Our bootroom of dreams …
Our boot room is a topic of conversation most days over on my Instagram account. I often get messages landing in my inbox from those of you wondering how to design a bootroom or asking what colour I used on our cabinetry.
When we moved to the Barn a few years ago, a boot room was pretty high up on my list of priorities, nobody wants an overflowing hallway and I speak from experience. From the very beginning, I knew it had to be multipurpose, stylish and functional. A space to store muddy riding boots & garden wellies. … Somewhere to wash the dog, a place to harvest our honey from our bees and rinse off homegrown veggies!!
As our home included a sizeable garage, I immediately earmarked part of this space to renovate into a boot room and enthusiastically started to draw up plans. But, when we actually moved in, we quickly realised there were more pressing renovations to attend to. So, taking a sensible approach, reluctantly, the bootroom went on the back burner, for a few years at least.
As all of my clients know, when it comes to my renovation ethos, Mr H and I are strongly united on the principle that when we start any project, we finish it. I think this is something a lot of people struggle with, but it’s an imperative approach in my opinion if you want to see a space through to completion. I am a methodical planner (I always have been) and so, I knew, a bootroom would be worth waiting for and when completed it would definitely provide the wow factor.
When we eventually started to convert this space, it became very clear that this room would become the “workhorse” of our family home. It would be a space that connects the indoors to the outdoors; it’s an area that provides a place for the family to prepare for or decamp after the school day or a trip out. This meant cleverly designing the layout of the room to incorporate as much hidden storage as possible.
But, just because a room needs to be utilitarian, that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful as well, right? In fact, I saw this project as an opportunity to be both bold and brave with my design.
Embracing Darkness and Going Green
I make no secret of the fact I adore so many shades of green. As our boot room is a naturally dark space with only one window, I decided this makeover was the ideal opportunity to run with a deep dark green for the cabinets to give the room an earthier aesthetic that would complement the original stone feature wall perfectly.
We have been lucky to inherit some incredible original ceiling beams throughout this property. For the sake of continuity, I decided to install some faux ceiling beams in the bootroom with a whitewashed effect. I was really keen to give them a patina fitting of a 200-year-old barn.
The back wall of the bootroom required something a little different. I decided to clad the whole wall floor to ceiling with wide planks running horizontally – these were sanded to enhance the natural grain, painted with a dark stain and then covered with a whitewash before being sanded back once again. This created an aged appearance that complimented the other elements of the design and showcased the beautiful vintage linen cupboard where I store my soft furnishing fabric samples perfectly. And let’s be honest, those of you who have had an appointment with me will know, there’s a lot of samples to store!!
The back wall of the bootroom required something a little different. I decided to clad the whole wall floor to ceiling with wide planks running horizontally – these were sanded to enhance the natural grain, painted with a dark stain and then covered with a whitewash before being sanded back once again. This created an aged appearance that complimented the other elements of the design and showcased the beautiful vintage linen cupboard where I store my material samples perfectly. And let’s be honest, those of you who have had an appointment with me will know, there’s a lot of samples to store!!
When it comes storage, more is always more in my opinion and that’s no exception for a boot room. Closed storage, in particular, is ideal for coats that might only be used infrequently.
Tall cupboards with hanging space are perfect hiding away jackets, boots and shoes. Whilst hats, glove and scarves for each family member can be stored in pull out drawers at the bottom. No one wants to see piles of clutter when they walk in the door, particularly after a busy day, your home is a place for you to relax and unwind. So well-placed closed storage is essential to keep the overall look and feel of the space calm.
I’m a huge believer in in investing in good looking storage. Huge woven baskets can are great for keeping dirty or wet shoes in until they fully dry off and they don’t compromise on style either.
Fridge and Dishwasher
One of our biggest projects during lockdown was utilising the space next to the bootroom in a fun way that allowed us to bond as a family and spend time together. After much discussion we designed our very own cinema room.
Our kitchen is at the opposite end of the house so nipping out mid film and grabbing drinks or snacks was a bit of a mini mission. When we created the bootroom everyone (myself included) was dead set on having a built-in fridge and a mini dishwasher for all the used glasses!!
A Hardworking Sink and a Bit of Brass
A bootroom sink sees a lot of action so it’s important to choose a design that works for you and your lifestyle. I purposefully opted for an open design Belfast sink. It can be used to pre-rinse muddy clothes and even doubles up as a dog bath!!!
A little bit of well-chosen luxury to add a further sophisticated touch to the space. I see room design a lot like choosing an outfit for a special occasion. You don’t just select a great dress and then forget the accessories, do you? For me, to do a room justice, to make it sing from top to bottom… it’s all in the details…
Tongue and Groove Panelling
To create additional detailing, the wall behind the sink run was fitted with tongue and groove panelling and sprayed the same rich green colour as the kitchen cabinets and finished off with a handmade oak peg rail that has been accessorised with elegant pieces to complete the look.
I chose to have a beautiful handmade roman blind to bring pattern and interest to the space as well as providing practical protection from the sun. I chose a country inspired linen fabric with pheasants all over it to complement the rustic elements of the room and to stand out against the original stone wall details.
The final element to consider with any bootroom is flooring. A key consideration but often overlooked compared to other areas of the house (where it can be easy to follow aesthetics more than function), flooring in a boot room must be hard-wearing, waterproof and robust. A patterned rug can help to cosy up the space and soften the look but make sure it’s washable or at least stain resistant and robust in such a high traffic area!!
With utility spaces becoming more of an essential to prospective buyers, I believe a bootroom is highly likely to add value to your home, especially if you extend to fit one in. If you really splurge on the space, you might not see much return on your investment, but if you plan and budget smart, I am confident you will most definitely see a decent return on your investment. For those of you who have been pondering about how to design a bootroom, I hope this have given you a useful insight but do get in touch so we chat about how I can help you further.