Monday, July 16, 2018

Our Laundry Room/Mudroom Remodel Reveal!

(Click here to shop everything in this image!)

As most of you know, we lived in a rented townhouse for a long time before we finally bought our first home (a home for which we searched for several years) this January. It was such a long process to get here, and there isn't a day that passes where I don't feel immensely grateful to be living in a home of our own. That said, we knew as soon as we put an offer in that we would need to remodel the majority of the house over time. Our first step was to put in a patio so our family could enjoy our backyard this summer. Our second step (and first room to tackle inside) was to remodel our laundry room into a functional, beautiful space. We teamed up with our favorite brand for home improvement, Lowe's, and designed and built an entirely new laundry and mudroom - for less than $5,000 and in less than 3 weeks. I am absolutely thrilled to share this space, and how we did it, with you today! (Note: Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a complete lists of products and tools we used, with links.)

You can see from these before photos that the original laundry room severely lacked storage (stay tuned for a more specific post on the storage aspect of the space and how we came up with solutions for it). There also wasn't anywhere for us to fold laundry, so we were dragging loads upstairs to fold on our bed. (Which - let's be real - often resulted in balls of wrinkled clothing that got repeatedly pushed to the bottom of the to do list.) The space also didn't have the essentials to make it a mudroom, something that we felt was important to our home. Because we enter our house through the garage, we needed a bench or some sort of area for the kids (and us, and guests) to take off their shoes, and proper storage for the shoes. We decided that in order to really transform the room into what we needed, we should strip it completely and start from scratch.

The first thing Robbie and I did was sit down and put together some mood boards and (admittedly very amateur, but still useful) renderings of a new design for the space. I am the visual/artistic person in our relationship, and Robbie is the practical/numbers person. So I created a color scheme (black, white, gray, and wood, with pops of deep red) and sketched out design ideas, and Robbie determined placements and measurements. We also made a list of the things we would need to do in order to make the space best suited for our family: replace the old linoleum floor with durable tiles, build a counter for folding, build a bench with an area for storage, add two rows of cabinets for storage, add shelves for storage and visual appeal, paint the room a darker color, replace the light fixture, replace the old washer and dryer with newer models that actually worked (!), and add accessories that would allow the space to be more inviting as we entered our home.

Once we had a specific plan for the room, it was time to head to Lowe's and to shop for all of the necessary products and tools. This was one of the most fun parts of the project for me. Getting to take my mood boards and sketches and make them a reality by finding the exact items we needed to bring the space to life was the best! It was slightly daunting too - many of the DIY projects we'd be tackling were completely new to us (neither of us had ever installed tile or built counters or benches), and we needed to keep the entire project within a budget of $5,000 - so I was nervous that I'd get the wrong tools or materials. In the end, we were able to complete it within budget, and because we literally did everything ourselves, we learned so much along the way that we'll be able to put to use for future home projects.

Next up was demo day! Okay, so we didn't really demo anything. But we did remove the old washer and dryer, take down the current wire shelving that was on the wall, remove the current coat rack, and pull up the linoleum floor. Once everything was out and the space was clean, we were ready to get started.

Robbie was only off the road with the band for two and a half weeks, so we were motivated to dive right in. We did the majority of the work at night after the kids went to bed, and although that meant lots of 3 AM bed times, it's proof that even without a lot of free time, a remodel like this can be done fairly quickly with the right products and tools.

Our first project was the most involved: laying the tile. I wish I could take credit for this portion of the remodeling, but it was Robbie who did all of the work. I won't write a novel explaining the entire process of how he did it (you can check out a great tutorial on how to install tile right here), but I will share the products and tools he used to make it happen. My favorite part of the tile portion, obviously, was choosing the tile itself. I initially wanted a patterned tile, but then I saw this Style Selection Mitte Gray Porcelain Tile at Lowe's and fell in love. I knew we were painting the walls black which would be striking itself, and I thought the texture and colors of these gorgeous tiles would perfectly complement it. I chose a light colored grout to go with it, but then after considering the fact that it's a high traffic area, changed to a charcoal gray grout instead. (And I'm so glad I did; I am smitten with the way it looks.) From start to finish, everything (from cutting the trim around the door and floor to arranging then cutting the tiles to putting in the backing board, mortar, grout, etc.) took about 3 solid nights. In addition to the tile and grout, we used these items to complete the floor: tile spacersthin set mortartrowelgrout floatfiber cement backer5 gallon bucketutility knifesteel spiral mixing armsWet Tabletop Sliding Table Tile SawOscillating Saw. (Confession: We messed up the spacing and had to pull up and reinstall about 1/3 of the room. But we'll save that story for another time. And it was honestly a great learning experience. There was more laughter than frustration, and that's ultimately what matters, right?)

After the tile floor was complete, we had a little dance party on it (no really, we did), and moved on to the second most involved project: building the countertop and bench.  My dad has a lot of experience with wood working, so he joined us for this portion of the project. I had a vision that involved birch butcher block, which is just so stunning, but also very heavy. Thankfully the 3 of us were able to maneuver the butcher block pieces (2 of them, 6 feet each), and Robbie and my dad did the measuring, cutting, and actual building of the counter. For the bench, I had originally looked to buy one that would include storage, but I couldn't find one that was a small enough width to fit next to a washing machine and dryer. I am so glad my dad and Robbie ended up building one from scratch, because it is truly stunning, and one of my favorite parts of the room. And they designed it as a built-in rather than a freestanding unit with legs, which allowed enough space underneath for 2 of these beautiful baskets for shoe storage. To build the countertop and bench, they used the butcher block as well as my dad's circular saw and saw horses, a standard drill and screws that we had on hand, these corner braces (for the bench), these shelf brackets (for the counter), this stud finder, and this level. (Note: While they built the counter and bench before we painted or hang the cabinets, we did not install them until after.)

Next up came painting the room. Moody paints are really on trend right now, and I wanted to take the plunge (my paint comfort zone is usually limited to white or gray), but I also wanted something that would stand the test of time. I discovered the most gorgeous black (called Caviar) by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, and opted for that in an eggshell finish. I was admittedly a little nervous to do the room in black because it's already so small, and was amazed to see that it ended up creating the opposite effect - the room looks much larger with the dark paint. I love it so much that I'm planning on getting the exact same paint for our downstairs bathroom.

After the painting was complete, we recruited my dad to help us hang the cabinets and shelves. Because creating storage was one of the biggest motivations behind this remodel, I'll be sharing another post soon with the details on how we installed the cabinets and shelves, along with other ways we designed more storage for the space. For now, here are cabinets and shelves we chose (I wanted simply designed, white cabinets to create a contrast against the black paint and to flow with the white appliances, doors, and trim in the room, and some sort of wood style shelves to complement the butcher block), along with the items used to install them: large cabinets, small cabinets, cabinet pulls, shelves (with hardware and brackets), wood veneer shelvesshims, a standard drill and screws that we had on hand, this stud finder, and this level.

After the cabinets, shelves, counter, and bench were complete, it was time for the new washer and dryer! After six months of using a washer and dryer that barely functioned, this was incredibly exciting for us. We installed them ourselves and were genuinely surprised at how simple it was. I could devote a whole post to the level of adoration I feel for this washer and dryer, but instead I'll just say that I can't recommend the Samsung AddWash 5.0-cu ft High-Efficiency Stackable Front-Load Washer and Samsung 7.5-cu ft Gas Dryer highly enough. Top notch. (Items we used to install the washer and dryer: gas connector, foil duct, gear clamp, pipe wrap tape, washing machine connector, steam dryer kit.)

Next we switched out the old light fixture for this one (I am obsessed with it) and these light bulbs, and changed out the brass door knobs for aged bronzed ones and brass hinges for black ones. I actually hadn't even thought of changing the hardware on the doors, but once the room was almost finished, the brass just didn't flow well. And the change was an easy fix. We then hung a new wall-mounted coat rack and this super unique pothole mirror. We also cut down a dowel rod and used white shelf brackets (we painted one black) to made a laundry rod for hang drying clothes.

Once everything else was finished, I completed the shelves with some storage jars I had on hand for clothes pins, dryer balls, and pocket change (you can make similar ones with mason jars and chalkboard paint, or get these cool vintage looking storage jars), some succulents, and a photograph that my dad took with one of his film cameras, developed, and hand-framed. I added this red throw pillow and this ivory one (which I love so deeply I plan on getting a few more for our family room) to the bench, and this absolutely beautiful oriental throw rug to the floor. I also picked up this antique style bronze basket for transporting laundry to and from upstairs.

By doing all of the projects and installation for this remodel ourselves, and investing in tools that could be used for multiple projects, we were able to completely redo the space and design something perfect for us for less than $5,000 (including the washer and dryer!), when it would have been much, much more expensive to hire a designer and contractor. And of course, we are so grateful to Lowe's for carrying all of the products we needed for the room from top to bottom, and working with us to help make this dream space a reality. Robbie and I agree that it is, by far, the nicest room in our home. (Would that be weird to live solely in a laundry room? Asking for a friend.)

Dreaming of, designing, and remodeling a space in your home is such a rewarding experience - we get to enjoy our work every single day! And we're very inspired to remodel more rooms in home now that this one is complete. If you have any questions about the process of our redesign, please let me know. I'd be happy to answer!

(Click here to shop everything in this image!)

Tile: Style Selection Mitte Gray Porcelain Tile
Grout: MAPEI Flexcolor CQ 0.5-Gallon Charcoal Acrylic Premixed Grout
Tile Spacers: TAVY 100-Pack 1-in W x 1-in L 1/4-in Orange Plastic Tile Spacer
Mortar: TEC Skill Set Large Tile and Stone White Powder Polymer-Modified Thinset Mortar
Trowel: QLT by Marshalltown 11-in Flooring Trowel
Grout Float: QLT by Marshalltown 9.5-in x 4-in Rubber Grout Float
Backer Board: James Hardie 0.25-in x 36-in x 60-in HardieBacker Fiber Cement Backer Board
Bucket: Encore Plastics 5-Gallon Commercial Bucket
Utility Knife: Marshalltown 2-Blade Utility Knife
Mixing Arms: QLT by Marshalltown 16-in Steel Spiral Mixing Arms
Wet Saw/Tile Cutter: Kobalt 7-in Wet/Dry Tabletop Sliding Table Tile Saw with Stand
Oscillating Saw: DEWALT XR 28-Piece Cordless 20-volt Max Brushless Oscillating Tool Kit
Butcher Block: The Baltic Butcher Block 6-ft Natural Straight Birch Kitchen Countertop
Large Storage Baskets: RGI HOME 18-in W x 12-in H x 14.25-in D Natural Fiber Basket
Small Storage Baskets: 11-in W x 9-in H x 10-in D Natural Water Hyacinth Milk Crate
Paint: HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams in Caviar Eggshell
Large Cabinets: Diamond NOW Arcadia 30-in W x 30-in H x 12-in D White Shaker Door Wall Cabinet
Small Cabinets: Diamond NOW Arcadia 30-in W x 14-in H x 12-in D White Shaker Door Wall Cabinet
Cabinet Pulls: Brainerd Bar Pulls Center to Center Stainless Steel Cabinet Pull
Shelves: allen + roth 24-in W x 1.5-in H x 7.8-in D Wood Wall Mounted Shelving
Level: Johnson Level 48-in I-beam Level
Stud Finder: Franklin Sensors ProSensor 1.6-in Scan Depth Aa Metal and Wood Stud Finder
Shims: Nelson Wood Shims Shim (Actual: 1.25-in x 7.75-in)
Corner Braces: National Hardware 2.5-in Galvanized Corner Brace
Shelf Brackets for Counter: Style Selections Steel 5.25-in D x 7.63-in L x 1.55-in W White Shelf Bracket
Shelf Brackets for Laundry Rod: Blue Hawk Plastic 2.05-in D x 2.05-in L x 0.77-in W White Shelf Bracket
Dowel Rod: Madison Mill Round Wood Poplar Dowel (Actual: 72-in L x 1.25-in dia)
Washer: Samsung AddWash 5.0-cu ft High-Efficiency Stackable Front-Load Washer (White) ENERGY STAR
Dryer: Samsung 7.5-cu ft Gas Dryer (White) ENERGY STAR
Gas Connector for Dryer: BrassCraft Inlet x Outlet Stainless Steel Gas Connector
Foil Duct for Dryer: IMPERIAL 4-in x 96-in Foil Flexible Duct
Galvanized Clamp for Dryer: Galvanized Full Clamp
Pipe Wrap Tape: 3M 2.5-in x 30-ft Pipe Wrap Tape
Washing Machine Connector: EASTMAN 2-Pack 6-ft L 3/4-in Hose Thread Inlet x 3/4-in Hose Thread Outlet Stainless Steel Washing Machine Connector
Steam Dryer Kit: EASTMAN 72-in L 3/4-in Hose Thread Inlet x 3/4-in Hose Thread Outlet Braided Stainless Steel Steam Dryer Installation Kit
Light Fixture: allen + roth Yordan 15-in W Aged Bronze Flush Mount Light
Light bulbs: GE Vintage 2-Pack 60 W Equivalent Dimmable Soft White A19 Vintage LED Light Fixture Light Bulb
Door Handle for Door to Garage: Gatehouse Baron Antique Bronze Mushroom Passage Door Knob
Door Handle and Deadbolt for Door to Garage: Kwikset Tustin Venetian Bronze Single-cylinder Deadbolt Keyed Entry Door Lever Combo Pack with Smartkey
Hinges: Hager 4-in H Flat Black 1/4-in Radius Interior Mortise Door Hinge
Spring Hinges: National Hardware 4-in H Oil-Rubbed Bronze 1/4-in Radius Exterior Barrel Door Hinge
Antique Style Laundry Basket: 17.5-in W x 15-in H x 14.5-in D Antique Brass Iron Basket
Throw Rug: Safavieh Windsor Davar Red/Ivory Indoor Oriental Throw Rug (Common: 3 x 5; Actual: 3-ft W x 5-ft L)
Rug Pad: Surface Source Dual Surface Rug Pad (Common: 3 x 5; Actual: 3-ft W x 5-ft L)
Red and Orange Throw Pillow: Surya Trenza 22-in W x 22-in L Red/Orange Indoor Decorative Pillow
Ivory Throw Pillow: Loloi 13-in W x 21-in L Ivory Indoor Decorative Pillow
Mirror: Dimond Home Pothole Dark Gray Framed Round Wall Mirror
White Blinds (already in room; not part of project): LEVOLOR 2-in White Faux Wood Door Plantation Blinds

Huge thanks to Lowe's for partnering with us on this project and post! 



  1. What a transformation! There is something so satisfying - albeit very labour intensive - about buying an older or more rundown home and making it into exactly the space you want it to be. We're about to start work on remodeling our kitchen, which isn't going to be easy, but I am so excited to see how it comes out - and I hope we do half as well as you two did :)

  2. WOW! This is absolutely stunning! Can you come redo mine too? Amazing transformation!

  3. This is so beautiful, I would love to do the same to our laundry room.

  4. That is a huge transformation! It looks amazing! Motivated to do mine too.

  5. I love how it turned out! And hat's off to you and your husband for doing it all yourself! Currently I'm folding everything on my ironing board, so I will keep the counter in mind for when we decide to remodel our laundry room :)

  6. I have a small laundry room with CONS: outdated floors, unpainted cabinets, old washer/dryer; and PROS: closet, raised 4-door cabinet over washer/dryer, and a new window with a beautiful view of our white pines. I feel this could be an easy update to draw attention if we sell our house.

    Have you ever used something easier than tile for flooring? Maybe a stick-on something? I'll be doing my work solo for the most part and don't want to take on anything too difficult.

    Also, the dark paint makes me super nervous. Our laundry is on our top floor, right at the top of the stairs, and you see directly out of the window when looking in. Maybe dark wouldn't work for this. What are your thoughts? I'm hoping to get this room and a few more modernized to offset old appliances.

    1. We've used both laminate wood and tile. You could definitely use some sort of linoleum, but tile is much more durable, and not as hard as you would think. (We jus redid our bathroom in the same tile and did it in a night.)

      I love the look of dark paint for small rooms (did in in our bathroom too), because it makes them look bigger. This surprises many people, because in larger rooms dark paint can make them appear smaller. But if a shade makes you nervous, I wouldn't recommend going with it. Painting is one of my least favorite parts of remodeling and I would never want to go with a shade I wasn't really comfortable with. I recommend getting several of the small sample cans and testing first.


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