Retrospective #12: Mud Room Cont…

This is part two of the new mini-series gripping Wanganui audiences: The Eco-Thrifty Mud Room. If you missed last week’s episode, I wrote about covering the gaps between our floorboards, Bruce Springsteen, and a hybrid Kiwi/Yankee version of a storm door. While that column fell short of a Pulitzer, hopefully it inspired some readers to think outside the square when it comes to low-budget/high performance approaches to warm, dry, healthy homes.
This week’s column remains inside the square, or rather inside the pelmet. You may recall that I like pelmets almost as much as I like Neil Diamond. You may also recall that pelmets are important for preventing warm air that has collected on the ceiling from being “pulled” down against cold windows and creating a convection current that will cool and entire room – even a small mud room.
I have noticed in some homes around Wanganui a pelmet over the front door with a curtain that can be drawn when appropriate to add an extra layer of insulation. I decided to do this in our mudroom even though we already had two doors providing a level of protection against the cold by creating an air gap between them.

As with the pelmets elsewhere in our home, I made this one out of weatherboards removed while re-cladding the exterior. I inverted the weatherboards so that the scallop faces down. This makes an attractive detail on all of our pelmets.
As you can see from the photo, this very special weatherboard has been signed by a local artist!

While the paint was drying on our new pelmet, I used some off-cuts of framing timber to make a framework to hold it. While all of our other pelmets are just 150 wide mm, I made this one about 400 mm wide so that it would reach from the ceiling to just above the door, just covering the second-hand curtain rail and the top of the second-hand curtain.

I hung the curtain rod so that the curtain would not quite touch the floor of the mud room that could, on occasion, be muddy. To make up the space between the bottom of the curtain and the floor, I wrapped a “two-by-two” (45 mm x 45 mm) in an old towel to make a “draft blocker” – described in a column a few weeks ago. If the towel gets wet or dirty it can be thrown in the laundry easier than the curtain could. The draft blocker also holds the bottom of the curtain against the door for a nice, snug fit.
To summarize, the story of the mud room is one of romance, intrigue, solar gain, insulation, draft-proofing and creative reuse. The reuse of doors, hardboard, weatherboards, curtain rails, curtains and off-cuts of framing timber in this small Eco-Thrifty case study are just a few of the many examples of creative reuse and repurposing that we embraced during our project. In future columns I’ll document more of the ways we have turned trash into treasures in our little house that could.

Peace, Estwing

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