Mudroom in basement - need your suggestion

We're planning to put in a mudroom in our next house. The only logical place to have the mudroom is actually in the basement, since the attached garage is in the basement. It's a bit awkward, but the natural path would be garage <-> mudroom in basement <-> staircase <-> 1st floor kitchen/family room.
The basement is poured concrete and unfinished. Between the garage door from/to the basement and the staircase to the main fllor, there is a good size area (~12' x ~15' at least) at the corner of the basement, containable if we put up the walls, just about perfect for mudroom use. Two sides of the rectangle are existing foundation walls, and the other two sides of the rectangle can be turned into walls if needed.
I'd like to 'finish' this portion of the basement, to make it bright and inviting within the budget (we're working on it). My belief is, people do what's easy for them, and that's true for a room in the house, too.
Floor - I'd like to put in some type of flooring, rather than leaving it concrete. Since it'll see a lot of wear and tear, no carpet/rug/hardwood floor, probably tiling of some sort. I probably won't provide drainage, but have a mop and bucket nearby. I thought about having a simple sink in the area, but not sure about the extent of plumbing required. (We haven't closed on the house yet, so going a lot by what I remember.)
Walls - I can probably get by with putting in cabinets and hooks, but to hide the cold concrete walls, I'd like to put up some type of walls there. I have no clue what kind of walls go up in basement or otherwise. I'd like to contain the rea with walls, and have a good size door in one wall for accessing other parts of the basement.
Cabinets - I'm thinking of having open cabinets for all family members (2 adults/2kids), plus 1 or 2 extra for frequent visitors (grandparents). Within each open cabinet, there would have a 3 sections : bottom for shoes/boots, middle/tall section for hooks/small bags, , and top section would be for hats/small items. The divider between bottom and middle sections would extend out to serve as a seat for changing shoes. The top section might have a door to make it look neat. 4-6 of these cabinets would be next to each other, perhaps all connected, and will probably have to be custom-made, unless someone knows a similar product sold somewhere.
First off - aything else that you suggest putting in the mudroom? This would be the 'foyer' for the family members, since we won't be using the front door for exit/entrance on a regular basis, and won't use the actual foyer very much. (Fyi - this house is a colonial in New England, less than 10 years old.) Our daily items (jackets/hats/bags/shoes/keys) will remain in the mudroom, instead of going upstairs to the main (1st) floor, leaving the coat closet in the 1st floor foyer/hallway available for items less frequently used.
I'm trying to figure out which of the above I can do myself, to save money and to eliminate headache of dealing with... (you know...). I'd done painting, light plumbing, and some other minor work around the house, including sanding deck railing, etc., but nothing heavy duty yet. I can be fairly handy if given the right tools and time, but being an engineer (computer hardware design), I tend to be methodical, and like make sure I understand/learn as much about it before jumping in. However, I find that I learn more things as I do (mistakes, that is). Should I just go ahead and hire someone to do it?
I knew this is how we'd use the house the minute we looked at it, but I do envy folks that do not have this basement exit/entrance issue...
Thanks for reading and, in advance, for your suggestion/inputs.
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If you plan on doing this project right away you might want to consider hiring a contractor to do the bulk of the work, I'm sure you understand how busy you will be unpacking and organizing. Your ideas are great, make sure you seal the concrete walls and floor with a sealer to prevent moisture behind your new walls which can be built the same as any 2" x 4" or even 2" x 3" constructed wall and insulate them if you want, the floor only has to be a couple of inches thick but you should raise the floor joists with spacers to allow air flow, just make sure you have enough head room to do this. A sink is a great idea but unless you have a floor drain you will have to install a pump to get rid of the water. Tile works well and cleans up nicely, consider using a colored grout so the dirt won't show. As far as the cabinets, to get what you want they will have to be custom made unless you are willing to sacrifice certain aspects of the cabinets and even then I don't know if you will find something that close to meet your needs. Depending on how cool your basement is and how tolerant your family are you might want to consider heat in the mudroom. I don't know what part of New England your from but if your looking for an awesome contractor (located in Plymouth, MA.) that you can trust and goes the extra mile for you send me an E-mail through the link ( ) and I will get you in contact with him.
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Only personal opinions, but: -- Didn't notice any men tion of places for coats, boots, hats, mittens, etc. -- Sink definitly recommended - to wash off mud, grease, dirt, etc. Do you work on that cars, in garden, lawn maintenance, sawdust, etc.? Handy to wash/clean up before entering the house. Maybe even an area for changing clothes - in/out of coveralls, really dirty clothes, stuff needing to be washed, etc.? -- I'd put tile flooring over the cement and definitely provide for drainage. So at least the "mud" area can be easily hosed/cleaned of sand, dirt, salt, snow, etc. etc.? Not sure how to tile on cement, but the room was in before we got here 17 years ago & it still looks like new (when it's clean!). In our case we also have the laundry machines there, and a freezer.
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Upload (FGreen) wrote in message

I'm not sure why you think this is so difficult. It seems like a great set up. I'd suggest: Arrange the mud room to force folks to go through it. I've seen rooms like this ignored when not directly in the normal route. Concrete stains can add a lot of color without adding layers of material. Gypsum board on furring strips are possible. I'd leave air circulation behind the gypsum board. Open locker-like cubbys could be placed in front of one concrete wall. I'd be concerned about making a base that contains mud and water. Day light would be a great addition, but it sounds like it is out of budget. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation to deal with moisture and odors. I don't think the nominal style of the house is as important as function.
Tom Baker
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FGreen wrote:

This presumes that EVERY goes through the garage to come in. Where *I* grew up, we'd walk in around the back of the house, through a mudroom (seats, place to pull boots jackets, etc, off) and in.
The 2 people who came in through the garage 1) were generally coming from a car so may not have been as dressed up as we were. 2) 90% of the time were coming from work.
Course in *my* day, the kids walked everywhere. And there was snow and mud ALL the time. And it was up hill both ways, etc, etc. :)
If it's a place that's comfortable to stop in, big enough to get by when the kid is debooted and dealing with their crap, then it can work. I've seen many that were just wide halls and stuff was always in the way.
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First of all, thanks everyone. I didn't think about the heat issue, which I thinnk is important. Didn't think about the moisture behind the new walls, either. Even though it's a relatively dry basement, I need to be careful there. I'm already over the budget that I don't have. For tiling, I'm thinking... have an inlay. Ha... Everyone I talked to says tiling is a hard work. I'm old enough to know that when someone says it's a lot of work, they have toned it down already, most of the time anyhow.

Sure, we have a driveway that's uphill both ways. :)
Of course people can walk in through any door - front, rear deck, or the garage. There is no suitable place near the rear deck entrance to be used as a mudroom, unless we enclose the deck itself. People would walk right into the family room, and I don't want any more mess there than a normal(?) family room would have. I assume, however, kids will end up going in and out through the deck during the summer and nice weather seasons, so the basement mudroom will mostly be used in foul weather and winter. I guess I neglected to mention that in the original posting. Even during warm weather, however, I want a central place to find coats/boots/sandals/etc/etc. Unless there is such a place, the chaos theory will prevail, and you know the rest of the story.
I'm used to having mess in the house, but we recently went through the process of selling our place, which meant having an open house. What an eye opening event - we ended up making our place look like something out of a magazine, and I'm not kidding. It meant living neatly for a couple of weeks till open house/inspectin/contract was over, and now I know it is possible to keep the place neat and practical at the same time.

Exactly my point. I want the mudroom to be big enough, not just a narrow hallway, where even with 2/3 kids are sitting on the bench and boots tossed about, others can get by without being tripped everywhere. Now I'm thinking maybe there should be a swing door that can hide the messy coat/hook area when not used. It'll have to be custom, the more I think of it. Only if I owned a table saw... may I'll rent one. :)
I think the area is big enough for that, and with warm and bright colors either on the concret walls (as someone suggested) or on new walls, it'll be cozy enough to make it not just functional, but also an attractive feature at resale. (Funny enough, I've seen enough houses/renovations to now think of resale even before we move in.) Now I'm sold on having a floor drain and a sink as well. I need a second job, of course.
A side note - how many times do you see or hear of people, after seeing a potential new house, say - I really liked *insert any minor feature* about that house, be it an hobby bench that'll be removed, kids swing set, cute decoration in a baby room, etc. It's amazing that people look at decoration/arrangement much more than they should. Even to *me*, a seller, the new arrangement made the place look worth more than before.
So, in summary, I'm still planning to have a mudroom in the basement, but have a few more features - heat, drain/sink, cabinet door to close it up, a la closet doors. A lot of money and/or work, it sounds like, but it can be fun.
I'll post another thread when I get down into details. Hope I can post a crude version of the blueprint and solicit feedback.
Thanks again, everyone.
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