It’s not often you hear someone say their laundry room is one of their favorite spots in their house. But Alexandra Bennett isn’t just any average person stuffing their washing machine with load after load; as the co-founder and CEO of the contemporary textile brand Louise Gray, she’s particularly passionate about fabric care.
So Bennett recently enlisted designer Victoria Sass of Prospect Refuge Studio to renovate her historic four-square style home in Minneapolis, mixing heirloom pieces with her modern lifestyle—including a laundry room designed specifically for a textile lover. After all, before the reno, the space was bare bones in a horror movie type of way. It was part of a larger, unfinished basement—“the spooky kind where you find yourself running up the stairs when you turn the lights off,” says Bennett. “It certainly got the job done but wasn’t a terribly efficient use of space nor was it very enjoyable to spend time in.”
Sass recognized that the room had no storage, no counter space, no organizational strategy, and subpar lighting. “We wanted a space that felt focused and function-forward,” she says. “A true working space, tidy and useful, but also a comfortable space to spend one’s time.”
Sass and Bennett decided on white oak as the primary flooring material throughout the lower level of the remodel, and for good reason. “Oak is a very hardworking wood species, hides wear easily, and can also look very modern when rift-sawn as it is here,” says Sass. Rift-sawn, meaning all the grain aligns in a single direction, results in a clean, linear look rather than the cathedral grain or flecking like you’ll see in more traditional cuts of wood.
The countertops, outfitted with a marine block honed slate slab, are another standout. “It’s kind of an unheard-of gem,” says Sass. The natural stone material has the beauty of a Pietra Gris marble without the etching and the depth of a soapstone without the scratching or need to oil. Best yet? Oftentimes it’s less expensive than other materials too. “It’s a great option for people who need the hard-working qualities of a manmade quartz but love the natural beauty of real stone,” says Sass.
Washing piles of burp cloths doesn’t seem so daunting now. “Doing the laundry can be almost therapeutic or meditative for me, and the former space felt more like a place you would be sentenced to as opposed to one that should be celebrated,” says Bennett. Not anymore. “The space really has everything you need and nothing you don’t,” she says. Below Bennett breaks down three hidden design details you’ll want to copy in your own laundry room.
A Wall-Mounted Drying Rack Saves Space
I strive to purchase thoughtfully made textiles and do my part in ensuring they have a long lifespan. Since air-drying seems to be the easiest way to guarantee this, it ends up accounting for a majority of each load in our household. Air-drying is also better for the environment, so I like to remind myself it’s a win-win! Prior to the remodel, we used two standard drying racks that took up precious square footage, so incorporating a mounted drying rack was incredibly appealing.
A Roll-In Compartment Hides a Clunky Vacuum
I’ve already admitted to finding joy in doing the laundry, but cleaning, in general, brings me tremendous happiness. When I was shown this dedicated cabinet for my vacuum in the original plans for the space I thought to myself, “It can’t get much better than this.” Physical clutter often creates mental clutter, so finding a spot for everything is absolutely rewarding.
A Miniature Ironing Board Can Be Concealed in the Armoire
My husband and I both work for ourselves and are fortunate not to have a dress code. The result ends up being casual dress on the daily, making a clunky full-size ironing board unnecessary. This petite, hidden gem is more than sufficient and truly satisfying every time you roll it out. I also love that it nods to the traditional ironing boards our parents grew up with—the ones that folded out from a cabinet in the kitchen.
Alexandra’s favorite laundry tools:
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