After a few years of only minor organizational tweaks and lots of purging I’m finally ready to dive into some major home projects. We’ve lived in pur house for 10 years now and it feels like the right time to make some changes. We actually started with a mudroom renovation right after the new year, which I will be sharing about in the coming months (I’m still figuring out the most functional organization for that space). Adding a second floor laundry was next on my update list and it truly is a dream come true, especially for that busy mama life!
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First things first: I want to apologize for the dark and unflattering photos of this space. It truly is so much brighter and more spacious in person. The long and narrow layout of the closet combined with the lack of natural light makes it particularly difficult to photograph. I’m also not the best at photographing, well, anything. I am including lots of photos in the hopes that they give you a sense of the space.
Our master bedroom features an incredibly spacious closet, which, in all honesty, was one of the selling points of the house for me. We dubbed it the “bowling alley” because of its long and narrow layout. The front half of the closet is wider, with a wall dividing the second half on one side where the house design cuts in over the garage. There is more than enough space for two people to store clothes and accessories. I took advantage of the extra room for our many pieces of luggage and travel accessories, as well as random odds and ends such as bulky lighting equipment.
I knew that one day I might transform the back end of the closet to be a second floor laundry room, but it wasn’t really a priority for me until I had our daughter, Charlotte, and my laundry time increased exponentially. The house’s original laundry space is located in the basement utility room, which is as far away from the master bedroom as possible (this is where the majority of our clothes and linen laundry comes from). I didn’t mind carrying the basket up and down the stairs when it was just the two of us and I did about 10 loads of laundry per week so I put off the project. Having a baby doubled my laundry load and I started dreaming last spring about how amazingly convenient and helpful that second floor laundry would be. That dream was realized this month!
We used the front half of the closet primarily for our clothes and accessories. We decided to retain that organization as it made the most sense to keep those things closest to our room. Also, nestling the laundry room in the back helps minimize noise and vibration from the machines in our living spaces.
As you can see, we used the majority of the back half of the closet for travel items and storing other odds and ends, much of which has been purged or relocated in our house.
It took five days for the crew to transform the space. Day 1 included moving everything out of the closet, ripping up the old carpet, and pulling gas and water lines up from the first floor through the wall. Venting was installed through the walls to the back exterior of the house through the garage underneath. They finished up piping and patched up the walls on Day 2, adding extra insulation to both the side and back walls to help with noise and vibrations from the machines.
On Day 3 the crew installed new vinyl flooring with cork padding underneath to help absorb vibrations. The machines were delivered on Day, after which the crew finished all of the details including repainting the whole room white, installing new cabinets over the machines, and rehanging the same flexible Elfa shelving I installed 10 years ago. The new quartz countertop was installed on Day 5 to complete the project.
You can really see the transformation in the before and after photo above. I’m so happy we put that dead space in the back of the closet to use!
All Moved In!
I decided to keep the front part of the closet very similar to how it was organized before the renovation since that system continues to work for us. Don’s things are on the righthand side, which is deeper and can easily accommodate 18″ shelves and hold his clothes well. My things are stored on the left side of the closet on 12″ shelves which leave plenty of room to pass by where the closet narrows.
The only real change I made to the front of the closet was to condense my shoe and handbag/accessory storage into one space. The pull-out drawers which used to be in the very back of the closet fit nicely under the shoe shelves. I even still had room to add in my favorite drop front boxes that I store my pants organized by type.
We left a few feet of the 20″ deep shelves that originally lined the entire righthand wall of the back half of the closet to store luggage and travel accessories tucked away in fabric boxes. It may look like we only have 4 suitcases now, but there are actually 9 bags altogether thanks to nesting sets.
I asked the contractor to leave a few extra feet of the Elfa wall bracket exposed on the wall so that I could hang my tabletop ironing board and upstairs step stool using utility hooks for easy access. We had them pull out the rest of the Elfa system to make way for the laundry room space.
I decided I wanted to have the machines against the lefthand wall so that we could install a countertop over the machines and across the corner. This provides ample space for sorting and folding. The cabinets hung over the machines hold all of my laundry supplies with tons of room to spare for extra storage. It was important to me to have dedicated hanging space over the back countertop since I air dry a lot of my clothes. I had the shelf hung fairly high to leave plenty of room for longer items but it’s still within reach for me. There’s even some bonus storage space on top for infrequently used travel items.
This video gives in-depth before and after tours if you’d like a closer look at the new space:
It’s been exactly two weeks since completion and I’m already head-over-heels in love with our new closet. The laundry room is a dream come true! Our new LG machines have passed the test of handling all of our regular loads as well as our king-sized down duvet with flying colors. We don’t miss the extra storage space as there’s still plenty of room to store all that we want to and then some. I’m so happy with how this project turned out. It’s making me even more excited about the other big home projects we have on the horizon as well. I’ll be sure to share along the way!
I’d love to know if you have any home projects you’re working on or have recently completed, big or small, if you care to share. It’s such a joy to freshen up our living spaces to make them work better for us. There is beauty in functionality (although, it doesn’t hurt to add some pretty touches like quartz countertops 😉 ).
I hope you enjoyed seeing our closet renovation!
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