It’s Only The Laundry Room, Nothing To Fear Sweetie

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel

My laundry room is rather large, and evocative of a British tack room. Well, except it has the dreadful “boob” light, still. I looked all over your blog and couldn’t find anything on laundry rooms. So, maybe a future post re: laundry rooms that aren’t all country cutsie? I also need lighting inspiration.

Thank you,

Sue

 

***

 

This is just bloody brilliant. Two back-to-back posts about areas of the home that are really not my area of expertise. Well, that’s about to change. (I hope) Plus, I had to look up “tack room.” I really am a hillbilly. Tack room has to do with horses which I’m sure everyone knows but me. Sorry Duncan, the horse. (He’s my friend who recently moved to Florida) ;]

Of course, when it comes to laundry rooms, I know what I like and I know what I don’t like.

 

But, it’s funny. Well, not funny ha ha, however, I’ve never actually lived in a house with a real laundry room.

 

However,  I realized as I began to research the post, that this statement is not true. It’s just that I blocked it out. And, for a very good reason which you’re about to find out. When I was a little girl, we had THE scariest laundry room in the history of all mankind. I’m quite positive.

If you’d like a visual of the exterior of my childhood home in Evansville, IN, click here. Since my mom passed away, my sister and I have grown exceptionally nostalgic. Since she’s 9.5 years older, she’s able to tell me things I can’t remember. And, since she went to college when I was eight, I’m talking about things she knows less about.

 

So, Laurel tell us about your scary laundry room?

 

Okay, but prepare yourself… because it is verrrrry scary.

 

BOO!

 

First, you had to walk down the steepest flight of stairs, which when I was four was like climbing down a cliff. If you can imagine this; once when my aunt, uncle and cousins were visiting, she mistook the basement door for a closet and fell straight to the bottom.

I can still hear her screaming. Fortunately, she only slightly fractured her ankle. Those steps were covered in linoleum with a metal nosing. And, over the years, much of the linoleum crumbled away, leaving the stairs just that much more treacherous.

 

At the bottom of the stairs, if one went right, there was the main basement space.

 

It was always wet. But, sometimes it was super wet.

My folks took great pains to try and have it fixed. Alas, it was always damp and the dehumidifier ran continuously. We used the basement to watch TV and even though there was a ping table, not much else. Oh, and don’t cringe, but there was actually a very out-of-tune piano down there. I think they must’ve thrown it down there, and then built the house around it.

The house was built in 1954. And, we moved there near the end of 1959.

However, if we were going down the steep stairs and at the bottom made a sharp left, there lived the scary laundry room.

It was unfinished, thus the walls were made of gray cinder block. The floor was poured concrete. There was a single bare light bulb in the middle of the room.

 

Get the picture?

 

As you walked through the door, straight ahead lived the hot water heater.

 

Sump-Pump - lovely isn

 

But to the left was the disgusting sump-pump. I seem to recall having nightmares about falling into it.

Then, when we first lived there, we had the world’s oldest, rustiest washing machine. It came complete with a rusty wringer that was always falling off.

 

mid century washing machine
Wait. That was it! And the gross sinks. The pipes and the hose! It’s all there! Only I’m sure ours was rustier.

via EBAY - $399 ! VINTAGE HOTPOINT ROUND CLOTHES WASHER WRINGING WRINGER WASHING MACHINE
Like this one. Yes, rusty, just like this hunk o’ junk. By the way they are selling ??? this on Ebay for $399? Are they barking mad? They’ll be lucky if a junk dealer will take it off their hands for 50 bucks. I mean that thing must be rife with tetanus!

 


But, this is what our wringer looked like. I’m quite positive. It was so weird– and ancient.

Did you know, that they still sell wringers? I bet some of you use them too. Actually handy gadget when hand washing. I just roll those things up in a towel and then step on the towel. Hey, it works!

 

crank clothes wringer Calliger hand crank

There you go, you can get your very own wringer here.

 

And, of course, there was an old rusty washboard.

 

via @thebohemisphere on etsy - vintage metal washboard

via @thebohemisphere on etsy – vintage metal washboard

 

Do you want to see one of the first electric washing machines?

 

Thor first electric washing machine early 20th century

Here it is. It was manufactured by Thor a day or two before I was born.

No, just kidding. It was around 1907.

 

hoovermatic-twin-tub-washing-machine
After a time, I believe my mom put her foot down and we got one of these. This one is a Hoovermatic twin washing tub. Cool!

Ironically, considering the sump-pump, big sinks, messy washing machine, etc., the laundry room was the driest part of the basement. Dry, but phenomenally utilitarian and ugly.

 

However, I rarely went into that depressing laundry room. And, here’s why.

 

You never knew what else might be lurking down there. For instance, for quite a time there were these too gross for words, uhhh… guinea pigs soaking in formaldehyde that my sister then, in high school brought home.

You know, they don’t make kids do stuff like that anymore. At least not in New York. Some states they still do. And, they don’t make our kids sit there and watch their sadistic 9th grade bio teacher torture a living frog. Sicko! Like, is there a point except to freak us out?

 

Oh, I’m sorry. Please forgive me… I got carried away there. But, that is my scary laundry room story.

The only other laundry room I’ve ever had was a washer and dryer inside a closet in our townhome in Goldens Bridge. At least it was on the second floor! However, it was a basic as can be.

 

Let’s go back in time to some of the “laundry rooms” of yore.

 

Jean-Baptiste_Greuze_(French_-_The_Laundress_(La_Blanchisseuse)

Jean-Baptiste_Greuze_(French_-_The_Laundress_(La_Blanchisseuse)

 

Oh, honey, honey… Are you looking at me? Yes, I’m afraid that this is your life. I hope you don’t mind a little unsolicited advice. Okay? But, may I recommend putting that bowl up a little higher? It’ll save your back some. She looks like the sort that is going to ignore that.

 

Édouard_Manet_-_Laundry_(Le_Linge)_-_BF957_-_Barnes_Foundation

Édouard_Manet_-_Laundry_(Le_Linge)_-_Barnes_Foundation

Still, many of the laundry rooms were outside. Well, weather permitting.

 

Édouard_Manet_-_Laundry_(Le_Linge)_detail

Just had to get in a detail shot of Monsieur Manet’s exquisite work. Those colors!

 

La Blanchisseuse 1890 Frederick Porter Vinton, American, 1846–1911. MFA, Boston

La Blanchisseuse 1890 Frederick Porter Vinton, American, 1846–1911. MFA, Boston

 

john-singer-sargent:la-biancheria-1910 - wiki art - laundry hanging

john-singer-sargent:la-biancheria-1910 – wiki art – laundry hanging – water color

 

Lavandieres Edouard Leon Cortes - 1930 - oil on canvas- Leighton Fine Art

Lavandieres Edouard Leon Cortes – 1930 – oil on canvas- Leighton Fine Art

 

Feeling better now? Me too! Believe me. I could do an entire post about laundry room art and photos.

 

However, I know that you want to see some laundry rooms and I do have some for you. Time has gotten away from me, so what I think I will do is share the images with a few thoughts. And, then I’ll open it up to you if you want to see more.

Or, if for instance, if you want to know more sources such as lighting, tile, appliances, etc. And, if there’s enough interest, I’ll do a follow-up post with as much as I can get to on your wish lists. How does that sound?

 

Let’s begin with laundry room number one

 

nancy-keyes-skirted-bar-area

Remember Nancy Keyes amazing kitchen? If you’ve never seen it, you must. And even if you have seen it, you must see it again.

Well, see the skirted bar in the image above from a little space just off the kitchen? What do you suppose lives behind the skirt?

 

Nancy Keyes washer dryer and bar
A beautiful Maytag front loading washer and dryer!

 

Now, I have an interesting factoid for you.

 

The Whirlpool Corporation owns Maytag and many of the other major appliance brands at this point in time. But, most of you probably don’t know that the first big Whirlpool production plant was located beginning in 1955 in my childhood town of Evansville, IN.

That plant was still in operation until 2009.

 

Okay, time for more beautiful laundry rooms!

 

laundry room - utility-room-full-farmhouse-tour-on-coco-kelley

Coco & Kelley

 

We can’t see the washing machine and dryer, but I just love that big, gleaming aluminum sink juxtaposed against the beautiful tile wall and herringbone brick floor. That’s reminding me of the a similar brick floor here.

 

laundry room Whittney Parkinson

Whittney Parkinson

 

This one has it all. Beautiful tiles, cabinetry fixtures and lighting.

 

120-Small-Laundry-Room-Ideas-You-Need-To-Know

Edward Deegan Architects

I love hidden washers and dryers! And, this is such a terrific thing to do if you need to have your laundry room in a space where you don’t want to have to look at it all of the time.

For some more ideas about that, click here.

 

Laundry: north-shore-cottage

Here’s the same shot with the doors closed

 

Huestis-Tucker-Architects-laundry-room

Huestis-Tucker-Architects

 

How gorgeous is this! I know, it looks like a kitchen, but it’s the laundry room!

 

Laura Casey - Charlotte-Interior-Designer-Laundry-RoomLaura Casey

Wallpaper is always a fabulous addition for a laundry room

 

Sarah Bartholomew residence, kitchen, laundry room off kitchen

Sarah Bartholomew

 

How fun and fresh is this laundry room! The wallpaper makes it.

 

West Bay Homes-black and white laundry room

West Bay Homes-black and white laundry room is always a timeless look.

 

via House of Turquoise - architect - Tim Barber via House of Turquoise

I adore this vintage inspired laundry room by architect Tim Barber and interior designer Tineke Triggs.

Well, that’s it for now. Please let me know if you want more on this topic and what you’d like to know more about. Operators are standing by. haha. Well, just me.

xo,

 

 

There’s a nice surprise waiting for you in Hot Sales. And, it’s about the S & L massive sale. There’s an inside promo code if you see this before midnight west coast time. Otherwise, the code is changing tomorrow. We’ll be updating it then.

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • patricia blaettler - October 14, 2019 - 11:11 AM

    I love that my laundry room is on the first floor. No more up and down to the basement! I have a long peg rack in the laundry room to let the delicates hang dry. Simple yet very helpful.ReplyCancel

  • Madonna - October 4, 2019 - 8:27 PM

    Gotta say I agree with Elizabeth. I live in a three level house, and I have to wonder why in the world anyone would build something like this and NOT have a dumb waiter?! A few years back I was caring for my dying mother-in-law on the main floor and my husband who’d just had surgery on the 2nd floor. A dumb waiter would have been most welcome.ReplyCancel

  • lils - October 4, 2019 - 8:17 PM

    This is out of topic, please don’t hate me. Laurel, would you write about interior designers you would hire? I know you wrote about them… but they’re so expensive! And fabulous, yes! Do they really make that amount in a year? I’m just being curious. Do they work with small budgets? lol. Sorry, I’m so curious.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 6, 2019 - 2:31 AM

      I don’t hate you; I just can’t answer everything any longer. it’s now hundreds of comments and emails every week.ReplyCancel

  • Pinkie Crabtree - October 4, 2019 - 8:04 PM

    I think I am the only person in the world who loves to do laundry. Seriously. Alas, I do not have a luxurious laundry room but it is indoors and not in the garage so I am thankful for that. My favorite is the black and white laundry room pictured above.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Zeilinger - October 4, 2019 - 12:41 PM

    Sigh. I fall into the 1950s built dungeon of doom, spiders, mice, bare bulbs, uncovered sump pump. Once had to have hubs fish out a drowned mouse😱. When I find myself whining over these unsavory conditions I remind myself of the days when I didn’t own a washer or dryer. Still I enjoy viewing all the pretty spaces. Love Nancy’s laundry. Love the art works you have selected for this article. And then I am perplexed over the proliferation of these new laundry rooms. I’ve raised four children, so I understand the meaning of LAUNDRY. It’s all the expensive cabinets. More than an average Jo’s kitchen! For what? How much soap and starch can one possibly have? When I win the lottery, I’ll content myself with a laundry nook and put the cabinetry in the ( oh I so wish I could have one) Butler’s pantry.ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - October 3, 2019 - 3:29 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    We made over our laundry room last winter. Brick floors, navy wallpaper, to the ceiling white cabinets, stainless sink & new lighting.
    But the big regret I have was I couldn’t get my husband to lower the electrical outlet that the machines are plugged in. And the box on the wall that brings in the water & drain lines. So now, instead of a clean uninterrupted line of backsplash, it’s cluttered up with those ugly things.
    Oh well, at least I have a laundry room.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 6:29 PM

      Yeah, and on that note I must gather all of my laundry together to go down to our laundry room. Fortunately, there’s an elevator. One time, however, it was broken and I had to do the laundry. It’s 3.5 long flights of stairs hauling that big, heavy basket. It took a few minutes. hahaReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Greene - October 3, 2019 - 1:04 PM

    My laundry area is in the basement. What I’d REALLY love is a combination laundry chute and dumbwaiter so I don’t have to carry laundry downstairs & upstairs. I hope these are still manufactured for when we remodel our kitchen in the future, as there’s probably no room for the appliances upstairs.
    Your basement laundry story reminds me of the basement laundry in a mid-1800s farmhouse where my parents lived during the early 1950s. There were blacksnakes 6 feet long down there that would hang over the rafters. Not poisonous, but my mom would have to ask my dad to move them away when they were draped over the washer. But I guess they kept down the mouse population!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 6:27 PM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I think that exists, but it’s not specifically a laundry shoot.ReplyCancel

  • sue - October 3, 2019 - 1:02 PM

    Laurel, I have an additional comment. Quality of products used in a home cannot be emphasized enough. Our home, built by my husband’s grandfather, (1954) along with an excellent carpenter, is proof that quality (which is hard to find these days) stands the test of time. Almost everything in our home, except the windows and exterior doors, is original. I have stripped all the wood work, including the kitchen cupboards and guests continually comment on how pretty our home is and think I chose the linoleum floor, counter tops and that everything is new! They are shocked when we tell them it is all 65 years old! It is all more durable than most homes built now. I am so grateful for quality. PS Even as a child, I have always liked white walls, quality second-hand furniture, etc. It stands the test of time.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 4:07 PM

      Hi Sue,

      You are so right. For the most part, they don’t build homes like they used to. But, that goes for a lot of things in our oft disposable society where it’s more important to make a buck than produce something with pride and integrity. Of course, it’s not across the board, but it exists.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - October 3, 2019 - 12:43 PM

    Laurel, I found your website a little while back. You have worked hard to not only put up the pretty pictures, but also all the real stuff behind making something work in a practical way for the long haul.

    Just sharing with you that this post really hit home for me. I am a farm/ranch wife living in a ranch home for 25 years. We still have the 1954-ness of this home, including all original kitchen everything. We just replaced those same steps you described with help from a very patient carpenter as you cannot get that glued down linoleum off and we had to completely build a new stairs. It turned out beautifully. It is oak and we get many compliments on it.

    We have 7 children, (5 boys). Now my adult sons show me their crooked toes that broke when stumbling against the metal strips when they were younger. They didn’t tell me at the time. We have no garage so our small utility room (11 x 7) does everything. Multiple boots, shoes, coveralls, coats (covered in grease and manure), tools, garden produce, baby farm animals that need nursing, a small sink for hand washing and yes, even horse tack.

    The floor is still the 1954 linoleum. It works if I keep it very clean. Many days I am just so thrilled for the conveniences of hot running water and electricity that a few generations ago didn’t have. We live on a ranch that was homesteaded in 1883 by my husbands family and we have reminders here of how hard life used to be. Thank you for all your very helpful insight! I can always “get” where you are coming from in architecture and design. I appreciate your blog as a break from my daily duty. May God bless you.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 2:03 PM

      Hi Sue,

      I love this comment so much because it is just a wonderful slice of American REAL life! And, despite all of the advice given on the “best” paint colors, the “perfect” proportions for a fireplace mantel, etc. the real beauty is from the people living in the home. The rest of it, is really not that important. It’s nice, of course, but it’s not what truly matters.

      I’m honored that you come here for a break from the day-to-day. And, may God bless you too!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - October 3, 2019 - 11:18 AM

    Also info regarding having a Sheila Maid in the laundry room would be fun. I just learned about these recently. Here’s an example: ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 1:55 PM

      Hi Stephanie,

      There has been much discussion about Sheila Maids and I believe some images in some of the past kitchen posts. Well, one that I can find, quickly is in Ben Pentreath’s kitchen when I was there exactly two years ago. There’s nothing hanging from it, however. Us Americans would’ve found that to be rather odd. But, I know better now.ReplyCancel

  • Rosalie - October 3, 2019 - 10:57 AM

    About those wringer washers…when I was very much younger, we had one on the porch of our farmhouse. I caught sight of one of my doll’s dresses swirling around in the washer (no lids back then!) fished it out and put it through the wringer as I had seen my mother do. I forgot to let go. It wrung my arm through till I was dangling above the floor. No permanent damage done but talk about scary!! There are probably emergency releases on the newer wringers.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 1:49 PM

      OMG! Is it any wonder that any of us survived our childhood if we’re over 50 now? Thankfully, children’s bodies are surprisingly “rubbery.” God knows what he’s doing. Twice, I somehow managed to shut the car door on my son’s hand when he was about 3 or 4. Aside from *me* nearly passing out, when I realized what was going on, there was no damage to son’s delicate hand. WTF? How is that possible?ReplyCancel

  • cheryl - October 3, 2019 - 9:46 AM

    I’m guessing the Evansville house was on the east side. I still live in Evansville where the high yesterday was 95 degrees and the Fall Festival (every fried food you can imagine is sold) is next week. When I bought my house we had the wonderful wrought iron fence in the entry with a giant mural of a steamboat. I would love a laundry room…my w/d are behind double doors in the kitchen and no matter how many times we try to level the front loader it still shakes the room when it spins.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 1:44 PM

      Hi Cheryl,

      Yes, the house was on the east side, on the edge of Hebron Meadows. I went to Hebron and attended the old school (I know that they tore it down and while back– sad face) and was the first class to go from kindergarten all the way through 8th grade when they built the annex which I understand is now a middle school. But, effectively, it was then too, since it was only for grades 6-8, except at recess. It was strange being 14 and sharing a playground with 5-year-olds. We probably also had some assemblies in the gym with the lower grades.

      Excellent public school system in Evansville! I imagine it still is. They learned me how to right real good. haha! Joking, of course with that sentence.ReplyCancel

  • Jenne - October 2, 2019 - 11:43 PM

    Thanks for posting the lovely laundry pics, Laurel. I had never seen the La Blanchisseuse by Vinton before –its simply beautiful.
    I’d like to cast my vote for more laundry room themed posts, particularly laundry rooms that double as mud rooms, if you’re so inclined. And while I haven’t any horses I would love to see you do a tack room post as well. Just thought I’d chip in as part of the horseless 99%. *grin*
    Thanks, Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • Risa - October 2, 2019 - 10:47 PM

    My childhood laundry room wasn’t a scary or unattractive space, but it was part laundry room and part home dental lab for my father the dentist.

    Clean laundry and plaster models of people’s teeth and gums. It seemed perfectly normal at the time.

    When he retired he installed a small dental chair and equipment by the dryer so he could still do dental work for family members. Now, THAT was strange.ReplyCancel

  • Sadhna - October 2, 2019 - 9:39 PM

    Love this post…the laundry room is such a great place to have some fun. I combined my old pantry, mudroom and laundry spaces into one larger space and I love being in there so much…here is a link to see it
    in DominoReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 1:34 PM

      Oh wow! What a fun space and congratulations for getting it published! Thanks for sharing that!ReplyCancel

  • Ann E Wardlow - October 2, 2019 - 9:12 PM

    Perfect timing — I’m about to convince a little closet to become a laundry “room.” My big concern is that everyone I know with a front loading washing machine is disappointed they left a top loader, due to what is occurring inside their front loaders … how can I say it gently? Um, how about: organic material that grows in a damp area that is hard to discourage. So, I think I have to go with a stackable unit with a top loading washing machine and a dryer on top. We can keep the larger machines in the basement but have the convenient machines on the 2nd floor. And after seeing your posts, I am convinced to go with colors that make me happy. Your posts inspire me. Thank you! AnnReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 1:28 PM

      Hi Ann,

      There are remedies for organic materials that grown in damp areas, aka: mold problems. That is a biggie that should be addressed in the subsequent post.ReplyCancel

  • Kiera - October 2, 2019 - 7:53 PM

    I feel your pain on the childhood laundry room fear. We only ever had a washing machine until my grandparents gave us their old dryer. My dad didn’t want it because dryers used too much electricity, but my mom wanted it (because she did all the laundry and was sick of hanging clothes up outside in the winter). So my dad put the dryer in our cellar. It smelled like moldy potatoes, had a dirt floor and tons of spiders. Unsurprisingly, the dryer didn’t last a year. I still covet an actual laundry room and would love another post on them.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 1:25 PM

      Hi Kiera,

      Ugh, that sounds pretty awful. Thanks so much for your input!ReplyCancel

  • Anita Lynn - October 2, 2019 - 7:23 PM

    Hi Laurel – Fun post, and timely for me. Our situation is closest to the Sarah Bartholomew room. We are getting close to having cabinets built out to the right side of the W/D similar to that, and putting a stone counter-top. I would love to run it all the away across, like hers and others I’ve seen like that, but can’t figure out how we would then get to the plumbing in the back of the appliances if necessary. We have pretty much decided to just have the counter top over the cabinets for practical purposes. I would love to know if there is a “designers’ secret” that I’m not aware of. (And I know your answer is going to be “consult a local designer” – lol)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 3, 2019 - 1:24 PM

      Hi Anita,

      That is actually something that a person who specializes in installing appliances would know how to do. Since they make washing machines that are meant to go under a counter, it is definitely possible. However, I would use a professional installer.ReplyCancel

  • Helen Avalon - October 2, 2019 - 5:10 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Another fun post! I recently read a book (Home Sweet Maison)by an American woman who married a French man. She goes through the house room by room talking about the differences in how the French live. When she got to the laundry room I was prepared to nod off but I actually learned some things and now have stain removers to address the specific type of stain (for example fat and ink stains are treated differently) and – like the commenter below – have better ways of drip drying certain clothes. My clothes are definitely lasting longer these days.ReplyCancel

  • Diane - October 2, 2019 - 5:02 PM

    Hi Laurel! The house I grew up in my parents built in 1955. It had the apparently common unfinished basement with the wooden stairs going down. But my mother insisted on having the washer connections put in the kitchen. She didn’t care if the washer was in the kitchen, she didn’t want to drag the laundry up and down stairs. I can’t blame her really. Thanks for another inspiring post! Now I want blue and white wallpaper for the laundry room!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 6:43 PM

      Hi Diane,

      We did have a clothes shoot in the kitchen. That was fun. But, of course, what goes down must come up.

      We had a cleaning lady who did most of the laundry.ReplyCancel

  • Mara - October 2, 2019 - 4:37 PM

    As one of your horse-owning/riding readers, I second Fran’s request for beautiful tack rooms! In fact, my actual tack room is twice as lovely as my laundry room, but only because I’ve taken the time to decorate. Girl’s gotta have her priorities!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 6:42 PM

      Okay, a third topic I know nothing about. lol I’ll enjoy researching it though.ReplyCancel

  • l - October 2, 2019 - 3:43 PM

    amazing post, Laurel! Yes, you know us or me at least very well! haha. I’d love more posts about laundry rooms. I follow The laundress on instagram, they have so many great ideas as well. And I’m wondering about laundry layout. You tought me about “unkitchen” concept and now I apply it to “unlaundry” in terms of design! Actually in my real life I don’t have any laundry at all, but one day I’ll have something with beautiful marbles, I need them in my life.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 6:42 PM

      Hi L,

      I’ll have to look up the Laundress. Sounds great!ReplyCancel

  • Patricia - October 2, 2019 - 3:31 PM

    The first laundry room is lovely! It looks like a bar to me. Great idea! Makes doing the laundry less tedious? lolol!!!ReplyCancel

  • Chris - October 2, 2019 - 3:11 PM

    The story about your aunt brought back the memory of 15 year old me falling down the basement stairs when the rubber tread slipped out from under my foot. I was carrying a cast iron dutch oven at the time. The pot broke into two pieces and the lid was in three. I fractured my elbow. Not a total loss since it got me excused from final exams.
    My laundry for the last 34 years has been in a closet in the upstairs hall just outside my bedroom. The thought of hauling laundry up and down two flights to a basement laundry gives me the willies and reminds me of our previous house.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 5:20 PM

      Oh, my! How awful Chris. So glad you weren’t hurt any worse than that. We had that situation too in our old townhouse. Very convenient!ReplyCancel

  • Sheree L - October 2, 2019 - 2:34 PM

    Laurel, I could be wrong, but I think the “bar” that Kathi Mendenhall was referring to was the liquor in the Nancy Keyes laundry area! 🙂 I’m just drooling over these laundry rooms! Thanks so much for the beautiful inspiration.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 5:18 PM

      Hi Sheree,

      Oh dear me. Of course! I wasn’t looking at the post. Thanks so much for helping me out. I have the power to change that, but I’ll leave the bar, bar part in, too. Both are good. Now, where’s that bar? lolReplyCancel

  • Ashley - October 2, 2019 - 2:28 PM

    Great post! These examples show front-loading machines. Can a beautiful laundry room include a top-loading washer?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 5:17 PM

      Hi Ashley,

      Yes, absolutely. The advantage of course, with front loading is that a counter can go over the units. And, I know that some are concerned about mold issues with front loading machines, but there are solutions there, as well.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - October 2, 2019 - 2:11 PM

    To prevent static electricity, add three woolen balls or tennis balls in the dryer with your clothes, dont use the high dryer setting either, use low dry or normal dry, that should help the problem. The tennis balls in the dryer are noisy, the woolen balls are quieter.T
    Great article as always.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 5:15 PM

      Hi Tina,

      I knew someone would have an answer. Of course, there are dryer sheets too, but I’d rather not use those. I wonder what’s the science with the tennis balls or woolen balls. And, is it anything woolen, I’m wondering?ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - October 2, 2019 - 1:53 PM

    This is timely! I’m just in the process of researching laundry rooms with the idea of doing a renovation this winter or early next spring.

    I am lucky that the laundry room is on the main floor since, as I mentioned in the previous post, I live in a century home. Otherwise I would be living the very scary basement. Lol. The problem with this room is that it also contains a powder room, the only bathroom on the main floor, and guests have to walk through the laundry area to get to it. That’s bass ackwards, as the saying goes. I love the idea of hiding the washer and dryer behind doors and I really liked the example you gave. I’d like to get a sink in that area too and kill two birds with one stone – for hand washing laundry and for hand washing guests too.

    I’m wanting to do something a little more fun and less utilitarian, or kitchen-y. Maybe a fun wallpaper. But I think I’ll stick with white or stainless steel appliances. The coloured ones are definitely fun but seems they will end up like the coloured sinks and bathtubs of bygone years. Do you agree?

    Just want to add that my mom had a washer/ringer machine that I remember very well. It was quite painful if you got your fingers in the ringer. Yikes!

    Thanks so much for this post.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 5:13 PM

      Hi Catherine,

      I think it’s safest to do white or stainless appliances.ReplyCancel

  • Ani Yessaillian - October 2, 2019 - 1:49 PM

    Love this post… Dreaming of a having a laundry room like the one Sarah B. put together 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Fran Ferrari - October 2, 2019 - 1:35 PM

    My home is also reminiscent of a tack room since I’ve been a rider for years. I have a blanket rack in my laundry area for hanging items to dry. I bet saddle rack could work. I’m in the process of redoing the laundry mudroom area and now thinking how I can incorporate more of my tack room tricks in that are. Maybe we could look at some nice tack rooms.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 3:45 PM

      Hi Fran,

      I could investigate that. Although, we’re only probably talking about 1% or less of readers. Still, some readers are designers who might have clients who have horses. I’m assuming you have a horse(s). Or, maybe you go riding and need to put your stuff somewhere. Hopefully, someone will educate me.ReplyCancel

  • Ramona - October 2, 2019 - 1:34 PM

    Hi Laurel!! One absolutely necessary element is a drying rod for drip drying. Mine is above the sink, but not positioned perfectly as it is attached to the modular shelving which is not that deep or high. Ideally, it should be high enough to drip dry a tunic top without hitting the bottom of the sink. Have I explained that clearly?

    We also had an electric roller washing machine (brand new) at one point. I had to use it. The roller scared me and if you didn’t feed the clothing piece correctly the roller would POP open when the material was too thick. I have no idea why my mom purchased the thing. Modern washers were already available.

    A beautiful laundry is a thing to behold and makes the chore almost fun.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 3:43 PM

      Hi Ramona,

      She probably got it because it’s all she knew at the time. And yes, those rollers could be lethal!ReplyCancel

  • Lizzy - October 2, 2019 - 1:14 PM

    I would love to have a gorgeous sink in my laundry room, but it’s not practical for cleaning paint brushes….well, maybe if it’s deep enough. Of the rooms pictured, Whittney Parkinson’s is my favorite. Do you know what color the cabinets are?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 3:42 PM

      Oh sorry, Lizzy, I don’t know the color of the cabinets. I always suggest matching what you see because what it is, is going to look different, anyway.ReplyCancel

  • Michi - October 2, 2019 - 1:06 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    My first memories of a laundry room are so similar, except ours was on the right side of the basement. And those steep stairs, with the aluminium nosing. Ouch. I fell down them once whilst sleep waking. I also use the rolled up towel trick for hand washables. But I put them in my salad spinner first! Works really well to get out excess moisture.
    Laundry has come a long way, and I feel grateful every time I use my handy machines. After watching my mom and grandmother use a wringer washer, I am relieved I don’t have to risk injury to do the washing.ReplyCancel

  • susie - October 2, 2019 - 11:50 AM

    In our basement in Chicago we actually had a “sheet mangle” for pressing the sheets. At my grandparents’ house (was built in 1890) there were huge soapstone laundry tubs. Cold front has already come through Wisconsin.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 3:41 PM

      Hi Susie,

      Well, it just rained here and I have to go out in a minute. Should I drive half a mile or walk half a mile?

      Anyway, I think we might’ve had something like that too? Not sure.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - October 2, 2019 - 10:47 AM

    I love this post. Thank you! Adore all things laundry. Anything else on this topic would be great- storage solutions, cabinet colors and how to tie a laundry room style into the rest of the house. We have two laundry rooms 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 3:40 PM

      Hi Stephanie,

      Yes, a lot of people have two laundry rooms. One upstairs and one either on the first floor or basement. If one has kids and they ever are sick in the middle of the night, it will be clear why that second machine near the bedrooms is a really good idea!ReplyCancel

  • Patti - October 2, 2019 - 10:27 AM

    These laundry rooms are gorgeous! Especially love the art you shared! It would be great to hear more of your thoughts on this topic: Like how to get bright lighting that’s still pretty and what to do with rooms that are not exclusively laundry rooms. For instance, our washer & dryer are in the mudroom right off the kitchen so they tend to be fairly visible. I’m not even sure why I want to make it less obvious that we have these appliances. It’s not like our guests would otherwise assume our clothes are kept clean through magic! But I confess I really like the clean look of the rooms with less than prominent giant metal boxes!ReplyCancel

  • Carol - October 2, 2019 - 9:54 AM

    Please Laurel, can we have more? We’re in the planning stages of a whole house remodel of our charming home that was built in 1941. Although it’s not a huge house it was designed with a clear delineation of spaces for family and guests and the live-in maid. We refer to all of the “working spaces” as Gussie’s (after the character in “Mr.Blanding Builds is Dream House”). Poor Gussie, in her room over the garage only had one measly electric outlet and a bathtub that my toddler granddaughter refers to as the “doll tub”. Anyway, back to Gussie’s laundry room… it’s in the basement accessed only by stairs from Gussie’s kitchen. Although it’s actually a fairly nice set of stairs, wide and not too steep. How did your mother do it?! Gussie had two pretty large basement windows but the ceiling isn’t particularly high and every darn water line , gas line, and heating vent runs overhead. And of course, one bare lightbulb and the ubiquitous cement laundry sinks oddly placed 20″ from the wall.
    I love doing laundry. I mean, I LOVE doing laundry. I have owned a Miele rotary iron for 20 years and the thought of an unironed sheet gives me the shakes. Needless to say Gussie’s laundry room is getting an update but I’m looking for all the help I can get. I want it appropriate to the style of the house and as appealing a place as a basement laundry can be.
    Any insight from you would be deeply appreciated!
    CarolReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 3:37 PM

      Hi Carol,

      You love laundry and ironing. Ya wanna come over here? I’ll be happy to have you do mine. lolReplyCancel

  • Pamela Dunn - October 2, 2019 - 9:14 AM

    Good Morning Laurel, you just brought back so many childhood memories. Can we play the mine was so much worse game? My Mom had to walk outside down a wobbly wood staircase to the basement. It had old stone (smelly) walls where a washer and a wringer sat next to a dirt floor coal cellar. We would never go in that space..it was super scary. Then my angel Mom carried the basket of wet clothes back up the stairs and hung them on a clothes line! I don’t know how she did it with 5 children!
    Thank you for the post, I loved the paintings.
    Best, PamReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 1:41 PM

      Hi Pamela,

      Is Jim (Parnassus) your brother by chance? hahaReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - October 2, 2019 - 8:43 AM

    Hello Laurel, I hate to upstage you, but your old laundry room was paradise compared to mine in Kirtland, Ohio (home of the famous Kirtland Massacre). There was no nice, worn linoleum on the stairs, but rickety wooden stairs open at the back. The house had been enlarged, but the basement was from the original part, and had damp, musty stone walls. The spiders were so large that when my sister came to visit, she was afraid to go down there alone.

    Luckily, my next laundry room was the nicest. Still in the basement, but this time painted, clean and roomy. The best part was a large, smooth enamel table for folding laundry, an idea I would copy whenever I could. Also, a small crib (actually my old one) which my mother had started using for clean rags and as a kind of laundry bin. It was very handy, and ended its career as a Halloween prop–The Haunted Crib.

    I can see that laundry rooms have come a long way. I still like basement ones, though, for their extra space, and distance from the main areas of the house (I hate the smell of laundry, even using unscented products.)
    –JimReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 1:40 PM

      Hi Jim,

      Oh, that’s interesting about not liking the smell of laundry. I do admit, some of those fabric softeners have the most gag-awful scent, but I like the smell of clothes coming right out of the dryer. In my current laundry room situation in my apartment building, are five washing machines and five dryers– all commercial. That’s fine. What’s not fine is that these dryers which are relatively new create a phenomenal amount of static electricity six months out of the year. Nylon, in particular is especially bad, so I don’t put anything nylon in the dryer. I have to be careful when pressing the button for the elevator too. I usually hold a thick towel in between my hand and the button.

      Then, when I get upstairs, I have to offload the electricity on my fridge by hitting it with the back of my arm. I imagine you don’t have that problem in Taipei. hahaReplyCancel

  • Joyce - October 2, 2019 - 7:32 AM

    Thank you for this inspirational post,these spaces are beautiful.My husband and I live in a 1950’s house with pretty much the same laundry room now as you describe from your childhood. Our sump pump is covered, so slightly less frightening. Instead of floating guinea pigs we have live spiders. Instead of a single bare lightbulb, we have a bank of 3 fluorescent tubes hanging by chains.We have the same exact sink,same concrete walls,and dented plain white mismatched washer and dryer. I listen to podcasts while doing the laundry,it comes out clean,and I am content,but maybe someday……ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 1:32 PM

      Hi Joyce,

      Come to think of it, there probably was a cover for the sump pump. Well, anyway, I bet there are a lot of these basement laundries! Well, actually, I know that there are, because a lot of my clients had them. I don’t recall ever helping anyone create a beautiful laundry room. But, I think that they are becoming increasingly more common.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - October 2, 2019 - 7:15 AM

    These laundry rooms are beautiful. My laundry is a stacked unit in the corner of the kitchen. Nothing beautiful about that. But, the most beautiful laundry I have seen is in Guatemala. Right in the town square was a large laundry pool. Each person had their own built in tub that the main pool filled. Women gathered to wash and socialize together with a beautiful view of a church.ReplyCancel

  • Karena - October 2, 2019 - 6:46 AM

    I can live with my tiny laundry room but I’d love ideas about how to replace boob lights! Love your website!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 1:22 PM

      Hi Karena,

      There’s a very old post on this topic, however, it is well over five years old, so it is out-of-date anyway.ReplyCancel

  • Julie - October 2, 2019 - 6:44 AM

    Good morning Laurel. Awesome story! Hahaha, I too had a scary wet basement as a child. As an adult, I have loathed basements. The only time I have had one was in military block housing while stationed in Germany. Yep, schlepped down to the basement laundry area most unwillingly. Love this post about laundry rooms. Yes, I would love to see a post about additional laundry rooms or even larger laundry closets that have beautiful task lighting. The laundry closets, while walk-in, often have “boob” lighting. I know you have created several posts on lighting, one of them noting bathrooms. That post showed sconces flanking mirrors which is ideal and what I would really like to have. Alas, it is not to be. In my bathroom, there is no way to do sconces without tearing up walls and moving electrical boxes. Would you do a post showing more bathroom mirror / vanity lighting combos featuring pretty fixtures that mount over the mirrors? This is an issue I think many people have, but would like better ideas than the solid shiny 80s barlight with 6 round glaring bulbs. You know what I’m talking about!! Have a great day Laurel!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 1:20 PM

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks for the suggestions. I also considered working mudrooms into this since the laundry is sometimes in the mudroom. But, I knew from the start that the addition of a mudroom would be too much.ReplyCancel

  • Kathi Mendenhall - October 2, 2019 - 5:18 AM

    Wow. Lots here. I have a side by side behind louvered doors. Want to change to stackable W/D with shelves alongside as I am only 5’tall and oh, my, who can reach those cabinets at the top. But in the meantime, how about that bar on top of the washer and dryer. I am all in on that. Just Brilliant!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 2, 2019 - 1:17 PM

      Hi Kathi,

      So sorry for the delay today in answering comments. I had an unusually difficult time falling asleep. But, anyway, yes, a bar for hanging up clothes right after they come out of the dryer, is a brilliant idea. Anything that will save me from ironing is a blessing. (note: Sheree kindly told me later that of course, that the bar is a bar for serving drinks. too funny. But, yes, both are a good idea!)ReplyCancel