A Mudroom Made of Old and New

(Note: I tidied up our mudroom just for you. Normally it does not look nearly this neat, or is the floor swept up and clean. Knowing that I cleaned the place up a bit don’t you feel special?)

mudroomMud, dirt, manure, and bits of grain, hay, and gravel are all part of living on a farm or ranch and are bound to find their way into the entrance of every farm and ranch home, especially for places that don’t have garages for vehicles and dirty gear.

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(I now have a handy place right by the door for aluminum cans, a shelf for the newspapers box, storing notepads, pens, envelopes, and stamps to pay bills, and phone books.)

Most farm and ranch houses are entered through a mudroom—the place where the nitty-gritty of the outdoors that clings to our outerwear is corralled. Since Art and I have been married we’ve never had a mudroom entrance to our home. Finally, after 19 years, last spring we began the process of replacing our old porch with a mudroom.

Being the thrifty people we are, we reused anything we could, including the existing roof and we constructed the mudroom using the old porch’s dimensions for the footings to build our mudroom and made use of any resources we could. For the interior, I wanted to incorporate some of the old Kirk buildings with our new “addition” (technically it wasn’t really an addition since all we did was enclose the area where the porch was). I spent a couple of spring days pulling out barn wood from the burn pile and driving to our different pastures and plucking barn wood from fallen-in buildings.

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For Mother’s Day, I made my family drive to each location and help me load my barn wood “piles” and we stacked them by the house so the contractor could create shelving,

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_DSC0984(notice how my baskets don’t match–I repurposed old ones I had. It add to the already odd-character of our place. You just don’t find this kind of originality at IKEA or Target.)

floor molding, window trim,

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and the entryway step from the barn wood pile and enough barn wood to cover one wall as an eye-catching background.

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I think of all the barn wood we gathered my favorite repurposed piece is the bench made out of our old branding corral board branded with three of our four brands and a wooden drawer I found in the old Kirk homestead blacksmith shop.

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Instead of buying new paint, I used up leftover paint from painting our bathroom and applied the colors to our mudroom differently. I also used a brand new light fixture that I’d had in storage for several years. Art welded up a bunch of horseshoe coat, coveralls, and cap hooks since we’ve always had an overflow of outerwear that’s been a challenge to find an appropriate place to hang out of the way.

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Our mudroom may not be huge, but our freezer is no longer setting outside like it used to on the porch and I have plenty of shelving to keep things organized, handy, and near the door. Repurposing paint, light fixtures and most especially, old barn wood not only saved us some money, but it makes our new space more meaningful and a great conversation piece. All the boards came from places we still frequent, that cows or bulls broke trying to get out, or where we branded every spring back when we still had the old barn.

Mostly, I just love that our dirty life can now be put in its place.

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About ranchwifeslant

Amy writes a humor column based on rural living and ranch life from the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. She and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth generation cow/calf operation near Pringle; the Elk Capital of South Dakota.
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