When it comes time to make a major change, homeowners often think big. Bathrooms! Kitchen! Master bedroom! But the fact is that the inner workings of the house and their efficiencies and aesthetics affect us far more than we sometimes anticipate. This is why some homeowners and designers pay special attention to the laundry room.
No one, except perhaps the most fortunate singleton, can send all of her laundry out to be cleaned. That is why current construction and renovations are bringing civility to the laundry room. Literally elevated from the basement, now the laundry room often lives conveniently on the first or second floor. Materials are consistent with the finishing of the house. Environmental considerations of water and electrical efficiency are weighed. Space for folding, stacking, hand washing and drying are part of the plan. Rather than being a subterranean dingy corner, light-filled laundry rooms often reflect the same aesthetic and sensibility of the homeowner.
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A Modern Air
For two busy executives, the best thing in life is ease. When the pair renovated their Country Club Plaza condo, they were focused on how they wanted to live. Of course they loved the view, but they also wanted their home to help make their lives easier. Geri Higgins, owner of Portfolio Kitchen and Home, worked diligently to make that happen.
“They both love to entertain frequently,” says Higgins. While they often cook, they do sometimes use caterers. Besides the beautifully functional kitchen that Higgins designed, she also added a catering kitchen and laundry room where a small bath used to be.
“It’s nice to have this little extra space,” says Higgins. “Sometimes she even wraps presents in here.”
The natural light and custom design make any task in this room a delight. Higgins tiled the walls and chose a Caesarstone counter that would work like a draft horse while looking like a show pony. The dark rich stain of the cabinets and the unique square handles make this service area as lovely as the rest of the home.
Count on the Home Team
Designer Laura Norton and her longtime clients Carrie and Matt Condon are so in sync they could almost work by telepathy. Norton understood immediately just how much laundry this family of six was going to generate. She understood, too, that the Condons shy away from the extravagant; there was no need for crystal chandeliers here. Norton knew easy, simple and classic was the way to go.
“Carrie wanted the laundry room to be a beautiful space because she knew she was going to be washing clothes a lot,” recalls Norton.
White cabinets as crisp as a freshly starched shirt provide necessary storage. The large farmhouse sink works well for rinsing and soaking. Blue and white baskets provide necessary storage, while still reflecting the Condons’ relaxed style.
Norton, in an effort to anticipate the Condons’ needs, also included a second laundry area upstairs near their older daughters’ bedrooms.
“I love working with Laura,” says Condon. “She just takes care of everything.”
A young family with deep roots in Kansas City had almost given up on finding a home in Old Sagamore, but fate intervened and their dream house was finally available. The only thing they had to do was almost everything.
The pair started by hiring local designer Natalie O’Shaughnessy, who is known for her crisp and sophisticated interiors. She tackled the big projects—renovating the kitchen, creating a cozy, functional and great looking family room—as well as the small.
“The space needed to be reimagined into a multi-purpose area for the young family,” says O’Shaughnessy, who transformed a small bedroom just beyond the kitchen to accommodate an office, the laundry room and mudroom as well as a butler’s pantry and powder room just down the hall.
Just as the couple’s roots are traditional and their demeanors delightfully fresh, so is this beautifully functioning space. Clean, white paint enlivened with the texture of beadboard and baskets happily co-exist with snappy herringbone slate floors and a Lucite desk chair.
“They are a wonderful family of four with a cute golden retriever,” says O’Shaughnessy. “The whole project was a treat.”
Jill Tran and Carmen Thomas were integral partners, not only in the decoration of their clients’ Mission Hills home but also in the selection and renovation.
“We assisted the couple in their house search and helped them see the potential each home had in meeting their family’s needs,” says Tran.
Once they had settled on the best fit, Tran + Thomas reworked the floor plan and then laid out an overall plan which included a very functional mudroom/laundry room that was still light, bright and pretty. The original laundry room was large with a wrap-around counter and corner shelves, but the family of six needed more storage and functionality. The clients were originally considering covering the window to make that happen.
“We didn’t want them to lose the natural light,” says Tran. “It filters from the mudroom into the kitchen so we maximized storage while preserving the window.”
This room is off of the kitchen and without a door, so the designers needed to make sure it could stay neat, tidy and well organized. Tran + Thomas included a closet for coats, benches for putting on shoes and a wall for their calendar/dry erase board for scheduling the family’s activities. The result is a beautiful, functional space that met the homeowners’ distinct needs.