Clean Laundry

Our laundry room is in the basement, and it has become a rather dank, dingy place of late. Since winter has confined us inside for the past fifteen years couple of months, things like dingy laundry rooms have started to wear on me. I want them un-dingified. I want my laundry room to be sparkly. I want it to be inviting, if not inspiring.

Thus it is that we are now knee-deep in the midst of a laundry room remodel. I do hope it’s not as complicated and intense as the studio remodel last year. That, friends and neighbors, was garish. Worthwhile, but oh, so tiring. It dragged on for weeks. I hope this doesn’t go the same way. We will be completely out of clean clothes in about three more days, including diapers, so I have extra incentive to keep the ball – er, paint- rolling.

So. I’ll let you in on the Top Secret Plan, because I know you’re just dying to know what’s all going on in my laundry these days. Heh.

Here’s what we had on Saturday:

Present Config

Sorry about the fuzziness on the text. This is the 2-D export from Google SketchUp, and that’s about as good as it gets. The colors are not exact, either, but they’re close enough to give you the general idea.

Yes, I have a fridge and stove in my laundry room. They were my parents’, from the early 1980s. I love them. They followed me to my first house and now here, and I use them for holiday cooking and the like. And, yes, they are yellow. “Goldenrod”, I believe, the color is called. Don’t poke fun, unless you also have a set of goldenrod kitchen appliances in your basement.

You will also see a large hole in the floor; that is the approximate size and location of the sump pump. Then there’s the traditional washer/dryer, which sit on a concrete pad. Until yesterday, there was also a utility tub, which is now sitting here:

Snowy laundry tub

The previous owners had painted the walls a neutral taupey color – great for me as the prospective buyer, but dull and boring for me as the trapped housewife – and laid a green indoor/outdoor carpet on the floor. The walls and floor are no longer working for me. At all. For many reasons.

The biggest problem was the back wall, the one the washer/dryer sit against. It’s an outside wall, and it got wet from some deteriorating plumbing that leaked and then sat, wet, against the concrete. Not a good thing. Wet exterior walls leads to mildew, mold, discolored pipes, and all sorts of icky things. My first plan was just to paint the wall with a mildewcide, like this awesome stuff:


So I started slopping on the product carefully painting the wall.

Before and after

It is definitely more pleasant than mildew, that’s for sure. But I can’t leave well enough alone it a glaring white color. Hmm. We’ll have to think on that for a while.

Meanwhile, there is the issue of the floor. I pulled up the carpet to find a concrete floor in fairly good condition, but with peeling paint. It, too, needs recoated.


Pulling up the carpet lead to –> should I put down epoxy or porch paint? Epoxy or porch paint? Epoxy is so durable. Porch paint is so inexpensive. Epoxy requires umpteen hours of prep work and hosing off the basement floor and mixing chemicals in a confined space. Porch paint cleans up with soap and water. Porch paint it is. What color? Oh, I’ll figure something out.

My brother-in-law, the world’s Strongest Man, came over Sunday and helped DH move the goldenrod fridge and stove out into the family room. DH moved the washer/dryer off the pad and onto the laundry room floor, so I could get the outside wall cleaned up. And we are on our way to total insanity a lovely laundry room.

So this is how, in my life, one small project becomes the Project To End All Projects. Except it doesn’t end all projects, because that’s what the studio remodel should have been (the Last Project), and here we are, in a project. I mean, working on a project. We’re not really in a project. This is a nice neighborhood. Oh, nevermind.

Anyway, we were in the Big Orange Box home improvement store at 9pm on Monday getting supplies and I realized that I will have to paint the pad that the washer and dryer sit on before I can move them back. I have to move them back before I can do anything else in the room. That means I have to figure out a color NOW, so I can buy paint and get the pad done in the morning. Because these:


need to go here:


before I can do anything else.

Urgh. I hate making decisions under pressure.

Oh, well. I got O2 and we went over to the paint department while DH and S3 were looking at drywall with our buddy, R, who is also in the middle of a Project. O2 and I decide on a light sage green for the floor, Glidden’s “Woodland Mystery”. It seemed like a nice color, ya know? And it should look nice with the white walls.

First order, then, was to hurry up and paint the corner where the washer and dryer go. I needed to get that whole bit done first, so I could move on with the rest of the room. I got my tools:



and my assistants:


and we got to work.

The next morning, after I painted the back wall white, slept, and then came back to look at the results, I realized that this white was not going to work. The taupe walls sort of blended into the ceiling, which is also a brownish shade. Now, they stood out, and it was not necessarily pleasant. To top it off, I used all the Kilz on this one wall – a quantity which was supposed to cover the ENTIRE ROOM – and was now out of paint, anyway.

So that is how, at 9:52pm, I found myself back at the home improvement store, hurriedly trying to pick a color for the walls, a color that is (a) not green, since I’ve already picked that for the floor, (b) not white, since I’ve already decided that it needs more shading, and (c) not taupe, since I can’t paint it a color I was complaining about this whole time.

I settled on purple. “Lavender Sparkle”, to be exact.

And then, at 10:17 PM, I began painting. And I got the whole little corner (and most of the back wall) painted. Which meant that yesterday, I was able to paint the little pad. And this means that tomorrow morning, these


can go back here:

Finished pad

Doesn’t that look lovely? (Actually, it looks cartoonish, but it’s so much nicer than taupe and indoor/outdoor carpet.) And once the washer/dryer is back, so many wonderful things can happen. I can finish painting the walls. I can scrub and paint the floor. I can tackle the mountain of laundry that is threatening to overtake our home like the popcorn scene from Real Genius.

So the plan, once executed, should give us this:

New Config

And then, I can go back to important things, like drinking coffee and wasting countless hours on the internet playing with my children and caring for my home.

I can’t wait.


6 thoughts on “Clean Laundry

  1. As if the list of things we have in common could get any longer!! 🙂 I think it will be very nice to have a new laundry room. It’ll make washing those stinky nappies less tedious. (That’s my plan, of course.)

  2. I read the bean’s blog…now you have another reader in NZ 🙂 I think your PROJECT is very impressive, especially given that you have 2 small helpers no less.

  3. You’re in better shape than we are. Our washer and dryer are in the Captain’s father’s garage (not hooked up). No laundry room is in the process of getting built, either. I’ve gone back to washing clothes at my parents’ house like I’m in college.

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