The Laundry Room (isawesomenow)

You guys.   I’ve been restoring all of my past photos as I mentioned in my last post and I tackled our House Tour page the other day.  It was TOTALLY the giant kick in the pants that I needed to get a move on.  The photos on there are so outdated and I’m SO proud of how far we’ve come since I published many of those photos that I seriously can’t wait to update you guys on all the changes we’ve made in the past year.   Thus, I hereby dub this the beginning of our Catch-Up Period.    I took photos of our laundry room and toilet room the other day, so these will be the next spaces I’ll show you.

And today… laundry room.   Oh. Yes.

Our laundry room is not a space that I’ve discussed much on the blog.  Namely, because it was a basic white box located off of our breakfast nook.  Nothing of interest.  Nothing to see. One giant yawn.

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Am I right??  Of course I am.

It came to us with a white sink cabinet… aaaaaand that’s about it.  Otherwise, it was a blank slate.

Mudroom progress

We’re lucky in that this room is a decent size and boasts a pretty large closet (which we used as a pantry up until our kitchen reno) and a toilet room, which is convenient to the pool.    The door straight ahead in the pic above is an exterior door that leads to our covered back patio, but you’d never know by looking at it.   The previous owners replaced it, but with a solid door.   That looked like it led to a garage.

I knew from the second I saw it that the space was absolutely yearning for a door with a full length window.   Needy laundry room?  Yep.  You bet.   I mean, it just made sense to let in some natural light and enjoy the view of our patio, since WE COULD.  I mean, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a potential portal to a pretty view.   And, sadly, said portal was just going to waste, wallowing in a mortal sea of artificial light  (…like how I’m getting all profound with my verbiage today? (Isaidverbiage) — I feel like I should be wearing a beret with far too much eye makeup.). 😉

Aaaaanyways, the funny part is that when the time came to install the new door, both the measurer and the installer who came out on separate occasions, both seemed thoroughly confused when I showed them the door we were replacing.  They ALSO thought that it led to a garage and wondered why we wanted a window to that.  Ha!  But, alas, I’m getting ahead of myself.    Let’s step back.

For a while (like, 2.5 years), the laundry room looked like this…

Mudroom progress

… Blah.  Mismatched.   With our only storage being an unfinished wood shelf that we stuck in the space…

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Because of its basic blankness, the room was severely lacking in function.   It was constantly collecting piles of stuff since there was nowhere to really store or hang anything.  Coats and bags were shoved onto the wood shelving unit or piled on the floor.  Detergent and other laundry paraphernalia sat on the dryer.   I couldn’t.even.stand.it.  Also, because this space accesses the closest bathroom to the pool and the kitchen from the back patio, it is a space that is frequented by guests when we have get-togethers.  No closing the door and brushing the dysfunction under the rug when company arrives so to speak.   And let’s face it… this wasn’t exactly the impression that I was wanting to give them.   So, when we found out that we were expecting our little nugget, I made it clear that we NEEDED to make this room work for us.   I mean, new baby = crazy laundry and if I’m going to have to spend years of my life in this space, then darnnit, it’d better function and make me happy.  Yeah.

Plus, it drove me nuts that this room felt like an afterthought as I stared at it from the kitchen table while drinking my coffee each morning.  Yes.  I’m sorry to say that the first photo above was my view at meals for over two years.    The room felt dark and cavernous and bland and all of the things that the rest of the house didn’t.

I have to tell you that we have a more extensive, built-in plan for the sink and mud areas that we want to incorporate down the line, but given some rather large expenses that we’ve had recently, we opted for a more budget-friendly makeover to tide us over.

And guys, we think it’s pretty great.

I mean, the space actually functions now and we’re totally loving it.   So, lets get down to it.

 

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Way better right???   That door is a GAME-CHANGER, lemme tell ya.   The full-lite window opened up the space in a way that far surpassed my expectations.   This corner of our home can breathe now.   It’s how it should’ve always been.

Much of the work on this space happened before Henry was born, though I did paint the space and complete a few finishing touches afterwards (giant preggo belly + ladder + clumsiness = NO).    The space is painted the same color as the kitchen for cohesiveness (Silverbirch by Glidden).

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I knew from the getgo that I wanted to utilize simple metal shelving brackets (sold at any home improvement store), paired with stained wood shelves over the washer and dryer.   I knew this from Day One.  Just like adding the door. … So, years later we finally got on that.  😉  It was important to me that we use adjustable shelving as our plan is to replace our current washer and dryer with sweet-looking front loaders once our current ones crap out, that will then be draped with a lovely waterfall-edge butcher-block countertop.  The adjustable shelves will allow for this without having to worry about rehanging/rebuying stuff.  Plus, they look cool.  Just sayin’.

 

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I went with a black finish on the brackets and Varathane’s Early American stain on the shelves to coordinate with the kitchen shelving in the adjoining room.    I hung a laundry symbol cheat sheet that I’ve had for years, and added storage boxes from Ikea which hold towels, chargers/headphones, and other odds-and-ends.   The canisters act as storage for dryer sheets/stain remover and a makeshift trash container for dryer lint.

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Over the vanity, I switched out the more traditional red mirror, for a simpler one that we’ve had for years.  I’d love to hang a round mirror here to break up the straight lines, but I figured waste not, want not.  That being said, if I find one at the right price, it’s on.   I also added matte black pulls to tie in with the kitchen.

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Looking back towards the breakfast nook, we kept the wood shelf, though I stained it to match the shelves.   Above it hangs a vintage painting that I thrifted.    We created a small “mud area” beside the shelf by mounting stained 1×4’s with white hooks for coats and bags (that I found on clearance at Target a few years ago) and smaller cup hooks for keys.   A magnet board keeps Lucas’s weekly homework, party invitations, and other items that we need quick and easy access to in view.

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The shelving unit got a huge dose of organization for paperwork and random stuff….

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A box for longer term paperwork is above the dryer, but these bins here corral most of the random paperwork that we see daily.   The organizer on the top shelf holds paperwork specific to each person in our family, plus a tray for “to be addressed” items like bills and such.

This system works so well for us.  No more piles of paper.  No more losing track of time-sensitive materials.   Everything has a place and I adore it.   I can quickly stash our daily paper trail where it belongs and the world can be right again.  I even bought a label maker.   I excitedly professed my newfound love for this inanimate bundle of organization to my cousin and she responded that she needed to leave my house as my feelings for my label maker made her uncomfortable.  Heehee!   My family is hilarious.

In case you’re a sucker for a sexy room-to-room shot…

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Also,  check out that natural light bathing our vanity in warmth and happiness!!!   (Too much? Never.)

Finally, I know you’re probably worried about my view from the breakfast nook.   Well, fear no more…

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I’m not great at photographing windows, but you get the gist.   I can see into our backyard from both the laundry room AND the picture window in our dining room.   The fact that Lucas is also in this shot is a bonus.  You are welcome.   He’s playing with Lego Batman, in case you’re wondering.   His favorite toy of the moment.

So, that’s our laundry room as it stands now and we couldn’t be happier…  That door, though.   Gah.   Best decision that we’ve made yet.   🙂

 

 

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How to escape decorating paralysis (Aka: our mudroom is prettier now)

Making decor decisions can be a daunting task, even for the most DIY-driven. I hope that by now, most of my readers know that deciding on decor is not an overnight thing for me. I mean, I’m definitely no expert.   Decorating in my world happens little by little, one project driving the next decision, and so on and so forth.  When it comes to making decisions like these and learning about home decor, it’s been exceedingly helpful for me to observe other peoples’ thought processes.  What drives them and how they look at things.  The small steps they take to turn blankness into beauty.  So, I thought that instead of doing a normal before/after type of post like I normally would, it may be fun to break down my laundry/mudroom progress in a more detailed way.  How I’ve been making those decisions.  Step by step. To the end(ish).   Just on the off-chance that this might help someone else to break out of that decorating paralysis.

So, let’s start with how we left the laundry/mudroom.  Last we spoke about it, I had just cleaned and organized the space…

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Though, I was thrilled to have the space clean, I wasn’t a fan of the multitude of brown tones in the baskets, thus, I wanted to change up the decor. My one challenge was that I needed to use what I already had. No new purchases. I had to make do with the current basket situation.

Honestly, I stared at this space A LOT. Indecisive. Unsure of how to proceed. I’d walk in.  Stare.  And walk out none the wiser.  After weeks of this, I finally reached a point where I said “Okay, Christina. JUST DO SOMETHING.”.

Even though I hadn’t figured out everything I wanted to do, one thing I DID know was that the basket on the middle shelf needed to change.  He was the odd man out on the brown-tone spectrum. The baskets on the bottom shelf coordinated with each other as did the ones on the top.  So, out with the middle-man.

I decided to use my DIY pear art as inspiration and painted the basket with the same green paint as the pears (it’s an oops paint which I purchased on clearance).  Which left this….

Loved the pop of color.   And decided that I was on the right track, though the scale of the baskets on the bottom shelf felt off, so I swapped them.  Then, I decided to add some functional art.  That bottom shelf was just screaming for some variety and a nice, simple frame seemed appealing to me.

I’d been eyeing those laundry symbol cheat sheets on Pinterest for some time, and thought that a nice, framed version would be just the ticket.  I dug through my stash of misfit frames and came up with this guy….

Obviously… he was brown.  Ugh.  More brown.  Thus, he needed to be painted, but I was unsure what color to paint him.  While I marinated on that, I chose to add some green to the lower left basket.  So, I added stripes…

Hmmm… Okay, okay…  It was okay.  I wasn’t jumping for joy, but I wasn’t completely offended either.   So, I decided to sit on that while I tackled the frame.   I still had no clue what color to paint it, but figured that I’d never gone wrong with white before. And if I hated white, it would simply act as primer for my next color. Win-win.  So, white it was.  I printed out this printable on plain ole’ computer paper…

…set it on the shelf, and moved the white vase to the other side of the middle basket to help balance out the lighter tones throughout the space…

Loved the art, but not the placement.  So, I hung it on the wall..

Much better.   But now, I felt that lightness was lacking on the striped basket. So, I painted the trim and handles white…

Ugh. No. NONONONO.

Just. No.

Upon placing it back on the shelf, I realized that I’d inadvertently transformed my basket into a Kardashian. He was trying just a bit too hard to get attention.  So, I did what any decent person would do.  I apologized to my basket and painted the white trim green.  Then, I flipped it around to the non-stripey side and added a faux sage plant in a galvanized bucket…

Better.  Much better.  Now we’re getting somewhere.

At this point, I felt I was making some progress, but that lower basket on the right was still bugging me with its brownness.   So, I busted out some leftover fabric from my Target-inspired bench.

Problem??

I only had scraps.

But, have no fear… this was a job for (insert announcer voice) Iron-On Hem Tape…

I simply ironed a nice finished edge on the bottom and any sides that would be visible…

And used the hem tape to connect the scraps…

…to basically form a loop of fabric.

…Which would then be inserted into my basket to create a nice, patterned top border.   Essentially, I’d created a dickey for my basket.  Howard Wolowitz would be proud.

I simply folded the finished edge of my fabric over the top of my basket and secured the inner corners with straight pins…

Which left this…

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If you had a longer strip of fabric, you would only need to bond the fabric in one place to form a loop.   Super easy.

Here’s where the laundry/mudroom stands now…

And just so you don’t have to scroll back up, here’s a little before and after…

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It’s so much brighter and MUCH less brown.  Woo-hoo!   Lucas LOVES it.  He walked in there and exclaimed “Did you do this ALL BY YOURSELF??!!”  and “Is so prerry!!”.   Love that kid.

So, seriously, if you’re ever cursed with the dreaded decorating paralysis, my motto is: JUST DO SOMETHING.

What something, you ask? Here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning…

1. Start with a clean slate. I didn’t include this step this time because I’d already done it previously, but clear the area of all things. Then start fresh in putting things back. You never know what ideas may come once you have a blank space to work with.

2.  Collect ANY item you may want to use and set them all in one place.  Basically, shop out of your stuff.   Having everything at arms reach might inspire ideas that you may not have had otherwise.

3. Move stuff around. Play. Experiment. Utilize different placements to see what speaks to you. This not only applies to shelves, but to rooms. Time and time again, I’ve been at an utter loss for what to do with a space, then I simply rearrange some furniture and suddenly, IT’S ON. And I know exactly what to do. In fact, I had this exact issue with both our living room and Lucas’s room. You can read about both of those struggles and the end results here and here.

4. Paint things.  You can always paint them back later if you don’t like them. It’s a simple and free/cheap way to reuse stuff you already have, but make them shine in a whole new way. Another take on this concept is adding ribbon, fabric, or otherwise embellishing items to make them better suit a space.

Basically, the point is to just do something to get the ball rolling until you reach a point where you like what you see.   You never know what little tweak might trigger the inspiration to start flowing.

And, I’ll be honest… these shelves still aren’t exactly where I want them.  I’d like to do something with those top baskets, as well.  Or possibly change them out for something that seems a little lighter visually. I’m still tossing that around. In fact, I’ll probably be noodling with these shelves for quite a bit until I reach my own little happy place.   But, at least now I’m WAY closer than I was when I started.   And that’s something in itself.  Progress… such a sweet, sweet word.  Even if there were a few hiccups along the way (*coughcough*stripedbasket!).   But, hey, that’s the beauty of paint (and Craigslist… people will buy anything. Heehee!).

So, how do you overcome decorating paralysis? Any decor noodling going on in your neck of the woods?

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The DIY Dreamer
TDC Before and After