the floor for easy cleaning of weather-related mess and the zinc plinths with copper nails which provide a buffer between the floor and panelling and protect the paint from smearing and scuffing when frequently mopping the muddy floor.
An externally mounted tap may be another key feature to think about. Having this outside allows muddy boots or animals to be cleaned before they enter the house.
3. English weather
In many country houses, boot rooms function as the main back entrance to the house. If this is the case it could be wise to consider an additional smaller entrance to act as a second valve to trap the cold and wind as family members or guests, enter and leave.
You must also always think of the flow through a boot room space where you can pass quickly with little furniture obstructing the route between the doors.
4. Wet clothing
Typical of the traditional English weather rain often causes outwear to get wet. A boot room is then the place where they can dry. We often incorporate discreet and practical solutions to deal with this problem.
One such example is the design in this Regency country house. A stone bench with holes sits above the radiator drying the coats that hang above it.
5. Function of the sink
If a sink is required, you need to make sure it’s made appropriately for what it will be used for. For example, if it will be used for washing muddy boots or pets it must be large and made of a robust material. Alternatively, if it’s only used for lighter activities such as flower arranging, you must consider the height of the tap to ensure that all tall vases can be filled easily.
Consider whether your boot room will need a sink for washing hands, bathing smaller pets, cleaning boots or rinsing off vegetables picked from the garden. It should be a durable sink that can handle knocks and scratches from muddy paws, gardening tools and hard-bristled brushes.
A stunning Belfast sink is sometimes the perfect choice for arranging blooms and foliage picked from the countryside.
If you are a family with canine companions, your perfect boot room design won’t be complete without the consideration of your pets, and specifically dogs and their needs.
The boot room may be a place where your dog rests so you should allow for some room for it’s bed or consider bulding your dog’s bed into the joinery which will help to keep things tidy for you and snug for your dog.
It’s important to ensure that the spot is suitable for your dog’s individual needs as recommended by the clinical pet behaviorist, Helen Greenley. For example, some pets will need cooler or warmer spots, depending on their breed.
The boot room may also be the perfect place for your pet’s eating station where you can contain spillages and store pet food and toys.
And after a muddy country walk? The quickest and easiest solution to rinsing your dog of the outside muck is to install an outdoor tap or to incorporate a shower area into your joinery indoors.
You should think of boot rooms as ‘decompression rooms’. To get them right we suggest using a variety of robust natural materials and furniture details and take time to consider every small detail so that the boot room works for each family’s unique needs, dogs included.
Asking the right questions at the outset as to how you want your boot room to function is the key to designing a space that will suit your needs exactly.
If you have a boot room project you’d like professionally designed, we’d love to discuss it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1934 745270.