Thursday, March 9, 2017

A knitter plans a laundry room

Here is how this knitter plans a laundry room: by doing any other possible thing, even showing off the last two months' worth of sock club yarn.

I just noticed they both have a cloud theme, which is nice because I'm a cloud fan.  Yay!

Okay, laundry room.  I know you will all have clicked to read this whole post because you too are crazy about laundry rooms and spend all your spare moments designing them, dreaming of the magical day you will possess the truly glamourous kind I saw last night in the photo montage of a newly listed $4 million house in my neighbourhood.  HA.  Don't expect to see any of my own laundry room pictures in this post, is what I am telling you now.

(seriously, FOUR MILLION DOLLARS??? it seems like just a few years ago somebody listed their place for a million and our neighbours were like, that is never going to sell. and then it did and we all fell over, knowing we could never afford a bigger place without renovating what we had, which we are all now doing in turns.)

I mean of course, we all want to stand in a shiny glossy luxury kitchenette to do our laundry without missing a moment of whatever movie is running on the TV, but who wants to pay for it to happen?  Not me.  Plus, I have other priorities and I know you do too.  I'm not looking to put out party food on my laundry counter.  I want to put out giant mats for drying newly finished knits.  Similarly, I want my laundry appliances to have character and a work ethic, not just really attractive colours and smooth finishes you want to pet all the time.  (I lie: I really want laundry appliances that look good. Why can't somebody make laundry appliances that look good and work well too??)

What I knew about our 'new' laundry room going into all this renovation business is that it was going to be in a really large space formerly dedicated to storage and a big workbench and our furnace and water heater.  How it was going to look after the new in-floor heat and super efficient on-demand water heater system went in was not something I planned to think about until it was a reality.  Nobody could tell me, and even in progress I had only a very little input.  All I could hope was that Ray would box in the air vent things as compactly as possible, and he did, and now we have our finished space.

It's still large. One short-ish wall is absolutely studded with pipes and gaskets and levers for the in-floor heat. In front of that, embedded in the tile floor, is an unsightly sump pump.  A water heater borders one end of the room and stands beside a busy electrical panel that I will probably smack into whenever I try to open the dryer door which has to be where it is, because that's where we embedded the dryer vent into the spray foam insulation.  The floor is laid with large rectangles of off-white tile, and a tiny window in one corner offers a little natural light to support the crazy huge array of ceiling lights Ray installed because we both felt a laundry room should be bright.

Now that I have a room to work with, the first priority was to find homes in it for the top four priority items:

1/ the Gramma table (a generously sized enamel-topped kitchen table built by WWI veterans and left to Pete by his Gramma) for folding laundry and laying out drying mats for the handknits

2/ my shiny chrome rolling clothes rack for hanging clothes to dry

3/ a long 12' deep run of shelves for freshly folded clothes, because why carry everything up two flights of stairs from the laundry room when there's a shower right next door for people cleaning up after a run or a messy bout of gardening?

4/ a fold-up treadmill because that was my price for organizing this whole build.  Actually I wanted an elliptical trainer but the ceiling is too low and I decided it would be foolish to give up my office for an elliptical trainer with a view, when I can use our new staircase as a fitness tool and am not terribly inclined to exercise in the first place.

CAN you believe, it all fits?  The Gramma table tucks right over the sump pump and the pipes that gasp out from it, and there will be no problem running a curtain along the back and side of it to hide the HVAC uglies.  And I still have about a nine foot run for washer, dryer, laundry sink and a small cabinet.

From left to right, here's how this is going to go, when we are at the end of the journey:

Below, a white laminate countertop with a sink in it, over two cabinets with pull out trays meant for recycling to hide the dirty laundry bins, and then a washer and dryer

Above, a wall cabinet to match the one immediately below it, and then a 5' run of custom retro shelving we had built for our previous kitchen about 15 years ago. 

What more could you ask for, really?  Maybe... a really cute faucet?

Yeah, and tiling for the laundry part of the room, which I am on the fence about since I saw the invoice for the fireplace installation today, and pretty lights, and nicer finishes generally because if you're here at Hugs, you are crafty, and you know how much time crafty people spend in a laundry room either preparing what we've made or rescuing our clothes from the aftermath of the making itself.

Still, I have a gorgeous porcelain tile floor now instead of scuffed vinyl tile that was always weeping out its adhesive, and a beautiful vintage table instead of nothing, and the hanging rack near the washer instead of on the other side of the house, and the house itself.  So I think what I have is more than luxurious enough, really.

But back to the point of this post.  The 'planning'.  I have 'planned' the laundry room but Ray was always busy on another part of the house and I didn't want to buy a washer and dryer before they could be delivered.  So it was a surprise to me when Ray started asking me about my final laundry sink.  Where it was going to go, how big it would be, etc. etc., once we removed the emergency stopgap plastic leggy one we bought a few months ago.

Then one day he explained that he needed to know because it was time to install the BASEBOARDS.

Baseboards.  In my laundry room.  The same 7" tall gorgeous baseboards that went in everywhere else. 

That's the side view.  He had some leftovers and he wanted to use them and suddenly my laundry room has something to live up to (the basement bathroom is getting them too, and I know because Ray called today to see whether I still wanted him to build custom shelving in a niche beside the shower entry, for towels, because he wanted to cut the baseboard around them.

Can I please just take a moment to say, again, how lucky we are to have Ray building our house?

And here I am thanking him by not choosing a laundry sink.

The trouble is, I want a Speed Queen washer/dryer pair.  In Canada the line is called Huebsch but it's the same monster, just with different spelling and far fewer vendors.  Like, just one who I'd feel safe buying appliances from, and that place told me last weekend they don't resell them any more so I have to look elsewhere.  I have been panicking, thinking that I have to allow enough room on the 9' run for whatever laundry pair we end up with, so how can I commit to a laundry sink position??

Today I realized two things:

a/ whatever we buy has to fit down the stairs, which are so narrow as to barely pass code and will require wrought iron railings as there's no room for anything else; and

b/ even deluxe washers and dryers seem to be about 27" wide, which is what I'd been planning on anyway.

So I went ahead and braved the IKEA kitchen cabinet planner.  I think this was the real mental block, because if buying from IKEA is stressful, buying from their kitchen section is a niiiiiight-mare!  We sing that last word, Pete and I, when discussing IKEA's kitchen section, hence the unusual spelling.

After I worked all that out I picked a faucet I could see was in stock at Ray's favourite hardware store so he could pick it up next time he's there, and I told him the size of cabinet we chose and gave him free reign over a stainless steel sink to put in it as long as it's 8" deep and has rounded corners because I can't see me ever cleaning the corners of one of those new squared off sinks, aiiieee.

Which leaves just one thing.  The exact thing that a knitter planning a laundry room would stop dead at, and that is actually purchasing the cabinets, or rather - getting Pete to do it.

I did give him three choices.  I said we could order them online and have them delivered to the condo, where he could load them into his car and take them to the house ($55).  Or we could order them online and he could painlessly pick them up from the aptly named Pickup part of the store ($20).  Or he could go line up in the kitchen department with his list and wait to be allowed to purchase them (sanity.)

He picked door number three, because it gives him something to complain about.  So I guess it's all a win, right?  He gets to complain, and I get to stop thinking about the laundry room, and Ray gets to finish off his baseboard and move the table saw back upstairs.

And now this knitter is going to work on a sock, because there's gotta be something nice to go wash in that new laundry room, right?


Laurinda said...

Holy smokes, & it all fits! Ray sounds like a real gem...
I have 2 beautiful enameled steel tables. One is in use until my uncle-in-law's is restored, both are white with black lines. I've seen some really gorgeous, highly detailed ones, too.
Good luck on your hunt for a washer & dryer, & thanks for the shots of the drool worthy yarn, too

Mary Keenan said...

It's true Laurinda, Ray is amazing! Our kitchen designer said we are really lucky to have him building our house as he's like the last true artisan. I love the look of those enameled steel tables, how lucky you have two! Ours was written on for years so the top has gotten a bit gray from the writing and washing off, but the history of it is so fabulous and the base is oak, very solid and sturdy. Also Gramma wrote inside the drawers that it was for Pete (she had SO many grandchildren) which makes it even more special :^)