One thing that renters and city dwellers often face is small spaces and as a result, rooms with many uses. When we see beautiful (not to mention enormous) homes in magazines and on Pinterest, complete with mudrooms, walk-in closets and laundry rooms, it’s hard to know how to make your own space work without coming up short.
In this house, we are lucky enough to have in-suite laundry! This is the first time Shaun and I have ever had such a luxury, and let me tell you, one cannot overestimate how fantastic it is. However, our laundry machines were stacked, with hideous temporary storage beside them, effectively blocking out all light from the neighboring window. They’re also kept in the kitchen, meaning we had to keep the solution multifunctional. I thought of Dana’s multipurpose dining/laundry/mudroom (House*Tweaking) as inspiration as I tackled this little spot.
Keep on reading to see how I changed it to a prettier and much more functional version:
So here’s where we started. This is the photo I saw in the craigslist ad:
It’s hard to tell here, (since the room is so terribly yellow!) but the big stackable washer and dryer were blocking the light from the side window and were the first things you saw upon entering the kitchen. Giant eyesores really.
Luckily, our landlord surprised us with new tile to replace that old beige lino, and Shaun painted it before we moved in. That in and of itself made a huge difference! From there, my hubby and one of his wonderful friends took the dryer off the top and placed them nicely side by side. I was so excited I didn’t even think to snap a photo, but all you need to do is unscrew the brackets in the back holding both machines together, and with a lot of oomph, lift it off. Surprisingly simple.
Here’s what we were left with (minus the shelf of course).
So much better, but I encountered a new challenge I hadn’t thought of before: exposed wires and plumbing. I needed a cheap, temporary and functional solution to hide these and provide storage for our laundry related cleaning supplies.
I loved my salvaged wood shelves in our last home, so I decided to do something similar here. I found a long piece of wood, 6′ by 11” by 1.75”, and varnished it with a semi-gloss to bring out the character in the wood and to protect it. You can see how I did it with our previous project here.
From there, it was hung with three basic brackets screwed into wall studs, being careful not to touch any of the electrical and plumbing work behind the wall.
While the shelf would offer ample storage, it didn’t cover up the wires. To do so, I used a piece of fabric. I chose outdoor fabric to hold up better to stains (the outdoor fabric I used for my no-sew placemats is still holding strong!) and hemmed the sides to just skim the top of the machines with no-sew iron on tape. From there, I place it in between a narrow 6′ long piece of wood and screwed it in place, like so:
From there it folded over nicely and easily covered everything up.
To hide the dryer tube (I really don’t know what you call that metal thing that collects the lint!), I found the perfect solution: an IKEA Raskog cart.
As an added bonus, someone was selling it on craiglist, so I purchased it for 40 instead of 70 CAD, and it was already assembled!
But let’s backtrack a minute, shall we? Confession time. This project happened back in April, back during our teaching practicums. I slapped it together without giving much thought as to what it would store, and it… showed.
Yikes. After living with that mess for a few months, I had a much better idea of what I wanted to store there! I cleared it all out, and started fresh. Here’s how we use the cart:
Multifunctional rooms need multifunctional storage pieces. This one holds our kitchen laundry for easy access, extra dish towels and dish cloths, our iron (metal is a great spot for iron storage! I never have to worry about melting or burning it), Bali’s water bottle for walks, and some often used garden tools we can grab for whenever the gardening mood strikes us. (Which honestly, for me isn’t often, but Shaun seems to be getting into it, happily!)
To stop it from being so chaotic like it was before, I used some simple and pretty bowls I had in the kitchen along with an extra $1.25 pot from IKEA to organize these little items. I’m hoping they’ll stop me from inadvertently creating another random dumping ground.
Here are our dishcloths, our dog’s towel and our dustpan for easy access.
I find labeling stops me from mindlessly dropping things where they don’t belong. These easy chalkboard marker labels are extra insurance, and easily changed if ever I decide to use the cart for something different in the future.
And here it is in its perfect little nook. I also keep our mini ironing board behind it: easy to access and put away, and it blocks the rest of the dryer… thing.
From there, I edited down our baskets to what we really needed (and kept our iron wine rack there too, because I think it looks nice with my baskets).
The main one I use is laundry: detergent, spot cleaners, dryer sheets etc. (I added French labels because I don’t often get to include my other language in our home! Lavage: laundry).
Beside it, I have extra laundry items (lint rollers, bleach etc.) and car washing supplies.
With all the space I saved once I cleared out the random things I didn’t need, I was left with an empty basket. I opted to house our cleaning supplies here, instead of under the kitchen and bathroom sink, as they were before. They were getting lost under there. Now they’re easy to reach for, I don’t need to worry about my young nieces and nephews finding dangerous products when they come over, and I have new space under the sinks for things like… step stools. (I’m not very tall!)
So again, the before…
And (almost) after! It makes me smile every time I walk into the kitchen. I want all my storage spaces to be this organized! Everything has its place and everything here is actually used in our home.
Now that we don’t have that extra cart on the other side, we even have more space for Bali’s dog dishes. Eventually I’d like a bench for her food so she doesn’t have to lean over so far. All in due time…
Now for some art work! Stay tuned :)
I hope this helps to inspire you with your multipurpose rooms. As bonus, having laundry in the kitchen is surprisingly useful. I can throw a load on while I’m cooking! Who knew? Europeans I guess..! Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions or something you’d like to add. I’d love to hear from you!