A Laundry Room Makeover
I did a thing. That’s my go-to phrase nowadays. I’ve been doing projects and each time I start a new one, it’s common for me to say “I started a thing.” I’m not a carpenter or builder, but I have been enjoying recent creations.
There are so many steps that went into this laundry room project, but this is not a “How-to” post and I did not take good notes. I have no idea on budget, but roughly I believe we spent around $3,000 in total. That includes tile, a gazillion 2×4’s, wall planks for the walls and ceiling, plywood for cabinetry, countertops, screws, glue, electrical, drywall, and probably more. This became a much larger project than I had imagined. I had no idea how much time and detail would go into this.
We did save money on cabinet doors and 3 of the closet doors by supporting our local Habitat for Humanity store, Habitat for Humanity Johnson County ReStore. My sister told me about this place and it’s awesome! You can find all sorts of things that may or may not work for you from furniture to tools to lighting and even whole kitchen cabinet sets.
This is my first attempt at a renovation or room makeover – literally from the floor and studs in. This is where we started. We have a basement laundry room. It’s been a “room” since we’ve owned this house, but it was a utility room that had a washer and dryer in the corner. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for this age of home. As a Realtor®, I see a lot of laundry rooms. They come in all shapes and sizes and locations. They are not all pretty and they are not all big. Our laundry room was big but it wasn’t pretty or super useful. But, it had plenty of space – I just needed to plan it out and definitely get rid of the glued down industrial carpet.
I took these pictures after I had already begun some demo of the ceiling. I also marked the floor where I wanted my new cabinets to go. This was my space and I had an idea, so I sketched my thoughts on graph paper. Then, I shared my idea with my hubby and told him I wanted to work on this project over the winter.
I used a Pinterest board to add my inspiration for the overall look and function of my laundry room.
For the record, I am not a skilled laborer when it comes to doing construction. What I did learn is that I can accomplish most anything – but many times there is a much easier way than how I did it. I did seek counsel from YouTube per my sister’s advice. She’s been tackling home renovation for a much longer period of time check out her new site – Neti Red 4 Life.
This was a fun addition to our basement laundry room. I like barn doors but realize they don’t offer a ton of privacy. I thought our laundry room entrance would be the perfect location. I decided on the door measurements and picked up 1×4’s to create my very own DIY barn door. I cut boards to size and laid out the boards side-by-side on the laundry room floor in the pattern I wanted. Then, I used the boards that go on top to screw across. That took a lot of screws! I added angled boards to give it a more rustic charm. Once I thought it felt sturdy enough and nothing moved, I used wood putty to fill the holes before staining. Finally, I added hardware and we got it hung.
I thought it would take all winter to work on the laundry room since I was doing it by myself. I thought removing the carpet would take all winter alone – that glue was strong and nasty. As I was working on demo and removing carpet, my hubby jumped in to help! It became something we worked on together. He offered to frame the closets that would cover the furnace, water heater, sump pit, and so on. I did not turn that down! He even did most of the tile work. I worked on framing the ceiling where it had an uneven bulkhead, designed and assembled cabinets, and stained countertops. Lowes became my second home.
I am incredibly grateful for Tom’s help on this project. He has supported and encouraged me and then got to work. He really liked being able to plan and implement the framing for the laundry room reno. His framing is incredibly sturdy and square. I even had extra helpers pop in to help along the way. They may have been a slight distraction but they sure were cute!
My main goal with framing was to hide all the “ugly” utility room stuff. I also wanted to create a finished area behind the washer and dryer. We created an extra wide wall to allow for pipes and even made a faux cabinet which gives us crawl space access. The laundry chute was already there, but now we had a way to send laundry down to a nicer area and not let it end up on an icky floor.
CABINETS, COUNTERS, DOORS, & SHELVES
Some of the parts of this project happened at the same time or overlapped. I worked on cabinetry while Tom worked on framing. I had also glued my wall planks onto the concrete on the back wall. That was one of the very first things I did. Unfortunately, some of the glue didn’t hold which we figured out later, so we had to re-glue them and figure out how to keep pressure on them to stay.
At this point in the project, I ended up buying some tools from my brother which came in handy. I had already learned how to use the miter saw which we already owned. Tom said I’m fearless when I use it. The table saw I purchased was a life-saver. I no longer had to ask the guy at Lowes to cut my plywood. For my shelves and built-in cabinets, I had Lowes make the cuts which I pre-measured. I knew if they were off just a little that I could adjust my plans accordingly.
For counters, we picked up a 6′ unfinished butcher block for the folding area. For above the washer and dryer, I wanted something that would allow us to put it on a hinge in case we needed access behind. For that, we used a thinner 3/4″ thick 24″ depth sheet of wood which I stained. If you’re going to stain indoors, may I suggest you use something that is not oil-based? It’s difficult to clean up and oh man is it smelly! I used it on the wall planks for the back wall and it took several days of constant fanning to get rid of the odor.
I wanted my shelves to be plenty big for holding laundry baskets and sorting. I made 4 shelves for our 4 bedrooms. I also wanted to leave a nice size area below the folding counter for sorting. My friends told me it was a must-have for a nice laundry room. I also wanted extra shelves for storing the random soaps and cleaners used in or around the laundry room. I did end up buying a base cabinet with drawers to add next to my custom shelves.
I painted here and there along the way. I was eager to add color to the walls and cabinets, so I painted while Tom worked on installing the doors.
One thing I am learning as I take on more projects around my house is how much I love storage. Not just any storage – making it useful storage. I don’t mind storing some things out in my garage, but it’s nice to have a nicer place to store some things. I came up with what I believe is a unique way to store folding tables and chairs. We also hid our shop vac in the cabinet below.
When I began this project, I had one set of 4 chairs and one folding table. I went back and forth on different layouts and ended up deciding on hanging the chairs while putting the tables under the counter in a cubby. We re-purposed the wall cabinets that were already in the laundry room. I made a frame on the floor and installed the cabinet on top. We purchased a Formica countertop and cut it to fit on top and next to the laundry sink.
My original plan was to make this wall storage cabinets and move the laundry sink. We decided it would create logistical problems and add time, so we worked with the current layout. I used part of an old door frame and some barn wood from my aunt for the shelf above the counter where we hung the chairs. Since we have a cat, we had a place to tuck the litter box away by the laundry sink. Win-win!
We worked on flooring as we were framing. We wanted to make sure we knew where to put the tile, so we needed to know where the new walls were going to be. The tile I selected is a tribute to my hometown of Westport, Indiana. I let Tom lay the tile and I was his assistant. I am great at holding tile. Also, wine.
Putting in the tile floor brought back memories of our very first home renovation project. Back in 2004, we bought a home just outside of Boston in Waltham, MA. That’s where we moved once I got out of the military and Tom accepted his first job after finishing college. The house wasn’t bad but we wanted to update it. We remodeled the kitchen as one of the projects there. Just like this time, I was the one who had the job of grouting the floor tile. Below are the then/now photos.
Here is a photo of me grouting at our Waltham house back in 2005 or so compared to now.
I had originally purchased some beadboard sheets to use for the ceiling. We waited on doing the ceiling last. That was a good idea. It seemed daunting to me. I would need to cut hole in the middle of the 4’x8′ sheets where the lights would go and then figure out how to hang it over my head. I had some time to think about it since we had to get electrical done first. Our electrician moved lights to be more centered, added a light, and made sure they were on a switch instead of the pull chains they had been on. Lighting alone was a HUGE improvement!
I ended up using the same type of wall planks I used on some of the walls. It was much easier to work with than I imagined the 4×8 beadboard sheets would have been. In order to make the ceiling as even as possible, I added 1″x1″ boards along the ceiling to give me something to nail the planks into. That worked out really well. I ended up installing them on top of the drywall ceiling to save on extra demo and time. I did have to locate studs for using the 1×1 strips in the center of the ceiling. With the boards being as much as 8′ long, I didn’t want them to sag. They also needed to be snug for attaching the new lighting.
I worked on finishing the ceiling over a weekend while Tom was out of town. It was a nice surprise for him. Then, all we had left to do were touch-ups and crown molding.