Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Laundry Room Redo: Inspirations

The Bionic Man and I are a realtor's worst nightmare. 

Realtor:  So, what we have here is a darling ranch.  Perfect starter home.  You can see the carpet was only recently installed.  The kitchen has all-new appliances, which will stay.

Me:  This kitchen is really cramped.  I'm not crazy about the layout.

Bionic Man: (Begins tapping the wall, listening for studs, and eyes the ceiling.)

Realtor:  I'm sure a smaller table and a fresh coat of paint would do wonders.  Now, if you'll follow me down the hallway to the bedrooms.....

Me:  You know, really all we would have to do to fix this kitchen is knock down a wall here and pull the sheetrock down from the ceiling--expose the beams, you know.

Bionic Man:  Yeah.  Yeah, that would work.  Only I think that moving the basement stairs would be the better way to go.  We'd need to move them over to the other side of the house.

Me:  And as long as we're moving the stairs, we might as well add on a second story.  What this house really needs is a second story.

Bionic Man:  Definitely, it does make sense to just go ahead and do that.  Adding bedrooms up there would really open up this level.  It's absolutely what this house needs.

Me:  (to Realtor) We love it!  We love this house!  We can totally do something with this.

Realtor:  Great!  I really thought this was the house for you.  Let's go back to my office and write out an offer.

Bionic Man:  Well, you know, I should get some quotes first from a contractor, first.  And have someone come take a look at this foundation to see if it will support a second story.

Me:  And we should probably go look at some ranches that have been bumped up, just so we can have an idea of where we want to go with this.  Do you have any listings of ranches with a second story addition you could show us?

Yep.   We're no fun for realtors.

The Bionic Man and I are really good at coming up with creative solutions for design dilemmas.  The Bionic Man has the mechanical skill to do much of the handywork himself.  And I'm always willing to cheer him on and hand him tools.  So....we usually like everything we see, since we're convinced we can change any "minor details" that get in the way of a house being our dream house.  Like the placement of the stairs....

 No.  We are not moving.

What we are doing is considering a renovation project we'd dreamed up even before we made an offer on our current home.

The only thing we don't love about our current floor plan is the laundry room.  The space itself is fine.  Big enough that our front-loading, large capacity washer and dryer can share the space with Hunter the Dog.  The problem is the location:  near the kitchen (okay), far from the bedrooms (very bad).  I want my laundry room to be as close a possible to where the clothes go on and come off.  Which makes a lot of sense, considering the length of time it takes me to fold the laundry and put it away.....might as well only have to step down the hall in your bathrobe to find something to wear, as opposed to dashing down the stairs, past multiple windows, and through the main living areas to find something to wear from the laundry room.  I think I've made a valid point, there.

We want to move out laundry room up to the second story, near the bedrooms.

We've been talking about doing this for a while--even before we finalized the purchase of our current home.   Originally, our plans were big.  Very, very big.  Bump out a gable and redo the roof, big.  That was when I was campaigning for a large, bright, spacious laundry room, with custom cabinetry, a window seat, and an island in the center for folding clothes and wrapping gifts.

Like these, from Country Living:
 Or these, from Better Homes and Gardens:

 Fortunately, before we undertook such a project, we had a realtor come and give us a market analysis on our home.  This gave us important information.  Namely, that we'll never recoup the cost of a major renovation.  Not in a million years.

So, our plans have toned down significantly.  We figured out a way to get the upstairs laundry area without changing the existing footprint and/or roofline of our house.  Currently, the plan is to convert one of the large walk in closets up there into a laundry room.  There will be no messing with the roofline, no window seats, no central islands.  Just a place near the bedrooms for washing and folding laundry.

I'd love it if you'd point me in the direction of any terrific ideas for making small, windowless laundry rooms efficient and lovely.  Here are some ideas I found already:
This laundry room was painted such a bright, fun color, and they really maximized their space with those upper cabinets and baskets. 
In this laundry room, they came up with a really terrific way to create storage and elevate the front-loading machines.  They made that custom riser, themselves.  Impressive!

So, what do you think?  Do the advantages of having an upstairs laundry area outweigh the disadvantages of that laundry area being in a smaller, windowless space?  If you were a prospective buyer, what would you think?  Would you think, "Wow, I have two options in this house for a laundry room.  Upstairs or down.  Cool beans!"  Or, would you think, "What the heck were these people thinking, using this closet as a laundry area?" 

Oh, and one more thing.  One of the advantages of moving my washer and dryer upstairs will be that I'll have a 8x10 room, right next to my garage, that will be vacant and available.....for my dream mudroom!  Factor that in, and take a look at these mudrooms:
These two from BH&G look like they actually get used:
And now a couple of mudrooms that Hunter the Dog could feel at home in:
From Chicago Home, note the doggy shower in the lower left.
 From Log Cabin Home--Hunter would need a bigger cabinet!


  1. Nice pics! If I look at my laundryroom it is a big difference!
    Greetings and have a nice day Madelon

  2. Hey, there....I understand entirely your worries about whether or not the next buyer will think you are out of your mind to have put the laundry upstairs ("...and in the closet! Don't they know all fashionable laundry rooms nowadays are right next to the kitchen! Humph!") But, I have to bolster your courage (should it actually be flagging) by saying that I just couldn't be happier since I made Braden move our laundry upstairs. How did I live without it up here? And I've had a million (slight exageration) people question my judgment. The laundry took over a very small little now we're only a 4 bedroom house instead of a 5...and everyone thinks that lowers the overall value...maybe true...but, that simply cannot compete with my happiness. The laundry room is a complete mess and piles of unfolded laundry and unmatched socks abound---and I can't get over how glad I am to have this mess so close...easily (and privately) accessible to naked family members. I applaud your idea and wish you luck.