Cleaning, Organizing, & Eco
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts so honestly over the last few days after Thursday’s post update. Please know that we’ve read every comment and are giving them lots of thought. Sometimes we get so caught up in “the response” that it’s hard to fully absorb what people are saying, really think about it, and address it in actions and not just in knee-jerk words. We aren’t glossing over things by posting this, but it gives us time to keep processing so we can be thoughtful and honest in return.
In the meantime…
The laundry room’s finished!
And we could kiss Lesley for her idea of carving out a new dedicated laundry room. It’s like it was always there! (Plus a new glass door at the end of a formerly dark hallway with light streaming in = angels singing sound effect to us).
When we last checked in, things were looking a little unfinished, but it’s amazing what that last 10% can do for a room. Our first steps were to add the missing filler, baseboard, toe kick, and crown that we had accounted for when we installed the cabinets (to bridge those gaps on the side, top, and bottom). Then it was on to adding the missing door casing, baseboards, and the new doorknob that ties into the rest of ours. Lastly, we had a party and the under-cabinet lights were invited (and installed).
Can I just say that the under-cabinet lights are my new favorite thing? I want to cover my house with them. I want to put on some R&B and bathe in a tub full of under cabinet lights.
They currently plug in behind the washer – you might be able to see the small white cord snaking down the left corner of the room above the washer – but we have a call in to our electrician to add a switch for them on the wall by the door. That way we can flick them on when we walk in instead of using the toggle switch on the cord.
They were sort of an impulse update back when we were buying our cabinets and they were TOTALLY WORTH THE IMPULSE. I know I’m type shouting at you but I mean it. If I were talking to you in person my voice would be raised and my hands would be flapping around. It was all thanks to a reader who mentioned it was easier to see stains and spot treat them before tossing them into the wash after she added some. In summary: Twinkies are not always worth the impulse, but under cabinet lights? DO IT.
When they’re off the room is still nice and bright from the overhead light, although we’d love to add a skylight or a some solar-tube someday.
After our finishing trims, fillers, and lights were in, it was momma’s favorite part. THE THINGS! Like the drying rack, the ironing board, some art, a laundry sorter, and everything that I got to basket up and stack and pile into the cabinets and drawers.
The laundry room wants to hug it out. Look at those outstretched arms.
We thought things on the shelf should largely have simple functions to make life easier, so there’s a basket for lost socks (currently housing a few of Clara’s) and a dish for change and other random stuff we find in pockets before things go into the wash (if you’re a certain aforementioned member of our family that might mean Legos, mom’s earrings, and and a few crayons for good measure). We also like the idea of keeping our everyday detergent out on the shelf so it’s easy to grab (you can see that in the wider shot a few photos back).
There’s also a mint green caddy to store things like lint rollers and dryer balls along with a mint green trash can which we ended up putting right on the counter for small things like balls of lint and tags from clothing or old washed-papers-from-pockets. The little fake-o succulent is just there’s to add some life to the laundry room – even if it’s faux real.
If you spin around to the wall opposite the washer, we have a drying rack. And it’s kind of a game changer. We used to just lay things outside on the daybed to air dry (or in the extra deep windowsill in the living room of our last house) so to have a devoted pull-out drying rack for hanging or draping things (or clipping them up) is pretty great.
I was leaning towards ordering one from The Container Store but then I saw someone saying it was meh and I saw this one on amazon with a ton of good reviews that swayed us. It boasts over 12 square-feet of drying space for hanging or laying items thanks to the pull out design that extends two feet out from the wall. It’s so nice to have this much hanging and draping real estate. I’m officially on the drying rack train now guys. High fives! I feel like we need a secret handshake or something.
Oh and it closes up like this when it’s not in use. Stealth mode.
Underneath it we have a three-bin laundry sorter from Crate & Barrel. John’s sister grabbed one a few weeks ago and raved about it so we took the plunge. It has only been a few days but we’re drinking the same laundry sorter Cool-aid. Picture us sipping it while cruising along on The Drying Rack Express with spare under-cabinet lights in my purse.
For the ironing board we debated everything from a mini-pull-out or fold-down wall or drawer mounted one but I prefer a full sized board and I like it to be out of the way, but portable. Sometimes I just like to iron in front of the TV. We’ve used this system of two large wall hooks secured with anchors to hold it up off the floor in our last laundry area, which worked well (remember our ironing board wars? They are so ON).
We decided to hang it behind the door on the wall (not the door itself since we worried that might rattle). The hooks stick out a little and would otherwise get slammed by the door so we got one of those small white doorstop things for the back of the door. Ignore that light switch near the door though (it’s the old hall light that we debated keeping just in case but it’s ridiculous back there so we’re going to terminate it when our electrician comes to add a switch for the under-cabinet lights).
For now the art on the left side of the room is just framed pages from a book called Time & Tide by Christian Chaize (it’s full of gorgeous photography). I still have my eye on something like this by Emily Jeffords though, so there might be some musical frames going on.
Speaking of the frames, they’re from Target. We loved that the wood tone tied into our baskets and the laundry shelf and counter, so home they came.
The other side of the room has a little more art – like a wood canvas from Help Ink that I love (it says Bee Kind with bees having a blast all over it). I also hung one of my favorite pieces of fabric (it’s an old handkerchief that a friend of mine found with the name Clara embroidered on it). Something about the old linen fabric and the embroidery whispered laundry room to me.
There’s also another print from my Tide & Time book that I clipped up with a wooden pants hanger. Seemed laundry-room appropriate. I’d love to clip up a Clara painting eventually, so we might have a little crafternoon bonanza ahead of us.
In my mood board I also had a printing press drawer (Clara and I collect heart rocks and I thought it would be so cute to display them in an old wooden drawer with all those tiny compartments for them) but we haven’t come across any that would work yet. They’re totally one of those I-see-them-in-every-antique-store-when-I’m-not-looking-for-them-but-they’re-sneaky-like-a-snake-when-I-am-on-the-hunt.
For the cabinet hardware we went with these simple octagon pulls from Lowe’s. We actually grabbed a bunch of options from Anthropologie (Fashion Show! Fashion Show! Fashion Show At Lunch!) but after holding them all up the simplicity and the nice heavy feeling of the Lowe’s ones won us over. We have two metals going on in here (I like a mix as long as each of them are present enough times to look intentional), so these guys are sporting the polished chrome look along with things like the rolling cart and the knobs on the washer & dryer.
On the ceiling we went with a flush mount light from our Shades of Light collection.
We had a whiter/cooler light bulb dangling from the fixture box before we installed this light, but switched it out for a warmer LED one that makes the room feel less cold (it brings out the honey tones in the shelf, frames, and baskets – and zaps some of the starkness out of the white cabinets).
The oil-rubbed bronze doorknob and similar coloring on the washer and dryer tied it in – especially since the washer and dryer also have chrome on them – so they’re sort of a bridge between those two metals that we mixed throughout the room.
Look at John modeling the new laundry room. You’d almost believe he likes laundry…
- Framing (labor & materials): $360
- Electric (labor & materials): $400
- Plumbing (labor & materials): $375
- New dryer vent: $87
- New HVAC vent: $59
- Drywall & insulation: $298
- Drywall mudding: $84
- Sub-floor materials: $30
- Tiled floor: $451
- Ikea cabinets, filler pieces, toe kick, and under-cabinet lighting:
$862$802 (we went with single puck LEDs instead of the long strip ones we originally got)
- Appliance re-install: $15
- Tiled marble accent wall: $281
- Shelf & counter (including stain testers & stain): $97
- A new glass door for the hallway + framing and hanging two doors: $297 (new tools included)
- Trim, crown, baseboard and door casings for both doors + two new doorknobs: $268
- Function/organization stuff (including baskets, our laundry sorter, the drying rack, hooks to hang ironing board, etc): $112
- Finishing touches (like the overhead light, cabinet hardware, wood frames, etc): $176
- TOTAL: $4,192
We think it would be really fun to have a realtor come and estimate what she might list our house for so we can see how much value this reno may have added (along with the other stuff we’ve done over the past year).
And since we’re listing stuff, I think our favorite functional updates are the laundry sorting cart, the drying rack, all the storage in the cabinets and drawers, and the added countertop/shelf surface we’ve gained. When it comes to things that make it feel the most upgraded, the tile backsplash, under cabinet lights, crown molding, and soft-close doors and drawers definitely elevated the room for us (so if you have a laundry zone that could use a little love, those might be nice add-ons).
Couldn’t leave without a little before & after action. Remember when this was our laundry area back when we moved in?
So. Much. Better.
Thanks for coming along on this winding and long-winded laundry room renovation, guys! It’s one of our favorite house changes so far since it’s literally a room that didn’t exist before. We’re more gleeful than… I don’t know… a pigeon with a hotdog? A dog with a blog? A kid in a candy store without adult supervision and unlimited funds? It’s up there.
As promised, we’re back with the details of how we organized the six new shelves and eight new drawers in our office, along with the drawers in my floating desk and the filing/printer cabinet on the other side of the room. In other words: what went where.
It’s awesome to have so much more storage space, both out in the open and behind closed doors, so let’s spin over to the left and face our new desk/bookcase wall first.
Here are the animated GIFs that John mentioned on Monday. You were on the edge of your seat for these, right? Or were you excited about donuts? I can’t remember. Here’s the bookcase to the left of John’s desk coming together in GIF form:
And here’s the one to the right filling up in fast motion:
Between both sides of the open shelves, we managed to work in eight magazine storage boxes (from Target). We used them to hold our press stuff since we’ve saved magazines with a mention/feature of our site or any column that we’ve written. Now instead of shoving them all into various cabinets in our dining room buffet (where we used to keep them) we finally have them all organized by year with little tabs on that page. It makes it a lot easier to find things.
We also brought out a bunch of books that we had stuffed into our kitchen cabinets, and added a few decorative boxes that we already had (the blue ones are from Bed Bath & Beyond when I was in college, and the cream one is from HomeGoods last year). They’re loaded up with various office supplies that we didn’t want crowding the surface of our desks.
We also included some of our hook designs (some in the packaging, and some out) along with a few copies of our book (the English version and the Korean one) since we figured an office is a good spot to display some of the stuff you’ve made, and if we ever have anyone over for a meeting we can grab a few copies of our book or a product or two from the office shelves.
A too-pretty-to-hide-in-a-drawer stack of notebooks and post-its ended up in the mix too…
… along with an “inbox” for the magazine tear sheets that used to collect on the kitchen table or the back of the couch. I have binders with clear sleeves where I eventually file them, but now they have a drop zone until I do that, which is nice. Even got to use one of our octopus hooks as a paperweight.
There are also deceptively decorative things that are actually up there multitasking for hidden functional reasons, like the spiky yellow HomeGoods vase which is where we stash our wires (extra chargers, headphones, uploading cords for the camera, etc). It’s nice to keep those less-lovely things (like a big mass of wires) incognito, but easy to grab. And the little zebra dish holds magnets for our magnetic frame wall along with a pink vase full of dry erase markers for that zone.
And we finally have a spot for my yellow horse head bookends (remember these?) which add color but also do good equine work (way to hold those books up, stallions).
There are also a few purely decorative objects in the mix, just because they make us happy. There’s my wonky little painting of our first house along with a painting by my friend Lesli of our second house (she surprised me with it as a holiday gift shortly after I painted our first one). And we can’t forget about the awesome replica of our fireplace that Lisa made us.
I also put our little bee painting up there along with a catalog tear-out from Boden that says “Squeeze the day” to add a little office cheer/inspiration – and I found a spot for our family yearbooks. I love seeing that colorful little stack of them, complete with a cup full of Young House Love pencils in every color of the rainbow (a super sweet book tour gift from 2012).
Speaking of bees and stuff that makes us happy, it was pretty hilarious to have our little bumble girl playing dress up and making bead necklaces at her little desk while we sorted and filled our shelves and drawers.
In the drawers to the right of John’s desk, we have two empty ones (room to grow = the best feeling ever) along with one that’s half full of paint decks, and one that’s full of the magazines that I love too much to throw away (like every original issue of Domino) and some catalogs that we reference from time to time.
The drawers to the left of John’s desk are where we have the more office-related things. The two that are closed in this photo are full of design prototypes that we’re currently developing/tweaking, and the top open one is full of tax stuff (receipts, file boxes of back taxes, quarterly stuff to fill out and mail in, etc). The bottom open one has back-up external hard drives, old notebooks full of info that we still need, and a large ziplock bag full of miscellaneous instruction books and warranties for things like our printer, camera, etc.
As for the printer/file cabinet, that’s also full of documents and other tax/work-related stuff. Here’s a shot of it closed (it’s the Ikea Effectiv cabinet, which they discontinued a while back).
And here it is opened up. We keep the paper and our camera case on the top left, our wireless printer lives on the top right, and all of our files are in that bottom drawer.
My floating desk by the window (remember when we found it for free on criagslist?) has four more drawers for me to use, as well as a nice big top that I’m attempting to keep pretty clear except for a few notebooks and two vases full of writing paraphernalia (we use the pencils for book edits).
I put things like my scissors, stapler, and other use-a-lot stuff in the top right drawer, filled the right middle drawer with stationery/thank you cards, and kept the skinny middle drawer and the bottom right drawer empty for “space to expand.” There’s also a cabinet on the left side of the desk that’s empty (more remaining room = happy tingly feelings inside).
So that’s our little where-it-all-went rundown of the office. Only took us a year to find a spot for the stapler and the receipts… but I gotta admit, it feels better than it probably should.
That rush you get when you have a spot for everything is pretty addicting… even if your brain knows it’s only a little while before things start to multiply/explode. I’m soaking it up while I can.
Psst- Teddy’s eight week photo is up (we couldn’t resist that Spoonflower fabric).