Laundry Room Makeover

Today I’m so excited to show you my laundry room makeover.  I started this project in January this year, and finished in May.  Unfortunately, since it was before I started blogging, there aren’t any in progress photos to show you.  Only a handful of before, taken on my phone, and lots and lots of afters.  So you might want to go grab a cup of coffee (or wine) and get comfortable.  :)  Also, you should probably know that I’m still figuring out how to use the M setting on my digital camera.

Enough said, right? So let’s get started!

Before the makeover, this is what people would see when they walked by the laundry room:

Yup, a closed door.  Are you wondering what it looked like behind that door?

Yikes!  Obviously, there was a very good reason why that door was always closed, wouldn’t you agree?  And while I’m beyond embarrassed at actually putting these pictures out there, I don’t think you can truly appreciate the after without the before.   So…yeah, these pictures are for you.

But I’m very happy to show you what people see when they walk by now.

Tada!!  Hard to believe it’s the same room, isn’t it? The first thing you’ll probably notice are the huge safety pins on the wall.

I fell in love with them the first time I saw them in the Ballard Designs catalog, and I’m so glad I did.  I really like seeing them in that space when I walk by.  They make me happy.

The paint on the walls went from Benjamin Moore HC-8 (Dorset Gold) to HC-87 (Ashley Grey).  Although it looks really grey in the pictures, it’s pretty much an even mix of brown and grey, and it really lightened up the room.

As did the bead board that comes about two-thirds of the way up the wall.  Would you believe it’s not actually bead board, but wallpaper?  This one is called Roth Beadboard Paintable Wallpaper, and I found it at Lowes.

Two separate pieces of wood combine to make a nice big molding on top.  Doesn’t it look nice?  Color is Benjamin Moore Linen White.

Looking up, there are a lot of things to see.  The lights being one of them.  What a fiasco they were!  They started out as Pottery Barn Rustic Glass Pendants:

I had ordered two of them, and one of them broke in shipping.  Unfortunately, the other one broke while I was trying to hang it up.

Do you like how I said that like it was no big deal?  Let me tell you.  It was a big deal.  Much gnashing of teeth and clenching of fists were involved.  Obviously, they just weren’t meant to be.  But look closely again at my light fixtures:

And now look at these by Allen Roth that I bought later at Lowe’s:

Can you guess what I did?  No, I mean after I threw a little fit about letting the light drop and smash all over the tile floor.  Well…..I took the metal parts from the PB lights, added the glass bowl from the Allen Roth lights, and threw in one more set of light parts that I had left over from another project, and the result is what I have now hanging in my laundry room.  You won’t find any others exactly like them anywhere.  ;)

Moving on.  If you are a follower of Little Lucy Lu, then you’ve probably seen her ladder laundry rack, which I pinned a long time ago.

Only, I didn’t have an old ladder, so I followed this tutorial from Diane at Our Vintage Home Love and built my own.  Then I hung it from the ceiling with several strands of twine and a couple of ceiling hooks.  I love using it to hang stuff on when I get done ironing.  Or to hang “drip dry” and “hang to dry” clothes when they come out of the dryer. And that sign hanging over the window?

It was supposed to look more like the sign at Little Lucy Lu’s.  I fully intended to start over and paint the other side, but the cracked paint with the yellow peeking through has kind of grown on me, so I guess it’s here to stay.

If you want to know how you can get a Pottery Barn roman shade, even if it doesn’t come in the size you need (and for a lot less), you can read my post about it here.

Next up, are the little cubbies I built underneath the counter top in front of the window.  Getting the old base trim off and adding a new piece to try to make it all look seamless was a little tricky.  Anytime you have to attack something with a crow bar, you know it’s not going to be easy.

Before, this area under the counter was pretty much a waste of space.  Or rather, a space where things collected.  Like laundry baskets.  And more laundry baskets.  Ugh.  Now I have a space for two laundry baskets.  Just two.  :)

I made a label for each out of scraps of wood:  one labeled “wash” and the other “give away.”  The wash basket gets dish towels and any other laundry I find laying around the house, and the give away basket is where I put clothes that the kids have out grown.  Baskets from Pier 1.

I also included spaces to store my iron, steamer, and little tabletop ironing board, which I covered with the leftover PB fabric from my window treatments.  They’re super handy here and easy to get in and out.

And do you see what’s over on the far right, above the cute little trash can?  Let’s have another look.

Originally seen and pinned from here, these pull-out drying racks are probably my favorite feature of my new laundry room.  I love these things.  And PVC piping.  And drawer slides.  Yeah, I’m really digging these.  Ideally, they’d be big enough to put my husband’s wool sweaters on, but I had to work with the space I had, right?  Surprisingly, they’re actually big enough for all but hubby’s stuff. (Update: you can get the how-to here.)

And before we leave this corner of the room, I wanted to show you a little something that has helped me in my laundry efforts:

I cut some vinyl laundry symbols with my Silhouette, and placed them on this little dry-erase board.  As I’m putting clothes in the wash, I read the care labels and make notes about which ones need to be laid flat to dry, hung up, or drip dried.  So many of my girls’ clothes require special care.  This way, I have an easy reminder of exactly what I need to pull out before throwing the rest in the dryer.

We’re about half way done.  Feel free to get up and take a potty break if you need to.  I don’t mind.  :)

Next up, I added a couple of baskets to the side of our cubbies.

Not that I necessarily needed more storage space in here, mostly just because I really liked them.  You can find them here.

And looking a little more closely at the cubbies:

These cubbies were in bad shape after 12 years of having backpacks, jackets, shoes, etc. being thrown in and yanked out.  The old shiny gold hooks that used to be in here had started to pull away and were tearing holes in the sides.  So I took the hooks down, patched and sanded the holes, hung bead board wallpaper along the back side, along with a strip of wood to add stability, and gave it all a nice new coat of paint before hanging the new hooks.  ORB hooks from Walmart, baskets from Pier 1.

Initially, the cubbies were open at the top, but I didn’t like seeing the mess of stuff that was always kept up there, so I ordered doors from here.  Several coats of primer and paint, and some new hardware later, and we were in business.

I also added the crown molding at the top of the cubbies.  I always felt like it should have been there from the beginning, and now it finally is.

The baskets at the top were purchased from Michaels.

Can you guess what I made these labels out of?  You’ll probably laugh.  I’m pretty sure I saw this in a blog post somewhere, but unfortunately I never pinned it, so the source is lost to me.  If you know where it came from, please leave a comment so I can give credit.  I’ll let you in on the secret after I find the source!

More hooks just inside the door, for the hubby and I.  Since we don’t have our own cubbies.  And you might have noticed that I found a solution to the question of what to do with all of those precious pieces of art that the kids bring home from school!

And that brings us to the bottom of the cubbies.

Like the tops, the bottoms were originally open too.  This is where the kids have always thrown their shoes when they come in the door.  Or rather, where I put their shoes when I find them in strange places around the house.  Anyway, it was not a pretty sight.  The shoes were always, always, spilling out onto the floor.  And I think sometimes late at night they would actually even walk themselves over to the dryer, or under the counter.  The point is, it was messy, and we were always tripping over them.  So I decided to corral the shoes by adding drawers to the bottoms of the cubbies.  I ordered the drawer faces from the same place where I ordered the doors for the tops.  Primer, paint, hardware, etc. and then mounted them to some drawer boxes that I built out of plywood.  And now the bottom of the cubbies are happy.  Clean and happy.  :)

Good thing I took this picture when I did.  The next day I was ironing and I guess I accidentally left the iron face down on the ironing board.  I’ve always wondered how those burnt iron marks could get on ironing boards.  Like people could just walk off and forget that they had left the iron face down.  LIKE I DID.  Weird.  I was shocked to come back and realize what I had done.  So imagine that ironing board with a nice iron-shaped burn mark right smack in the middle.  It’s attractive, let me tell you.  NOT.  I’m so glad it wasn’t my newly recovered tabletop ironing board! Back to the tour.

I know it’s not very exciting, but the light switch plate (in the picture above) would like to be noticed in its stylish new ORB duds.

And the new antique-looking door knob that I installed in place of the plain shiny brass one:

It would be really nice to be able to replace all the knobs in the house with these, but they’re a bit pricey, so it’s the only one we have for now.

I also added a new electrical outlet behind the door so I could plug my lamp in by the sink:

I definitely recommend hiring a professional to do this type of work, unless you’re committed to being ultra ultra ultra cautious.  Do your research and be careful! (Update: click here for a tutorial on how to add an electrical outlet.)

And did you notice the clock on the wall over the door?  I really like how that clock turned out.

Wanna know how I made it?  Look for a tutorial in an upcoming post. (Update: you can get the full how-to here.)

Next is the sink.  I removed the old, generic silver knobs and faucet and replaced them with this, also found at Lowe’s:

The hole for the faucet wasn’t quite big enough, so I had to use my Dremel to make it bigger.  Have I mentioned how much I love my Dremel?  I do.  Good o’l Dremel.

And who hasn’t seen a knockoff of Ballard Designs’ Giclee Laundry sign?  Here’s my version:

Mine is on a piece of scrap wood, not canvas, and it was my first attempt at doing anything with my Silhouette.  I don’t know how many layers of paint are on there now, but I had to start over more than once.  It was definitely a learning process!

In case you’re wondering about the pencil sharpener, I put it up there a long time ago when the kids were little.  Now that they’re older and prefer using mechanical pencils, it doesn’t get used as much as it used to, but I still like having it up there.  I took it down to wall paper, and then painted the wood square it’s mounted on with the wall color before hanging it back up.

UPDATE:  The thing I get asked about more than anything else in this laundry room is the Kenmore Elite work surface on top of the washer and dryer.  We purchased it from Sears at the same time as our washer and dryer.  At the time, it was called a Laundry Plus+ work surface, but I’ve also seen it called the Laundry 1-2-3 Work Surface.  Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re available any longer, but maybe with those two names and a little bit of Googling, you can track one down for yourself.

I just realized as I was looking at these pictures that I never got around to adding crown molding to the top of the cabinets.  Oops.

I also installed some LED lighting under the cabinets.  I used two strips over the sink, and a single strip over the washer/dryer.  I don’t wear glasses yet, but my eyes can use all the help they can get while trying to get stains out.

Here’s another view so you can see what the lights look like when they’re on.  The light switch for these is up under the cabinet that’s over the sink.  If you look closely, you can see it.

I also added that shelf over the back of the washer and dryer.  It’s cut down dramatically on the number of things that fall behind there!  Not to mention, it’s a great place to put a family picture.

And here’s my stool.  I love this stool.  It started out as a plain honey-colored wood stool of average height that had found its way down to the storage room because we weren’t using it anymore.  I cut the legs short and then painted it with a homemade version of chalk paint, using leftover paint from the walls.  Then I distressed it a little with sandpaper and an ink pad, and finished it up with a single coat of light furniture paste wax.

I use this stool a lot more than I thought I would.  It’s nice to be able to sit down and pull clothes straight out of the dryer, fold them up and set them on the counter.  All without bending down.  I also use it whenever I need to get something down from the top shelves in the cabinets or the baskets on top of the cubbies.

Even the floor vent got a makeover with a new ORB vent cover.

In case you’re wondering, the rug is the Heathered Chenille Jute Rug from Pottery Barn, and it’s the perfect surface for bare feet.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s available any more.

Last but not least, I hung a bird feeder right outside my window.  My OCD self really wanted it centered, but hubby put his foot down, because apparently someone decided that bird food falling into the air conditioning units outside will/may cause problems.  ;)  I really enjoy watching the birds come and go while doing the laundry.  I have a pair of house finches that keeps me company most days.  One of them (the hubby, on the left) obliged and posed for a photograph here.  His wife is blurry because she was too busy looking around trying to figure out what project she’ll work on next.  ;)

Well, that’s about all I have for you today.  And can I just say Whew!  I’m so glad to cross that one off my list!  But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that although I did all of the physical work myself, I couldn’t have done it without my very supportive and generous husband.  He pretty much gives me free reign (mostly because I don’t give him a choice like to surprise him) and he doesn’t grumble (much) whenever I start a new project.  Even though it’s not his style to complement me every step of the way, I know that he appreciates all the work that went into transforming our laundry room.  Whenever someone comes over that hasn’t seen it yet, he drags them over saying “Have you seen what Debbie did to the laundry room?”  That’s praise enough for me.  :)

If anyone’s interested, here’s my Pinterest board for this room.  Most of the ideas in here came straight from the talented people whose ideas I pinned.  Whatever did we ever do before the internet and Pinterest came along?

Oh, and since you’re still here, I’ll show you a few more REALLY scary before pics that leave me wishing so badly that I had cleaned everything out before taking them!

(cue Psycho shower scene music)  Aaaaaahhhhh!!

All kidding aside, thanks so much for stopping by!

If you liked this makeover, you might also enjoy my Half Bath Reveal.

And don’t forget to check out these other laundry related posts:

DIY Pottery Barn Roman Blind
Pottery Barn Inspired Wall Clock
Built-in Sliding Drying Racks
Laundry Tip: How to Safely Make Your Own Bleach Gel

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Me and My DIY

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