Lake Nokomis Mudroom Addition & Kitchen Remodel

A remodel is underway. Take a look inside.

See inside as we build a mudroom addition and remodel the kitchen of this 1920s Lake Nokomis home.

Interior Framing & Rough-Ins

Framing – Less is More

Sometimes, redesigning a home is more about removing existing walls than adding new ones, which was certainly the case for this Lake Nokomis property. To keep the home interior as open as possible, we only focused on framing a few key areas.

  • A large archway between the kitchen and dining
  • Two partial height walls, or knee walls, flanking the staircase
  • And some miscellaneous areas for proper cabinet install

For the enlarged opening between the dining room and kitchen, we started by framing 16″ o.c. just below the header to mark the bottom of where the opening would end. This set the height of the opening. Then we cut a piece of plywood to the exact shape of the curved top to cover the newly placed framing.

We demoed as much wall as possible between the kitchen and dining room, framing only enough for a new, large opening that will allow for greater maneuverability and better lighting in the home.

Knee Walls Solve Problems and Add Character

We framed partial height walls (sometimes called knee walls, half walls, or pony walls) on either side of the basement stair. These half walls keep the room from feeling compressed and allow light to flow seamlessly from the mudroom/sunroom addition to the kitchen and dining room beyond. When the cabinets are installed later, the cabinet maker will add vertical walnut boards above the mudroom half wall for added architectural intrigue. Though the partial wall construction helps to add light and architectural character to the room, they also provide a safe surface for cabinetry and plumbing installation and protect against falling down the stairs.

These partial height walls flanking the stair help to maintain the open concept floor plan while providing tons of functionality, like hiding plumbing and providing the surface area for cabinet installation later.

Creating a new kitchen layout involves many different types of trades and rough-ins from plumbing to mechanical and lighting. Notice new wiring for future lighting and rearranged plumbing lines that now clear the ceiling above.

Rough-ins: Plumbing, Mechanical and Electrical Changes Take Shape

With framing well and complete, we started rough-ins. The rough-in stage is the time in which our crew places new plumbing, mechanical and electrical lines that final elements like sinks, dishwashers, and light fixtures will eventually tie into. These are the real “guts” of the home and provide the major functional elements that homeowners and other residents rely on, like lighting control and cooling systems.

In the Mudroom and sunroom addition, providing electrical outlets and lighting for future cans and other fixtures was necessary. Having enough outlets and plenty of light maximizes the functionality of any room.

From Relocating Sinks to Venting

Plumbing Needs:

  • The design team created a pretty efficient layout, which only called for one major plumbing move, which was a new location for the kitchen sink. We relocated plumbing for the new sink to the inside of the partial height kitchen wall near the stair.
  • Soffits from the existing home housed important plumbing within the kitchen but created low ceiling heights and limited kitchen visibility. We moved waterlines and drains beside joist at the ceiling to keep an the room clear and open.

Venting from the kitchen is pulled through the attic and out of the roof of the new addition. Codes help direct the team on how to provide proper ventilation for kitchen appliances like the new range beyond.


  • We added an exhaust fan which required venting. Our team ran the exhaust along joists, then through the attic, to finally exit from the roof of the home.

Electrical Rough-Ins: 

  • With any home, lighting makes a huge difference on how open a space feels. Dark rooms tend to make spaces feel smaller, whereas bright rooms feel welcoming and open. Though we added tons of additional natural light with new mudroom windows, we still roughed-in for new light fixtures and recessed cans throughout the entire kitchen and mudroom.

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