Two projects illustrate ways to impart personality and pizzazz to your home’s most practical space

When designer Tracey Morris of Gillis Interiors and her family bought their house in Potomac, it had been a rental property for 12 years. “Absolutely nothing had been done to it,” Morris recalls, “but I was excited because I wanted to implement my own ideas.” Among the changes she envisioned: replacing the laundry room—then the first room guests saw when entering the frequently used side entry—with a mudroom.

Morris removed the washer and dryer and circa-1980s cabinetry from one wall, installing a built-in bench enhanced by millwork in their place. She opted for hooks over cubbies. “Seeing other mudrooms, I realized that open-plan organization would work better for us, since the kids’ stuff often doesn’t make it into the cubbies anyway,” she explains. Lower shelves house the family’s shoes.

After living with white walls

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