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Laundry Room Design: start early, I did


55 years ago, when I was four, my mother had an old Westinghouse wringer washer. I would snuggle up, with my back against that warm living machine down in the basement. It would go slosh wash, slosh wash, slosh wash all afternoon long...just like some giant mechanical heartbeat. Warm and cozy under a blue car blanket...sitting on an orange crate (they had wooden crates then) I spent my winter afternoons snoozing away. Ah, those were the days.

Despite those warm, fuzzy memories, the reality of it all is who wants to trudge up and down into the cellar to wash clothes? Laundry room design has come a long way: up the stairs and closer to our every day lives. We are seeing a divergence in thought concerning laundry room design these days. One school thinks laundry rooms should be multi-functional with computers, plasma screens, even game tables. It's a new place to do a lot more than the laundry. The traditional concept is, "Hey, this is work: make it as quick, efficient and tolerable as possible, so I can get out of here and do something more important". But no matter which way you are leaning, here are some specific things to consider besides just what kind of appliances to buy... so lets take a look at a few:

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Good Traffic Flow


Go where the dirt is. If you have an active outdoor family and lifestyle (read muddy, dusty, track dirt in from everywhere) then locate that laundry room near its source. Head off dirt getting into your house by making the laundry room a gauntlet to jump through in order to proceed further. Well, that may be a slight overstatement (but maybe not). In an Iowa farm house or an Oregon loggers home the first room owners enter may very well be the mud/utility/laundry room. Keep those muddy rubber boots, Carharts, overalls, etc. corralled and contained at least until they're clean enough to enter into the rest of your log home. So here is a vote for locating the laundry room in or near the working corridor of your design. But as in all corridors, design for free flow of traffic. Piles of dirty clothes, bins, hampers, and baskets can be a traffic hazard; so keeping it organized and functional is essential.

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Utility Room


That is not to say it must be on the main floor near a back door or back porch. If your lifestyle is a little less "wilderness" and little more "urbane" then consider placing it (or an additional stacked washer/dryer)upstairs, even as part of your master bedroom/master bath. In any case, try to locate where you are taking off dirty clothes, and not too far from where those clothes, once cleaned are going to be stored.


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