Tall House: Laundry Room Before & After

Here’s a tour of our fully renovated laundry room. I would say “we took it back to the studs” but there aren’t really studs in our house — hah! Instead the walls are made of thick stone and brick. The previous occupants used this room as a “back kitchen”. It housed the fridge and freezer, and it had the kitchen sink and the water heater — sort of a prep kitchen. The actual cooking took place in the room next door (our current kitchen) which is where the stove and oven was (and still is).

We moved the prep areas into the cooking kitchen, and we converted this space into a laundry room with a utility sink, a pantry, and our big furnace-water-heater combo. Come see what we’ve been up to.

Here are some of the highlights and design-thinking that went into this space:

I really wanted the sink to be directly under the window, and I was so happy when we found one that fit both next to the washer & dryer, but also centered under the window.

The wall between the kitchen and laundry room was originally an exterior wall when this house was first built in the 1600s. This laundry room was added to the house much later, probably in the 1800s. This view is looking toward the kitchen door:

The big white appliance you see is the combo furnace + water heater. I attached some magnet hooks to make use of the wall-like surface it creates next to the counter.

I’m very happy to have big pantry shelves. It’s hard to tell in these photos, but the shelves section of the wall is actually a diagonal. So the left side of the shelves is about twice as deep as the right side of the shelves. Having a ladder handy works wonderfully.

We love our washer & dryer set. We bought them during a 2021 Mother’s Day sale. The brand is ASKO and is based in Sweden. I think they’re the most handsome washer & dryer I’ve ever encountered, and they’re total workhorses too — really, really efficient with the very best energy ratings out there. We did a bunch of research and the reviews were excellent.

Something I especially love: the front loading washer doesn’t have a rubber ring closure so it doesn’t get stinky. Something else I love: You can pre-load a container of detergent and then the machine will automatically measure out the correct amount for the size of load you’re washing. (If you’re curious about ASKO, I did a whole demonstration and Q&A on Instagram that you can check out.)

We installed a countertop over the washer & dryer. It’s the perfect spot to fold clothes.

The counter also accommodates the utility sink and some under sink storage and drawers, which is where we keep the laundry supplies and the iron. Something fun about the sink faucet: It’s flexible! You can bend it and way you like.

Next to the countertop, the windowsills make a happy little shelf.

Facing the washer & dryer, the ironing board is stored on the wall for quick and easy access.

Hanging above the ironing board is a laundry drying rack — we were told the proper name for this type of rack is a sheila maid. It raises and lowers on pulleys.

You lower it to add wet laundry, and then you raise it while the laundry dries. It keeps everything up high and out of the way, and takes advantage of the fact that hot air rises, and can help dry the clothing more quickly. You can buy kits for these racks, or buy them ready made. We made this one ourselves.

If we were doing it again, I think we would go to a thrift store and buy an old crib and use the crib side for the rack. That would save a lot of steps!

During the demolition, we removed the surface of the walls, which was a combination of old plaster board and asbestos sheets. Removing those surfacse revealed gorgeous stone and brick walls. We decided to keep them exposed. We repaired them and applied a limewash.

I love the pretty exposed pipes that lead to the furnace too.

As you can see, the room is mostly whites and creams and woods. For accents, we chose black to contrast and complement. Black drawer pulls, a black faucet, a black laundry basket, black outlets, black feet on the cupboards, a black base+cord for the pendant light, even a black hook for the ladder:

The pendant lamp is original to the room. We restored the metal topper, cleaned the milk glass, and replaced the wiring.

I couldn’t be happier with how the room turned out. It’s truly a pleasure to work in this space, and it’s the first time in our 26+ year marriage that we’ve had a dedicated laundry room. I love the light coming through the window. It’s wonderful to have a work surface to fold laundry. I deeply appreciate having an actual pantry. Using the sheila maid makes me smile — and I love how it lifts the drying clothes out of the way. I adore our ASKO washing machine and dryer. The room even makes it easy to iron!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour. If you have questions about the laundry room that I didn’t answer, feel free to comment below. You can also see lots more of this space (and the renovation journey of this room) in my Instagram Highlights. There’s a before & after tour + Q&A, and there’s a highlight where I discuss why we chose this washer & dryer.

P.S. — Here are some images of the laundry room when we first looked at the house, and some images of what was uncovered during demolition:

7 thoughts on “Tall House: Laundry Room Before & After”

  1. Gorgeous, and your design and finishes compliment the house so well. I’m jealous of that Asko washer with no rubber ring… so tired of cleaning that thing!

  2. Thanks for sharing. While I’ve followed along with all the renovations, reading this is your first dedicated laundry really struck me. I also, haven’t had a true dedicated laundry room.
    Somewhere to fold laundry (I dream of a flat surface for bed linen!) and a system where ironing is convenient.
    Could you share the dimensions of the laundry? (Apologies in advance if you’ve covered this elsewhere that I’ve missed. Metric would be great ;) )

  3. I think that is the nicest and well thought out pantry/laundry room I have seen and I would love something like that off my kitchen too. I could also see it’s benefit as a “scullery” at times, such as when having a large crowd over and needing to have a separate/temporary wash up space. I LOVE an organized a space but I do not have your designers eye to finish it off so lovely.

  4. Gorgeous laundry room! I really, really like the sheila maid! Never heard or thought of that before but as someone who loves to air dry many items I am definitely adding that to my dream house!

  5. michaela cottle

    Hello Gabrielle, your house is beautiful. I hugely admire your vision, imagination, dedication, hard work, artistry, and many more qualities that made this project possible. It’s gorgeous and I love how you love it. What a lovely space to hang out in. All the very best wishes to you and your family.

  6. I had an original sheila rack in my flat in Glasgow, Scotland when I lived there for 6 years. Very few of the flats had dryers and most of the sheila racks had been lost during renovations in the past but not mine! It was a game changer and when we moved back to California I put a smaller version up. So nice for hang drying or throwing a sweater on to dry flat. Now that we are extending our house I dream of making a nice looking one like yours. The one I have now is from ikea- functional but not super cute.

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