Jessie Raymond: Live, Love, Laugh at Pinterest
We’re getting ready to put in a mudroom at our house. Thank goodness I found Pinterest before we started.
Pinterest, if you haven’t heard of it, is a website that works like a virtual bulletin board, gathering images from across the web that you can “pin” to your own board, based on your interests — mudrooms, in my case.
The Pinterest tagline is “Discover and save creative ideas.” (The implied sub-tagline is “…with lots of Mason jars.” If you type in a search term, such as “wedding centerpieces” or “Fourth of July decorations,” and it doesn’t turn up at least one photo containing a Mason jar, the search function is broken. Contact customer support at once.)
As you fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole, as so many of us do, you’ll find the walls of that hole tastefully finished in the latest decorator colors (Sherwin-Williams Revere Pewter is particularly popular this month). As you travel down, down, down, you’ll whiz past cheerful bowls of lemons on granite countertops, Mason-jar vases wrapped in baling twine, and homey wooden placards that order you to “Live, love, laugh.”
Pinterest’s rustic-chic-charming images are tough to resist.None of the photos, however, look quite like real life.
They look much better.
I turned to Pinterest to see pictures of the spaces where other people hang their coats, kick off their snowy boots and drop their mail — anything more clever than our current go-to spot, the kitchen floor.
I had questions: Should we have cubbies, or an open bench we can chuck shoes under? How big a closet do we need? What color area rug will best hide stains from muddy pawprints and cat vomit?
But I soon realized I was asking all the wrong questions. The mudroom photos I found on Pinterest — and I found hundreds — weren’t constrained by such low-thinking practical considerations. They were simply beautiful.
Using the Pinterest photos as a guide, I came up with the following list to aid me in the design process:
Form Over Function:
Ten Steps to a Pinterest-inspired Mudroom
1. Have people remove their shoes before entering the mudroom.
2. For a crisp look, place an all-white, dry-clean-only area rug in front of the entry door.
3. To avoid clutter, limit each member of the household to one pair of shoes and one outer garment. If possible, store these in the garage.
4. Fill your mudroom bench with at least a dozen throw pillows. Even better — I honestly have seen this — set a framed photo or two on the bench cushion. Making the seat unusable will reduce wear and tear on the $82-per-yard Waverly fabric.
5. For a casual touch, accent your mudroom with a yellow Lab, provided it is trained not to shed in the house. When outdoors, carry your Lab to keep its feet dry and clean.
6. Paint your shoe storage area white. Don’t worry about seeing gravel or mud; if you do it right, no dirt will ever sully your darling mudroom.
7. Hang an antique fishing creel or pair of wooden snowshoes on one of your vintage coat hooks if you’d like, but never a plastic shopping bag containing overdue library books.
8. Put some Mason jars in there.
9. Post a distressed wooden sign sporting the whimsical phrase “Sorry about the mess, but we live here.” Guests will find this humorous because your mudroom will in fact be clinically sterile.
10. If someone dares to sit down and take off their boots in your mudroom, politely ask them to leave or, if they are a household member, evict them.
Now that I’m determined to have a Pinterest-perfect mudroom, I’m embarrassed about my old, misguided assumption that interior spaces should be well-used and make people feel comfortable. A good mudroom, it turns out, is one that on the surface looks warm and welcoming but at its heart gives no indication that anyone lives in the house.
My goal, then, is to get people to come admire our mudroom without actually using it. And I have found an appropriately Pinterest-style solution: a hysterical painted tin sign on the door that says, “Welcome — now go home.”
Then again, that probably won’t be necessary. Anyone who walks into a mudroom that looks like it should be blocked off by a velvet rope won’t want to stay anyway.
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