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Our Renovation Design Process

Designing our Laundry “Room” + The 7 Things Our Contractor (and Plumber) Told Us To Consider

image via delikatissen

WE’RE BAAAAAACK. Yes. Somehow we are not done with the mountain house (that’s an inspo photo), and I want to celebrate its return with one of the more boring but useful rooms to talk about – the laundry closet. While I truly want to avoid spending one more penny or creating any more dust, it seems silly that we never finished the proper laundry closet. How are we living up there now you ask? With this cute little laundry closet on the bedroom/second floor (best decision I ever made – all sheets, clothes and most bath towels reside on this floor).

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upstairs Laundry Closet Current Photos 2 Horizontal

She is little, but it’s pretty great, thus the procrastination to put in the real one on the first floor. We rarely have more than one family up there at a time (it’s a rule) and well, being on that floor makes it SO easy. But a larger one is needed because we have nowhere to fold clothes and often just dump them on the floor, getting mixed in with the dirty clothes. Plus during the summer the beach towels do pile up (although our neighbors might tell you that we let them dry on the front porch railing, but we would NEVER do that. They are liars).

Currently, the first-floor laundry closet looks like this:

Emily Henderson Mountain House Laundry Closet Current Photos

It’s pretty cool. And no, we don’t need the storage – we have a big garage. I just haven’t organized it because I don’t feel like it. Hot Tip – you can just shut the door on all your problems if you don’t want to look at them and they simply go away!

So there are some challenges that we have to deal with but nothing too annoying –

  1. The hookups are a bit high which my contractor did intentionally to make them easy to access (smart) but of course we don’t want to have to see them and they are in prime backsplash position.
  2. There is a bump-out on that side that makes it slightly challenging.

So we asked our contractor to help us give you guys some tips to avoid some sort of inevitable mistake. Here’s what he said:

Mh Laundry Room

Ok, that’s the technical stuff, let’s get back to laundry closet porn.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Laundry Room Inspiration 02
image & design via tidbits

Laundry closets are already at a deficit, and it’s hard to compete with the (ideal) bigger and better laundry room. Generally, the needs are more storage for cleaning supplies, space to hang clothes, and a place for a laundry bin (duh). But also we want it to look good.

Here are some inspiration photos we went off of:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Laundry Room Inspiration 03
image via @bec1six4

I love the access of the open shelving but fear the visual mess (so does Brian)…

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Laundry Room Inspiration 04
image via rengusuk

As we were designing this space we considered these seven design elements – consider these potential missed opportunities that you should implement if you can.

7 Laundry Room Design Elements to Consider:

– A place for laundry bins or a custom cabinet pull-out with a detachable canvas bag.

– A hanging rod or built-in drying rack.

– Surface to fold your laundry (question: does anybody actually fold clothes in their laundry closet?)

– Storage for all your laundry needs (ie. detergent, wool drying balls, bleach, etc.)

– A fold-down ironing board or somewhere it can tuck away.

– If you have a larger space consider a sink to pre-soak items.

– A good place for all those extra household items: broom, mop, step ladder, or cleaning supplies.

OK. Back to MY design.

We have three (fine, maybe four) different design options:

Option #1: Pull-Out Hamper and Detergent Rack

Emily Henderson Mountain House Laundry Sketchup Design Side By Side

In this option, there is a pull-out hamper and a pull out “spice rack” style detergent drawer, with an awning cabinet on top. There is a counter for folding, although I know that we likely will do it in front of the TV. However, I really like the option to hopefully keep my clean and dirty clothes separate:)

Emily Henderson Mountain House Laundry Sketchup Design Details Awning Cabinet

Emily Henderson Mountain House Laundry Sketchup Design Details Side By Side

I love this version the most, visually, but the problem is that you need a liner for the pull-out hamper because of wet clothes/towels, and that liner would need some sort of track to keep it in place. So as Julie and Velinda were working on this we realized that spending the money/time to customize the track seemed like an over-design. We could put in basically a plastic garbage can insert, which is something we are exploring, but again – is this necessary?? If anyone has any suggestions for this please let us know.

Option #2: Empty With Space to Put a Rolling Hamper

Emily Henderson Mountain House Laundry Sketchup Design Rolling Cart Side By Side 1

I really want “the laundry bin” to be easy to throw dishtowels and beach towels in. This seems like a potentially good option.

Option #3: Cabinets to Hide Rolling Basket

Emily Henderson Mountain House Laundry Sketchup Design Rolling Cart With Door Side By Side

As I am writing this I’m realizing that if we put a cabinet front on it then it would look better, eliminate any visual chaos and still be easy to access. But look at all the valuable space under the actual bin. Not the best use of space, right? This leads me to my next option…

Option #4: Lower Cabinet with Two Shelves (With or Without a Door Front) & One Large Basket

Emily Henderson Mountain House Laundry Sketchup Design Cabinet Open Shelves With Basket

Ok, I really like the added shelf to maximize the space. But the other thing to think about here is that the laundry closet already has pretty doors, so I’m adding another step of having to open cabinets in order to throw dirty clothes/towels in. Is that just silly? So while it would look better to have the cupboards, it’s technically not necessary. Brian is also concerned about the visual chaos and wants a lower cabinet door. I’m torn because it feels like it adds an unnecessary “extra step” to get to the bin and let’s be honest… it’s more expensive.

So here are my questions – many to those of you more experienced than we are with laundry closets:

  1. Is this the best design for function? We could add more shelves of course, but then not have anywhere to hang clothes…
  2. What is our general feeling of top-loading versus front loading? Our washer/dryer in LA is front loading, side by side and we have to keep the washer open to help it dry out so it doesn’t grow mold which I guess is typical of front loaders (also our plumber told us that we are ALL using far too much liquid detergent in. Once we cut it back to about 1/4 as much, it helped). This is why we did a stacking washer/dryer with a top-loading washer for our upstairs laundry closet. Please do tell…
  3. What is your favorite brand of washer/dryer? We can also go smaller in size than this up there, which I’m tempted to do and then free up some more space for folding and storage. Do we NEED a big washer/dryer? I suppose not since we’ve lived with just that small one all summer. Thoughts?

Ok guys, let’s talk laundry.


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198 thoughts on “Designing our Laundry “Room” + The 7 Things Our Contractor (and Plumber) Told Us To Consider

  1. I would go 100% function (i.e. not worry abt visual clutter) since it has doors. You definitely need a surface whether you fold there or not. I would pic open shelves with laundry basket and/or roll out hamper.

    I keep a decorative hamper in my kitchen off in the corner near the trash can for dishtowels. It’s a life saver, but it looks pretty.

  2. My thoughts are, opening a closet door to then open a cabinet door, to then have to pull out a laundry basket are way too many steps to realistically put your dirty clothes in there. They would probably end up in a pile somewhere else (at least in my house they would! Lol) I would vote for the simple open under counter space with the laundry bin. I think it looks great that way! When it comes to dirty laundry, I think function needs to take just as much precedence as design/visual asthetic, since that area needs to work hard for your family. LOVE the inspiration pictures!

    1. Yup:

      “…opening a closet door to then open a cabinet door, to then have to pull out a laundry basket are way too many steps to realistically put your dirty clothes in there. They would probably end up in a pile somewhere else…”

  3. I have a basement laundry room and actually love the ritual of folding wherever my daughter is. She “helps” and it’s adorable.

  4. I had to stop reading to comment about the part about drying beach towels outside on the railing. W T F. how is this even a problem? i get that you were prob being sarcastic and that you actually DO do this, so this isn’t really directed at Emily. But, my question is to the general public? WHY is it such a problem to use natural energy (the sun) to dry your laundry outside? It’s environmentally friendly. I know most HOAs ban it because it makes the place look “lower class” because it implies that you can’t afford to dry clothes in a dryer, but i think that is just insane. How about it must makes you look like you care about conserving energy. This is the most basic form of solar energy. I hang dry laundry in the summer because of this, and yes, i own a dryer and can afford to use it. Thank goodness I’m not part of an HOA. Okay, rant done! Just had to put that out there because I care : )
    Okay, going back up to read about laundry rooms!

    1. I grew up in a rural area in a family with 7 kids. My mom hung a lot of laundry outside when the weather allowed it–hello, fast way to dry, plus saving energy and life of your appliance, and bonus, the SMELL! Nothing smells as good a laundry dried on the line. I live near Chicago, in a tight city lot–30 feet wide. But we have a long narrow yard, and I have a retractable line to pull out from the garage (we have alleys) and attach it to a tree. I use it for sheets (gotta have a prop pole) all summer long, and it’s heaven. You would think living in an urban area wouldn’t have the same smell, but luckily I’m in a residential area. Plus, nothing gets your whites white without bleach like the sun. Putting white shirts on the line is great.

    2. I live in a beach town and hang our wet towels on our front porch rail. They are beach towels that do not have to be washed everytime. Also, don’t want to put wet towels in a basket cause they get stinky!!

    3. Also, now that i’ve read the post, I’m loving these options. We are working on our laundry room right now. Thanks for the ideas.

    4. haha. Ok, obviously I don’t see it as a problem but one guest made a comment about how annoying it must be for neighbors to look at – aka messy and sloppy. We would do it in back if there were a railing, but the railing out front is just so easy. we will continue to do it because why would i wash/dray towels daily and also bring that sand in …..I see no problem with it, but technically it might be an eye sore to some ..

      1. Is there a spot that you can hang hooks on outside that gets sun? We put hooks outside as you walked to the front porch after returning from our neighborhood pool; it looked cute and intentional. It was usually so hot they dried within a day on the hook so we just grabbed and go the next day.

      2. Emily, are these laundry spaces really in the same house? I don’t really understand why you’d ever go through the trouble of buying redundant appliances. It sounds like you just need a large table where you can fold clothes.

        If people are finding themselves unwilling to walk to their laundry machine, it might be time to consider that either your house is too large, you have too much stuff, or you would benefit from hiring a housekeeper. I live in an apartment and our laundry room is five floors below me. If I can do it, so can you!

    5. THIS! We hang up our laundry to dry most of the year. (I live in a place where it doesn’t get that cold in the winter.) It’s better for the environment and it’s better for the clothes (they last longer). And like someone else said, nothing can beat the smell of hanging things up to dry. I live for clean sheet day when I can climb into a bed of clean sheets that have been drying outside. Okay. That sounded weird.

  5. Why not an option with both the washer and dryer on the same level? If it was my house, no one would carry their dirty clothes to a downstairs laundry basket, but then again we have two high schoolers. We also create more laundry than the space that you have allotted, probably because we don’t do laundry daily, but instead 3-4 loads in a row. If you are hesitant to go side-by-side, because the doors have hinges on the same side, look for units that have reversible doors and set them up like French doors. We have our laundry off the kitchen in the mudroom and they are not hidden because they live in a nook with a window the we didn’t want lose the sunlight behind a door. We are good about keeping the tops clear so we can fold laundry on top and it looks neat to anyone coming in via the mudroom. I also toss dish towels in the washer since I don’t have space for a separate hamper, that could work for you too.

    1. I’m also genuinely confused and interested by the importance you are placing on having a laundry basket in this location. Am I doing laundry weirdly?! I too have a downstairs laundry closet. I have the hanging bar, folding surface and supply shelf. But it never occurred to me to have a laundry bin built in. Now I need to know . . . what goes in it?! Am I missing out?!

      1. I don’t think the Laundry basket in here would be for the everyday personal clothes laundry. I think she’s imagining it for hand and dish towels from kitchen/half bath as they need replaced or maybe the random pair of socks or sweater you are done with but don’t want to take all the way upstairs to put in the laundry.

        1. @amelia you are right. its just easy access to ‘throwing in’ which yes i could also do into the washer. i’m still learning and figuring it out but point is that I want it easy to access.. thanks for your imput!

      2. Completely agree. All of my laundry hampers live elsewhere in the house and they only come to the laundry room when they need washing. I had a side by side laundry closet, full width counter for folding, two hanging cabinets on each side with a hanging bar in between. I LOVED that setup in my last house (I designed it). And I even put pull out drying racks just above the units/below the counter to let clothes dry flat tucked away so my counter was still useful. And I absolutely folded all clothes there in that space. With a big counter I had plenty of space for that.

        1. We have a 3 bin laundry sorter in our laundry room and I LOVE it! When it’s time to do laundry we bring all the hampers to the laundry room and sort in to loads using the bins. I wouldn’t be able to function without laundry baskets/bins of some sort in the laundry room!

    2. I get the laundry hamper here in this case – for beach towels, wet winter gear, etc. I don’t think it’s really for everybody’s daily clothes. I often wish I had space for a hamper in mine (in my regular house) for things like that blanket that got spilled on but can’t go in the washer yet because there’s a load in there, or when my husband brings in messy towels from washing his car or cleaning up after mowing the lawn, but at the moment I at least have space for a small basket to toss some of those smaller things in. I suppose it all sort of depends on where your laundry room is located – ours is pretty central, so I pass by there a lot and tend to toss dirty things inside, often on the floor.

  6. this is where to go eco friendly. no cabinet doors, open shelves, slightly recessed to allow for som hooks for hanging things on inside of doors, movable baskets , (one wet one dry?)that fit on shelves. No tile, paint;wallpaper( w left overs?) the back wall before shelves installed. and a clothesline outside and possible one retractable over a shower? visual clutter? .. thats why god invented baskets.( and of course god is a woman!!

    1. OOh i love this. you sound VERY assertive and would love for you to come over and just tell me what to do. I will say that we have extra tile so that wouldn’t be a waste and i’m hoping that we have enough remnants from our stone as well. def no bottom cabinets doors …. and i’ve also been toying with the idea of hooks but not sure what we would actually hang on them. we have a garage for tools, etc, so i’m not sure we need them …

  7. 1. Love the inspiration pics but also believe you can have beautiful + functional. You will also adapt to whatever function you have. When we renovated our laundry room (which is also the powder room on the main floor, thank you 1960s floor plan) I took the overhead cabinets out and went for open shelving to give more airiness. I have 2 baskets – one for stain stick, wool dryer balls, etc. and one for extra toilet paper – and all my laundry soap actually lives in the cabinet under the sink. What I don’t have is any counter space or room for drying racks so I haul wet clothes downstairs to our basement utility room where my drying racks can stay set up and no one sees them. Inconvenient to carry heavy wet things downstairs? I suppose so, but I have been doing it for so long that it really doesn’t bother me, and I love the lack of clutter in the laundry/powder room. I used to have a small basket for kitchen towels in there, but instead those just get tossed straight into the washer – again, less clutter.
    2. Top loader all the way. No contest. I can keep the lid open to air it out if I want to and it is not protruding into the room. And I can close it if guests are coming over and I want the powder room to look “cleaner.”
    3. Mine are pretty old so I am not a reliable source for brands. I’ll have to do that research once I am in the market again, hopefully not for a while!

  8. I’ve had 3 houses, each with a different design of laundry room; while raising 2 kids. I think your best option for function would be using the plastic laundry basket but without the upper shelf and without the extra cabinet door inside the closet door. This will give you good vertical clearance above the laundry basket that in my opinion will be critical for the good function of this laundry closet.
    Reasons are:
    1) You want it to be super easy for your kids (and you and your husband) to toss in dirty clothes and towels – and kids especially aren’t going to half-pull out the basket so they can toss things into it and then push down the dirty laundry sufficiently so they then can push the basket neatly back into it’s cubby, and then carefully close first the inner cabinet door and then the outer closet door.
    2) You will likely need a lot of room for the laundry to pile up above the top of the basket, while still permitting you to easily close the closet doors and hide the mess when you wish. The basket isn’t very large – any more than 3 good size bath towels in that basket and it won’t fit into the shelf cubby easily or at all. And as your kids get bigger, so will their clothes and towel consumption – you will likely generate 3 of those baskets of dirty laundry each week which you will want to hide until it’s time to wash it.

    Another overall design you could consider would be putting two vertical laundry bins in the space to the left of your washer and dryer – one for light clothing, one for darks & colors. I had this setup in one of my houses, and it really saved time because you don’t have to sort before you do any laundry. When one bin is full, you know you have a load, and you just throw the whole thing in the wash – you don’t have to sort it again before washing it.

    I’ve had both LG and Samsung new HE washers and dryers. Samsung washers and dryers were way better in terms of design and ultimately function. The LG washer’s door seal was poor and leaked, and the washer somehow it also didn’t drain as well which led to mold problems. The LG dryer also wasn’t very good at sensing whether the load was dry or not.

    1. wow, thank you,. that is seriously a lot of good advice in one comment. i’m taking you up on so much of it. thank you, .xx

    2. Oh, what if the counter could be lifted up (like on a hinge)? Then you could keep it up when the counter isn’t needed, but set it down (over the laundry basket) when you do need counter space. I also think kids/husband are slightly more likely to lift up a counter to throw in laundry than to pull out a basket, and then you have space for overflow if necessary. Probably talking about a wood counter in this case, rather than a stone one, because of the weight. But it would sort of be best of both worlds!

    3. I second the use of sorting baskets for dirty laundry. We keep 2 tall ones purchased at the Container Store in our second floor laundry, right next to the kid bathroom, and everyone sorts their dirty laundry after their bath. So easy to see which load needs run! Might not work in your situation, but helpful to other readers. KC’s point about open baskets to pile it all into might be a perfect solution here. Just wait and see how big those snow pants get with teenagers!

  9. We recently acquired a front loader washer/dryer from Craigslist. We love it! It’s a 5 year old LG set, standard dimensions, and works fabulously and uses much less water than our top loader. it’s even big enough that we just washed a queen size down comforter in it with no issues! Previously, I was team top loader all the way. I used the top loader to soak stubborn stains and haven’t found a good equivalent for this for the front loader. But since you have a top loader upstairs, you get to have both! The amount of water that the front loader gets out of clothes during the spin cycle also makes them dry so quickly, further reducing your energy use. I agree with previous comments that too many drawers/doors makes the set up less convenient. Love the idea of a place to fold but the dimensions and overhead shelving in these options make that counter seem like a difficult place to fold. Could you install a longer slide out shelf (sort of like those old fashioned ironing boards that recess into the wall)? I like to have a large flat surface to fold and I wouldn’t enjoy staring into the back of this closet while I did it. We put our front loaders side by side and have a really nice wide shelf on top and it is great!

    1. Ooooooh, I LOVE this idea of a slide out shelf. I have one of those fold out ironing boards in my kitchen and agree that being able to look out a window would be preferable to staring at a wall while folding.

    2. There are HE top loading washers now that spin the clothes almost completely dry. I have one that isn’t even fancy, it’s a Kenmore with no bells or whistles because I repair my own appliances and didn’t want to deal with computer problems, and I can hang my few rayon and polyester shirts right out of the washer. Everything else get loaded into the dryer my husband has owned since about 1998, which is also a not-fancy-Whirlpool, and my drying times have been cut in half since we got this new washer a couple years ago. In half! I can barely finish folding a load while watching a show before the dryer is done and I have more to fold.

  10. If you love your laundry upstairs, install a stacked W/D up there that can handle big loads of towels and sheets and figure out a better system for sorting and folding somewhere up there. Move your existing unit to the first floor for smaller loads. No doors behind doors. You already have those gorgeous reclaimed doors – use them!

  11. I would def keep the large capacity machines–how lovely to do a couple loads of towels/bedding at the same time right before you leave for the weekend. We used the lower-height rolling utility cart like you have pictured, and installed a shelf just below the countertop….it added a ton more functionality to our tiny laundry room…I use the shelf for sorting folded clothes and as a drop station for junk found in pockets.

  12. Consider a dry bag. I cloth diapered and lined my dirty diaper basket (which was essentially a hamper) with a dry bag. You throw the entire bag in the laundry.

  13. I’ve never in my life folded laundry in my laundry room as it’s a pretty boring and not very engaging space. I fold in the bedroom where the laundry goes or at my kitchen island – whichever place I’m at my laptop is with me and I have some show or video playing. Same with ironing – I carry the ironing board from the laundry room to some other place. I do have a laundry bin in the laundry room but the only things that end up there are things that need to be washed separately for when I get around to it in between the big loads. All other dirty laundry stays in the bedroom it came from until I carry a load at a time to the washer and then carry that load usually directly back to that room to fold where it’s easiest to put away. That’s my method honed over 27 years of marriage and three kids ; ).

    1. Yes, this! I’ve always wondered if people really took their daily clothes and put them in the basket in the laundry room. Since I was a child each bedroom had a hamper for clothes. Still do that today. The master bath has a small basket for dirty washcloths and the kitchen has a small basket for dirty towels and cloth napkins. When the baskets are full–time to do a load and they get carried to the laundry room/garage. For me, must-haves in a laundry room would be– a place to keep hangers, a rod to hang dry clothes and a pullout shelf, for setting stuff on and maybe folding. In reality unless there were a TV or computer in my laundry room I’ll probably continue to fold on the bed.

      1. Yes. Each bedroom has a hamper, and then there’s a hamper in the bathroom. I can’t imagine getting kids (or myself) to carry each item of dirty clothing as generated down the hall or down the stairs to a different room. In real life they’re going to be kicked into the corner or flung over a chair.

        With sheets they just are stripped off the bed and thrown directly into the wash.

  14. The Container Store has metal clothes baskets on wheels; they allow the clothes to vent. They may work to roll in and out of your cabinets, if you need another option.

  15. I vote for #4 with no cabinet door because I’m having a hard time understanding the need for a cabinet door if you already have a closet door. I’m also curious where you’ll be storing your vacuum cleaner once you turn this closet into a laundry area? That’s one problem I always have–where to put the dang vacuum cleaner! As far as brands, I have a Kenmore front loader and love it. Lastly, I vote for wallpaper over a tile backsplash.

    1. Renee, you and I are on the same page lady! #4 sans a door is my first pick. Luckily, they have a closet under the stairs to store the vacuum along with all the other cleaning essentials. 🙂 We do love a good wallpaper around here but there was enough tile left over from the kitchen coffee cabinet & dry bar so this seemed like the perfect place to use it to tie all the spaces together!

  16. My only thought (speaking from experience) is that the third option might lead to mildew. We have canvas hampers for my kids, and when they throw in wet towels and whatnot they sit at the bottom and there are mildew spots on them. We can wash them but they’re still stained. I think I like option 4 best, but with no door in front … two baskets that will hold the clothes but are easy to access.

  17. While I love shutting a mess behind a door, your the risk of dirty (damp, sweaty, funky?) clothes getting even grosser behind a cabinet door. Get an attractive hamper or laundry basket that has ventilation to make sure your dirty laundry has room to breath before it gets washed.
    As far as the pull-out “spice rack” for detergent goes, what kind of detergent do you use? If you use powder pods (please don’t), it may work; but if you get the giant jugs of liquid detergent like most of us do, you’ll have to remove the jug to dispense it every time you do wash.
    I have a front loader that gets funky too. When I remember, I dry the rubber seal after a load with a dirty rag or towel destined for the next wash.

    1. I just got a new whirlpool washer that has a “load and go” feature – you pour a large amount of liquid detergent in a drawer at the bottom and then don’t have to add it for each load. It is AMAZING. Sounds silly but not having to add soap every time saves like 5 steps: pick up detergent, take off cap, open detergent drawer, pour, close drawer, put cap on bottle, put bottle back on shelf. Actually 7 steps. Admittedly VERY small steps, but not having to do them each time is pretty lovely.

      I don’t understand fully why you need this laundry if the one upstairs is meeting your needs. Maybe opt to save the $ for something else? I would just take clean clothes from dryer, throw them on master bed and fold them there. In my house we also keep hampers in each room so an empty basket in the laundry closet for dirty clothes wouldn’t get used. A basket to put clean things in that I’m too lazy to deal with right away would be very useful.

      Other thing that comes to mind is this: would you be likely to even put wet clothes/towels in a hamper in the laundry closet? They would just mildew and stink. I think wet things have to go directly into wash or be laid out somewhere to dry first if you want to wash them later.

      1. that “load and go” feature sounds ahhhmazing !!! game changer for sure. I am a big fan of saving any time I can while doing laundry

    2. I have a Bosch front loader(discontinued). I keep a microfiber towel draped over my giant jug. Wipe the rubber seal dry when I am done washing for the day. It doesn’t get dirty unless I washed a tissue. The microfiber dries fast.

  18. I like them all, but the rolling cart would be too much to pass up! Any thoughts to having both a first and second floor laundry? It seems quite luxurious, but also very practical.

  19. I’d go with Option 2 WITHOUT DOORS and instead of a rolling cart underneath, I’d do two shelves for two laundry baskets (darks, lights). In my house if someone had to open a closet, then a cabinet door to put dirties in the laundry basket, we’d always end up with a pile on the floor instead. I like the ability to hang some things but I have NEVER folded in my laundry room. I always fold in the bedrooms so the clothes can be put straight away into drawers. Finally, top loader 100%. I had a front loader and just in the past year switched back to the LG HE top loader. Our laundry is SO much cleaner, and we don’t have the mildew smell in the washer anymore.

  20. You need regular/full size washer for the times you need to wash and dry your towels, sheets, comforters, blankets, camping bedding, etc. So in my opinion it’s better to have less expensive but normal size equipment. If you won’t wash too often then you don’t need the most energy efficient equipment either. I’d do side by side setup if there’s room because the top could be used for folding or temporary place to keep the next load of laundry. I’d prefer that to putting baskets on the floor.

  21. I’d hate 2 doors. Skip the second door option. I’d do 2 basket that slide in, not rolling) and have have Top be dirty and bottom be clean folded clothes. I’d do stack front loaders. No went back to a standing washer with an agitator and hate it. It rips up my clothing. You can do a sanitizing wash once a month and clean the Front loader washer drain line once a month and it won’t stink. Usually, the smell comes from poor maintenance. Maybe recess it enough to leave the door ajar. Also, I put a dehumidifier in my laundry room because we hang dry our clothes and it gets them dried in 1/2 a day. Just a thought!

  22. I LOVE my Speed Queen. Made in America, super heavy duty, amazing warranty and only sold through independent stores. Our clothes (including 2 small messy kids) have never been cleaner. Seriously, I’ll never buy another brand.

    1. Yes, when we bought ours we were told by the independent seller that was the brand that many hotels use- and you know how much laundry they do!
      He also admitted that he almost doesn’t like selling Speed Queen because he never gets calls for a need to come service them ( that was also part of his business).
      I vote top loader – no mold

        1. Also, the version I got is more like the ones we had as kids- just a dial on the washer and dryer- no digital anything- less to break!

  23. Side by side and three baskets on the work top for white darks coloureds! Sling them straight in the right one, no sorting, immediately obvious when you have enough to put a load on! And work too is there if you need it. I crave this creation I did in my old house.

  24. #4 With a door is by far the most functional and beautiful. Freestanding baskets > pull out hampers EVERY TIME I promise it’s better.

  25. I love our whirlpool duet front loaders, I’ve read to keep those doors cracked so try to when I remember but definitely not always and thankfully, this far we haven’t had any issues with mold. If you’re using these specifically for towels I would go with the larger size as beach towels take up so much space and I don’t think you’ll ever regret going larger!

  26. I think the shelf space for laundry baskets a better option than the cart with wheels, you can take the baskets anywhere. Skip the door, and hang a pretty curtain in front–easy to open.

    I never personally bundle wet items–the stink grows immediately. I hang all the wet towels and work out clothes until they are dry before putting them in a hamper (I have the luxury of space in an unfinished basement, but I also hang on hooks in the mudroom). Consider a free standing dryer rack in your garage, or hooks on the wall work too. But the garbage bin pull out is brilliant too.

    I don’t use my clean laundry baskets for dirty stuff. I use those mesh folding laundry things–either vertical hamper style or basket style for dirty stuff. They take up no space so it’s easy to tuck behind hampers or in a closet. Having a single clean laundry basket forces me to fold and put laundry away immediately. Although I do have backup (hello, space in unfinished basement). I fold on the couch or on my bed–dumping a giant clean load on the bed means my kids can come sort out their items to fold/hang, so we all work together and it gets done fast.

    I’m team top loader, and the top always stays open when it’s empty–any washer will get rank with the door closed. If you have king size sheets, can you get one set of bedding done in a small washer? I love being able to do full large loads–like two sets of twin sheets, or a single set plus the blanket off the bed in a single load.

    Good luck! Love your posts. Brian’s was awesome–thank you, Brian.

    1. thank you for mentioning brian. and thank you for reminding me that i’m this close to our kids helping us fold clothes. growing up it was called a ‘clothes folding party’ while we watched whatever g rated musical was on our VHS. but we all did it. my kids have started to but its frustrating and I give up before them, wishing it would go faster. but i’ve got to be better about it. mating socks was kinda fun when I was little. i will force that fun again 🙂

      1. I just want to tell you that I once hated the laundry “parties” my mom and relatives had while I was growing up. My mom is 1 of 5 and she and all her siblings got married, had children, and lived within a few miles of her parents. (Still do.) Each Saturday all the aunts and my Mawmaw would congregate at someone’s house on a rotating basis for coffee and some kind of baked good. (During school holidays it would happen on a mid-week day as well so 2 people would get visited each week.) 99% of the time the hostess would apologize for needing to fold some clothes/towels while everyone was there and then all the ladies would join in. They would gab and tease and laugh the whole time.

        When I became a teenager, I was told it was time for me to join in cause I was too old to just play all day like my younger cousins. I was so mad at first! But then, I heard SO MANY stories of what so-and-so did years before I was born (or “do you know what stupid thing your mama did when she was your age?”) and I learned a lot about my family’s history and got to see that these “boring old people” had entire full lives and personalities I had not imagined and knew nothing about! It really was so wonderful.

        Now that I am an adult with a family and mountains of laundry of my own, I miss those times so much! I live only one state away from my family, but they do not travel AT ALL and we have 3 young school-aged kids so our travel is really restricted. I have to do laundry all by myself and it really makes me feel lonely, to the point that I have actually done video chats with my mom a few times while I folded laundry. It was not as good as the real thing but it was better. I have friends and everything, but it’s just not the same. I try to remember that I am not parenting for now, but for when my kids are around 25 and everything will suddenly click for them. They will understand in a deeper way the whys of our rules and how our home/family was run, they will understand why we got so mad about whatever, and they will be the people that, today, I am still hoping to meet one day. So my kids help me with chores they aren’t good at and in addition to telling them for the hundredth time how to do a thing, I also tell them my stories and the stories of our family.
        Stick with it, it may become a treasured memory for Charlie and Elliot one day.

  27. What about having a split cabinet door where the top half is on hinges, so the door can stay closed but you can put dirty laundry in the basket (ala a fast food restaurant garbage can)?

  28. Option 2, no bottom cabinet door. Anything else seems like overdesigning and not practical. I hate visual clutter but like…it’s a rolling hamper…already behind closet doors. They have rolling laundry hampers that have multiple canvas bags on one frame too if you’re wanting to separate loads.

  29. I would love to have a lovely laundry room but I have never been able to find something that is utilitarian AND beautiful as my laundry has to function as a dog washing and drying room, a laundry room and a storage area! I literally wash the dogs everyday in the winter after training outside as they get really muddy! If you guys ever do a post for us with big dogs that want functional and lovely that would be great!! Think lots of dirty towels and training gear storage!

  30. Hellooooooo?!?!?
    This planet needs us to dry our clothes outside as much as possible!!
    Dryers…are for those times when the clothes, etc. will not dry naturally…outside.
    What is with people??
    Get with the program! California does not need dryers. Boom!
    Please, be an influencer for the better, the good, show people THE RIGHT WAY, THE BETTER WAY.
    Stand and be counted.
    Less plastic. Less dryers. Less emissions. Less global warming.
    Australia has been and is STILL burning, since July 2019!
    Over 1 Billion native animals are dead as a result. This is the Canary in the coal mine for the whole planet and that Canary is burning, alive!
    Care about our planet, our only home and hang your clothes on a clothes line!
    Do it for your kids, our kids, everyone’s kids!
    Puh-lease??!! ?

  31. Honestly, having 2 sets of laundry appliances in one house seems so excessive. It made a tiny bit of sense in the Portland house because one was in the basement and one was on the 2nd floor, so there was a whole laundry-less floor in between, but in the mountain house, they’re sooo close to each other that this really seems like overkill.

    If you want to stop spending $$ on the mountain house, why not just… stop?

    One idea: You could implement the dirty clothes hamper closet part of design #4 — have a bin/basket/hamper for the beach towels and dish towels. When it gets full or when it’s laundry day, carry them upstairs to the existing laundry closet.

    To answer your folding question: We have a laundry closet the size of your 2nd floor one, so of course we can’t fold laundry there. We never dump clean clothes on the floor, though — they go straight from the washer onto the bed of a nearby bedroom, and we fold our clothes there on top of the bed.

    Looking at your floorplan, you could just do the same thing on the kids’ bed — take all the laundry from the dryer straight to the kids’ bed, have them help you sort laundry into the piles of what belongs to which family member, have them “fold” their own clothes (they’ll likely do a terrible job, but who cares?) while you fold your own clothes. Done.

  32. I have an open space specifically for our dirty clothes baskets. I bought some decorative baskets so it looks pretty and hides the mess!!!

  33. Speed queen is favorite brand and I love a top loader….front loaders are a pain in the arse.

  34. My laundry room is very similar to the large Portland one you did, except my hanging rod (10 ‘ long- I spend most hours in workout clothes as my profession & multiple changes some days) is over my sinks in case of dripping. I have had lots of laundry areas including garage and now in my dream home I have an almost perfect set up except I HATE my front loader as it takes FOREVER to complete a load plus I can’t stand leaving the washer open even though I try to always dry the rim out & I regularly clean with vinegar it. It just seems gross and grungy. I have lots of cabinets which I love and tons of counter which I have NEVER used. I carry & fold where the action (TV/kids/kitchen/bedroom) is . I have never folded in my beautiful laundry room. So counters are useless to me. I also don’t understand doors behind doors , imho waste of resources. Love your work!

  35. If you put a door in front of the laundry basket, there will not be enough air circulation to keep the dirty, damp laundry from developing mildew. I like #2.

  36. If you are stacking the machines on top of each other (which is what I have, and frankly, hate) then when you build out the closet, have them build a pull out shelf in between the washer (which I assume is on the bottom) and the dryer on the top. I hate having the hold the basket up to the dryer and things fall and hit the floor (where inevitably there is dust etc). I’d love to be able to either pull stuff out onto a pull out shelf (so I can sort from there what needs more drying and what I only wanted to get a light tumble)or as a better, lower transition to the basket, or to hold a shallower basket all together.

    Can’t wait to read others’ comments on how to make the laundry closet/room better – I am really hating on mine right now.

    1. this is great advice! definitely giving me something to think about for my future home 🙂 thanks, Cris!

  37. I would lean all function. You have doors on the closet to hide visual mess. And for sorting laundry, as a mom with kids a bit older than yours, you aren’t far off from wanting to teach them more household responsibility and laundry is a great place to start. My 9 year old can do complete loads of laundry. My 7 year old helps with all the steps with a step ladder side by side with me (and LOVES moving laundry from washer to dryer) and my 5 year old sorts whites/colors/towels. I value that so our laundry room is less pretty, but set up to make this possible.

  38. The cabinet doors seem unnecessary as you already have a door to the closet. How often are you going to leave the laundry closet doors hanging open so you’re assaulted with “visual chaos”?

    I think the laundry rooms that are “laundry closet porn” are two things – extremely functional with beautiful materials. Ditch the cabinet doors. It looks like the wood/backsplash/counter materials will be beautiful without the extra step of a cabinet door.

  39. Are you familiar with these roll out hamper cabinet inserts- ? All the photos show it with a door but I would skip it in this instance since you already have closet doors.
    Love these kinds of posts!

  40. I have the rolling laundry bin, and it is super functional, even though you lose the space underneath. And you won’t want the extra door over it. Fortunately, it has a nice industrial look as opposed to a cheap plastic one.

    As for storing laundry soap, I have a cabinet, but I only keep my backup in there. The stuff I use regularly, I was just leaving on the counter. I finally bought a pretty lazy susan from Pottery Barn, decanted my supplies, and leave it on the counter. Much more functional and looks good, too. I’d love the clear counter, but when I’m doing laundry, I hate opening and closing cabinets. Design for habits.

    I’m a front loader washing machine person, but I think the newer top loaders have a lot of the same functionality as front loaders now. I’m not sure about the water saving, which I’m sure is a consideration in Southern California. My LG front loader is 12 years old, and I love the steam option and the wool wash option. I feel like I can wash anything in it with the right detergent (I’ve had a lot of success with The Laundress for delicates and sweaters), which saves on dry cleaning.

  41. I think the open shelves with laundry basket is much more functional. Also, if towels are wet/damp you probably wouldn’t just throw them straight into the hamper unless you are washing that day. If there is somewhere you could put some hooks to hang the beach towels I think that sounds more like what you need. I like that you can hang clothes, maybe you can put hooks there?
    I personally like side by side front loading even if you have to keep washer open. but I think this is just preference.
    And nope, I fold laundry while sitting on the couch and have taught my child to immediately take her stuff to her room and put away. I also do the roll fold!!

  42. Maybe too late to incorporate into the overall house plan, but my nearly 100 yo house has an awesome system. There is a little door on the stairwell which is a laundry chute to the basement. Clothes and towels are thrown down and land in a wire basket which can then be rolled to the machines nearby when full. Next to the machines, we installed wire baskets….one for each family member. When laundry was folded, it was placed in the baskets. Each person was responsible for retrieving their clean laundry and putting it away upstairs. Super convenient, nothing fancy, just old-school laundry in the bowels of an old house.

  43. I vote for #2 for all the reasons mentioned above. I think most families have the biggest issue with compliance/maintenance, so fewer steps to getting dirty clothes in the basket is key. You also don’t have to bend over to reach the basket, which is nice. I think Steele makes divided options, which helps with sorting.

    I am pro front loader for all the usual reasons (not going into that argument here), but with a closet, you also don’t want people to pile dirty stuff on top of the top loading washer that you have to move when you want to do a load. That’s super annoying.

    I am curious if people use those hanging rods over a counter? Half our clothes would be too long to fit, and then you can’t use the counter folding. And I like to fold in the laundry area because it’s a more comfortable height than the bed or couch or whatever, and a hard surface makes for neater folds. Could you get one of those retractable rods for hanging clothes to dry? Then you could install a shallow shelf above the counter for detergent and possibly hide your outlet situation.

    1. I have a hanging rod over the counter and it works for tops. Otherwise, I just have an IKEA folding rack that I set up when needed.

  44. We have had an LG front loading washer for the last few years with excellent results. It has a magnet that keeps it ever so slightly ajar when not in use for ventilation… so no mold concerns. We have just purchased 2 new sets for our @kiwi_lakehouse that is in process and love your design inspiration. I’m with you on not having to open multiple doors. It’s a closet and will mostly have the main doors in the closed position. Thanks for sharing!

  45. I have a pull out laundry hamper in my kitchen lower cabinets (so that I have a place on our main floor to toss dirty laundry as our laundry room is in the basement). You can by the insert that is like a metal basket with a cloth hamper insert and the track. I believe that our is from Richelieu.

  46. I am likely the minority but I don’t “store” dirty laundry in my v small laundry room. We all have baskets/hampers in our rooms/bathrooms and when it’s time to “do” laundry I bring them all down and wash them up. Then the clean clothes (with a detour to my bed for folding which is SOOO much easier than folding in the hot laundry room) get put back in baskets and back to the rooms where they come from. Emptied. Repeat. Endlessly. I don’t mind seeing the laundry detergent. I actually have mine on a ceramic tray on top of the counter. Consider when thinking about storage that detergent can and will leak. If you do the cool pull out drawer will you be able to easily clean in? I like option 3 and 4 but I would be more prone to put things like my small steam cleaner in the storage opposed to the laundry baskets-see above.

  47. Great designs! I personally like the shelf option with two laundry baskets. I kinda get the desire for a cabinet door for visual cleanness, but the inconvenience of having to open it would drive me crazy! I also would imagine that because you have two sets of washers and dryers that neither one would need to be especially big. Good luck! ☘

  48. If you don’t want to look inside the laundry closet most of the time then I’d go with top load so you can keep the washer door open but the closet closed. Some sort of ventilation/partially louvered/perforated door would be a good idea if the doors are kept closed, since it’s a confined space and needs some air circulation to prevent mildew.

    I just installed a hamper cabinet in my bathroom similar to the pullout trash bin in the kitchen. It’s about 36 inches wide (the width I had to work with) so I found three tall and narrow plastic hampers to fit side by side (the ones that are like trash bins but with holes in them). It’s simple and works great and basic hampers can be found in almost any size to fit whatever dimensions you have available. I don’t think you have enough space for both a pullout hamper and the narrow supply pullout. The hamper area would be too small to be super useful for a bunch of towels and other laundry. So with this scenario you might have to lose the narrow pullout and keep supplies on a shelf. Which would mean losing the clothes rod – but if the idea is to keep this closet closed as much as possible then it might not be the best place to hang things to dry anyway.

    For dirty laundry, I think a pullout bin is more convenient than baskets on shelves. Plus, if you add a door in front of those shelves, you’ll lose some width if you want to be able to easily pull out the basket. You could consider dividing your laundry closet into two sections that appear cohesive, similar to how you built your kitchen cabinets, where one side is a door opening to the washer/dryer and the other side is a pullout drawer on the bottom with a cabinet door above that conceals a counter and shelves. That way you’d have immediate access to the hamper without opening a door then a drawer and the rest of the closet stays concealed.

  49. I fold clothes as they are taken out of the dryer. Place them in the basket and drop off each pile in their respective bedrooms. Clothes that require to be hung up are laid out on the beds. I honestly don’t understand when people talk about piles of laundry waiting to put away or folded in their dining rooms/living rooms, etc….

    1. Wow this is … genius. My strategy is to:

      1. pull everything out of the dryer at the same time
      2. plop it on the bed
      3. Snuggle in the warm laundry until it’s no longer warm
      4. Fold everything all at once

      But your strategy seems much more time efficient 🙂

  50. I have pull out hampers – with garbage can as liner. Yes, you can throw wet stuff in but don’t forget! mildew smell…now, love the hampers, but invariably my rolling laundry cart just ends up sitting in front of laundry closet and I have lately wished that I just put a cabinet I could roll the cart into!! Yes, it looks like space wasted, but it’s just space and space is great haha – too much build out = limitations. That’s my piece.

  51. We just got rid of our front loaders (that weren’t that old) because the washer was leaking water from the front and back. Also, since we couldn’t keep the washer door open, we got mildew on the gasket that would not come out no matter how many times I scrubbed or ran a tub clean. I like the top loader so much better! It doesn’t look as pretty, but it is so much more functional and needs less attention!

  52. If you go stackable, I recommend putting your washer on the bottom. I’ve seen many pics online with the washer on top, which seems like a bad idea for weight distribution and access/visibility of the detergent tray.

  53. Your plumber SHOULD have told you that:
    1. Water – leaks.
    2. Front load washers shake a LOT, need very solid floors, make noise.
    3. Washing machines cannot be serviced in place.
    4. You need a staging area for prepping and pre-treating laundry.
    5. You need a table/hanging bar for folding and hanging cleaned clothes.
    6. You need place(s) to hold soiled clothes until they can be washed.
    7. The more you spend on a washer, the more you will spend after purchase in an effort to to keep it running.

  54. Family with kids, pets, cloth diapers, reusable kitchen towels and napkins (read no paper towels here) and a husband that has a dirty job which requires his clothes to be washed separately so we generate a lot of laundry. I currently have a front loader (it’s my third one) and honestly the next time I might go with a top loader. One because of the extra mold maintenance required and two because I like the longer soak option on top loaders.

    Our laundry room is a small pass thru room off the kitchen/hallway that leads to the garage. The door to the washer permanently stays ajar when not in use unless I’m hosting a party or guests. Having it slightly ajar doesn’t impede the walkway to the garage at all. I use Afresh brand washing machine tablets at least once a month and the clean washer cycle and still have to clean the soap dispenser, door, tub and inner door seal ring for mold about once a quarter. I’ve tried the Tide washing machine cleaning tablets and didn’t think they worked as well and the smell was terrible. If anyone has a different one they like let me know!

    I did notice that overall I have to clean mold less when I cut down my laundry soap use by half. I read somewhere that we are all using way too much soap (I use Tide liquid free and clear) and it does seem to make a difference plus my clothes still get clean! I’ve also tried other brands of natural and clean laundry soaps and sadly they just don’t work for my husband’s dirty clothes and it’s too much to have multiple laundry soaps for each member of the household.

    I have small kids and our current set up is side by side units with a butcher block top and cabinets above. I keep a cute little dollar store plastic tub on top that our daily cloth napkins and dirty dish towels go in, it’s perfect small size for about a weeks worth that I then wash with the bath towels once a week. Having it on the shelf helps everyone do their part to throw them in there. Everyone else has a laundry basket in their closet that gets pulled out on their laundry day. This is just what works for our family. I know that if it was inside a laundry closet and then inside another door the kids (and prob Hub wouldn’t bother putting them in the dirty basket) Go for convenience and nix the second door if you go the shelf route.

    As far as baskets the kids all have cute fabric laundry baskets that have a plastic coating inside so it prevents mold from growing (thank you IKEA). We’ve used these for years and they still look brand new. Similar: I also use collapsible mesh laundry baskets for clean clothes and when not in use they slide in nicely on the side of the washing machine. Similar:
    Our diapers go in a large wet bag that then get washed each time with the diapers.

    If I were you I’d get a large unit to be able to wash multiple bed’s sheets at a time or large duvets/comforters. I think 3.5 cubic feet is the minimum size machine needed to really wash a king duvet. I think option 1 is a really cool idea and if it works for your fam then go for it but option 4 without the second door seems more practical and if you end up using the shelf for cleaning supplies you can always put then in a cute easy to pull out basket to contain the visual clutter. The tile, countertop and design looks awesome overall, can’t wait to see it! Also I never fold laundry in the laundry room, it gets done on the bed in each room or the couch.

  55. Option 1 or 4. We have a detergent pullout and not only does it stop me from overstocking the laundry room with detergent, it makes it easier to find the right detergent/fabric softener/stain remover. The rolling hamper seems like a dream (if one could romanticize laundry, I would have a vintage wicker rolling hamper), but isn’t that useful if your bedrooms are on a different floor from your laundry room.

  56. Also your team is amazing so I’m sure this wouldn’t be missed but if you go with option 1 or any of the options with interior doors don’t forget to subtract the space used up by the bi-fold doors otherwise you won’t be able to open the pull out or doors all the way and that will get annoying really quickly! We had that issue with putting closet organizers with pull out drawers in our closets that had bi-folds. Ended up taking it out and repositioning the entire thing because I drawer that doesn’t open all the way isn’t really functional. We missed it initially b/c when we planned and measured we hadn’t bought closet doors yet and the room size just didn’t make sense for full swing out doors.

    1. Yes! This is definitely something we are keeping in mind but thank you for looking out for us. 🙂

  57. A number of years ago I splurged and bought an Elfa wire basket system to be our hamper. I love it as I can have baskets for lights, dark, and towels/sheets. I use the upper portion to store stuff like toilet paper and other random stuff.

  58. I am honestly so confused about why you need a laundry bag/hamper in there? We have a few bins around the house (like in the mudroom near the kitchen) for stuff like dirty kitchen towels and socks. Unsurprisingly the SOCKS NEVER MAKE IT TO THE BIN THEY ARE ALL OVER MY HOUSE. Still, we bring the bin down, do the laundry, then bring it back up and fold. I would maximize closed storage for cleaning supplies, extra toilet paper, etc. and/or a counter top for folding or ironing if you think you’ll do that there.

  59. For a maintenance perspective:
    1. Not a fan of awning cabinets, the gas springs to hold the door up only last a couple years max and they are annoying to replace. Go with a normal hinge design that wont wear out.

    2. Front loading washers require a lot of maintenance. Have enough clearance between the bottom of the machine and the floor to drain the filter (or else end up with a pool under the washer). You need to wipe down the door and seals between washes to prevent mold. Or just save trouble and go with a top loader.

    3. Dryer vents need to be cleaned regularly to avoid lint/debris buildup and prevent fire risk. A side by side and allowing machines to be easily rolled out would help access the back of the machines easily.

  60. I like a sink in our utility area… really helpful fir creaking with heavily spiked items. I prefer practical over style. It’s all about making the process of doing the laundry easier.

  61. I have a triple laundry sorter that slides underneath a counter my husband built for folding laundry and is hidden by a cute curtain attached to the front of the counter. It really works well, and if you get the right size laundry sorter, you really aren’t wasting much space. So I’m a fan of option 3 — but now I want to put a cabinet door on my folding counter!

  62. Only Emily Henderson could make laundry rooms/closets interesting. ☺ I’m not in much of a position to offer suggestions, but I did have a thought: in addition to having a dryer, would a clothesline be a possibility for Spring/Summer? Since you’re in the mountains, I would imagine all the wonderful air could dry the clothes, and it would seem you’d have the space for one. And of course, it would be environmentally helpful. But these days, I imagine people also have to consider that there’s a bigger chance their clothes might be stolen, too. Just curious.

    1. I TRULY want a clothesline one day in my backyard! I’m sure Em’s mountain air is much nicer than my suburban air in close proximity to DTLA, haha.

      1. I live in L.A., too — totally get what you mean. It occurred to me to add in that my landlord has her washer/dryer in the garage and the one before that had hers outside, next to the house. Not sure what value that adds in, but… 🙂

    2. My husband and I have been drying our clothes outside on lines for the last five years. We’ve never had a single piece stolen. I did once have a squirrel try to climb up and steal a pair of my undies. I assume he/she was wanting to use it as bedding material for it’s drey. I caught that darn squirrel red handed and he ran.

  63. I haven’t read through other comments yet, and so this may have already been said.

    I struggle with getting my kids to actually put their laundry in our laundry room, and all they have to do is throw it in a basket on the floor. Opening two doors sounds like a very simple process to me, but I have a feeling I would have to constantly remind the kids where to put their dirty clothes.

    Not sure if you’ll actually fold laundry there – it’s a small space. I would utilize it for a second laundry basket. We have one for whites, and one for everything else, and yes, my kids have learned to separate their clothes (took a while).

    But honestly, I would nix the shelves and do a side by side washer/dryer set. I will NEVER own another front loader again. LOVE my LG top loader!!

  64. We have a set of four big drawers that fit a laundry basket that have been a laundry room game changer. I would recommend you keep design 4 but switch the shelves to two big deep drawers. You can sort whites and darks or have a drawer for those unfolded items/mismatched socks and a drawer for dirty items. Or alternatively you can do a drawer for items that you want to set aside for donation. Our four drawers have been so helpful but with your space constraints I could make two work as well.

  65. Although we have a small laundry room and not closet, since we live in a 2-bed London flat space is precious. The two things I’m most happy with are
    1) a fold-out iron which slides out from a drawer from Häfele – it’s so nice not to have to fuss about with opening and closing an ironing board all the time, or leaving it out on a permanent basis in the second bedroom which was previously the case.
    2) Fixing 5 hanging rods instead of 1 across the depth of the counter space – so 2 more on either side of where the standard one would be. This is so we can hang-dry clothes instead of needing to have a drying rack out, which was also previously a semi-permanent fixture elsewhere in the flat.

  66. Can you please share the dimensions of this closet? including the depth and height. I am working on a laundry room and I like what you have come up with. I think option one is the best option. I think its practical and looks aesthetically pleasing.

  67. #2. Definitely the most functional, and you can get a pretty rolling hamper that will hold a lot (better than the one pictured.). I would also loose the idea of using the counter as a folding place – if your family is like mine, you will need lots of space for your large containers of detergent, stain removers, and dryer balls! And really, isn’t folding the laundry the best excuse to set yourself up in front of the TV for a little bit?

  68. I like Option #1 the best. I think a good solution to the liner problem with desigining a track for the liner would be just to use Velcro along the sides. If you get a deep enough liner, you really just need it to not be floppy in the pull out hamper. attach long Velcro strips to the sides of the hamper and the top of the liner. It stays up but can also be removed to be washed as needed. With the liner in place you wouldn’t even be able to see the Velcro, and you have less visual clutter.

  69. My absolute must-have item is a basket that fits underneath the washer door as it swings open. If such a thing exists on wheels, I think it would look really cute (and be so easy to just scoot out, dump into, etc.) but primarily you don’t want to lift clothes out of the washer up into a basket (that sucks). Much easier to dump out of the washer into a basket that fits underneath. Maybe you just hand stuff up into the dryer, but I don’t use my dryer for everything.

    I think having laundry detergent within reach (as your kids are old enough to know better than to eat) will make things easier. I vote for a spice cabinet thing for this, with a laundry basket next to it. I agree with another commenter that you’ll want space above the basket to toss things in (don’t fit it too close to the ceiling of its compartment). I agree with other commenters that opening the laundry closet to just open another door seems annoying in the long run.

    I love this post! Thanks for taking us along for the ride. It’s nice to take a step back and think about the design of something for both form and function (do it right the first time!).

  70. I like option 3 with the roll-out basket. Our current apartment has full-size stackable front loading washer and dryer – I hate it! I like side by side, top-load, which can keep a laundry basket on top. But we use hampers in the closet for our dirty clothes. The other reason I do not like front-load is that once you start the washing machine and find that one item you forgot, you cannot open the door. With top load washing machines you can add any time. But I’m thankful to have in-unit washer/dryer. I fold laundry on our bed.

  71. Keep it simple and versatile. Open space with a place to hide detergent unless you plan to style the detergent containers is my vote. Access and ability to sweep or mop instead of crawl on hands and knees to dust/clean lower shelving or hamper would help me enjoy the space more, If it were mine. ? I hate dusting. ?

  72. Cannot believe I am sharing pictures of my laundry room in this state, but I think I can help you.
    1. Hang Elfa drawers on the lower half. The mesh is coated — so it won’t care about wet stuff — and has lots of holes for air flow. The baskets glide out nicely and can be labeled for sorting. My kids sort their own clothes into the baskets. It is super easy to see when it’s time to do that load of laundry.
    2. Make you counter extra high. This gives you a bonus drawer and actually makes folding way easier. Love my high counter.
    3. Leave space on the side for a drying rack that glides out. If you have room, install multiples. I only have space for one: next to my shelves where I put clothes that are clean and folded. Everyone has to put their own stuff away!
    4. Get a Grove detergent dispenser. It is dripless and can be refilled with small, easy-to-store detergent pouches. You won’t need a lot of space for supplies because you use dryer balls instead of Bounce sheets, right? Those just stay right in the dryer.
    5. I leave baskets on the counter for errant socks and underwear. Everyone knows which basket is theirs and can find that missing piece.

  73. Not reading all the other great ideas out there, so sorry if this is a repeat, but in my home, with my large family, there is NO way I’d put a door covering our stacked laundry baskets. I have the baskets one-on-top-of-the-other that I can easily slide in and out…one for colors, one for whites, one for cleaning rags, one for special care: stains, no-dryer. doors covering would cut on visual clutter, which I TOTALLY GET, so those of us with ADD or artistic peeps, that can/is overload. However, that would keep clothes damper and smells galore and even though I wash often, I cannot imagine it would not be disgusting in no time at all. (Whoa – a plethora of negatives there!) Plus, my kids can see as they approach the baskets which one they are about to *dunk the item into. Bath towels come down/go into wash right when getting cleaned. -Same with sheets. In case it wasn’t obvious…open baskets!

  74. Yes to the top loader! I got skin rashes from left over detergent in my clothes even after reducing the amount I was using. But not once since I returned to the top loader. Have you ever washed your clothes without detergent and looked to see how many suds the wash cycle generates? Maytag top loader was the answer for me.

  75. Not sure if it’s in the comments already, but what if there were a way to have extra countertop space fold open or slide out from below the fixed counter? I have a smallish kitchen and I’m constantly pulling out the built in cutting boards for extra prep space. We are about to get in to designing a laundry area and I fear these kinds of compact closets compared to a dedicated laundry or mud room. Mainly because we’ll probably give ours up in exchange for more space somewhere else in the house and it’s hard to go backwards with space. An efficient space like your designs look so lovely, but I wonder how realistic they are with families!

  76. Never knew laundry would bring up such strong opinions for me but I read through all the comments and IT DID. So:

    1. The people suggesting “two pairs washers & dryers for different floors would be indulgent but nice” are nuts. That is just straight-up ridiculous/over-the-top.

    2. I’m kind of confused by the need to stash dirty laundry IN the closet area. For me, it makes sense to have hampers in locations where you take off clothes. I think the only way I’d use them in that closet area is to sort (so once I dragged down all the laundry, I’d quickly toss all darks in a basket in that location and immediately wash whites. So I don’t see myself needing a huge basket there?)

    3. The idea of smaller baskets for each kid with their clean clothes folded in them sounds nice in theory (“take your basket upstairs and put your clothing away“ is a good routine, and it helps corral things) but I think it’s dependent on how you want to handle folding and distributing clean stuff.

    4. I have stacked machines right now and hate them. Something about my clean comforter getting pulled out from the bottom washer and dragging on the floor while I’m trying to shove it in the dryer just irks me! (And maybe says something about how clean we keep our floor in the laundry room?! Lol)

    5. I 100 percent agree with the commentator who said that what would make them most happy is easy to keep clean storage areas. Some of those pull-out built-ins are a nightmare to clean.

    6. Be sure to have a trash handy to throw away lint collection 🙂 and maybe a basket for rogue socks. I keep that in my closet currently but could see it being nice to have there. Wool dryer balls could look nice in a basket on the counter rather than concealed. I like having a cupboard for bleach & detergent, though.

    7. Do you really need a rod? Or will just a few hooks do?

    8. FINALLY (phew!) if it’s just a closet I’d worry way less about visual clutter. If it was an entire (small) laundry room I’d prioritize a sink and hiding all the things except some pretty wire baskets.

    1. #4! I somehow ALWAYS drop my clean WET laundry on the floor while transferring to the dryer. This, sadly, isn’t a top load vs. front load issue. It’s just a “true mess of a person” I am issue.

  77. A pull out drying rack would be helpful in a small space.
    I love our large ikea drying rack in the basement for wool socks, bras, swim tops, etc. that should be dried as well as bulky items like jeans that didn’t get totally dry but I don’t want to run a second dry cycle.

  78. I would love a pull out shelf that you tuck away into the cabinet, like a cutting board, but for holding clothes while you fold. (IF that makes any sense.) Front loader washers get superior ratings. Electrolux gets poor ratings if you need to get fixed apparently. We went for GE and haven’t had a problem.

    1. Yes to cutting boards for holding/folding laundry! Why doesn’t every closet have that?

  79. Large capacity all the way! Beach towels and things like comforters and mattress covers…

    Not sure I would fold in the laundry closet but for sure need a surface to lay my kids clothes flat and stainstick all the stains they accumulate!!!

    All ears and eyes as I am redoing 2 laundry closets this spring!!

  80. I’m a sucker for laundry room porn. One of my biggest dreams for a “someday” home would be an actual laundry ROOM that’s attractive, too. Right now we have a closet that only has room for the stackable w/d and absolutely nothing else. It’s right at the top of the stairs (convenient because what we launder is 95% upstairs), but with no place for stacking/folding/piling, stuff ends up on the stair rail.

    I think option 3 is the best. I don’t think the option 4 really buys you anything extra…other than a possible level of annoyance. The spice type pull out for the laundry products is something I wish we had room for. We waste an entire shelve of hallway linen cupboard for them.

  81. I like that option 4 uses standard laundry baskets, could potentially make it easier swapping out bins as laundry gets done. I also think no second door/additional door on the bottom. If it’s a big laundry basket down there that’s already minimizing some of the cluttered look to it. Or you could always do one open shelving for basket and have a door on one shelf for laundry supplies. The double door for the laundry basket makes me scared for any towels that get put in there that are not all the way dry and No airflow through the cupboard and could cause smells. The hanging space is a must for me so I like that that’s incorporated too… I personally wouldn’t fold in there but it’s nice to have the counter area for place to set things/breathing room. Can’t wait to see how the project progresses ☺️

  82. Instead of a fixed shelf for folding, we took a kitchen island cart with a butcher block top and rolled it into the open space here you’ve shown shelves or the rolling hamper. t’s often used in that space like it was fixed, but it also is great to be able to pull it out for folding and other tasks. Win-win … and inexpensive

  83. Get the washing machine with a detergent dispenser- pour in a bottle of detergent and you’re fine for a slew of loads. I have a Whirlpool but I’m sure other brands have it too. I like pedestals because you don’t have to bend over as much to put stuff and then get it out

  84. #2 easy access. You can throw stuff in easily then shut the big closet doors if it’s a mess. Front loaders might need the plastic ring replaced. Ours got moldy from 14 yrs use and it cost about $100-150 for someone to come and replace it but it can be done. Honestly it’s worth it for me since I’m petite, I can’t imagine hanging over a washer trying to dig all my clothes out all the time.

  85. Installed a trash bin slider in our bathroom (that’s right next to our laundry area) for dirty towel and it changed the game – I love it!

  86. Ok so I would consider getting a foot pedal to open the door, like they have for garbage cans in the cabinet. I would also just diy a canvas liner using metal curtain rods (nice ones, not a tension rod) or something. No idea what sizes they are making garbage cans for kitchen cabinets but I do know they have a lot of options and there might be something there you could use, both for a plastic liner and also for the hardware and door options. I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do as well, rolling laundry cart would be nice but agree about wasted space.

    I’m a big fan of a big enough folding space. I want to be able to have the laundry basket ON the counter, not the floor, that I can put the folded clothes in. We have our laundry room to do after we finish kitchen and pantry, but I am lucky in that its a good size room. I am hoping to add a tall skinny pull out to hold my broom and mop.

  87. You already have tons of great suggestions in the previous comments, I was wondering how tall you are because the washer dials look really high. You might need closet space for a little step ladder. By the way, you asked about top loader vs. front loader. I had a top, changed to front (hate it) can’t wait for it to die so I can go back to top loader.

  88. OK BUT…I see no space for the sock trolls. Clearly this has been overlooked.

    Mine are currently living in the closet under the stairs, but they said that if I built them a house in the laundry room they would be tickled pink and would actually steal dust bunnies instead of socks. as in…LINT. win win.

  89. Controversial opinions:

    1. I’d ditch the folding counter for more space for baskets. I fold all my washing as I put it away – so all clothes get folder on beds in bedrooms, towels folded in the cupboard etc. I use the baskets in my laundry to sort and store dirty laundry so I can do big loads

    2. Do you need a second dryer? I have a clothes line outside and a small rack for inside and haven’t owned dryer in years (even with a toddler and a baby). Line dried is the best!

  90. I think the open shelving (no doors) with some pretty baskets is your best option. If you get baskets that aren’t totally see through, they will mostly disguise the mess/clutter, and when you want it truly hidden you can just shut the closet doors. Plus that bottom shelf will be more usable with baskets on it anyway – if you just put detergent and other bottles on the bottom shelf, when you need something from the back you’ll have to kneel down and reach back – add a basket or two on the bottom shelf and then you can just pull the basket out to get to items at the back of the shelf. Then, if later you decide it would be nicer to have two laundry baskets rather than a laundry basket on one shelf and other items on the other shelf, you can easily just swap things out – anything too permanently built in like option 1 is a lot less flexible. Or if you don’t end up using the hamper much, then you could use the top shelf for storage too. Either way, easy to change it up.

    Also, if you leave the doors off for right now but end up wanting them later, couldn’t you add them then? Start with the cheaper option, see if it works, then adjust if it doesn’t.

    That counter for “folding” will more likely end up being a dumping ground or being used to lay things flat to dry or to soak with a stain solution. Still useful, just probably not for actual folding.

    I love that you’re sharing organizational options for a smaller laundry space. When I was redoing the organization in ours, I was looking so hard for suggestions but mostly found giant laundry rooms where using the space efficiently wasn’t really necessary. This is fun and helpful because it really gets down to the point of “what is most necessary?” and “how do you use the space as efficiently as possible?”

  91. I think no cabinet doors since the closet doors ARE the doors. What if you did shelves underneath the counter, and then a basket that sits on the counter? Then it would be so easy to open the closet and toss in a towel (I’m picturing my kids throwing a towel pile on the counter top vs reaching to pull out the basket and put it in). Then if you want to fold Laundry you just set the basket on the floor. In terms of do you need larger or smaller, are you keeping the closet upstairs too? if so I would think smaller is fine, but if not, I would think since you mentioned beach towels that larger would probably be better for long term – more laundry, bigger kids clothes as they grow, etc.

  92. Option #4 w/o doors is my vote, but I would recommend a deep drawer or pull-out shelf on the bottom so you don’t have to squat and reach in for stuff. That’s where I would keep the heavy detergent that hasn’t yet been decanted. 🙂

  93. Family of four in our small house. We have a top-loading washer and LOVE it. Not only does never smell or break, it also doubles as a “sink” for soaking (fill with water at the beginning of the cycle, then soak, and if it doesn’t need to be washed, go straight to spinning).

    Also, there are no laundry hampers in our house. There is a spot on the floor where we throw dirty clothes (spot depends on the room), and part of my nightly (semi-nightly?) routine is to go around the house, scoop up all the clothes, and put them in the laundry basket in the very-small laundry room. I’ve been shocked at how easy this system is to maintain.

    I vote for option #4 without the cabinet door. You have all you need: easy-to-access laundry basket and counter space.

    (I laughed audibly at the inspiration pic of the hangers with two inches of space beneath them. I assume that’s for hanger storage only (I guess that could be a thing?) but it looks hilarious.)

  94. Hi,

    I’m just wondering what happened to the afternoon posts you did for a very short while. They have stopped and some days there isn’t even one post. Is everything okay over there?

  95. I would go with #4 with open shelves. For washer/dryer check out Miele. More expensive maybe but built to last 25 years. Also, it comes with a soap cartridge you put it (no mess of filling!) and it self dispenses. They are smaller in footprint than what is common not but I have not had any issues running large loads of towels or multiple sets of sheets.

  96. The household chemicals need to be stored out of reach of the small fry.
    We can’t leave any dirty laundry on the floor because of the dog, so there are hampers in each bedroom plus revashelf trash pullouts in the laundry area which are useful when sorting dirty clothes and for kitchen towels and cleaning rags. We have found that a shaker peg rail set within a tiled wall is the most practical hanging space for us. The tile protects the wall from moisture and you can use hangers or not with the pegs. Outside, we have hooks for towels and life jackets, but we would use a railing if we had one!
    Line drying is actually a really bad idea if you have allergies…

  97. I wish I could post a pic of our laundry room. It’s pure function. It also is next to our mud room so a great place to stow the shoes away. We don’t have a coat closet or a pantry so it’s that, too. It doesn’t look cramped or cluttered, but shelving is essential. The ironing board is open all the time and is used as our flat surface. And we have a top load washer and have to keep it open, too. I love that our laundry room is so useful.

  98. Emily,

    I’m getting all mom-geeked out about your laundry post!

    For your front loader washer, use plain white vinegar in the fabric softener bin each time you run a load. It will get the detergent out of your clothes, and your washer. Mine never has a smell and I don’t leave the door open. You can buy the vinegar in gallons from Costco for very little $.

    I use a laundry cart like this: No wasted space on the bottom, plus you can keep different types of loads separate.

    No door on the bottom cupboard. It’s just an extra step and the door will get dinged from the laundry cart.

  99. When my now grown kids were little, I designed what for me was The Perfect Way To Manage Laundry.

    There was no centralized hamper. Each room had it’s own. At the time, my boys shared a room so for them there was one rolling hamper with 3 sections. The sections weren’t attached; there were three net bags that hung on the frame. Whites, colors, towels (they had the master with en suite, I took the smaller room because it was just me). When a bag filled up, it was removed from the frame and brought to the garage for “processing”. I washed the bag as well so I could use it to carry the clean clothes back to the room. Laundry was folded on the bed and put away immediately.

    Now they are older and have their own rooms. They’ve been doing their own laundry for quite some time but still follow the same system.

    I do the same thing in my room for my stuff and I keep a basket in the kitchen for dirty cleaning rags. We’re all responsible for washing those if we see the supply of clean ones getting low.

    Sheets are simple. My kids each have one set. That forces them to remake their bed immediately and keeps loads of dirty linens from piling up. I have two sets because I trust myself not to be lazy. lol

    I have never cared about not having a folding surface in my laundry room simply because I prefer to stand by my bed and distract myself with TV while I fold.

    Emily, you might be inspired to read the Petersik’s recent post about not wanting to open a door just to open another door. It’s the one about their master closet.

  100. I think your idea of the cabinet with the two laundry baskets is the best option, but instead of a cabinet, put in two deep drawers that the baskets fit inside. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about wet, dirty items damaging your cabinet, and you’d have a dedicated place for both dirty and clean laundry. One drawer with laundry basket/tote/bin for clean clothes and one drawer for dirty.

  101. Top loader all the way! I loathed the years of front loader. I really like the idea of laundry bin with a door. Do you need more shelving/storage? If not, don’t add another shelf.

  102. I am probably missing something simple, but I do not know where to ‘put’ my design question on the variety of electronic ways the team communicates. How could I re-use old (nice) prints of wildlife? I have two — a squirrel and a heron. Each about 10 x 13 inches and currently in dark mattes and old wooden frames. Great sentimental value! Can I possibly update?

  103. We had full size front loading LGs (electric) in my last house and I love them. The full size front loading Samsungs we have now are very highly rated but don’t have as many wash options. My BFF also had the same LGs and since it was only my husband and me, I was diligent about wiping down the rubber seal, soaking up the excess water in the dispenser tray and leaving the door open for a day after using it. She has a very large family so hers are on more often than not, and she doesn’t worry about mold at all. We stacked our current Samsungs and put the washer (heavier machine) directly on the floor. Yet when my sister in law visited for the first time, she burst out laughing because she couldn’t even reach the dryer door on top. I guess the important thing is Birdie and Charlie could reach the washer door if you stacked!

  104. The slight “crunch” of a towel that’s been dried on the front railing is one of my very favorite things!

  105. I love these options, so exciting to think about! I’d vote for not storing anything wet/damp in a separate bin–they’ll get SO mildewed and stinky. If you have a collapsible rack you can hang things super easily, or even hooks on the back of the closet door? We have heated towel racks in our bathrooms, and while it’s certainly nice to have a cozy towel (the whole thing never manages to get warm thb), its main function is to prevent musty towels. In the summer we always drape our big beach towels on them, and even if they’re messily layered on top of each other they always dry out.

    I also have a cute wire bin in the kitchen for towels and dirty napkins–it’s so handy! And I do fold my laundry in our closet, we have side by side with a counter above them. It’s a good way to ensure nothing gets terribly wrinkled, and I can close the closet doors if there are piles that need to get delivered/picked up for each person.

  106. While probably not less expensive, the hamper could be in a large drawer so you just pull the drawer out and toss the clothes in–far less cumbersome than the “open door, pull out hamper” concept. That could be the lower drawer in that space, and above it a big drawer for all of the other laundry stuff–detergent, dryer balls, spot treatment, etc. I LOVE my big drawers in the kitchen, so why the heck not in the laundry room! And…now I want to re-do my laundry room ;).

  107. Have you thought about doing this through California Closets? They have the pullout hamper thing you mentioned already so you wouldn’t have to custom configure it, or they have a wire basket with a canvas liner that could tilt or pull out as well for the easy access. We have it at our house and love it!! Am I remembering correctly that you used them for laundry in another house? Either way, love this post!!

  108. Dont but whirlpool- that brand is the worst!
    I love my laundry cart with wheels! Makes moving large loads of laundry between rooms super easy.

  109. I think the rolling cart option is most functional. Especially since you don’t have a ton of surface space. If you have a bin, you’ll need to then put it on the counter or on the floor. And one bin seems small compared to a cart, which could be deeper and therefore take up more space for you. As for storage, I have twin toddlers and have way more laundry than laundry supplies, so I’d go with that. Especially sheets and towels ina vacay home.

    For brands, I have Whirlpool and it’s great. Top loading HE washer. Also makes it easier to leave the lid open — doesn’t jut into the room — and I regularly throw things in there almost like a hamper until I’m ready to wash.

  110. Your design is fantastic – for you. My limiting factor to ANYTHING is I am only 5′ tall – and will be shrinking in my twilight years. So I would ask is the design limiting who can do the wash? I’m a front loader supporter but I do need the riser bins that they sit on otherwise I would have to get down on my knees to reach into the back of the tub. Being short is a curse sometimes!

  111. I love the rolling cart! smart to stay away from cloth sac. My best recommendation, (I am a pro – mom of 4 athletic children) have a clean surface and fold right out of the dryer! Literally. You will never have a back up of laundry and it is faster than you may think. hint – move a tv to that space!

  112. Both of my daughters have front loading washers in their cool laundry spaces, and they STINK. I know there is a product you can buy that will take care of it. But after I visit them, I am SO HAPPY to get home to my top loader. Its big and does a much better job with its basic three speeds. I noticed that both of my daughters use only two of the wash modes on their front loaders, even though there are 7 or 8 options. After owning several homes and doing a ton of space planning and organizing, plus having been an appliance consumer for many years (I am 65), I have gotten over my urge for a front loading great looking washer/dryer set for the laundry room. Sticking with a good, solid top loading LARGE washer is the best decision. I know its not as chic, but it is one thing in life that does not need to give you any hassle, especially if you have kids in sports. Or even if they play outside a lot. Hassle free is my mantra. And just go with GE or Whirlpool.

  113. Let’s face facts. A laundry closet cannot be made into a decked out spacious laundry room, no matter how hard we try. We need this laundry closet to be functional and of course pretty.
    There is no need for cupboard doors. The open shelves pictured in the inspiration photos are functional and attractive. Ikea has beautiful white containers, large and small to coral and hide the necessary laundry supplies.
    Do consider the laundry cart. It is deep and will hold a lot of laundry. You can roll it wherever you want to fold the laundry. You can roll it around to pick up the dirty laundry. There is a reason these carts have been around forever. They are fantastic!
    Finally, could you install a pull out counter out from under the existing counter? It would double your space for folding laundry.
    Good luck. I can’t wait to see your final design.

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