August 18, 2013

LAUNDRY ROOMS

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A NECESSARY LUXURY IN EVERY HOUSE
It wasn't so long ago that designated 'laundry rooms' didn't exist in middle class homes. Laundry was done in dank, musty old basements, or out in the garage with the lawn-mower and bicycles as washing machines were considered leaky and wet...

Your clothes deserve better!

The accumulation of personal clothing has grown four-hundred percent in only twenty years; we need to take better care of our clothes as they have become a major investment.
(When insuring your home, don't underestimate the value of replacing all your clothes in the unfortunate event of a fire or other catastrophe)

Laundry Machines
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The last decade has seen amazing new technologies in the laundry market. Washers that use steam, and 80% less water; settings to accommodate the finest hand washables, down pillows or heavy towels. Some machines have "remote diagnostics" to communicate with the repair shop over your homes modem!  Dryers can now press, fold and put away your clothes for you too! (just kiddin')

There are important points that you must consider before renovating or building your new laundry room:
  • How many are in your home?
  • Who does your laundry: kids, nanny, housekeeper? 
  • What other specialty room would you like?
    •  Crafts; gift wrapping; home office; flower arranging; pet grooming, etc.
  • Whats your overall laundry room budget?
  • How much do you currently spend at the cleaners for items you could do at home with the proper equipment?
  • Would doing laundry be less burdensome if the laundry room were more pleasant?
  • How many levels is your house?
  • Are you a Costco/wholesale store buyer?
  • Do you have pets?

LET'S DO THIS....

SWANKY, SUPER DELUXE 
LAUNDRY ROOMS FOR THE 2%!

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Lavenderia Extraordinaire
Look at all that storage! The beautiful light colored cabinets with the green appliances and green marble tops makes a tasteful and pleasant place to handle all the household laundry needs.


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This basement laundry room has tons of storage, perfect for the Costco shopper!  It's also a place for arts and crafts, a staff lunchroom or a place to keep the puppy's kennel.


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This well-appointed room has quartz counters and faux-marble porcelain floors which are better in a laundry room than natural stone as it's resistant to all the strong chemicals and cleaning fluids.


MULTI-PURPOSE LAUNDRY ROOMS

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"Gift Wrapping Room!" Yes, it's actually a part of the new home vernacular these days, with kids parties and social things requiring "hostess gifts" every week it's actually a good idea. You can keep it all handy in the laundry room, and you already have flat surfaces to wrap on! 


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Got dogs? Bathe them at home when necessary, it's super practical as the laundry room is usually more waterproof than other interior rooms.


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The laundry and 'arts & crafts' room combo!
Don't we all wish we had a room where we could keep our sewing machine, copier, miscellaneous crafts stuff out and handy?


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Are you a gardener? There's always a mess after the fresh flowers are brought in and arranged; why not sequester that mess to the laundry room with the muddy gardening clothes?


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If you have enough space - a home office in the laundry room is awesome!  You can keep your eye on the laundry's progress, work at your desk and and pull something from the freezer all from your rolling task chair....how sweet is that?


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Gotta bunch of kids all doing different sports and extracurricular activities? Give them have a room where they can keep their stuff and you're not on their ass all the time to keep it tidy. They can come in from lacrosse or riding, hang their equipment up and throw their dirty clothes right into the washer! 

FOLDING & HANGING 

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The primary purpose of a laundry room is to wash and maintain clothes. At a minimum you'll need a spaces for the following tasks:
  • Flat surface about 36" high for folding clothes from the dryer
  • Rod for hanging shirts after they're ironed or taken from the dryer
  • Flat surface for drying delicate's or sweaters
  • Spaces for storing detergents, supplies, dryer sheets, etc.
  • Cubby or closet to keep the ironing board and iron
  • Space for laundry bins; built-in or floor space


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This charming traditional laundry room has lots of light which is great if you're in there a lot. Its has four bins under the folding table for different types of laundry (dry cleaning, whites, dark's, delicate's). It also has tall closets to store the vacuum and brooms


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If you have more than five people living in your home, or you entertain a lot (overnight guests generate a lot of sheets and towels!) then you should have two pairs of laundry machines!
This large folding table is perfect for folding lots of clothes, or a staging place for caterers when entertaining, or a place for Johnny to build that kooky school project with the volcano spewing shaving cream everywhere....


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If you have a small laundry room or laundry closet get a 'flip-up' hanger that's out of the way when not in use.


STORAGE

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If you have a pool or live near the water you're always going through towels. This convenient built-in allows you to just simply roll them and let the kids grab 'em and go! Why waste time folding and keeping in tidy stacks?
Cabinets above the machines are perfect and easy to reach for the laundry supplies, and away from toddlers!


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This island is brilliant!  
It shields the four laundry baskets from view whilst being a clothes-folding table. I also love the use of the inexpensive laundry baskets, now each kid can keep a laundry basket in his or her room, when it's full they bring it down and switch it out for an empty one!


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These frosted glass door panels are fun as they give the room an extra detail. Also, stainless steel is the best counter-top material for a laundry room as its 100% impervious to chemicals and the heat from an iron inadvertently left on.


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Ikea storage bins come in several colors and bin materials
This inexpensive solution makes a tidy room and keeps the small room organized.


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Most laundry machines come with a pedestal option.
This one is custom to match the cabinetry. 
There are several considerations with pedestals: 
  • If you have a small laundry room and no other place to fold don't use a pedestal - they make the tops of the machines too high to fold on.
  • If you have a large enough laundry room, and you can fold elsewhere, the pedestals are great because as make the tub openings high enough so that you don't have to lean over to get the clothes out.
  • Pedestals also offer some storage

SMALL LAUNDRY ROOMS

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Small laundries have the ability to be maximized if your not stuck on something being in a certain place. By stacking the washer and dryer this laundry room utilizes 33% more usable area.


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Using machines side-by-side allows a larger folding area with cabinets above for supplies


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Keeping with the flavour of the old house, a pocket door was used to close off the laundry which is smart as it doesn't get in the way when you're carrying loads of laundry in your arms. Inside they've used old-fashioned built-ins with cubby's and closed cabinets for the laundry supplies.


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For a small, traditional home this exposed 8' wide wall works well.
The machines separated by the farm sink is a good look with the marble tops and cupboards above.
The downside of the machines separated is you have to physically move more to get the washing out and over into the dryer.


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Cheap and chic!
A weekend home re-purposes two old cabinets and paints the floor to match one of them and voila(!) its great! 


LAUNDRY CLOSETS

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Apartments or small homes have to be judicious about space. Just how much do you want to dedicate to laundry? There's amazing new space-saving machines that are efficient, quiet and do a great job!  They can be cleverly camouflaged too! 


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This smart kitchen has a stack set in their kitchen where they have other appliances and storage for laundry supplies.


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This tiny little corner has full sized machines built-in to look like an old 'dresser.' The laundry supplies are kept in the back cabinet and there's a convenient folding counter above. 


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I love beautiful surprises!
These bi-fold doors conceal a smart laundry center with folding table, hanging space and closed storage for the supplies.


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Look at all the storage!
Now that's a smart use of space!


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Maybe at one end of your kitchen you have room for a buffet that has a surprise inside?


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A closet is literally turned into a laundry room.
The old 'barn door' gives it a fun look too.


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How cool is that?


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I love the old galvanized tub made into a laundry sink in this small country cottage. The machines are well-hidden in the tall cabinet with the paneled doors whilst the cleaners are under the sink behind the chicken wire doors.


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Most of the laundry is generated in the bedroom; clothes, sheets, towels, etc. It makes much more sense to have the machines in there than in the kitchen. Plumbing and waste pipes are already in there too!


ACCESSORIES

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Ballard Designs Beadboard Drying Rack


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Williams-Sonoma laundry-drying-rack


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Cheap glass canisters from Home Goods work well for the soap powder and dryer sheets


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Pull-outs for drying clothes have durable frames with nylon mesh fabric covers allowing air to flow through.


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The slatted bottom shelf of this marble top folding table is perfect for keeping folded blankets and comforters; the slats allow the air to circulate.


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What a great convenience item - just pull it out and boom, there it is!


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These Iron-Away ironing boards are delivered in a single unit, all you have to do is install it!


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Williams-Sonoma ironing-board


A FEW LAUNDRY ROOM POINTERS

  • Have a floor that can withstand what you give it; if you have six dogs, do arts and crafts and sloppy kids you want a ceramic, porcelain or vinyl floor - not wood or marble.
  • If most of your laundry is generated on the second floor near the bedrooms then put your laundry room on the second floor; why carry everything up and down stairs twice?
  • Try to keep your laundry room as bright as possible
  • Use LED or fluorescent lights which don't create heat.
  • Include windows in your plan if possible.
  • Make sure you have a smooth counter-top so you don't snag clothes while folding them.
  • Give yourself more storage than you think you'll need, you'll be glad you did.
  • Create a "Costco closet" for the bulk shopping.
  • Wicker and woven laundry baskets snag the clothes, plastic Rubbermaid type ones are best.
  • If you or your housekeeper are short make the counters a little lower than usual, 36" is standard, but 32/34" is much easier on the back of someone short.
  • Have closed upper cabinets to store the laundry detergents, starch, spray bottles and the all other crap. There's nothing junkier than open shelving in a laundry with all the mish-mosh of things needed for laundry.
  • Have a TV jack installed in the laundry room regardless. Music, TV or audio-books can while-the-time-away whilst ironing. It's also a way for you to see the front door or the baby's room if you have a camera system when you're three floors away.
  • If you have the ceiling height, add a small 32" ceiling fan; whoever does the ironing will thank you.
  • If you're building new, install a floor drain behind the washer out of sight, mistakes happen. 
  • If you're building new and the laundry is on the second floor have the washer sit inside a curbed pan with a waterproof lining and its own floor drain - mistakes happen.
  • Make sure that your counter-top is impervious to chemicals you generally use. Marble is easily stained or etched from household chemicals (or, if you color your own hair in the laundry room, it can ruin natural stone) Formica and Stainless steel are the best for laundry rooms.
  • Be discerning about the appliances you buy, most of the $1,600 washers and dryers do very little more than the $800 washers and dryers can do.
  • Always replace wire hangers for thick, heavy-duty plastic ones - they wont rust. 
  • Look into the Rowenta Expert Steam-Generator iron I have one and love it as it doesn't spit or drip. It irons with pure steam.
  • More than a family of five should have two sets of machines.
  • Remember to clean the tub of your front loading washer per manufacturers instructions.
  • Front loaders: Leave the door open 30 minutes after your wash is done to thoroughly air out your washer, otherwise it may mildew and smell. 
  • Don't buy flimsy metal drying racks or laundry carts, there's nothing worse than junk, and most are steel and can rust onto your clothes when wet.
  • If you choose a location for your laundry room near living or sleeping areas choose appliances carefully and  get extra insulation and improved suspension which reduces vibration. Often 1000 rpm spin cycles are loud.
  • If the dryer doesn't have a decibel (db) rating, it's probably too noisy.
  • A porcelain sink is best for hand-washing delicate clothes.
  • Stainless sinks are best if you wash out paintbrushes or use arts and crafts chemicals.
  • Washers and dryers range from 24" to 33" wide. 
  • Allow 36" minimum in front of machines to load and unload clothes, 42" is best so you can walk in front of machines with doors open.
  • Front loaders are more practical for wheelchair users.
  • It's easier to do laundry in a room that makes you happy to be in it. Use a wallpaper or back-splash tile with some color and you wont dread doing laundry as much.
  • 16,800 residential fires a year are a direct result of clothes dryers lint filters not being cleaned out!

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This is what happens when you don't have enough laundry to do...

You cant do it, I'm here to help!





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