When we bought Yellow House (that’s what we’ll call the new place from now on to identify it), it had a dark, closed- off kitchen and an even darker “mudroom” (I guess that’s what you’d call it- it was a tiny, dank room with no insulation that bridged the back deck and the kitchen area and smelled of dead animal) that were separated by a small, even darker hallway and a dated full bathroom. After much thought, we decided to nix the full bath for a half bath, thereby widening the “hall” between the kitchen and mudroom, opening it up to the kitchen, and removed the small door to the mudroom, creating a large, open doorway between the rooms. We took the mudroom down to its studs, insulated and re-sheetrocked the walls, tore out the drop ceiling (revealing a wonderful, vaulted space), added new windows and French doors, and tiled the floor with a cool, new style of tile that looks almost like it was made from a textured, striated type of slate. We also added radiant heat to the floor, which works wonderfully with the tile (very cozy in the winter), especially since the room is basically Bix’s play area and he spends most of the his time on the floor. The tile’s durability is also great and it works well for when our wet dog comes in out of the yard on rainy days. We put bead board on the newly vaulted ceiling and pickled it for a light and airy cottage- feel.

The room is now so bright, warm, and cozy but also completely open to the kitchen, making it perfect for Bix to play in and ideal for me to watch him while I’m cooking. However, as he grows, it will also make a great breakfast area or TV room (even though we’ve just cut off our cable, but that’s another story…).

This is the mudroom after we opened up the ceiling, but before we added the new windows and doors. The door on this picture used to open onto an even danker, stinkier shed that we decided to tear off in favor of a stand- alone shed.

I wanted something comfortable and accommodating for Bix and his toys, but didn't want to let kid stuff dominate the space or design. The chandelier is from Ballard Designs and it's probably my favorite in the house. The ottomans are great for extra seating or as a coffee table in a pinch, but they have soft corners, which is key when you have a toddler.

I love all the light the larger windows and doors allow.

The Alpaca wool fish pillow was a wedding gift from a dear friend (which she got at Next Summer, owned by other friends of ours- great store) and the Pendleton pillow was a house- warming gift from my mom. I loves me some Pendleton! The striped pillows are actually outdoor fabric, so toddler- proof as well as great for our ADK chairs in the warmer months.

Bix's corner. The little table top is a chalk- board, but he's not ready for chalk yet... he still tries to eat the crayons occasionally. The photographs are probably my favorite pieces of art we own. They are by my cousin Lucy Bixby and are off cousins jumping off the diving board and out the boathouse window at our family home on Lake George. Memories for me and aspirations for Bix!

After I took the previous pictures, we mounted these great floating bookshelves for Bix's books. They will be great for art books or magazines when he's done with them. (Plus. the books give the wall a bit more color, which it may have needed.)

(Other work by Lucy Bixby can be seen at Silverwood.)

- Chelsea