From the October/November 2011 Issue:

Room for Improvement

    Writer: Meg Fox | Photographer: Peter Rymwid | Interior Designer: Marlene Wangenheim, Allied Member ASID, AKBD, CAPS |

A smart and stylish makeover helps banish the laundry room blues


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enlarge | The remodeled laundry room is stylish and workhorse-efficient with custom Makassar ebony melamine cabinetry, durable Silestone countertops and vinyl wood-look flooring. Frosted glass panels obscure cleaning supplies. Wire-mesh baskets make it easy for each family member to claim his or her clean laundry. Air circulates in the two mesh bins, allowing delicates to air-dry even with the drawers closed. Opposite the 60-inch folding table is a space-efficient closet, which includes a drying rack and storage for an ironing board, vacuum and other essentials. A green silk chandelier with beaded trim coordinates with the iridescent backsplash tiles. Before photos: The old laundry room showed its age with space-hogging appliances and insufficient storage and countertop space. “I would sort the clothes into piles on the floor and have no room to walk or stand,” the homeowner recalls.
Living Big in Small Spaces
“My old laundry room was small, drab and totally disorganized,” recalls a Morris County mom with three active children who each plays a variety of sports. Constrained by dated appliances, inefficient storage and limited space to fold or sort laundry, “I would find myself overwhelmed with the daily amount of dirty clothes, team uniforms, towels and sheets,” she recalls.

After collaborating with designer Marlene Wangenheim on a kitchen renovation four years earlier, she called on her once again, this time to increase storage, style and function in the laundry room. “My favorite two words are ‘organization’ and ‘storage,’ and Marlene did not disappoint,” the homeowner says.

Knowing the 9-by-10-foot room could not be expanded, Wangenheim developed a space-planning strategy to use every square inch. The room was gutted and actually made smaller in terms of open floor space to allow for deeper stackable washer and dryer units, says Wangenheim, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer, Certified Aging in Place Specialist and owner of Interiors By Design LLC in Morristown. Extending or leveling out an angled wall also made room for a long narrow closet for a hideaway ironing board, broom, vacuum and other essentials.


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enlarge | Oil-rubbed bronze knobs are juxtaposed with stainless/chrome appliances and faucets. “These metals were married and matched by the use of metallic-looking backsplash tiles in shades of vibrant greens, silver and gold,” designer Marlene Wangenheim says. Undercabinet lighting reduces eyestrain when knitting, mending or treating soiled clothes. Before photos: The old laundry room showed its age with space-hogging appliances and insufficient storage and countertop space. “I would sort the clothes into piles on the floor and have no room to walk or stand,” the homeowner recalls.
Model of Efficiency
New cabinets are fabricated in Makassar ebony melamine. “It has the appearance of zebra-striped wood, and I used it both vertically [on the cabinets] and horizontally on the crown molding for a contemporary and unique look,” Wangenheim says. Taking upper cabinets to the ceiling allowed for storage of items not required for immediate use, she says, while open shelves keep essentials within easy reach. Frosted glass panels conceal cleaning supplies.

Hanging racks for drying clothes, pull-out drawers with flat drying racks, and storage bins for each family member conquer the chaos. “Now I have plenty of baskets to sort clothes before washing, a large countertop to fold clothes … and more storage than I could have possibly imagined,” the homeowner says.


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enlarge | “There was not an inch of space that wasn’t used,” Wangenheim says. She carved out wall space for a deeper washer and dryer, a handy drying rack and a pullout wire basket for soiled laundry. Miscellaneous items are contained in smaller drawers and cabinets.
Style Spin
Added amenities such as a wall-mounted television and a new sound system make time spent in the laundry room less of a chore coupled with a design scheme that is on a par with the rest of the house. Mixing metals such as oil-rubbed bronze hardware with stainless/chrome appliances lends interest to the small space. “These metals were married and matched by the use of metallic-looking backsplash tiles in shades of vibrant greens, silver and gold,” Wangenheim says. A beaded green silk chandelier coordinates with the tones in the iridescent tiles.

The end result? The remodeled space “gives me the freedom to manage the laundry in a more efficient manner and makes laundry day, which is everyday in my home, a more enjoyable task,” the homeowner says.


Sources

SOURCES design, Interiors By Design LLC in Morristown; custom Makassar ebony melamine cabinetry, designed by Interiors By Design and fabricated by Jerry Lazarus of Lazarus & Williamson LLC in Ogdensburg; steel rollout bins, provided by Rev-a-shelf through Lazarus & Williamson; washer/dryer, Electrolux Wave Touch Series in Silver Sands, Reno’s Appliances in Fairfield; handmade porcelain tiles with glass inserts, Apex Tile Gallery in Parsippany; countertop, Silestone in Urban Cream; vinyl flooring, J&S Designer Flooring in Morristown; chandelier, Stonegate Designs with custom fabric and trim by Interiors By Design.

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