As in life, sometimes it is the little changes that make the greatest impact on how we live, and that is especially true with home renovation projects.  A comfortable place to take off your boots and hang up your coat in the northeast is more than a convenience-it is a daily necessity.  A well-organized laundry room with a sink, storage, and a place to work is just the basic outline of a room which is critical to every home.  If you have these and other well-used spaces in your home, you don’t think twice about them, but if you don’t it can be a daily annoyance that isn’t too hard to fix.

1. Covered Entry

I live in an old farmhouse, which has been changed many times, but one of the features it had when we bought it, was a covered entry.  I can’t count the times that covered entry has made my life easier.  On every home we design, we try to provide a covered entry that is worth its weight in gold when it is sleeting and you can’t find your keys.

Entry Cropped

Covered Entry Portico

2. Mud Room

If you own any kind of boots, which you need to wear often, chances are you need a mudroom.  My children (and I) wear our boots in the mud, the snow and any mixture in between, and when we come in, we had better get those boots off before we embark into the rest of the house.  One of my favorite mudrooms features a rugged herringbone brick floor with plenty of cubbies, storage and places to hang up your coat.

Westchester 1 Mudroom Copy


3.  Laundry Room

Laundry rooms don’t have to be dismal leftover corners of basements with cobwebs hanging above and musty smells coming from who knows where.  We spend more time than we would like to admit dealing with our clothes in one way or another.  Why not make the space we often visit, fun?  Well, if not fun, perhaps bright and functional.

Laundry Room Lr

Laundry Room

4. Pantry

A pantry to me, brings back memories of rows of vegetables preserved in Mason jars.  These days, there is a growing new interest in canning and preserving, but most of us just need a place to store the Lucky Charms, and the oatmeal.   In kitchens we design, we use pantry cabinets, pull out pantry racks, and drawers, but a walk-in pantry is still my favorite when there is the room to make it work.



5. Potting/Wood/Tool Shed

We all need a place to keep our stuff.  A well-designed shed not only provides the space, it compliments the surrounding architecture as well as the garden.  Another use for an outdoor structure is wood storage.  It is important to place fireplace logs in a convenient spot for a quick run, on a cold winter night.

House Adjusted Color

Potting/Wood/Tool Shed

About the Author: James Crisp

James M. Crisp has been an architect for well over 30 years. His architectural firm, Crisp Architects, designs projects throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In April of 2007, Taunton Press published 'On the Porch' by James M. Crisp and Sandra Mahoney.

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    mimi dunne February 10, 2011 at 9:28 am

    A wonderful post! Your thoughts and photos are always inspiring. Thank you.

  2. Aa2Cbf39867Dfccabe80558316A86802?S=54&R=G
    James Crisp February 10, 2011 at 9:36 am


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    Lynne Clark February 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    I enjoy your articles! Thanks for your creativity!

  4. Aa2Cbf39867Dfccabe80558316A86802?S=54&R=G
    James Crisp March 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks, I really enjoy writing them.

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