Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mud Room ,Finito

One more "to-do" has been marked off our list.  The mud room, aka Dermot Healy Hall, now has insulated and painted walls, a place to hang our chore clothes, room for muddy boots and a bench to park our keisters or to place stuff while we unlock our door. No more struggling to open a door while your arms are full and you're being pelted with rain, hail or snow. It's a grand new room indeed, quickly becoming my favorite room of the Looney Bin. Below is the before and after.

We built the mud room using the concrete pad already in place. Prior to this we had for the last year and a half, walked directly into our home with our cruddy boots, stinky chore clothes, hanging them just inside the door-in our living room essentially. When guest dropped by, this tiny entry area become even more crowded with shoes and coats.

After the framing was completed a few weeks ago, (with help of friend Jay) and the outside was covered with old (circa 1865) metal barn siding, we spent the next couple weeks working on the inside. The walls were insulated with batt insulation and then plywood was used for walls and ceiling. Keith also wired the little room for a single overhead light. Below you can see the outside of the grain bin to the right. We did splurge on a new window too.

One of our challenges was the area where the wavy round bin wall met the straight plywood wall. The gap between them was filled with spray foam but it of course it expands and looks like frosting being squeezed out of a Suzy Q. Then it gets hard.

Even after  removing the excess foam with a box cutter, it still looked ugly so we solved the problem with a narrow piece of trim we had kept from some project, sometime.
Jay had built a bench frame for me along the north wall and Keith pulled out a 15 inch wide piece of wood from our old barn in Chatsworth, built in approximately 1895.  It fit the bench very well and after several coats of thick lacquer it know lives on under our bums.

The multiple hatch marks on this piece of wood, we are speculating, might have been the area where chicken butchering was done. Or, it was a mean brother's way of keeping track of all the times he teased his sister . Go ahead, make up your story. I love good fiction.

I painted the walls a very light green, having picked the color with much deliberation, planning and research It was the only non horribly dark color on the Menard's paint clearance shelf. One gallon for $5. SOLD!

 The outside still needed work as the old metal barn siding (from this property's old barn, not our last property's old barn, in case you're suffering from a little barn confusion) had a fair amount of rust on a few pieces.

So we picked up a can of aluminum paint, which sadly I had to pay the full $20 for, and when Jay visited us again this past weekend, he and I made things all bright and silvery while Keith kept working on our felled Elm piles of wood.

 Neither Jay or I had ever used aluminum paint and that stuff was truly weird. On the top it looked like water does when spilled over gasoline, all swirly with different colors. On the bottom of the paint can was this thick goo we had to mix in. The aluminum paint went on like water but covered the rust really well. We used less than a fifth of that gallon so I plan to use the same stuff to paint the new (old) barn we are building this summer.
We had budgeted $1000 for this project and came in at $680, primarily because we used old barn siding to cover the outside instead of buying new. Our biggest single expense was the metal and glass door for about $200. I like the urban feel it gives this very rural home. You can take the girl out of Chicago but, you know the rest.


  1. Wonderful!! I love all your repurposing. -Jenn

  2. great job! i love the way it looks!

  3. Nothing I love more than useful art! Well done!

  4. Not bad for a couple of Repurposers - see, I CAN find new words for Junque Collectors. I love the bench. People forget benches or they buy something plastic. I love the old wood especially for the hash marks.

  5. I like the looks of that, an area like that is really necessary and it look good.

  6. It looks so great Donna. Congratulations! I love the bench.

  7. LOVE this!!! You all did a great job! You know, the pale green color gives it a vintage feel. It looks like it's always been there, inside and out.

    As for the hatch marks: In 1899, Clifford Harrison Miller III had a small homestead on nearby land that he farmed with his family. Late one Spring evening, an animal got into their chicken pen and killed the family's flock. With his wife Beryl pregnant with the couple's fifth child, Clifford realized the family needed the nutrition that his former hens provided. One night, he went down the road and took some eggs from the neighbors hen house. Feeling lucky, he continued this surreptitious activity for several weeks, scurrying around under the cover of darkness gathering eggs until finally, his luck ran out. He was caught. Sympathetic to the family's plight however, the owner of the hens decided to let Clifford go by offering the stolen eggs in exchange for some labor around the farm. Each time the owner felt Clifford had made up for a stolen egg, he made a mark on a piece of wood in the barn. He repainted a wall of the house once and that was worth two eggs. He repaired a section of fence and that was worth four eggs. Sometimes it would be three or four a day, other times it was only a few in a week. It didn't take long though for the hatch marks to add up and eventually, Clifford's debt was paid in full. On the last day, the owner of the barn presented Clifford and his family with a gift. The Miller's were given three hens and a rooster for the birth of their new child. Five days later, Clifford and his wife had a beautiful baby girl. They named their daughter Hopeful Grace Miller.

    1. What a wonderful story. Thanks so much for sharing it. Interesting though how high the eggs were valued. In todays market you'd have to give someone four dozen eggs to get them to point a wall!

  8. Thanks Jenn. At times we get frustrated trying to find the right piece of wood in the right size when it is often so much easier to buy new...but in the end we feel so satisfied that we can use up the items in our "inventory" piles.

  9. Great job on the entryway! Lucky find with the paint color - I am forever scouring the "oops" paint bins at Lowe's and Home Depot for nice exterior paint. We've painted plenty of coops and bee boxes at $5 a gallon.
    P.S. - Those tiny soaps I bought from you - they're stocked in the camper and ready to hit the road! Also, I've been using them to bathe my little guy in the yard after pool time. Wading pool + soap = multitasking. What a deal.

  10. Well done, that looks superb; and what a useful room too.

  11. It looks great, well done on an excellent job.

  12. Donna, what a wonderful addition to your home! It turned out so well and I love how you finished it. Purposeful but really pretty too.

  13. The mud room certainly looks almost too nice to get muddy, Donna. Nothing wrong with that bargain green paint which looks looks good. Coming in under budget too was great even if you had to pay full price for the aluminum paint.


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