I almost don't want to admit that our first big project in the new house is going to be a laundry room renovation. Why? Because I'm complaining about something that has been a huge step up from a basement laundry.
But I'm a firm believer in making your space work for you and that if something isn't working, you need to make a plan to fix it.
It doesn't look that bad at first glance, so let me explain what's wrong, what's right, and what we plan to do about it!
Here's the situation:
Our laundry room is tiny and inefficient. It is right off of the garage, acts as a mudroom, and then you walk into the kitchen and to the rest of the house.
Things are getting dumped, there's not a place for things, space is being wasted with storage we aren't using, and it's causing pile-ups. Pile-ups of coats, shoes, laundry, and laundry piles in our bedroom. AH!
We had a few other projects we thought would be first, but after living here for 3 months, this laundry room is NOT WORKING. And it would make our lives a whole lot easier if this moved to the front burner, so that's what we're doing.
This tight squeeze:
If it were just me doing the laundry, this could be okay. You see, I have a system: take a load out of the dryer, slide the basket towards the washer, close the dryer door, and slide the basket out of the way. Open the dryer door again, open the washer, squat down, transfer the load, close the dryer, move out of the way so I can close the washer, and start the dryer. You see? It's so perfectly choreographed I could get all 10's on dancing with the stars.
But add in kids that want to help and a mom that wants to encourage that? And it's not working. Everyone is in each other's way and there are fights over who gets to help, which I don't want.
A cluttered countertop and useless cabinets:
No matter how many times I clean off this counter, it ends up filled with stuff. That's the nature of counter tops, but what good is it for folding if it's never empty to do just that, fold?
The cabinets are so close to the washer and dryer that I really can't fit much in there. I like me some hidden storage but dislike wasted space.
I'm embarrassed to post these. But I guess it's not a good before shot if you don't see exactly WHY it's not working, right?
We have 4 kids under 6 years old and up high hangers just don't work, we need hooks. The wine crate shoe storage is nice because everyone has a spot for their stuff!
But yeah, there isn't enough room in this small mudroom closet for the stuff of 6 people. I'd like a spot for hats, gloves, sunglasses so that when they ARE thrown on the floor and I ask the kids to put them away, they have a spot. Other than the floor.
Look at the top, more wasted space!
What is working?
These shelves! I like having a space for pretty containers of laundry detergent and cleaners on the left, a spot for garbage, washcloths, and bibs on the right. You can pop in here from the kitchen and know where to find those things.
Our lovely washer and dryer are pretty fab too. We had set aside the funds for a washer and dryer, then bought them within the first month of moving in. (They're LG, like we had in the old house.)
I also really like having a laundry sink. We had one in our old house and it drained to the basement floor, so it was only a house for spiders. I would probably cry if we suddenly didn't have a sink in here. I'm not exaggerating.
Despite everything I said up there about this laundry room not working in its current state, I am beyond thankful to have a first floor laundry.
It can function as a mudroom too, which is even better. It has a door so people can't look in and I can ignore the laundry (momentarily). Kids can help and I don't have to worry about them falling down scary basement stairs. And it is SO DARN FAST to throw a load in or switch loads. I can ACTUALLY HEAR THE DINGING and say "oh hey, let's switch a load" and just like that it's done.
First floor laundry, man. So flipping cool.
So Here's The Plan:
Let's call this phase one, all the demo and dirty work.
- Take out the cabinets and sink. Save them for possible reuse.
- Take off the trim and save it.
- Rip up the floors.
- Rip out the drywall near the closet.
- Take out the closet and make it part of the room.
- Hope and pray that there are no load bearing walls.
- Take this nook from the living room (currently empty and used for playing), remove picture rail and save, move wall to be flush with existing wall, thus eliminating the nook in this room.
- Let's repeat that but instead with a picture of the laundry room. Add the previous living room nook space to the laundry room, picture the front wall pushed back to be flush with the back wall of the closet.
The pretty stuff. The expensive stuff. The fun stuff.
- Paint it all. The walls, the door, whatever.
- Put down new flooring, something simple and possibly scored on sale or at a ReStore.
- Add cabinets over the washer and dryer.
- Add a top to the washer and dryer, possibly butcher block.
- Get a utility sink that is not very deep (18" from wall to front of sink is our max) and maybe put it in a counter top under the window or wall mount it on the wall where the window is. Under the window? In the corner? Not sure yet.
- Don't do much on the walls where the cabinets currently are. Maybe a foldable drying rack, an up high bar for hanging clothes, but keep it simple.
- Create a mudroom/cubby type area where the closet was. All the way across. Shelves and/or cabinets at the top, a loooong row of hooks, and a bench that doubles as shelves for shoes. Two levels of shelves under that bench please.
Here are some inspiration pictures:
If you'd like to see all of them, here's a link to my Houzz ideabook. Kinda like a pin board but all housey.
Where we are now:
I started writing this post five days ago and never finished, because kids. Here's a peek at where we are now:
I'm so excited! I'm so scared!
There is dust everywhere and laundry has been tricky.
But at the same time, YAY! This is actually happening?!
Wow, you did such a wonderful work! The laundry room seems great! This year I am also planning on working on my laundry room. I really need it! Thanks for sharing!
Love that you just dive right in! Looking good already. Keep us posted on the progress 🙂
What grey and tan colors did you use on the living room walls? They look great together and wondering if something like that could work on a stairway with chair rail dividing the colors! Thanks!
Really nice ideas! Good luck with the renovation! Can't wait to see the results! Thanks for the inspiration! Greetings, Storage Norwoodgreen Ltd.
Good luck on your laundry room transformation! You have some great inspiration in the pictures you posted. I am sure it will turn out great!
I love the plan and I love that you are already hard at work on it! You are a DOER! and that is terrific. I love all the mudroom dreams, especially the second photo. Can't wait to see the completed room!
I love your plans for your laundry room/mudroom! The new mudroom nook will be wonderful for storing your shoes and coats. Good luck!
I have the same sink that is in your before pictures. I also had one in my childhood home. I just can't function without a utility sink! It ain't pretty, but pretty ones just don't work the way I use them. I soak clothes in there, clean paint brushes and dirty shoes, and it's a place to dump nasty stuff until you can get to it (ie. bedding that has been vomitted on by a little one who needs your attention before the bedding does). It's going to be fun to watch your progress.
I enjoy your blog! I think this is my first comment. 🙂 I have 5 kids under 10 and a tiny, dinky coat closet. We bought these hooks and ran them along the wall at their level. I have been very pleased with them.
So exciting! That looks suspiciously like a load bearing wall though.
I had that exact laundry sink in my old house, wasn't the most attractive thing, but boy was it wonderful! In my new house I have an up-to-date stainless steel sink in a beautiful cabinet/countertop combo. I wish I had the old one back. If you truly use a laundry sink for rinsing and soaking clothes, the shallow 'kitchen' sinks don't come close! Just my 2 cents.
So ... is that a load bearing wall? Looking at the door header it seems to be. Or, was it just an over-zealous builder like I have a lot on my crew that use headers like that over most doors?
That's just a header, not a load-bearing wall.