The Family Room Laundry Room

If you've got athletic adolescents, then you've undoubtedly spent myriad hours sorting through and washing team uniforms, often in that windowless cave otherwise known as the basement. For Dana Cristee, wife to Jeff and mother of three sports-mad boys, doing the family's usual three loads a day in their old house also meant schlepping overflowing clothes baskets from second-floor bedrooms. "I was always going up and down the stairs to our basement," says Dana. "And spending what seemed like more time down there than in our living room." When planning the layout of their new Shingle-style house in Carmel, Indiana, Dana and Jeff vowed not to repeat the cycle and consolidated a number of their household’s needs into a laundry room-meets-family room on the first floor.

Their wish list included a built-in laundry chute (Slide 9, #1) to eliminate perilous trips down the stairs; an after-school meeting area with an island and stools (Slide 10, #2) where the boys could access the home's WiFi network on their laptops; a shower stall to bathe the dog in (Slide 11, #3); a double bowl soaking sink (Slide 9, #4); and an ironing center where Jeff could press his golf shirts. In response, cabinetry designer Shari Porter decked out a 15-by-15-foot space with all those features and more. Easy-to-wipe laminate cabinets (5) hold school supplies, as well as cleaning products and hand tools for "quick fixes" around the house, says Dana. Undercounter cubbies (6) contain laundry baskets, and long drawers (Slide 12, #7) store gift-wrap and ribbons. Subtle details make the space function better: Clipped corners on the island (Slide 10, #8) prevent bumps and bruises, hip-high counters make folding easier, and a hanging rod (Slide 11, #9) in the shower serves as a drip-dry rack. A slate floor running from the hallway off the garage, through the laundry room, and into the kitchen unites the space with the rest of the house. As a finishing touch, Dana and Jeff painted the laundry-room walls a pumpkin color to match their new Kenmore front-loading washer and dryer. (Slide 10, #10).
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