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.
Our office continues to creep towards the finish line (tortoise style) with the addition of an overhead light…
… and new desk chairs.
You might recognize the light because it’s none other than the one we used to have hanging in our kitchen (loosely meeting both the “old” and “borrowed” criteria from this post’s title). We loved the light itself, but mentioned a few times in the comments that after living with it for a little while, we weren’t sure we loved it as much as we initially thought we would in the kitchen. So we figured we’d try it in the office.
The second it was up, we were sold. It feels polished and traditional to us, so it’s a nice mix with the clean-lined furnishings and colorful art (the more modern counterparts of the room) and the paned bay window and thick crown molding (the other more traditional elements that are already present). Functionally speaking, it’s nice and bright (it’s a two-bulb fixture) and we’re both soaking up the luxury of finally having a ceiling fixture to flick on when we enter the room. We’ve even talked about going to a glass place (or a lighting place) and having them cut a quatrefoil-shaped diffuser to fit it, so we’ll keep you posted if we get around to that.
Of course now that we stole that light from the kitchen we just have a bare bulb dangling in there, but we’re glad to have found our big quatrefoil shade a more permanent home.
Now for the chairs. Don’t you remember them from our kitchen too?
Just kidding, they’re new. And blue.
It all started when a reader named Sabrina tipped me off to a big sale going on at PB Teen and mentioned they had some pretty nice stuff. Lately I’ve noticed a bunch of designers using stuff from PB Teen in adult spaces. In other words, don’t let the name scare you. Oh and check out PB Kids too (they have some gorgeous lights right now). In fact, Real Simple had an awesome living room a few months back and the thing I loved most and swore was probably super expensive ended up being like $150 at PB Teen.
But I digress. These chairs caught my eye the second I headed over to the site – especially because of the awesome button tufting and curved arms (traditional) and those sleek legs with wheels (the more modern counterpart). Although the light gray and teal one were completely charming, the navy one screamed my name the loudest (less worry about stains, and a nice dark/rich color to ground our light and airy office) so I showed John and held my breath. John is somewhat of a chair diva. He wanted our new office chairs to be adjustable (check), have arms (check), be on wheels (check), and not have a ton of cumbersome levers and handles under them (we looked at a lot of prior chair options looked like an oversized eight-armed spider lived under them). These actually checked all of his chair diva boxes. BIIIIIG SIGH. He was in.
Actually, I loved them enough to pull the trigger, but it wasn’t until I called a local Pottery Barn store to check if we could return them there (instead of having to pay to ship them back if we didn’t like them) that Practical John was completely with me on the whole “add to cart” step. They still weren’t cheap, but we certainly appreciated that they were marked down by $50 each and their friends & family sale got us 20% off on top of that (we ended up saving $118 per chair).
We did that obligatory worrying thing until they arrived on our doorstep. Would they be comfy? Would they tilt at a weird angle? Would they feel scratchy? Would they come with a nicely labeled empty box in the packaging? Turns out they did.
The good news is that they’re also comfy, they adjust so we both can have them at the height we like, the wheels glide like butter, and the sloped arms are really nice. You’re probably wondering “how does it feel to breastfeed in this desk chair?” Well, I can tell you in all sincerity that it’s quite cozy indeed.
The fabric feels almost identical to what’s on the armchair in Teddy’s room, which has lived through both food-related abuse (remember it was in the corner of our last house’s kitchen by the fireplace for a few years?) and baby-related projectiles, so we have high hopes for their durability.
Our only slight surprise was that they looked a little less blue in real life to us (they’re definitely navy, but the website photo looked almost cobalt, so we expected a little more intensity I think). But the art, the plant, and the items on the bookshelf in the office are pretty colorful, so we figure some handsome tufted navy chairs are nice classic “foundation” pieces to ground the room and balance out all the light/modern/happy stuff. Since they’re not these super bright focal points we figure that frees us up to have fun with curtains or a rug in a bolder color or pattern if we want. So although they look a little whoa-those-are-dark-chairs-in-a-light-room now, I think they’ll make more sense when we bring in those other items.
Maybe something like this? Depends on what we find. But this is a good example of how something that might look out of place in an unfinished room (the cream color of the light or the deep tone of the chairs) can sort of “gel” more as the room fills in (the tone of the light is also in the West Elm rug, and the dark curtain rod and bold curtains seem to balance out the deep color of the chairs).
So our few remaining items on the office list are those aforementioned window treatments and a rug along with getting a frame for Clara’s monster and possibly adding that diffuser to the light along with a desk lamp or two and then we should be finished in here.
It’s pretty exciting to be creeping towards a mostly-completed space since the only other rooms that are worthy of that description might be Teddy’s room and Clara’s room along with our sunroom-turned-veranda. The funny thing is that I’d bet the laundry room will be a pretty finished-looking space in a few more weeks, which is hilarious since it came out of nowhere while some other rooms we’ve been slowly upgrading for over a year still feel SO FAR from being done. Houses like to keep you on your toes like that I think.