Laundry room makeover - my first DIY project that was a complete remodel
In my imagination, the house of my dreams had a full laundry room. There would be an area for folding (my number one requirement) and also somewhere I could easily hang all the clothes I don't want to wrinkle (read: that I don't want to iron). Like most people, I'm not the biggest fan of doing laundry, so why not at least make it as comfortable as possible, right?
When we found our current house, it ticked ALMOST all the boxes. You can imagine my disappointment when there was no fabulous, full laundry room. Only a washer and dryer in a hallway closet. The one good thing it had going for it, was that it was upstairs with the bedrooms. That is after all where most of the laundry comes from.
That might have been a deal-breaker if I did not see the potential that presented itself here. To the right of this closet is our master bedroom, which I wrote all about in this post. What I did not reveal in that post, is that there was a sunroom/sitting area attached to that bedroom, backing the laundry closet. A lovely area with a spectacular view that I knew from the get-go, we would never fully utilize.
This was absolutely perfect! My imagination ran wild with plans of what I could create here. I think our realtor though I was a little crazy when I enthusiastically shared my ideas for this space on our second or third viewing of the house. (Yes, I needed to see it a few times to be absolutely sure this was THE ONE).
The plan was to build a wall, separating the sitting area from the bedroom. The back wall of the laundry closet would then be taken out to create a long narrow room, perfect for the laundry room of my dreams. It was all entirely do-able in my head, but we had to confirm this before going ahead with the project.
Bringing the plan to life
I started by opening up the wall (only from one side) separating the closet and the sitting area. This wall contained all the plumbing for the washer and dryer. If my plans were to realize, these would have to be moved. This was a little too advanced for my plumbing skills, and I called a plumber to quote us for the job. I figured he would also be able to confirm if this plan of mine was at all possible.
The good news was that it was totally possible! We just had to apply for plumbing, electrical and building permits since it was a major renovation involving major changes in all three areas. My dear husband handled all the paperwork and drew up this cool floor plan, which he submitted with the applications. Green shows new construction and red shows what was to be removed. Luckily the wall we wanted to take down was not load-bearing. It's crucial to make sure of this before ever removing any interior walls!
The plumber and I agreed that I would demo up to the point where he could just come in and move the water supply, drain pipe and dryer vent. This is the only labour expense we had for this whole project. Everything else was DIY.
Here you can see the wall opened up, exposing all that had to be moved over to the wall on the right of this photo. I also took down the two closet doors and their framework.
New construction, plumbing and electrical work
New walls that had to be built, were two short ones forming a corner that would separate the laundry from the master bedroom, plus a wall with a door in where the two closet doors used to be. Relatively easy and straight forward construction that was approved by the building inspector who issued the permit we applied for.
The electrical work was all done by Stephen, my husband. I do not recommend doing your own electrical work without the necessary knowledge and experience. Some of the existing outlets and lighting had to be moved and rewired and new electrical outlets also had to be installed. It was a tricky job for someone who doesn't do this for a living, but he passed the inspection with flying colours. It was also a great practice run for when he did all the electrical work when we started finishing our basement. Posts about this massive undertaking will follow soon!
The plumbing was also moved successfully (by a qualified plumber) and after all three inspections were passed, the drywall could go up. This was my first DIY project big enough to use several full-size sheets of drywall. I did need help from Stephen to move those around. Once all the walls were covered, it was time to mud and tape. Not the easiest job if you don't have the experience, but practice makes perfect. During the process, my work does not look professional at all, but I just keep going until it is perfect, even if it takes ten times as long. It's a messy job, especially when you start to sand it smooth, but extremely rewarding when it's all done.
After what felt like endless weeks of work, the walls were finally seamless and smooth, ready to be primed and painted. For flooring, I used the exact same luxury vinyl tiles I used for the bathroom makeover you can read about here. With the flooring installed, I could finish the baseboards and trim around the door.
Time for the finishing touches
The washer and dryer could now be moved to their new positions. We kept the appliances that came with the house as they were still in excellent condition. With that in place, I could finally work on my long-awaited folding area! For this, I repurposed the vanity I removed during the bathroom makeover, covered in this post.
In that post, I mentioned that I only kept the cabinet part of the vanity and got rid of the top. As a replacement, I got a bamboo countertop from Home Depot. It was only about 18 inches too long, and I had it cut to length in store. I also stained it slightly darker as the natural bamboo was too yellow.
The cabinets were stained to a very dark brown finish (like everything else in this house). I decided to lightly sand and paint them. The grey you can see in the photo below is a combination of leftover dark grey and white paint mixed together. The old chrome hardware got replaced with new black door handles. I've never had black hardware on anything and I thought the laundry would be a good place to experiment.
I built a small shelf to cover the gap behind the appliances. It works great for preventing socks and small laundry items from finding their way back there. I built the hanging rail from galvanized pipe and fittings and mounted it on a piece of wood. It looked better than just the bare rail and this way, I could secure the wood to the wall, anchored by the studs behind the drywall. That completed my laundry room wishlist, BUT... there was some extra space in this newly built room...
Added bonus: a craft area
How lucky could I get! In front of the windows, was a corner big enough for a large desk and a chest of drawers to store some of my art and craft supplies. The rest of my supplies, together with my sewing machines, I keep in the cabinets underneath the folding area. As I'm typing this, I am sitting at this very desk, and it is just the most wonderful area to work in. The view doesn't suck either...
One year after this project, I still love my laundry room and craft area. It was a lot of hard work, but that is how you make your dreams come true.
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