Americans today of all ages have more active lives, having adopted fast-paced and demanding lifestyles. Adults have full-time jobs and children go to school. Adults have personal nutritionists and gym memberships and their children seek more extreme pursuits like skateboarding, snowboarding and stunt bicycling. Hobbies and family are a significant part of time-strapped days and nights.

Builders who understand this phenomenon are reworking their product lines to better suit these more active lifestyles. One trend gaining popularity is the transformation of mud rooms into family organization centers or multipurpose areas. The idea behind the trend is to create an organized and useful space to bring more convenience, style and innovation to the home.

For example, a builder can rework a floor plan for a buyer who is an avid fisherman. The mud room, once 175 square feet, can be upped to 300 to personalize the space with a kitchen and sink, and counter space. The buyer can then clean and dress fish and package it for freezing. With 300 square feet, there's also enough space for a tall closet with coat hooks to store fishing gear and other sporting equipment, plus a laundry machine for quick clean up.

Homes without a designated mudroom are adaptable as well. For some, an entry hallway can be suitable space. A durable area rug is placed next to the entrance door, with a coat rack, combination dresser and umbrella stand nearby. Add a smaller carpet for wet shoes and a key-drop basket, and a makeshift mud room is borne.

Niche designers and furniture providers, like San Rafael-based California Closets, are creating solutions that work specifically for these active lifestyles.

The company offers a custom combination of adjustable shelving and hanging that can maximize even the smallest of spaces. One example is the company's line of baskets that accent any California Closets storage system. The baskets are used for organizing just about anything in any room: clothing, foodstuffs, toys, videos and CD's, bulky or small items. They are available in a variety of sizes, a selection of metals or wicker, and to suit the room's style.

"Given the stresses of everyday life and the increasing speed at which our lives unfold, it seems we are in pursuit of security, stability and nurturing surroundings," said Anthony Vidergauz, President. "California Closets believes our customers are seeking a deeper experience in the home, and are to be afforded the greatest dignity and honor when exploring and discovering what it is that will bring a sense of harmony and order to their lives."

Other items used or placed in a mud room can help create an intimate, cozy feeling while enhancing style, organization and comfort. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Tile flooring for easier care and greater durability.
  • Recreation-type lockers for storage of dry clothes after swimming or snow related activities.
  • A chair or stool for easier removal of rainwear or boots.
  • Tables with drawers or bookshelves.
  • Storage furniture like an ottoman, armoire or bedside chest to stash lifestyle-related items.
  • Wall hooks for coats, hats or sports gear.
  • Washers and dryers.
  • A stand-alone shower.

As the old saying goes, "You can never have too much storage space." With today's modern amenities and technological advances, homes can have mud rooms that offer Americans with active lifestyles space that brings more convenience, style and innovation to the home.

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