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Bed + Bath + Laundry: Laundry Edition

To see the bed + bath + laundry renovation party unfold, make sure to check out part I (the bathroom) and part II (the bedroom)!

A laundry room was one of those weird things that was on my wish list when we were house hunting. The idea of having a space to lay our sweaters, fold towels and pull out an ironing board (without a fight) feels oddly exciting to me, so when we could make it possible, I was thrilled! Like, really, really weirdly over the moon. As you saw last week, we turned a tiny bedroom off our master into just that. But right now? Not so dreamy:

laundry-renovation-01laundry-renovation-02

A quick question for you: How often do you see a litter box on a blog? We know, we know, contain those pinning fingers, please!

Like all the other teeny rooms in this old house, this used to be a bedroom. To this point, we took down a plastic-y bi-fold door and pulled up worn carpet, exposing ooold subfloor. The room may be small, but it’s a great – no, perfect! – space for a compact laundry room. It’s absolutely flooded with natural light all day long, since the only window isn’t blocked by a neighboring tall building (a true rarity in the city!).

Right now, the washing and drying machines are against the shared bathroom wall. To make way for the extended bathroom, we’ll need to move them – and in turn, the plumbing and venting – to the opposite wall, over here:

laundry-renovation-04

The drywall was boxed in at one point to make a sectioned off closet, but that will be coming down, giving us a blank slate. Aside from the plumbing for the washing machine, the contractors will make way for a tiny sink, and they’ll also re-center the ceiling fixture. All said and done, the space will be roughed in for us to finish installing the appliances, hang any cabinetry and/or shelving and lay down flooring.

Speaking of which, we’re thinking of continuing the same hardwood floors from the bedroom so that the spaces will flow nicely into one another. And, of course, just like every other room in our home, you know we’ll be replacing the baseboards, too!

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The room is barely 6′ wide, and it’s really important for us to create a safe zone for our kitties, Maddie and Libby, to happily chow down and do their business. In addition to being our laundry room, this room has always pulled double duty as Cat Central, and to keep our nosy pups at bay, we’ve been using a baby gate as a partition. (Ugh, that gate!) Needless to say, we have a pocket door leading from the bed-to-laundry on the agenda, so three cheers for a real, live slab of wood!

As much as we love the look of a side-by-side washer and dryer (Julia’s laundry room, I swoon), it would leave us with virtually no lower cabinet space, and we need that space to make a kitty haven impossible. The base cabinets will became the safe zone for the litter box, so we’re planning on a stacked unit instead, and we’d love to add this cathole to the cabinet and pocket doors. The plans are still loose, but here’s where we are now:

Vargo-Master-Bath-Elevation-A5.2-10.23

And then we went salvage shopping a couple weeks ago (it’s our weakness, clearly!) and found this gorgeous beast:

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We have 42″ of space to the left of the washer and dryer unit, and wouldn’t you know, this sink is 42″ wide! We did the math about 10 times, confirmed with Jen it would work and then we very excitedly purchased it. Yes, it needs to be reglazed, but we got it for a steal, and a handful of quick quotes on the spot from local businesses has us giddy; it was surprisingly affordable, and all said and done, we’d have the sink, faucet and countertop in one – and all for under $250. Plus, that vintage charm!

Now, we’re starting to second guess our decision. The sink is only 22″ deep, and it’s typically seen wall-mounted. We’ve been of the mindset that we could build or modify a base cabinet to fit our specific needs (you know, for the whole kitty-adventure-land), but the depth of a washer/dryer is easily 32-34″. Even with a side panel along the machines, that’s quite a difference, and it could end up looking silly – or maybe not?

What do you think? Are we missing a simple solution? Can we make this work? (Oh, please!)

To wrap up, here’s what’s next: We have an estimated date of December 1st-ish for the contractors to begin, and in the meantime, we start making tough decisions on a tub, toilet and fixtures. We have a list of need-to-haves before the contractors begin, and if we’re being honest, it’s a tall order to squeeze into a couple of weeks – especially with a Thanksgiving break in the middle. But my goodness, we couldn’t be more motivated now that this ball is rolling.

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  • Kelcey m11.9.15 - 6:54 AM

    How about building out the back of the cabinet the foot or so you need up to the height of the sink backsplash, and then mounting the sink to that? I’m not sure how that would work structurally, but it would leave you with a ledge for loose change jars, display, etc. and then you could still have full length drawers and cabinets below.ReplyCancel

    • Staci11.13.15 - 2:07 PM

      This is exactly what I thought at first, too :)ReplyCancel

  • Lucas11.9.15 - 8:12 AM

    You could fur out the wall and create a niche for the washer/dryer to sit back in. This can also allow you to pull the plumbing into the furred space and add more insulation. I’m not sure what’s currently there but planing on the exterior wall is always a concern here in Chicago.ReplyCancel

  • Katherine11.9.15 - 8:17 AM

    So funny, I was about to make the same suggestion as the above commenter: bring the sink out flush to the depth of the washer dryer, then install some kind of shelf behind the sink, maybe something nicely tiled? Then you could tile the backsplash as well and create a uniform look. That shelf would be very handy for storing soaps, etc.
    Very exciting!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.9.15 - 8:25 AM

      You guys are definitely right! Scott and I started discussing this as an option just in the last day, but now we’re so on the fence if it’s something that we’d want to mess with! Go this totally custom route (what else is new?!), or choose a more standard sink and not have to mess with custom cabinetry.

      Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves!

      Thank you all for the suggestions, we are loving it.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly11.9.15 - 8:22 AM

    From the floor plan in the bathroom post, it looks like you have plenty of room to wall-mount the sink on the bathroom side of the room! It wouldn’t matter that it would stick out in front of the window since it doesn’t require cabinetry!ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.9.15 - 8:23 AM

      Well, once we push back that wall to make the bathroom larger, there won’t be enough room for the sink, so we’ll be keeping everything on the opposite wall. :)ReplyCancel

    • Claire11.9.15 - 12:27 PM

      This got me thinking (I might be way off on my dimensions)- what if you stack the W/D where it is, but turn them so they face the bedroom. Run a shallow counter from there across under the window. Mount the sink backing up the tub. It would likely mean that the pocket door would need to open facing the W/D, rather than the window, which might not be ideal? Basically a bitty L-shape laundry. Sort of like this, but with the window where the uppers are, and the sink where the floor to ceiling cabinet is? http://www.houzz.com/photos/19850201/Elegant-Townhome-in-Pasadena-traditional-laundry-room-los-angeles

      (Space planning is like Tetris to me!).ReplyCancel

      • Kim11.9.15 - 12:37 PM

        I like that look, too! Sadly, there won’t be space. Once we push back the wall for a larger bathroom, there’s less than a foot depth to the right of the window / the wall that backs up to the bathroom. I think the photos of this room might make it look larger than it is, but the space is pretty small!ReplyCancel

  • Kim11.9.15 - 8:44 AM

    Same as what everyone else said – built-in shelf above the sink to make it flush with the washer/dryer. I can see a small plant, cute soap and even cheeky framed art on the ledge!ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.9.15 - 9:10 AM

      I like this idea, and think it could be cute! I wonder though: Would it cause too many distractions on the wall? The sink and under cabs being flush with the front of the washer/dryer, a ledge above the sink (due to the wall being bumped out for the sink), and then upper cabinet storage that might seem a bit too recessed? I suppose the uppers would need bumped out as well.

      Hmm.

      You guys are giving us lots to think about, that is, unless we nix this altogether and go a more traditional route. Decisions, I tell you what!ReplyCancel

  • verymom11.9.15 - 9:36 AM

    The ledge behind the sink is not my favorite idea. I think it messes with the aesthetic of the sink. You just picture a sink like that to be flush with the wall, no weird ledges behind it. I’m sure that if you decided to go that route you’d pull it off with amazing style and it’d be fine. I just think it’s a little too busy.

    Having had a laundry room somewhat similar to your design, I think you might really miss the counter space next to a standard sink. I loved my tiny laundry room sink – it was the perfect size and having counter space next to it was really handy.

    In our current house, the laundry room had a huge, free standing basin sink with no counter and I really miss it. The sink was too large for the space, we just didn’t need a sink in the laundry room of that size for soaking the occasional stain, so we pulled it out. I know yours has that sloped area to the right of the sink, but I’m not sure it’s a counter top replacement.

    tl;dr version: I think the sink is absolutely adorable. You might be sacrificing function for cuteness though.ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.9.15 - 9:43 AM

      You’re nailing our thoughts exactly right now! Thank you so so much for chiming in.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ onesuchlife11.9.15 - 9:58 AM

    I agree with some other posters, I think building out the wall could be cute. But I’m a visual person and would probably need to draw it out to see what it would look like before making that commitment.ReplyCancel

  • Sara11.9.15 - 10:25 AM

    I am going to go against the grain on this one and say that I don’t think the two sections need to face-flush at all. The foot or so difference in depth would be unremarkable with the W/D against the rt wall in the corner. Personally, I wouldn’t want cabinets 32″ deep. They just become a junk graveyard in the back. For ease of cleaning and changing the litter, I think that just enough space is a much better option than loads of space. I am sure whatever you decide to do will come out beautifully! I do love that sink….ReplyCancel

  • amy11.9.15 - 11:12 AM

    No new ideas, just a question. How the heck are you holding up the sink in that picture?! It looks super heavy!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.9.15 - 11:14 AM

      Ha, totally valid! It IS super crazy heavy. Do you see at the bottom of the photo that vertical 2×4? It’s holding up the bottom of the sink towards the front so that Scott could balance it.ReplyCancel

  • Amy11.9.15 - 3:41 PM

    Ok, we literally just did this SAME exact thing to our laundry room (cat cabinet/mouse hole and all) except our washer/dryer were side by side. We had the same problem where our washer/dryer depth was ~10-12″ more than our sink cabinet depth. We ended up making the sink cabinet and apron sink flush with the front of the washer/dryer and building a “support” from the cabinet to the back wall so we could have maximum cat box space

    The space has been completed for nearly two weeks and our cats had no problem finding the new home for their box and our dog can’t get into the box!! It’s easily the best decision we made! I hope you can see this picture but if not, I can email it to you since I think it’s exactly what you’re trying to do.

    Picture here:
    https://instagram.com/p/9e9ew_QmSuYWgzMLUJtsem7uj7dymqBXl3bJM0/?taken-by=amypiccioliReplyCancel

    • Kim11.9.15 - 3:50 PM

      Did you also have upper cabinets? I’d be curious to see how this sit with the lowers sitting much further out!

      I can’t access the photo, but I would LOVE if you could email it our way!

      Thank you a thousand times. I love that you included a cat hole and everything. :)ReplyCancel

  • Judi11.9.15 - 4:33 PM

    We are living with a side by side W/D in our basement, and if I had a sink next to them I’d be ecstatic…but I sadly have to agree you’re gonna want a counter next to, also. Just think about stain sticking the dog things. Here’s a thought. What about using the big IKEA farmhouse sink here in a cabinet config, and using the AMAZING sink you thrifted in the bathroom? I would love this as a bathroom sink. Quirky and roomy. (Forgive me if you already have the bathroom all sussed out. Also forgive me if you aren’t reno’ing the bathroom too. Sometimes I lose my mind and project my own reno fantasies onto other people’s homes.)ReplyCancel

    • Judi11.9.15 - 4:35 PM

      Really, forgive me for not being able to read. Bathroom link right at top of post. Silly me.ReplyCancel

      • Kim11.9.15 - 4:39 PM

        Haha, no worries, Judi! We’re still finalizing some bathroom details, but you’re right, it would be cool in a bathroom!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa11.9.15 - 5:25 PM

    Absolutely love your new sink and I have a few ideas…

    Depending upon the washer & dryer you select, you may need up to a 36″ depth in order to accommodate the plumbing, exhaust vent and possible gas line (for the dryer). So worse case scenario, the washer & dryer sit in a 36″ deep cubby with a finished panel installed on the left side to prevent socks from getting lost behind the machines. The wall behind the sink would be built out approximately 8″ – 12″ and end at the bottom of the wall cabinets. The shorter wall let’s you take advantage of standard deep wall cabinets for additional storage. (Just be careful sometimes cabinets are too deep!)

    Consider wall mounting the new sink. You could then utilize two standard 21″ wide base depth wall cabinets below the sink with a site built platform/toe kick box supporting the base cabinets. The drain & water shutoffs would be contained in the left side and the litter box would have a home on the right. A custom cabinet shop could build a cabinet that includes a drawer or drawers on the right side if you want to go that route.

    Or you could keep your original design and use the sink on your back porch. It would make a great bar & serving area or a potting bench for plants!ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.9.15 - 5:33 PM

      You’re awesome. Thank you for giving us a lot to think about! This is surely the beginning of a lot more conversation…ReplyCancel

  • melbajo11.9.15 - 5:54 PM

    i love that sink! that’s exactly what i wanted for my bathroom renovation, but couldn’t find one that was affordable (except the one sitting in my neighbor’s backyard, but she wouldn’t part with it!). you have to use it somehow – if you decide against it for the laundry room, could you put it in the backyard as a gardening clean-up sink? or in the garage? or in your workroom behind the kitchen? please don’t give up on it!ReplyCancel

  • Heather11.9.15 - 10:33 PM

    THANK YOU for showing the freaking litter box. We have three cats and three dogs (all rescues!) and we too live that baby gate life.

    I’m so excited to see what you guys do in here!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie H11.10.15 - 12:22 PM

    You can make it work! Consider adding a shallow inset shelf/wall bump out behind the lower cabinets maybe. Like this:

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/64/94/ac/6494ac9440d6fdb9570bcf610d7c270f.jpg

    http://www.houzz.com/photos/619270/Inset-Shelf-traditional-kitchen-atlantaReplyCancel

  • Nicole M.11.10.15 - 6:08 PM

    I don’t think having the sink sit back farther and not flush with the appliance would look bad. I would just make sure that you do a side panel around the stacked washer and dryer so you don’t see the side of the appliances!ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.10.15 - 6:24 PM

      We’re definitely doing a side panel, no doubt!ReplyCancel

  • Kim11.10.15 - 10:19 PM

    It’s a gorgeous sink. I do architectural salvage in the Seattle area so I have a soft spot for vintage charm. However, I usually see this style sink installed by itself or on a very open wall. It demands visual space and might look cramped fitting so snug by your W/D. It seems like you already know this and just want to quiet your doubts because you love it. Think about what you love about the sink, and if those things will shine in your setting, and if not, consider how you can use a different sink and still incorporate what you love about the original. Art (and laundry rooms) require inspiration, so maybe this sink is just that.

    If you do install it, I would put it on a base cabinet flush with the w/d, then build the wall forward for a regular backsplash (no shelf) and so your uppers aren’t too far back. That way you don’t lose any of the storage on the bottom. I’ve also seen these with curtains around the base, which I’m sure the kitties would like. If you did that, I would install straight on wall and go with open shelving above.
    Sorry for the super long comment! Whatever you choose, I’m positive it will look awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Amy11.12.15 - 2:53 PM

    I just don’t understand the need for a sink in the laundry room. I’ve never used a sink on my clothing — if there’s a stain you just use the stain spray. Am I missing something? I would rather have the counter space.ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.12.15 - 3:35 PM

      I suppose a sink is one of those personal preferences! We’d especially love to have it with the kitties, so we can fill their water bowl too – and it would be nice to use this sink for my pet paintings (rather than going down to the kitchen to wash up). :)ReplyCancel

      • Amy11.16.15 - 11:26 AM

        Well now it makes perfect sense!ReplyCancel

  • jannike11.18.15 - 8:18 AM

    we have side-by-side WD in our bathroom with cabinets and shelves above. Due to the depth of the WD and my shortness, I can only reach the first shelf. If I want anything on a higher shelf I have to pull out my stepladder. Just something for you to consider. I love having the storage, but I wish we had space in the bathroom for my stepladder.ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.18.15 - 9:48 AM

      We fear this, too. I’m not a very tall person, and it’s so frustrating if I can only reach the bottom shelf. I think we’re nixing this gorgeous sink for the laundry room just due to all the restrictions it puts on us! We’ll find other ways to funk it up though. :DReplyCancel

  • Ingrid Taylor7.14.16 - 2:52 PM

    Im currently in a fast hurry (hubby mania) to make a selection on new W/D. Are all of the front loaders stackable? Ive honestly never noticed. My laundryroom is in dire need of a remodel, so if i can get new w/d that can eventually be stacked, thatd be perfect. Just looking for any insight . Tks!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.14.16 - 3:09 PM

      Hi, Ingrid! MOST can be. SOME can’t. This is usually listed in the ‘specs’ section if you’re looking online. Our washer and dryer can be stacked, but we did have to buy a $50 stacking kit, which is basically a little rail for the dryer to sit on and be able to get screwed in.ReplyCancel

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