My Best Friend’s Basement Makeover – Starting With The Budget-Friendly Mudroom Reveal


As much as it pains me (and it does) I can’t design all my friend’s or family’s homes when they are looking to hire help. Sure, I’ve done some sponsored makeovers where the partner pays my and my team’s time but otherwise my lack of availability/bandwidth holds up the project immensely. Beyond that, contrary to the ‘hustle culture’ popular belief, one only has so much creativity in their brain, so the more projects we take on, the less good they are (I learned this the hard way). So I made a rule years ago that when friends/family need help and they have a budget, they could hire someone from my team or someone I trust to be in charge and take the lead, thus getting someone’s full attention and creativity, avoiding any friend resentment and still getting me to oversee it. I jump on calls when I can, approve major pieces, negotiate partnerships where appropriate and publish the reveals, but the project moves forward successfully regardless of my bandwidth. So, when my friends Robyn and Ryan were ready to embark on their basement remodel, I shouted fast – ‘OH YOU SHOULD HIRE PRISCILLA!’. Priscilla Frost assisted on the OG Portland project four years ago and impressed the hell out of us – she has the trifecta: design chops, amicability, and work ethic. She has that ‘on-top-of-it-ness’ that makes a project go smoothly. She started this makeover without me and I was brought in as a friend to help guide some decisions, as well as see when and where it made sense to bring in one of my partners. My friends are so happy, Priscilla killed it, the basement is DONE (and they are on to the primary bedroom as we speak!).

THE BASEMENT GOAL:

The goal was to totally reconfigure their basement. We would carve out a bedroom for their tween son, design a proper mudroom off the garage, move and remodel the previously carpeted bathroom, and furnish and style it all to be much more inviting, pulled together and grownup (like them). It was full of potential, but still a daunting task which is why they put it off til they just couldn’t any more (a ‘pandemic push’ they needed to take). It took a full year between demo and shoot (livable a few months before we shot it) and the project suffered from the usual supply chain issues and labor shortages. But Priscilla and JP Macy (the contractor) did an EXCELLENT job of absolutely transforming the basement, and thus this home.

They had the space, just needed it to work better for their family. Priscilla and JP worked together on the plans to make sure that they were doing the most efficient and affordable reconfiguration, move as few walls as possible, but make it make sense for the long run. Robyn and Ryan are in that typical position where they love their neighbors, school and community that they don’t want to move just to upgrade and have more space, but they have worked hard and were ready to enjoy their home more.

I’m pretty sure the “MUDroom” was coined in the PNW and this room is IMPORTANT if you are lucky enough to have one. Their mudroom was off the garage, below ground, where the boys exit and enter a few times a day. Sure, it’s in the basement with no natural light, and not where guests come in and out but y’all they really wanted it to look more welcoming. They needed to add function (shoe and coat storage), and to have it feel more inviting 🙂

Now while some of the rooms I was more involved with the design (the family room and the tween boys bedroom) this room is almost 100% Priscilla’s work (I gave advice throughout and styled the photos).

Priscilla created a few different design plans for them to see product options and design ideas.

After a lot of options and ideas, they went with the mid-budget idea that Priscilla pushed, that included a readymade piece painted and hacked to look more built-in. It was a great solution that didn’t cost as much as custom cabinetry (which is wildly expensive) but more sophisticated than any ordinary stand alone cabinet. Just a note: Priscilla did charge her time for this but it was less than a typical designer as this was one of her first clients and she was working towards portfolio work – i.e. sometimes the hourly you pay into someone else to do your DIY will add up substantially so it’s good to be upfront to avoid something costing $4k that you might have been able to do yourself 🙂

Are you ready? HERE WE GO.

Rug (similar) | Baskets | Paint Color | Cabinet | Remove Shoes Sign | Umbrella Stand | Tray

It’s quite the transformation and has brought so much happiness every time anyone walks through that door. This is a proper mudroom. Priscilla created both open and closed storage, peg-rails for coats and bags, and really good durable products to make this space hyper practical and still so cute.

Please note the addition of the same vertical beadboard installed in the cabinet. It’s on on the same line as the peg rail on the perimeter of the mudroom and painted all to match so it looks built in and seamless.

Boot Tray (similar) | Mirror

The cabinet painted the same color as the walls, plus the custom peg rails and bead board throughout give it a super high end look. It looks SO GOOD.

I collected all the hanging baskets from vintage shops around town (a lot of them are for fishing) and seeing them here I HAD to leave them, but expect many more in our home. What we didn’t get to shoot (because it was literally pitch black) was behind those sliding cabinets Priscilla put in more shoe storage – a readymade rack for their backup shoes.

A few notes about the products Priscilla bought – that rug is printed and SO GOOD. It’s affordable, very durable and obviously forgiving when it comes to dirt. The boot tray was one that I had shopped for for a long time – we love how narrow it is which suits the space, but allows for a lot of shoes. Priscilla intentionally brought in these hits of black to keep the space feeling modern – the mirror and umbrella stand really edge up the space.

But what makes a truly practical, functional mudroom?? I am glad you asked..

It is mostly making sure all the things you like to come and go with have specific, easy to access places to store them. This is why we love hooks and peg rails, and why that readymade cabinet is such a good piece for this particular mudroom. And durability is always a plus in a hard-working mudroom 🙂

Last but certainly not least, we can’t wrap up without a super satisfying before and after:

Priscilla Frost, you are wonderful 🙂 and JP Macy of Sierra Custom Construction I enjoy the heck out of your work 🙂 Stay tuned for more reveals from this project, coming to you in the next few weeks.

*Design by Pricilla Frost
**Styled by Emily Henderson
***Photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

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