In the Netherlands we have something you call a ‘bijkeuken’. This roughly translates to side-kitchen and I think the most fitting term for it is mud room. Because this is also the place where you enter the house from the backyard.
In our previous city it was not common practice to use this door as a main entrance, but in our new city a lot of visitors enter the house from the back. For us this took some time getting used to people walking in without ringing the doorbell.
Anyway, the mud room was very weird when we moved in. The previous habitant had a shower installed here! And when you do all kinds of Big Demolitions, sometimes you just want something easy to tear down. So one weekend we took to the mud room.
This is what it looked like:
Behind the white wall is the shower, to the right is the door to the garden and where I’m standing is the kitchen.
And like I said, there was a shower installed:
The previous habitant was an elderly woman, so she had a seat installed as well. We actually used this shower for a while (since not having our bathroom complete). And boy, it was cold showering there!
Demolition of the mud room
Together, armed with crowbar and hammer we started with the shower area. This was very poorly built and we had no intention of using this ‘room’ the way it was. It also has no significant features so we could just run with it and not worry about damaging anything.
The wall was easy, we just took every concrete block down with the tiles on the backside still attached. Sometimes with old hooks attached as well:
The door frame didn’t give in as easy, so we had to use a bit of force on that. You can see it on the left, almost caving.
The image above also shows nicely how we had hot water in the shower. We had a temporary fix attached to the old plumbing. There was a weird ventilation hole above the old door, so we just ran the plumbing through this for the time being.
Tiles and mold
After a while we already collected a big stack of tiles and concrete blocks.
The wall behind Patrick was the easiest. These tiles just fell down when you looked at them (almost). There was so much moisture built up behind the tiles over the years, all of the cement was deteriorated.
In the picture above you can see patches of mold and cement. And this smelled horrible. It was the smell of a moldy old basement. A vey earthy smell and we we happy we could just open the door to the garden.
Finally we had everything removed and we just had to do some final touches.
The result after demolition
It surprised us how much the mud room transformed. From a weirdly shaped nondescript room with a shower it already felt way more open.
Also: look at our newly installed central heating system:
You may think “why did you not rip out the tiles on the floor?” Well we did consider that, but this specific part of the house has two things going for it: it has a drain and there is water.
Which makes it the ideal (temporary) place for a washing machine. This was in our kitchen for a while, but this was not really convenient. Here the machine was out of the way and the tiles are a plus for when the machine might overflow etc.
So it may still look very ‘industrial’ (read; a big mess), but we managed to turn our mud room in a more open space with an actual function. We now use it like this:
Eventually we will do a full renovation on this room. Make the walls nice, put in a good floor etc. But we still have no idea how and what we want exactly. Fortunately we have plenty of other things to do before this is up for renovation.
In the meantime it still acts a dumping ground for tools, buckets and other items that need a place.
We enjoyed this little project, because it only was a day of work with a big impact on our daily life.
What do you think of our transformation?