If you're a mom, you probably spend a lot of time in your laundry room, at least more than anyone else in your family. Especially if you're a mom of little ones. I'm in the process of teaching my girls to at least get their darks in one basket and their whites in another, although really, if the clothes make it to a basket at all instead of the floor, I'm a pretty happy camper!
When we first moved in to our new house, the laundry room quickly become my pet project. It's probably one of the first projects we actually did in the house, but for some reason, I just haven't blogged about it until now. It's not 100% complete, but it's WAY more functional that it was when we first got here.
And a lot prettier...
I knew when we moved in that I needed a space where I could store cleaning supplies, fold and iron clothes (though ironing doesn't really happen much in our house!), and store the cat food and litter box. The laundry room came complete with a weird little alcove space that was screaming for a DIY project that fit all my needs. So, I went on an internet search for the perfect design and came upon Ana White. If you're not familiar with her and you like to build, you need to check her out! While I perused her designs, and she's got loads, I tried not to get distracted from my job at hand. I mean really, we needed all kinds of hand-made new stuff for the new house, didn't we? And I had all the time in the world, right?
When I saw this beauty, I knew I'd found a match made in heaven.
I loved the idea of having hanging baskets, and I knew I could modify the design to fit my space, house my cat's litter box and provide some extra storage. I downloaded Ana's plans, then went about measuring my space and playing with drawings. I had a grand idea in mind, I just needed some help with the execution.
Now, I am not an architect or a woodworker/furniture maker, but I like to think that I'm pretty good at figuring things out, or at least I don't mind going through a lot of trial and error to finally hit upon the right product. And it was a good thing that my dad and Uncle Tony were in town for a while. They were the perfect people to bounce ideas off of, and to enlist in the cutting and building! Here's an example of part of the plans Ana had on her site. She is REALLY good at detailing tools needed, cut lists, including diagrams and more.
My modifications required tweaking the measurements so it fit my space; creating a top storage shelf so I'd have two hanging baskets, instead of three; and making one space large enough for my cat to do her business. I also didn't care about having a back on the unit, but did need to have some extra support to maintain the structure without wiggles and jiggles. I have to admit, initially the measurements seemed easy enough. But then there is so much to take into consideration! I had to go to check out new laundry baskets and see what sizes they came in to ensure I was leaving just enough, but not too much, space for them to slide in and out properly. I also wanted to be sure that everything lined up properly and looked symmetrical, and that I could slide the unit into the space without leaving big gaps on the side.
After multiple measurements, five different drawings and schematics, various conversations about new issues or concerns that would come up, and a light-hearted argument or two, we finally settled on a cut list and design that suited my needs and felt realistically doable. Of course, we then decided that 9 o'clock at night was the right time to do a Home Depot run! We got started the next morning and, over the course of the day, built this lovely new addition.
We were able to get most of the cuts done at Home Depot, which left very little to do at home. We started by building the box and decided to keep it all one piece instead of separate pieces like Ana had done. This saved space by leaving out an extra inch or so between boxes. After we screwed all vertical pieces into the bottom, we flipped it over and the screwed the top into the verticals. Then I went over all the screws with wood filler and sanded to make sure it was a smooth, even surface.
Once the box was built, we remeasured to make sure the shelf pieces were the right width, then installed some inexpensive 1x1's that we cut to size. These served as the support for the shelves and also for the hanging baskets. The metal angles Ana used were nice, but more expensive and not as easy to install, so we stuck with wood. I initially thought that I'd use four baskets, but really, three is enough and this way I had room for a garbage bin, too. The space farthest to the left we adjusted to leave enough room for the cat to get in and out, and luckily, it fit her litter and food perfectly! Once everything was pieced together, wood-filled and sanded, we carried the entire piece up the laundry room and slid it place. Voila! It fit!
Then I realized I still needed to paint it...
We left it in the laundry room since I figure I could just slide some newspaper underneath and paint it there. And now was the fun part for me...prettying it up! Since most of our house is a lovely shade of cafe au lait, I wanted to punch it up with a dramatic color. And I seem to be a bluesphase, so I stuck with that, got myself a stencil and a lighter blue, as well as some polyacrylic protective finish to seal the deal.
I painted the entire unit first with 2-3 coats of the blue. Once it was dry, I pulled out my stencil, brush, and got to daubbing. Stencils are kinda funny. I'd never used one before, so I was curious to see how it would turn out. I learned very quickly that daubbing in straight up-and-down motions is best so as not to smear the paint under the stencil. I started with the wall, since I had to stand on the box to get up there. When I switched colors, I just washed the stencil in my bathtub because it was too big to clean in the sink. Once the wall was complete, I workedon the surface of the laundry organizer until I had something I liked. I played around with the placement of the stencil before applying any paint, and eventually came up with something that looked random, but not too sparse. When everything was dry, I did two coats of Minwax ploy over the entire unit. I did the inside as well, since I'd be sliding the baskets quite a bit, and the cat litter is rather grainy and would eventually start to wear away the paint.
As I filled the shelves and slid my perfectly-fitted baskets into place, I realized I need to make space for cleaning supplies. After some thought, I bought a few 3M hooks and started hanging. Now everything fits nicely, nothing is laying around, and everything has a place to be. It feels good.
I've still got big plans for this space!
1. Add some pull-down drying racks for sweaters and delicates
2. Install an easy to mount door hook that can hold multiple shirts at a time
3. Put up a cute lint bucket so I can save it to make fire starters for camping this summer
4. Add a wall-mounted jar to collect change and other random pocket discoveries
5. Replace the washer dryer...eventually
6. Do something with this space. It's the step-sister of the cute opposite side. Ideas anyone?
What are you doing to make your laundry room a function, pretty space for yourself? Share a picture and your ideas in the comments!