Sunday, May 18, 2014

Making our laundry room practical

 Talking about laundry rooms today.  Mine, specifically.

Can I just say two things about laundry rooms before I go on?  1) Laundry rooms are very difficult to photograph.  There is pretty much no natural lighting and they are cramped and tight.  2) Laundry storage (unless it's in a magazine shoot) is rarely drop dead gorgeous.  If it's real life and practical, well... it looks it.  So I give you my "as pretty as I could make it, very real life and practical laundry room."  (grin) 

This laundry room happens to be the go-between from our garage (which we actually use for parking both of our cars) and the kitchen/hallway area.  You are pretty much in the heart of our home when you walk through this room and into the house, with our kitchen island directly in front of you.  To your left is our hallway to the front door, and we've got some terrific Ikea shoe storage located there. Which we use.  But it's not enough.

There has also always been the matter of storage in this room.  Or rather, lack of storage.  One flimsy wire shelf hasn't cut it but we've made it work, stashing other items under cupboards and cramming them onto random shelves in random places. (Such as first aid items and cleaning supplies.)   I knew we needed to stack our washer and dryer right after we got them, several years ago.  However, life happened and that project went on a back burner.  We finally decided to get things figured out in this room last month, and purchased a stacking kit from the store we bought these from.  It was around $20.  (They were also available to install it for us and we were thrilled to get that part done by someone other than ourselves, but it didn't seem particularly difficult.)  (Also, that family hub just hasn't been used to it's fullest by anyone but me after the first few months of school began, so I have moved it and am working on a better solution currently.)

I began by identifying how this room functioned for my family specifically, along with what it lacked or needed.
1) We never fold laundry in here.
2) We come inside from the garage daily, bringing coats, shoes, and seasonal items.
3) Shoes are our biggest problem and my kids don't work well with drawers or anything that requires anything more than flipping the shoe off and onto a surface.  It's true.
4) More storage was needed.  (I listed the following in need of a "home;" a small stack of campfire blankets, cleaning supplies, laundry items, seasonal clothing and accessories and first aid items.)
5) I preferred the open shelving concept rather than something with cupboards because this room is more of a practical space, than a pretty space and I wanted things I could grab quickly. I looked at both options.
6) Better coat storage that was more out of the way, now that the washer and dryer were stacked on the wall we used to hang coats against.
7) Better hiding spot for brooms and mops.
8) Hanger for my iron so it would quit falling over and leaking water on things.
9) Some kind of memo board for jotting quick notes, maybe even magnetic or chalkboard-ish when we walk in.
10) A laundry hamper for cleaning rags, wet dishcloths, random socks.  (You get this, I know you do.)

After the appliances were stacked, we hunted and hunted for the right cubby or cupboard solution.  We ended up checking into a new and used office supply shop and nabbed this rustic woody cubby set for a steal.  I may have danced in the aisle.  It even came with label holders, which I took home and stamped out.  (Adrain gives me under six months til I paint this shelf white... but for now I like the rustic wood look. And of course I'll eventually paint it.  Who am I kidding?)

I found two small baskets at TJ Maxx with burlap liners and even though I'm not a huge fan of burlap, I liked the look and size of these, and thought they went with the shelf nicely.

I stole Joe's old sports basket (From Land of Nod, years ago) and hot glued some burlap into the shape of a basket liner.  Then I stenciled "Laundry" on it.  It was the perfect size- tall and slim and easy to move.

The best part, everyone got their own cubby for shoes and we should have plenty of space now along with the hallway storage we have been previously using!

I love having space for extra cleaning supplies and a bin for the ones currently being used, along with a cubby for our campfire blankets.  They come in handy on chilly nights with friends over, toasting marshmallows.
I put our clothespins and laundry pods into jars (Sometimes I still make my own laundry soap) because it was cuter and why not?

When you enter from the garage, there is a hanging coat rack over that door now.  It's a perfect spot and out of the way now. 
 I painted an old WWII radio parts box that I wasn't using, white, with red cross details, and tucked all of our first aid and medicines into it. It's so much handier in here.  I'm always bandaging a scraped knee on the sidewalk or front lawn anyway, so I don't have as far to go for the Neosporin anymore.
 In the winter we'll hold mittens and hats in this bin.  For now it's beach towels, sunscreen and swimming goggles.
We use this laundry bin daily.  I love having it in here. I think I still need a tiny garbage can for dryer lint but so far I just make people turn right around and place it into the kitchen (under sink) garbage can.

Also, I relocated our old hanging broom/mop organizer behind the door that opens into the kitchen.  It's a perfect spot really, and totally hidden from view. 
This was a project fail.  Eh, we all have them.  I decided to give my beloved chalkboard a couple coats of magnetic paint with hopes that I could top it with chalk paint and we'd have ourselves a magnetic chalkboard.  Yes, well... I followed the instructions to the letter but it just didn't work out and magnets kind of slid slowly to the bottom, rather than staying put and being magnetically useful.  In the end, I sanded it back down and re-coated it with chalk paint again and now we've got a four-part chalkboard that probably nobody will use.  Regardless it's there if we need to jot a note to someone.  Ya can't win em all. 

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  1. This is what we are in the midst of doing in our home. We have a tiny tiny room off our kitchen and we needed more storage space. I've been thinking of tackling the project if stacking and adding shelves for a while. I love the way yours turned out! I'm hoping mine will be complete by the end of the week! Oh and with the magnetic paint, we tried it under our chalkboard paint but had to put a million coats. I think there must have been at least half a dozen magnetic coats before the chalkboard paint went and it still doesn't have the strongest hold. :(

  2. I love those cubbies so much! They look like they were always meant to be there! High five for making it lovely and functional :)

  3. Sasha - perfection and so true about marshmalloes

  4. Sasha - perfection and so true about marshmalloes

  5. Our laundry room is almost identical. We have top load machines. I have been wanting to get stackable front loaders but am so afraid they will leak! Have you had that issue? The shelves are perfect! Fabulous redo Sasha! Susan

  6. I never realized that your laundry room was indeed a room! It always looked like it was more of a laundry space in the hallway! Now I'm totally confused as to how that back part of your house works!!! lol I may have to go hunt down some other pictures of it so that I can figure it out!

    Your laundry Room is adorable!!! Those cubbies were a great find and I love the warmth of the wood, but I think white will look exquisite!!! I'm thinking less than six months and it'll be done!! lol The chalkboard is adorable, everything is really!

    Great job!!!

  7. It looks terrific, Sasha!. The first aid kit caught my eye right off the bat and when you detailed what it was, I had an "AHA" moment! I received three old metal ammo boxes...two of which I painted white for my laundry soap, but the third did not have a purpose...until now. Can't wait to paint it and give it a use. I also had a FAIL with magnetic paint. I was so excited when I began, but it just didn't work well. Good to know I'm not alone. Enjoy your week.

  8. Love this idea! I currently don't own a washer/dryer that could be stacked like this, but I also have the tiny laundry room coming in from the garage and boy I think this would be great!

  9. Oh, my stinking lands! Is it wrong that I'm now sitting at my house, COVETING your laundry room?! Because this could very possibly be the VERY. BEST. LAUNDRY ROOM. MAKEOVER. of dadgum EVER!!! Well played. Well played. I just kind of want to stand up and clap wildly for you!

  10. Don't paint it; don't paint it! It is perfect - the wood adds so much warmth. Love the whole space - so pretty.

  11. This is PERFECT!!! SO SO love everything about this. The colors are soothing. Love it! Great redo!!!! :)

  12. I love it all ever since I saw you posting on IG about this I've been waiting for this post!

  13. awww, you changed your logo! love! so you!
    the laundry room is fabulous!

  14. Your laundry looks fabulous. Love the wooden cubby set; it adds so much character. You must be very happy.

  15. I love it! this looks amazing! so, do you like them stacked? We want to do just this to our laundry, but I am afraid of stacking them! haha!

  16. Oh my gosh!!! Thank you for basically planning our laundry room! We have a very similar, tight & cramped, space between our garage and kitchen. I've been pondering how to fix it up this summer and you nailed it!! Where did the shelf come from? I'm local enough to B'ham that I could drive up if needed.

    1. Just showed it to my husband and he was totally on board too!

  17. Hi Sasha,
    I've lurked for a loooong time, but never really commented before (blush). I love what you did with your laundry! It looks 100% better and so much more practical now. Isn't it funny how sometimes just the smallest change and the impetus to actually get on and do it, can make such a big difference to our daily lives.
    Anyway, I wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog; ogling over your gorgeous photography; and admiring your simple organic home styling. Even though I live in a sub-tropical city in Australia, you have given me countless inspirational ideas for my own home and life. Thank you.

  18. I love it! My dream is that one day I will have a cute, clean (aka not a closet or garage) to do laundry in! Enjoy that space that's yours. You always do such a great job at fixing them up!