Photo by Stephanie Staton
For years, I’ve dreamed of having a folding station in my laundry room. Originally, I used large table that resembled a kitchen island, and then it morphed with the purchase of my first front-load washer and dryer set into the lovely countertop covered machines splashed across magazine pages today. With our mudroom/laundry room, I now get to see my dream realized. Because the space has considerably less counter surface than the kitchen, I was able to splurge on quartz, which is nearly indestructible (or so I’ve been told) and won’t stain. (Oh, yeah!)
I found many folding-station examples that placed the countertop directly atop the washer and dryer, but I didn’t want that to eventually harm the appliances and I wanted the option of pulling the appliances out for maintenance, cleaning and eventually—I’m hoping in like 20 years but betting on more like 10—replacement.
To account for this, I purchased to 15-inch-wide cabinets with 8-inch adjustable legs to place on each side of the appliances. The adjustable legs mean that I can get the countertop off the appliances with the flexibility to close or open the gap as much as necessary, all while offering a bit of extra hidden storage. We’ve also debated adding a support between the washer and dryer and/or along the back wall—we’re open to suggestions on this point (hint, hint).
The counter installers cut a hole for the cables to fit a standard desk cable cover, as well as emergency access to the shut-off valves—we could just pull the appliances out and crawl under the countertop, but I was more concerned with quick access than a seamless look—and boy am I glad I did. Turns out the workers knicked the drain line as they were cutting the holes. Hours after, when I ran a load of laundry, I found myself scrambling for the emergency access point as water flooded the tile floors. (I realize this problem wouldn’t have happened without my cutouts, but I know now that having them will make any future issues much easier to address.)
Photo by Stephanie Staton
I know everyone will probably balk at the sight of the rather unsightly elephant, aka water heater, in the room. This is another project we’ve not yet settled on a solution for and have put off for another day. Yet again, we welcome any constructive tips and creative ideas that I know so many of you have.
I’d like to close in the water heater without restricting access to it, so my first thought was to construct a cabinet-like encasement with doors on both sides for maximum access. This solution could also act as a transition point, where the countertop steps down to standard height for the laundry sink—another big part of my laundry dream realized! (I’m not the tallest gal, so the sink had to be standard height for me to use it properly, meaning the counter would need to stair-step down.)
It was extremely important that we define the layout and utility of this room early, as it serves many purposes: laundry, farm entry (hence the “mud” in mudroom), dog zone and extra storage. The large cabinet houses cleaning and household supplies, as well as the whole-house filtration system. A long bench allows us to get our boots on and off without piling on top of one another at the door. We placed a boot tray and bin under the bench for shoes and accessories, as well as a coat rack off to the side to corral jackets and outerwear. Beneath that is the surviving dog bed the girls curl up at night. (My Weimaraner got bored and deconstructed the other one for me—she’s so helpful.) Snuggled in the corner by the back door is our upright freezer, and across from it by the door is a small dresser that houses dog leashes and accessories, flashlights and other emergency supplies, keys, and stationery and pens.
As you can see, not one square inch is spared, so having a surface for folding, pre-treating and working on other soon-to-be discovered projects was a must to keep this bustling station in order. Although future projects, like open shelves, are still in the works, this area has already lived up to the hype in my mind.