Our washer and dryer are located on our home’s lowest level, along with a guest bedroom, bath and den. Both laundry machines came with the house, and while they work well, I’m guessing they are 10-15 years old. When we first moved in, the laundry area left a bit to be desired; especially since its wide open to the level, including the guest bedroom, which looks directly out to this area.
You can see below all the exposed pipes and hoses, but what you can’t see was the severely scratched top of the dryer…I’m guessing it served as a resting place for tools and other equipment during our home’s addition.
After we moved into the house, I covered the scratched dryer top with a layer of cork and added a tray to hold our laundry products.
Next to the washer, we changed out the bulky plugs for a low-profile power cord, and I added a simple WASH sign and a curtain to hide the plumbing pipes.
I still had a list of things I wanted to do to this area though, and one of those was to add a second shelf to the alcove behind the washer to help balance out and better fill the space.
We had most of the wood on hand for the project, and only ended up having to spend a couple of dollars to pick up a small piece of oak for the shelf’s top.
We started out by taking all the measurements and then Nick cut the pieces of wood. I’d been eyeing the Dremel three-tool combo kit for awhile, since the tools can tackle a variety of projects yet are small and easy to store, and earlier this summer they were listed as the Amazon ‘deal of the day’ for almost half off the price and so we took the plunge and ordered the tools. The saw max tool made cutting all the wood pieces easy work, much easier than our previous strategy of using a handsaw to cut everything.
Next, since the wall on the right side of the alcove is cement, and part of the house’s original foundation, we decided not to drill the wood pieces directly into the wall, instead we used some heavy duty adhesive glue and held the wood in place with some tape until the glue fully dried.
Luckily for me, the rest of this project was completed by Nick on his day off work – but unfortunately for the blog, he’s not as dedicated as I am to taking photos 🙂 So here’s the finished result, after I caulked, primed and painted the shelf. It looks almost exactly like the original shelf and helps complete the space.
The next step was to deal with the ugly exposed dryer ducting. Ideally I would have liked to box in the pipe, but because it extends beyond the stairs and across the middle of a sloped wall, Nick and I figured we would have had to call someone in to get creative with rebuilding the walls in this area…and since we aren’t 100 percent certain we want to keep the washer and dryer in this area, we were looking for a less expensive, temporary solution.
Our first task was to deal with the foil dryer exhaust hose, which is highly flammable and can cause house fires if not properly maintained. While rigid metal ducting is the best option, we didn’t want to deal with all the measuring, cutting and extra transition pieces, so we opted for semi-rigid non-combustible ducting.
We unhooked the foil hose and vacuumed out the dryer’s lint trap and exhaust.
Space behind the dryer is tight (and since the machines are fit really snugly into the space, sliding them any more forward notches the wall) but thankfully Nick was able to get back there to remove the foil hose, vacuum and re-attach the semi-rigid hose.
We also went outside to check the exterior dryer vent, making sure it was clean from lint and the flap shut tightly; all we did was add a new bead of caulk around it.
Besides being less flammable, the other benefit of semi-rigid tubing is that it can be painted! I gave the tubing a few quick coats of paint in the same color as the walls; and while the ducting still stands out, it blends in so much better than before!
I added a jar of clothespins and a faux plant to the shelves and then rehung a clothespin sunburst I made last year.
I finished decorating the area by setting down a colorful rug we’ve had in front of the appliances for awhile, and then considered this project done…
…well until I saw the pictures, and I remembered something my mother-in-law said last year, that sometimes the more you do to a space the more attention you draw to it. And that’s not what I wanted here, I just wanted it to look nice when someone walked past.
So I took away the rug and a few other colorful items, and I’m much more pleased with the finished result.
While it’s no one’s dream laundry area, it’s functional and so much better looking!