When Gigi Castleman bought a home in Bethesda, she wanted to overhaul the kitchen. In the process, she got a better laundry room.
Castleman hired InSite Builders of Bethesda. When InSite’s president, Stephen Gordon, was contemplating what to do with the old kitchen cabinets, countertops, and appliances that were about to be ripped out, he noticed that the unfinished portion of the basement was identical in dimensions to the kitchen directly above it. At the same time, Castleman told him she wanted to consolidate the upstairs laundry and utility areas into a larger space. “She wanted to get all that out of her living space,” Gordon says.
His solution was to move the cabinetry and other parts of the old kitchen into the basement space, which would serve as a second kitchen for catering parties but also absorb other functions such as laundry, gift-wrapping, flower-arranging, and sewing—with all the necessary storage for supplies. The front-loading washer and dryer flank floor-to-ceiling storage for cleaning supplies in addition to overflow shelving for china, crystal, linens, and large serving pieces. A double-door closet conceals built-in drying racks for the laundry. “It saves time and space by having everything in one place,” Gordon says.
He also made sure the washer and dryer were outfitted with stainless-steel hoses to prevent leakage, a floor-level water alarm, and an easy manual shutoff valve to close the water lines when no one is home. “We do that in every laundry room,” he says, “to make it very safe.”
Even in the smallest space, make room for a shelf and a hanging rod. InSite Builders’ Stephen Gordon suggests using the shelf for laundry soaps and the rod for hanging wet clothes that can’t go in the dryer.
Consider a wall-mounted rack for the iron, near the ironing board. That keeps all your tools in one place.
If space is tight, look to built-ins. Many ironing boards can be built in, and a hanging rack can be mounted on a wall to fold out like an accordion. Gordon recommends wall-mounted racks, no matter the space, to keep the floor clear.
Assign separate baskets or bins for lights, darks, and other laundry to avoid piles of clothes on the floor.
Install good lighting. There’s nothing like a strong, bright light in a laundry room to aid with tasks such as ironing and folding, Gordon says.