A Fresh Spin for a Functional Laundry Room
Formerly part of a cluttered storage and office area, a laundry room sacrifices a little square footage for a lot more function—and style
Long on charm, vintage houses are by definition short on modern conveniences. Even when a laundry-room addition is part of the package, it doesn't always satisfy, as Sarah and Dan Wessel found when they moved into their 1907 Tudor-style home, in Webster Groves, Missouri.
Shown: A transom and custom trim frame the 5-foot-wide passageway and double pocket doors, echoing details elsewhere in the house. Brick-look tile in a herringbone pattern helps define the new laundry area.
The existing laundry bumpout was one room that included an office desk and a coat closet, though the nearest exterior door was at the far end of the adjoining kitchen. After living with it—and its sagging, improperly tiled floor—for five years, the Wessels hired architect Michael Blaes. His solution: Move a load-bearing wall to create separate laundry and mudroom areas, add pocket doors to conceal the washer and dryer, when desired, and give the mudroom direct access to the outside.
Designer Wendy Kuhn specified a farm sink and sage-green laundry cabinets that match the kitchen's. Necessities, like a hanging rack and an ironing board, are out of sight, so period-style cabinets and counters can take center stage. Kuhn even found room for the family files. Says Sarah, "Now the room has all that I need, just where I need it."
Shown: Though ringed with handsome windows, the room invited disarray and was inefficient for doing laundry.
Centering the sink on the wall allows for distinctly separate tasks, like folding laundry and repotting plants. The ironing board pops up from a drawer as needed. A washstand-style backsplash gives new granite countertops a vintage look.
Architect: Michael Blaes, Blaes Architects; 314-968-9202
Designer: Wendy Kuhn, Karr Bick; 314-645-6545
Contractor: James Sepe, Tri-Square Construction Inc., St. Louis; 314-647-3246
Washer and dryer: Whirlpool
Ironing-board insert: Rev-A-Shelf
A collapsible clothes rack tucks into a cabinet when not in use.
Homeowner tip: "A pull-down clothes rack provides hanging space while you're ironing, then is out of sight when you're all done." —Sarah Wessel, Webster Groves, MO.
Hanging rack: Rev-A-Shelf
Custom cabinets: Mouser Cabinetry
Countertops: Marron Cohiba granite
Handmade floor tile: Ken Mason Tile
Moving a load-bearing wall by 54 inches created a 96-square-foot laundry room and a separate mudroom area.
1. Installed a space-saving pull-down clothes rack and ironing-board insert, allowing for file drawers below.
2. Kept the existing closet to store bulky winter coats, as well as a broom and a vacuum.
3. Added an exterior door in the mudroom for direct access to and from outside.
4. Centered the focal-point sink along the far wall, with a pullout trash bin to the right.
5. Shifted the washer and dryer slightly in order to move the wall in line with the coat closet.
6. Put pocket doors in the relocated wall to hide the laundry room from view, as needed.