Junctions the Function
By Ann Zimmerman
Photography by Scot Zimmerman

Mudrooms are the most frequently used and important entries to a home, and this is especially true in ski country.

“Mudroom” is perhaps too lowly a name for these important spaces. We think of mudrooms as secondary entries to the home, but in reality, far more traffic usually enters through the mudroom than the main entry. The main entry has a long tradition for introducing the home’s grace, hospitality, and décor. Now this same thinking is extending to the design of mudrooms, as they are becoming more upscale and welcoming. At the same time, storage and organization are key elements to mudroom design, adding efficiency to busy lives.

A steel fireplace provides a dramatic focal point to the ski-in/ski-out room for this slopeside Deer Valley home.
(Architecture and construction by the Ja.ffa Group, Park City)

In the Park City area with its year-round active lifestyle, the attention to indoor/outdoor transition spaces has been one of the most noticeable changes in home design.

Scott Jaffa, architect with Park City’s Jaffa Group, calls these spaces “family foyers” and explains his approach. “Especially with ski access, the space doubles as a mudroom and the family foyer. As a family foyer, a chandelier enhances first impressions. The room becomes practical and functional with built-in benches, lockers, cubbies, and fireplaces.

A mudroom can be a multi-sports room with hiking shoes and trekking poles, toboggans, and bikes. We enhance convenience and efficiency with outlets to charge personal electronics, boot heaters, and smart home controls where an app shuts down the house as they leave or it turns on systems on their return.”

“It is important to have a well-thought-out arrival and departure, and most people most often come and go and ski in and ski out through the mudroom,” comments interior designer Kristen Roche. “I treat these areas with the same level of finishes as the rest of the home. A well-organized mudroom with plenty of storage at hand changes the experience of living in the home.


169bI like to add a mirror in these spaces. It’s a pleasing accent and handy to see oneself for a final check before leaving the home.”

Laurel Green, showroom manager and designer at Barclay Butera Interiors in Park City, comments on her approach. “Since the mudroom is often the first room to be greeted by when arriving home, we think it should give the homeowner a feeling of order and of being in control. The design should provide practical and functional storage solutions while reflecting the aesthetic of the rest of the home. In one of our favorite projects, we included grates over a removable metal pan that sits under sleek lockers for draining muddy boots after a day in the snow. It’s also a place we like to have fun with hardware in whimsical styles or dramatic sizing.”

171A long-time local observes that for ski-in/ski-out homes, friends will ski to the home and enter by the ski room or mud room and may never use the front door. To provide a welcoming entry for these guests, mudrooms provide a bench to slip out of boots, radiantly heated floors, and places for hats, helmets, gloves, and goggles. A nearby powder room is also important. For all of these spaces, durable finishes are the rule so mud or melting snow are easy cleanups. It is also becoming more common for mudrooms to have baskets of snacks to fill pockets and a beverage bar with water, sports drinks, coffee, and hot chocolate. This type of welcome for ski-in visitors ensures they will be happy to return.

The wooden cabinetry adds a warm look to the space in this ski-in Colony home, which is especially welcoming when coming in from the winter elements.

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