Critique my laundry/mudroom plan?

flying_cSeptember 20, 2013

Hello everyone! I've been an on-again, off-again lurker for a couple of years, now hoping to get some advice turning our mostly unfinished basement laundry room into a laundry/mudroom.

Some background about the house: we're a family of four (2 adults, 2 young children) living in a 1350 sq ft cape. The house is built on a slope, so there's a partial daylight basement and a one-car garage under the house. We use the garage for storage, not parking. The room I'm dealing with is directly adjacent to the garage. Right now it's got just our washing machine, dryer, and an old double laundry sink which is either concrete or soapstone. The house has no real mudroom, so all our stuff is heaped in the kitchen near the back door, which I am thoroughly sick of.

So, the plan is to give the laundry room mudroom functionality and force ourselves to enter through the garage all the time. I also hope to have enough counter space for potting and seed starting. And of course, storage for all things laundry.

We're hoping to do this somewhat economically. The room is already drywalled, though most of the pipes are still exposed and the floor isn't finished. We don't want to move utilities much, so the sink, washer, and dryer locations are pretty fixed. We're planning to use IKEA cabinets.

Here's a drawing of the space:

And here's a plan I've come up with:

There would be a bench and cubbies/hooks on the bottom wall in the plan. The sink is a placeholder - we haven't decided whether to try and save the current sink (a beast to move and we'd need a new base built for it), get a wall-mount sink, or do the setup shown here.

The short section of counter in the upper right corner is also an approximation. We'd like to put a sort of freestanding peninsula there, topped with the same counter material (likely laminate), but removable to access the plumbing if needed.

I've played around a lot, and I keep coming back to this plan. However, I feel like it shortchanges the mudroom aspect. We don't anticipate storing out-of-season items down there, but we do want enough space for everything we use daily in a New England winter: bulky coats, snowpants for the kids, boots and shoes, scarves, hats and mittens, and as well as our bags and backpacks. So, a lot of stuff! I'm not sure one wall will accommodate all that.

Anyhow, I would really appreciate any comments on this plan, positive or negative. Thanks!!

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First, may I suggest that you start entering and exiting through the proposed mud room now, before you start spending money on it? Make sure that this entrance will really work for your family.

You said New England. Where is the car parked, relative to the proposed mud room? How much shoveling will you have to do to get from the car to the door? Do you have a paved walkway there? How will it work, lugging groceries and briefcases and backpacks full of school work through the basement and upstairs?

Will it work, storing bags and backpacks in the basement? Or will you need what is in those in the house, for homework and stuff?

I'm not really trying to be a Debbie Downer here. This could be a really workable plan. But I'd test it out first.

As for the mudroom aspect of the proposed plan, will a bench and cubbies be enough storage? Since you are already looking at Ikea, what about a couple of Pax wardrobes, without doors, fitted with hooks and shelves and baskets and bins for all the "stuff." There's a huge variety of fittings for the Pax wardrobes, so you probably can find what you need.

Maybe two Pax units with a storage bench in between and cubbies above that ?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Thanks, camlan! Per your suggestion, we're going to try out the new mudroom location, starting this weekend.

The cars are parked right outside the garage and this laundry room, so it's actually a quicker trip inside than entering by the back door, and that area gets snow cleared no matter what.

No homework at the moment, the kids aren't old enough yet. I suppose it may be an issue in a few years, though, and there may be times when my husband has to get his work laptop up from downstairs, though. It's a trade-off, but I'm guessing it won't be a huge deal.

I think you're right that we may not have enough space for all our winter things with the plan I proposed. On the other hand, we don't have enough space for them now, either :-P. If we do stick with the bottom wall as mudroom, the storage plan there is going to be crucial. Not my strong suit, alas.

I'd love to do the Pax units like you suggested, but I don't think there's enough wall length to accommodate it. The door to the garage needs space to swing, so the bottom right corner can't have anything that sticks out more than a few inches. I was thinking of a shallow shoe cabinet, or maybe wall mounted shoe cabinets (like these) to go behind that door.

There's probably a total of 4.5 ft of space along that wall for deeper storage and/or a bench without crowding the door to the rest of the basement.

Thanks again for all your cautions and suggestions!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 7:51PM
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A couple of random thoughts, based on what you said about shortchanging the mudroom aspect of the space.

Would it be possible to change the swing of the door to the garage? Make it open against the sink, instead of that wall? That might give you enough space on that bottom wall to really have room for all the mudroom stuff you want to keep there.

What's along the left-hand wall? Cabinets? If that is just storage, could you make that wall the "mudroom" wall, with plenty of storage for boots and coats and stuff, and have a mix of shallow and deeper storage along that bottom wall, for the laundry room stuff. I don't know if you'd be able to get a long enough run of counter there for the seeds and potting, though.

It looks as if the room is roughly 10' x 9.5'. Is there space for a rolling cart of any kind? Or a freestanding island in the middle of the room?

The door from the laundry/mud room to the rest of the basement. Do you need that door or could you remove it? Could it be rehung to open out into the rest of the basement instead of into the room?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 11:03AM
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I'd considered reversing the door into the garage, but it's kind of a monster (big metal thing with huge hinges and a spring that attaches to the doorframe), so ideally I'd rather not touch it. The door to the rest of the basement, can't be reversed since the bottom of the stairs impinge on the other side, but it could potentially be removed entirely. Hadn't considered that.

In my plan, there are cabinets along the left wall, yes. I played around with having a bench and some hooks along that wall instead (can't do cubbies since the window is so low), and then doing tall storage along the bottom wall. I think it would work...but then I'd be shortchanging the laundry room part of things. Choices, choices!

Don't think a rolling cart would fit. It's a pretty small space (about 10.5' x 10').

Thanks again! We moved all our shoes and jackets and stuff downstairs over the weekend, and so far so good.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Flying C, just came back to ask--what's on the walls *above* the cabinets that you show on your floor plan?

If you are concerned about having enough laundry related storage, can you add some upper wall cabinets or open shelving, or a mix of the two? Open shelving might be easier, given the windows and the pipes that you'd have to work around. But that could give you tons more storage.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 7:33AM
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I see a huge blind corner in the upper left ... how will you get to the things in that cabinet?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:15AM
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I see the blind corners too - on both corners.

I don't usually post to threads with drawings because I just can't see the things that other people see. I think I have some kind of vision problem like people who can't recognize faces. lol All I see when I look at drawings are lines - at least most of the time.

What if you did it something like this

You could put corner pull out cabinets in both corners, and if your scale is right, one would have to be smaller to get full use out of the corner. I moved the sink because that makes the same size in the right corner. You could put cubbies on the right wall, or anything else. A bench with cubbies above and below, or a wall of drawers, or full locker size cubbies. You have that 8 inches beside the door to the garage which is deep enough for a coat hook.

Or you could put the washer/dryer on one wall and the sink and cabinets opposite it and have full access to all cabinets.

I understand not wanting to change the way the door opens, and I also understand wanting to put everything you can into the space. But I think that horseshoe arrangement would be very confining and awkward to use, even though it looks great on paper.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 12:25PM
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