An Old English Laundry Room Reno That’s Still Extremely Practical
This Indianapolis designer calls these bins life changing.
Published Dec 8, 2022 1:45 AM
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“We’ve never been so on top of our laundry,” says Indianapolis-based interior designer Anissa Zajac. With three daughters—ages 17, 15, and 9—who play sports, nearly every day is laundry day in Zajac’s household. Adding fresh storage for multiple backups of detergent and updated machines that can handle large loads to her once-drab laundry room certainly changed things for the better, but one purchase really helped out. “The roller laundry bins…life changing,” says the House Seven Design founder.
Zajac is referring to the three canvas Crate & Barrel containers on wheels that line the space (she had her cabinetmaker measure the baskets before constructing the built-ins to make sure they’d fit snugly under the drawers). One is for whites, another for darks, the third for colors. “It has just made it so efficient,” says Zajac. “The kids bring their hampers downstairs every night, separate their clothes, and then when we see one has filled up, we know it’s time to do a load (it’s about the same size as the drum).”
Because the space is located just off the kitchen, no one ever accidentally leaves their wet clothes sitting in the washer for hours. When it’s in sight (or within hearing distance), it’s in mind. “Everybody raves about the second-floor laundry room, but I can’t reiterate how much easier it is if it’s near your kitchen where you spend the majority of your day,” says the designer. Here are five more updates to the space that have helped the family’s chores run a little more smoothly.
Cabinets That Stay Fresh and Tidy
Zajac thought about every last item that she would store in her new laundry room cupboards before they were installed. She even went so far as to measure a paper towel roll to ensure it would be able to stand up right inside the shelves. “If [the cabinets] are not functional, they lose their luster,” she notes. Since she knew the space is prone to smelling stale and muggy, she added cutouts to the door fronts to allow for better airflow.
Counters That Make Folding More Enjoyable
To achieve the rustic, English countryside cottage vibe she was after, the designer replaced the linoleum floors with herringbone brick tile from Floor and Decor. The key to achieving a truly timeless look? Opting for thick grout lines. Then her husband, who owns his own remodeling business, constructed the new countertops on each side of the room out of two 2-by-10 pine boards. “I don’t love marble or stone where I’m folding. Wood is just warmer,” shares Zajac. She keeps a stool handy in the room because it’s not only the place where she embraces her inner Marie Kondo, it’s also where she clips flowers and works on arrangements.
Walls That Are Easy to Wipe Down
Zajac grew up in old homes in upstate New York, so she clad the laundry room walls in 4-inch-wide vertical shiplap as a nod to Northeast living. But the trim adds much more to the space than that: It’s easier to clean than painted drywall and, by carrying it onto the ceiling, it makes the room appear taller than it is.
A Sink for Hobbies
Incorporating a small sink was more for Zajac’s flower arranging pastime than for cleaning clothes. “I use it mostly for filling up vases,” she notes. She surrounded the basin with durable black granite and added a niche underneath that can double as a spot for a storage basket or a sleeping nook for the family’s dog (these days, his bed is tucked under there).
A Junk Drawer for Everyone
Not a fan of storing things under the kitchen sink, Zajac has dedicated the upper cabinets in this space to cleaning supplies, in addition to her vase collection and all things laundry related. The drawers above the game-changing hampers hold everyday necessities. One of them is a “very organized junk drawer,” filled with batteries, pens, paper clips, and hair ties. The middle slot houses miscellaneous outdoor toys (bubbles, water balloons), while the third is Zajac’s personal tool drawer. When every item has a place, things get done.