Beach house laundry room layout review please!

beach_houseAugust 29, 2014

I am helping my parents design a raised modular reverse living beach house and would appreciate feedback on the laundry room.

My parents are in their early 60s and hope to retire at the new house in the next 5-7 years. My 91-year old grandma might move in with them permanently if her health requires it. Until retirement, the house will be used heavily as a vacation home with the possibility of some light renting to people we know or friends of friends.

My parents have 4 grown children (ages 24-32) with 3 significant others, plus one infant grandchild and a 50 lb family dog. The house will be primarily used by this group of 10 people, sometimes all at once, and the group will likely grow as more grandchildren and dogs enter the picture. Visits will mostly be long weekends, but there will be a full week or two here and there. Once my parents move in full time, they will still have frequent visitors, mostly from the same group.

So the laundry room will definitely see heavy use, but I'm not sure how much space we'll need. We don't have any linen closets, so it must fulfill that role as well. The washer/dryer wall on the left can be shifted to steal space from bedroom #5 if necessary.

What would you do?

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If you use a front load washing machine its fully opened door will interfere with the door from the hallway, similarly the door to the utility room will interfere with opening the cabinet next to it; you may want to consider pocket doors for one or both. I would identify where you want to fold clothes (which countertop), hang (need space for pole and hangars) or flat dry hand wash clothes, store and sort dirty laundry (preferably everyone is trained to toss their own laundry into the correct dirty bin-marked bins for color, white, dark, special needs), and the exact shelves that will hold clean laundry, including extra space for beach towels (maybe you want the clean linen closet to open into the hallway, not the laundry room...or to be accessible from both) and if you are going to iron where the board and iron and electric outlet will be located. Also make sure you are happy with how/where the vent will be located for the gas dryer and where the hot air will discharge to and where the plumbing vent(s?) will be located.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:41PM
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Thanks for the overview of other issues to consider. I've never had a laundry room and wasn't sure where to start. I will definitely be playing around with the layout this weekend!

I like the idea of a pocket door for the laundry room entrance, but I don't think it would work for the utility room because of the elevator shaft. I have a pocket door in my master bath, and it's horribly loud. The door bangs against the wall when you move it. Do all pocket doors do that, or was mine just not installed correctly?

I've heard that you are supposed to leave the door of front loading washers open to dry out between loads. My front loader's door won't stay cracked open - it will swing all the way open if not latched. I'm not crazy about the idea of having the door open in the walkway all the time. Maybe this is a quirk specific to my model?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 1:23AM
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Could you stack the w/d next to the sink? It would free up space and you won't have to worry about cleaning ducts, if the dryer can vent straight to the outside.

How about stacking them to the right side of the sink? You'd have the entire left wall for closets. If you have an Electrolux pair, I'd also consider reversing the door of the washer, so that it swings in the same direction as the dryer's door and against the HVAC rooms' door - out of the walkway.

Of course, none of this applies if you have/want pedestals.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 1:15PM
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I like the idea of stacking the w/d next to the sink, but my parents have vetoed that idea. They want side by side units that will easier to replace separately if just one unit dies.

Here's what I came up with today:

The washer and dryer are side by side under a large window with a long counter for folding along the length of that wall. There are upper cabinets to the left of the washer and on your left when you first walk in the room. There's a pole for hanging clothes over the sink, and on the opposite wall there are full height/depth cabinets for storage. Trash under the sink.

I'd like to put sorting hampers under the counter to the left of the sink. Maybe something similar to what mydreamhome did in her laundry room:

My mom said she's not interested in a place to lay items flat to dry. She almost never dries clothes that way, and on the very rare occasion she does, she lays the item on a towel on a bed. One less thing to worry about! :)

What I haven't figured out yet is where to put an ironing board. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 12:30AM
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ironing board idea:

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 10:27AM
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Potential code problem: you probably cannot have the door open into the hallway... (Doors open into rooms, it is less confusing in a fire for all doors to open the same way and not to block hallways, reconsider pocket door).

Personal preference: great move, I like the w/d under the window. I would move the sink to the wall by the elevator to give me maximum unbroken countertop and upper cabinets on the one wall and then the hanging clothes over the new sink location would also be less visually obtrusive. If the door opened the way it did originally you would likely not be able to see the sink/ hanging clothes until you were into the room.....and if you moved the sink to the corner (formed by the hallway elevator) you certainly would only be able to see when in the room. As to the ironing can store it on the door to the utility room (and iron in this laundry room-with very little space-but you could easily move the board to another room, also such a standard board and cover would be less expensive-easy to replace)...or you could store it in a drawer like the picture above (more expensive option...but the board itself may have a seam where it folds that maybe irritating to try iron over) or you could give up some counter space on the wall by the elevator and install an in the wall ironing center with outlet there (my choice but I seem to iron more than most...)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 11:31AM
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The shape of the laundry room changed as the rest of the floor plans were tweaked, so here is the updated layout:

What changes would you make?

Many thanks,


    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 2:06AM
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There are no more changes that I can see. You should be aware that a tankless water heater does not work well with all types of washing machines (or dishwashers). If you were to look around on this forum you would find a lot of discussion about the problem and that a number of people went back to the tank style. It may be that you have to either buy a washing machine that heats its own water or be willing to run the faucet in the laundry room each time to pull hot water through the system. Something to keep in mind.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Get a stacked washer/dryer.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 10:56AM
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Ditto - that layout seems flawless. *impressed*

I'd just make sure that everything (hanging area) is within easy reach for everyone without having to use a step stool or something like that.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 1:00PM
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if you buy a regular front loader and dryer you could replace those separately no matter if they are installed side by side or stacked. Don't think you need a stacking pair now, but it might be good for those who read this later.

I would also build a platform (very sturdy one !) to raise up the washer dryer about 12-16". It will be a lot easier to load and unload the machine especially for aging in place people.

I'd also consider waterproofing the floor of that room .

Folks - for those of you weirding out about tankless water heaters not being able to supply enough water or messing with washers. Get a grip. Most of those case are due to faulty plumbing system design.

A water heater supplies hot water , the washer doesn't know or even care if it comes from gas or solar or electric power, tank or tankless or even a hybrid.

The washer's valve opens and calls for hot water and starts to fill. If the water in the line is cold that's what goes in the drum first until the heater pushes hot water thru the line. If, and it's a big if, there is already hot water in the line , giants what'll go in the drum. BUT , there's no guarantee there will be hit water in the line. If your faucet is plumbed on the same line and you run it before the washer there will be hot water in the line and this is true whether you have a tank or tankless heater.

Now, if you have a home run system with a dedicated line for the washer, then it (the washer) has to purge the line of cold water before hot water can arrive at the tub. This is where some people have difficulty with tankless heaters as they tend to be in home run type systems. If your pipe to the washer is large or very far away from the heater the washer's draw will not be enough to purge the line of cold and the washer will not see hot water. This IS NOT the tankless' fault. The same situation will occur in THAT house with a tank type heater ! It's the design of the plumbing system that is at fault ! You need a short run, or a recic. line , or pipe your nearby faucet off of the same line as the washer AND run it before turning on the washer.

Stop blaming the equipment. It's the professional design that is lacking.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 8:45PM
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"Blaming" the water heater? No. I believe that use of a tankless water heater does not work well with household appliances using intermittent flows, which some washing machines do. Awareness of the problem and thoughtful purchases will make it possible to happily use a tankless water heater. Your "home run" scenario is a better description of the problem. Thanks for the clarification.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 2:35AM
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I'm still trying to figure out how "beach house" and "ironing" could possibly go together. :)

But seriously, the main thing I'd ask is whether you need a large hamper for beach towels.

My personal bias for guest rooms is to store the linens in the guest room. That avoids mixing up the queen size sheets (ours) from the guests' full size sheets. It could also help keep things organized if there are different color or style schemes for each guest room. This assumes, of course, the guests are only storing a couple of weeks of clothing - which may not be what you or your parents intend.

There's also a question of whether the guests will be sorting their laundry separately (if they're doing it at all). Again, that's personal.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 7:36PM
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