Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Laundry room makeover (or: how I got Max to do the wash)

The laundry area of the house has long been one seriously unsightly area. It's the first thing you see when you come down the basement stairs, before you either head left to go to the playroom or right to go to the unfinished storage/furnace area. Not only was it cluttered, but our old laundry machines were low to the floor and not particularly accessible to Max, who needs more chores in his life. 


So when we redid the basement, we also made the laundry area more user-friendly and Max-friendly. The flowery rug is the Aster Area Rug from Home Decorators, an indoor-outdoor material that's really durable.

I'd read up on washer/dryers, and this pair got good reviews. One nice no-brainer feature on the washer: You fill up the reservoir with detergent, and it shoots out the right amount for the next 10 to 12 loads. It also matches the cycle to the right temp for your clothes, to help prevent fade, and runs really quietly. It has Delay Start, for up till 8 hours later, and an adjustable soil level. And there's a nice melodic sound at the end, not some annoying buzzer that makes you think armageddon is near.

The Duet Steam Gas Dryer is similarly state-of-the-art. It monitors moisture and helps end the cycle when everything's dry, saving energy and time and shrinkage that makes your 8-year-old whine "Mommmmmy, you ruuuuuuuined my shirrrrrrrrrrt!!!" It can hold really large loads, even bed comforters. If you want to de-wrinkle something, toss it in, hit "Steam Refresh" and it's ready in 15 minutes—a lovely feature for lazy ironers. Not that I know anyone like that.

One sleek clean machine

The pedestal has storage

The best "after" of all: Max now thinks it's fun to wash and dry clothes. Folding, not so much.

I grew up in an apartment, and when we bought our house eleven years ago I remember thinking we'd never run out of storage space. Right. It's insane how much crap piles up when you have kids and hoarder tendencies. The previous homeowners had open shelves in the area, which we never bothered to change; they became a catch-all storage space for whatever. As you may well know, you get used to the clutter. Occasionally, it does occur to you that things are a mess, but then you're all OMG I HAVE NO TIME TO DEAL. We dealt! 

Sink area before

Sink area after. All the cabinetry is the IKEA Akurum line; this is the Akurum base cabinet in Harlig White with STAT doors. Our contractor carved out the back to accommodate the sink pipes.

This is the Moen Anabelle faucet from Lowe's, chosen especially because the handle is easy for Max to manipulate.  

Scary storage area #1 before

Nice storage area #1 after

Scary storage area #2 before

Nice storage area #2 after

It's stayed neat like this! Um, more or less. But at least we can now hide the mess behind closed doors and pretend that things are neat, until you open a cabinet and a gigantic jar of pasta sauce falls out and lands on your bare foot. Not that I know anyone like that.

I found these old tins when I was cleaning out my Dad's apartment after he passed away. They're on the top of the cabinet, and always make me think of him.

Yet more storage, in the furnace area; we got several Lowe's Black & Decker Garage Cabinets. Not just for garages! Would you believe they're already filled up? You would? 

Basement steps, Mohawk carpeting from Lowe's. Max chose the color because he said it looked like chocolate ice-cream. Me, I liked the name: Optimistic View.

Thanks to Whirlpool, IKEA and Lowe's for their contributions to the renovation. 


  1. LOVE the makeover! And if it gets Max to help...BONUS!

  2. I'm totally bringing our laundry next time we come over!!! I hope Max can handle it : ).

  3. Looks amazing. Inspires me want to do something with our basement which is much closer to your "before" than it is to your "after."

  4. Awesome job on the basement reno. You are inspiring me to do the same!

  5. Love it and totally jealous.

  6. Wow, that looks fantastic. Now I really want to renovate my basement!

  7. We're doing something similar to our kitchen. Our number one change--rounded edges on counters, since even the more or less NT in our house are pretty clumsy, let alone our little guy with a neuromotor disorder.

  8. I am envious of that sink. I long for a sink in our wash area.


Thanks for sharing!

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