Sunday, May 8, 2011

Laundry Rooms

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When we were working on the plans for the house, we had a hard time figuring out where the primary laundry room would be located, perhaps because the master is on the main.  We thought about locating the laundry room near the master, and incorporating a laundry chute from the second floor to the laundry room, but my designer strongly encouraged us to place the laundry room on the second floor.  She felt that a laundry room near the master infringed upon the living space on the main floor, and suggested that we locate the laundry room in a location that would be easy for the kids to access, and at the top of the stairs so it would be easy for me to access from the main floor.  She also suggested that we make the laundry room large enough to set up an ironing board. 

Given that the bedrooms are on one side of the house, and the kitchen and pool are on a different side of the house, we also decided to place a small washer and dryer in the mud room to handle pool towels, dog stuff, kitchen laundry, and muddy items the kids drag in.  This also enables us to do laundry on the main floor if we ever get to the point where we want to stay on one level. 

I have been saving pictures of laundry rooms for a while, mainly because I am aware that the organization of this space is so key, and yet I don’t feel as if I have any specific ideas on how to make it functional.  It is interesting to see how people organize and use their laundry rooms; clearly many of these rooms are multi-purpose. The storage needs are also highly individualized based on how people manage their laundry.

This laundry room, from an Atlanta real estate listing, seems to be somewhat of a craft area/office as well as laundry room.  A bit surprising given that the owners have two washers and dryers – laundry is clearly a serious business in this house!

Another real estate photo – I must have saved this because I like the storage solution above the washer and dryer.  I am not a fan of pedestals under a washer and dryer – I think it makes everything too tall, but I can see how it would be helpful to have a place to stash dirty clothes (and less bending over to do the laundry).  Quite a luxury to have marble countertops in a laundry room!

0321saucy dragonfly2
I like the neat efficiency of this laundry room.  The zone for hanging and drying is very efficient, and also cuts down on cabinetry costs.

This laundry room picture has made many rounds on the internet. The owners seem to use the laundry room for multiple purposes, given the table in the center, the linens on the shelves, the gardening can on the zinc counter (or maybe it was just staged that way). The room appears to have no windows, and yet it is light and bright given the fresh colors.

Same room, other side. It’s interesting that they have three machines – and marble counters.  I am leaning towards using caesarstone counters in my laundryrooms – I need something that will stand up to abuse and spills.

Like the  previous laundry room, this one has a folding table.  I suppose it is only possible to have a folding table when there is a lot of space in the laundry room. I tend to use the top of my washer and dryer to fold, or bring everything into my bedroom and tackle it all on the bed!  Where do you fold laundry? (This laundry room was designed by Steve Giannetti)

laundry room from staging blog
I think this is a well designed laundry space, and I love the look of subway tiles in a laundry room.  I don’t have a backsplash in my primary laundry room, but I am going to wait to see how the space looks when the cabinets are in, and I might end up doing one.

I saved this picture because I love the Niermann Weeks Mitzner lantern (what a luxury in a laundry room), but it is interesting to see some of the storage solutions that are used in the room. I wonder what the container to the left of the washer is for? It seems a bit small to be a laundry hamper.

Another laundry room picture that has made its way into many blog posts. This space appears to be a mud room/casual entry as well.  I appreciate how light and bright the space is, and the sheer amount of counter space created by having a counter over the washer and dryer.  I am a fan of top loading washers, but based on these pictures they seem to be much less common these days.

I was able to see this laundry room in person when the owner invited me to see her home.  I seem to recall that the laundry machines are on the right side, along with a wall of cabinetry.  I also seem to recall that the homeowner had a very practical approach to countertops in kids bathrooms and laundry rooms, which is an approach that I am taking as well.

Similar laundry racks can be found at Ballard Designs. Has anyone ever used these, and what do you think of them?  Ballard has a whole page on laundry room items – noting that the laundry room is often the hub of the house, and should be organized and decorated to make it work better. http://www.ballarddesigns.com/by-room/laundry-room/

There is something about this laundry room that really appeals to me. It looks real – like it was not staged (although the low height of the light fixture in front of the sink concerns me!)– and it makes good use of the space.

I saw this laundry room on a tour of homes last week. I really like the wrapping paper rods that the homeowners has above the washer – what a clever idea!

And finally, saving the best for last – this is simply the most stunning laundry room, with its fine custom cabinetry and beautiful architectural finishes.  If I didn’t see that little peek of a washer/dryer on the side, I would never know it was a laundry room!  Interior design by Tracery Interiors.

Do you have any thoughts on laundry design, or any ‘must have’ storage requirements for the space? Do you use the laundry room for multiple purposes?  In my current house, the laundry room is upstairs, and is very convenient to where the majority of the laundry is created.  I have a decent number of cabinets, but after seeing these pictures I realize that I am not very creative about using the space.  It makes me want to be more thoughtful about how I organize the laundry room in the new house – although that design is mostly determined (cabinets are being made, but I still need to pick a sink and counters).

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  1. Good post. I am also in the throes of planning the laundry room...its a nice sized room wtih a huge tall window so we get lots of light, important for me. We will have a wall of cabinets, both top and bottom that will hav elot so storage and of course the must have pull down ironing board. There will be be orgainzational basket type hampers behind the doors to keep clothes organized by colors. Ii think just having a good amount of workspace/counterspace is really important, plenty of cabinetry so it looks really neat, a place for hanging, a phone is a good idea so you don't have to run in and out when the phone rings. Of course a really big deep sink, a must. Thats about it for my "laundry list" no pun intended!! Have fun planning it...look forward to hearing what you do, and have a very Happy Mothers Day!

  2. I think it is important to think about how your family processes the laundry. Do you keep it in a hamper in your room? Do you bring the dirty stuff to the laundry room and let is stay there until it is washed? It sounds like your room will be on a different floor, so you should think about where you want to store laundry close to your room.

    In my dream laundry room, I would have a big sink, tilt out hamper space, some drawers and shelves, and a place to store the ironing board. I also think the laundry room is a good place to store cleaning supplies and vacuums.

    I don't tend to fold laundry in the laundry room! I tend to sort it and put it on each person's bed for them to put away.

  3. I really like your idea of a smaller W/D unit in the mud room. We have a large laundry room back by the bedrooms, and while I love the size, I often find myself wishing that the "outdoor" laundry (muddy clothes) and kitchen laundry were handled in a different space. Our laundry room has a lot of counter space, and I use that to fold clothes. I hang dry a lot of my kiddos clothes (7 yr old boy and 3 yr old twin girls), so we always have laundry out. We have a large fold down ironing board in this space, and I highly recommend it! I use it all the time. We also have a 42" round pedestal table and chairs in this space, and it's where my kiddos do art. We keep wrapping supplies, craft supplies, etc. here. I totally agree...organization is key!

  4. I love the airiness of the blue rooms, and the casual feeling of the one you described as being un-staged. Front loading washers do look great, and have been featured in decorating media for a number of years. I bought a set about three years ago, and have regretted it ever since. Front loading washers are notorious for getting mildewed inside where you can't see it or clean it, and will leave your towels and clothing smelling sour. I actually got Electrolux, after repeated calls and complaints, to refund the entire purchase price of the washer. I will soon be buying a top loader to replace it. Some of the newer washers are coming out with a fan to ventilate and dry the drum area to prevent this from happening, but I'm not ready to take another chance.

  5. I vote for the laundry with the most windows. We heft our master's laundry up and down the stairs. But the laundry is next to the kitchen so we don't hike to switch the clothes. Good that you'll have a laundry on both floors. When the kids flee the nest, you probably won't go upstairs much. We have an inexpensive rug in our laundry. It's a luxury.

  6. The laundry room starting with photo #4 has long been my favorite. The only negative is that it doesn't seem to have a window. In my last house, the laundry room was right after the kids mudroom entrance which worked fabulously - especially in summer. They could just peel off and nothing wet, sandy, dirty or muddy ever made it past that room. I am personally not a big fan of 2nd floor laundry rooms primarily because I forget about it - I like it in relative proximity to the kitchen and/or family room, where I spend most of my time. I have trained the kids to bring down their laundry and it all works very well.

  7. It is comforting to know that other people fold laundry on their beds too. My laundry room is tiny with enough room for the machines and two hampers. I have been eyeing those racks from Ballard too. I just wonder if they work for hanging hangers with dry clothes as you work as well as line dry items.
    Happy Mothers Day.

  8. After much debate with our architect over upstairs vs. downstairs LR, I followed her advice and put it in our mud room on the main level. With two active boys and a big dog, the really muddy clothes and rags go from body to washer and the dirt stops there.

  9. Hi, I've been lurking for a while and I love your site.

    About the laundry room: I have lots of space in my unfinished basement: so while it isn't magazine worthy, it is functional.

    1) I do have a folding table. I work from left to right, so I have small stands for the laundry baskets at either end of the table. Unfolded at left, folded at right.

    2) Underneath it I keep boxes lines with bags for anything to be donated. My donation station makes it very easy to doinate clothes (and other items get put there, too.)

    3) I have six hampers for sorting. Actually, they are two trolley, three "hanging" bags on each. Whites, darks, things requiring bleach, colours, towels and one for things like rugs and bulky things.

    4) If I could figure out a way to rig it, I would like to have four baskets in a drawer like arrangement--and put each person's clothes in that when I finish folding and sorting.

    5) I would strongly recommend a source of music or something if you are going to do your folding in the room: and lots of natural light and cross ventilaltion, if possible, somehow. You may want access to a clothesline, too, at some point.

    6) One thing not in any of the inspiration photos is a place for a sweater drying rack. I saw an ingenious set-up once where someone had built in stack of them: the drying racks were like screens on wood frames inserted like drawers on supports built into the cabinetry.

    There are a few thoughts for you. Having two laundry rooms seems like a fabulous solution for your needs.

  10. These are all great laundry rooms.

    My dream first floor laundry room would be a separate room off the mudroom and near the kitchen (I prefer not to have washing machines visible in a mudroom since the mudroom is a space you pass through so often). The room would have a big built in refrigerator to keep beer, bottled water, frozen foods etc. in, front loading washers, a small shower area to wash the dog and hang clothes to dry, a bunch of cabinets with a sink, and a long area of counter space to fold clothes on, and a small T.V. to keep your mind occupied while doing so.

    If the laundry were upstairs it would be the same but without the refrigerator!

    Best of luck in making your final selections. I know it will be stunning!

  11. Holly,

    I definitely think you should consider 2 laundry rooms. We have 3 kids - ages 10, 11, and 12. They have their own laundry room upstairs with a little "cubby" area that holds 4 baskets. One for darks, lights, towel and and extra for overflow - usually darks. They change their clothes too often : ) Believe it or not, they are now doing their own laundry, folding and putting away. They actually do a very good job - well with the exception of my 12 year old son - who can't seem to fold his pants very well!

    We have a large laundry room right next to our master bedroom on the main floor. I do our laundry there - plus kitchen laundry, pool towels etc.

    I am very happy with our set up - I love not having to lug laundry up and down the stairs - everything is contained to it's own area. My only regret is that I didn't install a sink in the upstairs laundry room. Not a big deal - but if I had to do it all over again - I would add that.

    Both laundry rooms have hardwood floor, white venetino marble counter tops and maytag front loading washer and dryer.

    I love having two sets - because if the kids clothes start to get behind (not often) I can bring some downstairs and get down twice as fast!

  12. I never had a true laundry room until we moved into our current house. It's on the 2nd floor where all of our rooms are except my husband's office. I never would've thought of having a laundry room on the 2nd floor but it's incredibly convenient! We have shelves above the washer & dryer & a hanging rack under the shelves for hangup clothes. It's right at the top of the stairs so when my husband brings his laundry up from his office (his closet is also down there), it's easy to deal with. I can spread the laundry piles out in the playroom & no one who comes over & stays downstairs has to see them. Never thought I would like a laundry room as much as I do this one!

  13. What a great post. Definitely some things to think about. Our new house will have the laundry room downstairs (master is downstairs, too). We hope to eventually gut the upstairs... and if so, I hope to sneak a W/D in a closet up there.

    My room will be long and narrow--- no windows. I plan to do the countertop over the the top of the frontloaders so that I can fold on top. I usually fold there or on my bed!

  14. To be honest, as someone who lives in NYC, I find over-the-top laundry rooms to be a bit absurd. I mean, yes, it's lovely if everything is pretty as well as useful, but to use luxury finishes, spending the amount on a laundry room many spend on a kitchen, strikes me as somewhat gross.

    Just my two cents.

  15. Wonderful post, Holly!
    I was just talking to Steve about the laundry room he designed (image 6).
    I love the idea of having a center island in our laundry room for folding as well as storage.
    I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!


  16. I love the duck egg blue laundry room with the striped runner. I especially like the countertops extending over the washer and dryer, but I have mine on pedestals. It looks awful, I know, but it's a back saver! Is the new trend multiple washers and dryers? It looks so bizarre to me, but then so did two dishwashers once upon a time....

  17. All these laundry rooms are fabulous. I love a fold down ironing board in a laundry and a little tv is ultra fabulous! I hate ironing, even for a minute. A little distraction while doing this dreaded task is always good. Hope you had a nice Mother's Day!

  18. Wow! That last laundry room is quite the inspiration! I have a symmetrical laundry room and love that part of it.. it seem "neater" when I walk in. I love the room with the ribbons hanging over the washer and dryer! I didn't realize until I saw this how convenient this would be. I love to wrap and have stashes of ribbons and spools of varied colors I stash in a drawer. I also have a "battery drawer", a "lightbulb cabinet" a "paper towel cabinet" and other annoying Martha Stewart type storage spaces...
    Can't wait to see yours!

  19. Lovely post, what a beautiful laundry rooms, Im so inspired to fix mine :)

  20. Wow! Enjoyed that post, Holly. I've never had a front-loader - not sure if I would like it. I prefer to fold on top of the dryer so that the folding cannot be procrastinated. However, we often fold on the sofa so that we can multi-task (watch tv at the same time!) When my daughter was about 6, someone asked her where she got her pretty dress. She replied "off the sofa." !!

  21. My laundry room set up is awful, but I am grateful I have one. One with multiple washers and dryers would be ever so fabulous.

  22. I love my laundry room. It's right off the kitchen, so I just continued my granite countertops into this room. I have a small refrigerator in there. It's great for parties and drinks. We also put the wine fridge under the counter. There is so much cabinet space that I put many of my small kitchen appliances in the cabinets. I wish it had a place for hooks to hang bags and coats. And I wish it had a place for clothes that hang dry. I'm about to remodel my master bath, so I will have to find a place for the ironing board and hanging laundry there.

  23. While laundry (or the largest amount at least) may be generated upstairs, do you really want to be walking up and down steps to check on the progress of the laundry. My laundry room is just off my kitchen and I can be cooking and doing laundry at the same time and all within a few steps. The room is self contained with a drip dry area, laundry chute, folding table with storage and wall mounted cabinets. It is larger than most bathrooms. If you are a stay at home mom who has a lot of laundry, I would recommend the first floor. The children can have the chore of returning clean clothes to their rooms. I have a beautiful B&F wallpaper in mine and it is a very cheerful place to work. If you have the luxury of two laundry areas, go for it. Also Holly, you have not mentioned it, but I was wondering if you have put an elevator in the house. We did when we built our and it really comes in handy when moving furniture, luggage when traveling, etc.

  24. So happy you posted these photos! Redoing our laundry room is one of the main reasons we will be undergoing a renovation in a few months. I need space and it would be a plus if it was a pleasure to be in there!!

    Great inspiration!

  25. I love the white one with the subway tiles and great cabinetry!
    Looking forward to what you decide!
    Hope your Mom's day was filled with love!

  26. I love all the pictures posted, only that none of these laundry rooms seem to have an iron or ironing board. Of course I'm European so perhaps you don't do a lot of ironing in the US?

  27. Wow great post, I re-did mine a year ago and I too had some of those rooms for inspiration, check out my finished laundry room that I love now http://neverenoughthyme-kathy.blogspot.com/2010/07/wash-dry-fold-dance.html

  28. Holly,
    I love all these images and many were new to me, but you're right the Tracery designed space is exceptional! It's more like a laundry/butler's pantry.

    I am obsessed with functional spaces and wish I could work on more laundry room spaces. In my own house it's also our mud room. It's small, but attractive and very functional. When we went to renovate the space, I spent a great deal of time thinking about storage solutions to keep the room feeling open and the clutter at bay.

    I do wish it was wider with space for a folding table...and a doggy shower! Then it would be perfect :)

    So smart to have 2 rooms to tackle laundry. The main floor vs. upstairs is something I think everyone stuggles with. There are benefits to each. Word of caution, I helped a friend draw up plans to relocate hers to the main upstairs hallway by the bedrooms and even though the floor/ceiling was insulated, she said it's quite loud in the family room below!

  29. If any of your girls are sports enthusiasts, you will be so happy to have a laundry room close to the pool and outside so that they do not have to 'tromp' through the house with dirty field clothes. I used to have my boys strip in the laundry room and wrap with a towel to get to their bathrooms to clean up!

    These are great laundry rooms that you have shown here!

  30. I agree with the lady from NYC. I'm sorry, but marble in a laundry room is just pointless, no matter how much money one may have. And the last "laundry" room is just ridiculous..fancy cabinets in a laundry room? Come on! I'm sorry, it just is over-the-top and I wish you had included some normal laundry rooms. I found this site looking for a solution on where to put my laundry supplies (useful stuff like detergent) in my small townhome. Needless to say, this did not help.

  31. We're just starting to install the new cabinetry for our laundry room but great to look at colors and how people use the rooms. I am thrilled to have a first floor laundry room, right near our master bedroom and the bedroom that will eventually be a nursery room. One thing to think about if you are planning to place a laundry room near bedrooms~pay the extra money for what is called sound-deadening insulation, it really makes a big difference.

    After having spent the better part of a year thinking, dreaming, and planning, I can also suggest thinking about at least 1 tall cabinet that can be used to place cleaning supplies that are bulky (mops, brooms, dustpans, squeegee, etc.) My laundry room is not huge, but is decent-sized and so will also serve as good storage space for the household overall--we plan to store extra towels, extra supplies from Costco (paper towels and toilet paper), batteries, cleaning supplies, our beach towels (the room is right across from the bathroom people use to change to go into the pool). So, just some things to think about.

    As for the person posting about whether a laundry room is an extravagance or not, for my family, it is all about function. We're putting in decent cabinets because we want them to last but they weren't as expensive as you might think and we may put granite in, haven't quite decided yet--but it is on my first floor, not hidden in a basement. Having said that, my laundry room will not be anywhere near as fancy as the last one!

  32. I vote for the laundry with the most windows. We heft our master's laundry up and down the stairs. But the laundry is next to the kitchen so we don't hike to switch the clothes. Good that you'll have a laundry on both floors. When the kids flee the nest, you probably won't go upstairs much. We have an inexpensive rug in our laundry. It's a luxury.



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