Brian and I are the same person – we are both “artists” or “creatives”, with the biproduct meaning that we are disastrously unorganized. We are those people who need systems or our house and lives fall apart. Hilariously enough we react differently to our clutter – he steps over it and I shove it into the nearest drawer or cabinet (despite my being unorganized I hate visual chaos or mess) – both of which are extremely annoying. This means that none of our nine pairs of scissors can ever be located, I can’t find a pen to save my life and trying to find a safety pin becomes a mass excavation for a buried/sunken treasure. We have our strengths, but putting things away properly isn’t one of them. We needed help. Often I say that I just need a babysitter for me.
As you read yesterday our laundry room got a big makeover by California Closets, but what you didn’t get was all the details and you know I LOVE giving details and process. We worked with them on all of our closets and storage so far (yes, they gave us a good discount for press, linkage and photos) and honestly the experience was TOP KNOTCH. You’ll see why, below.
Here is where we started. The former laundry hall got reconfigured to be a larger and more square like room, less narrow. It is still a smaller space (like 50 square feet) but it now functions so much better.
First we put down this amazing cement tile from Cle. I chose this plaid tile because it felt really English, but in a playful modern way.
I love the pattern, and now that the laundry room is clean and organized I love seeing it from the rest of the rooms (we can shut it off if we need to and we have yet to change out the vent covers, by the way).
We brought the washer and dryer from our former house (because they were new and great – remember our former laundry closet?) and we removed the sidekick unit and the storage drawer so that the machines could be lower and clear the window to make the room feel as big as possible.
We painted it ‘Sharkskin’ by Portola, which we LOVE. In the above photos it feels dark but it’s not at all – this room has so much natural light (two windows and a glass door) so it could handle this color.) It’s the perfect gray/blue (we painted Charlie’s room the same color).
We started the process when our designer, Chloe O’Keefe from California Closets, came over for an in-person consultation. We went through each closet and discussed first function, then look/style and then she took one million measurements to ensure the perfect fit. I told her that our first priority was the most closed storage possible while making it easy to navigate. I was also dying to get our litter box off the floor and in some sort of enclosure, mostly so that their litter would stop getting tracked everywhere in the room/house, making it basically the cat litter room instead of the laundry room. Here is what she drew up:
I know that many of you will cruise over these renderings because if you aren’t in the market for closets, they seem so technical, but if you looking to do something like this then you might want to pay attention. Obviously if you are in a rental you don’t want to invest in this kind of storage, and most newer houses have cabinets and storage in the laundry room, but I will say that this is such a great way to invest in your house and make your life so much better if it’s within your budget (more on budget later).
They took in consideration the windows, conduits, chords, outlets, the angles of the walls, and any inconsistencies or nuances of the space, and of course a place for the kitties to do their thing.
This is the Cat Commode of my dreams. We wanted this to be kinda ‘mud room’ as well as laundry room, which is why there isn’t more shelving/cabinets and instead hooks for coats/bags and hats. The cat commode will look like a cabinet but with an opening to the side for them to come in and out to do their business.
One of the things I was most excited about (the fold out ironing board) had to be cancelled once we made space for the laundry exhaust on the right. Things had to shift over, so our drawer had to decrease but if you have more space I highly recommend this fun feature. We put a rod above the washer/dryer for hanging clothes straight out of the dryer or for hang-drying clothes, as well as dry cleaning before it gets put away in closets. Here is a little guide to show you where everything goes.
We have a place for everything with labels that keep us in line. The drawers are deep and organized now, and once things are dictated I actually am good about keeping things organized. I just need a system. My favorite thing to do on the weekends is make the house beautiful and pulled together, but without a system that means just stuff goes hidden anywhere. Not anymore.
The cabinets are in a linen covered finish which is super pretty – in the photos it looks beige but in person it has a lovely light gray linen look, which you can see below. Let’s get into the function of everything, and how we are actually using the space:
Each cabinet and drawer has to house something very specific. The tall cabinet is for brooms, mops and our vacuum.
All cleaning supplies are organized by ‘everyday’ versus more specialized (brass faucet wax, tile cleaner, etc). We have a jar of rags (so that we don’t feel the need to fold them and instead can just shove them in the jar). I’m no organizing expert so I’m not going to give any revolutionary tips, but for me I need to be able to see everything so lucite boxes, or clear zippy bags are key.
We put our every day tools in one drawer – the tape measures, hammers, hanging supplies, blue tape, command strips, etc.
I also LOVE labels and get immense satisfaction from placing an object in the drawers in which it is “supposed” to go. I’m a person who needs systems. When we labeled my dresser and closet a couple years ago I kept everything SO much neater (we have yet to do it in the new house, but I’m so excited).
This drawer is going to save my sanity. I thought about going all ‘Martha’ on this shoot and buying perfect scissors, perfect pens, perfect everything, but I decided that spending $1000 on ‘every day office’ supplies when I have all those things already (just maybe not the most beautiful versions of them) would be crazy.
TAPE! I know where to find tape! And checkbooks! I still write an insane amount of checks and as you can see there are 9 used checkbooks up there because every time I needed one I couldn’t find it, so I opened a new one. I’ve also been looking for a crazy organized, experienced personal/executive assistant for 15 hours a week for a while, if you know anyone.
The step ladder and ironing board are snuck in by the washer and dryer which is super convenient. We iron something maybe once every two months so a little tabletop board works for us.
Now for the other side of the room – The ‘Cat Commode’:
See Bear, just waltzing up to the commode, a little confused but interested.
Inside the cabinet is the litter box.
The little box actually needs to be closer to the flap (sorry, I was undoubtedly putting a child down for a nap when that was shot).
Then on the outside is this entrance.
It’s extremely exciting, folks. It’s only been a couple of days but so far, SO much less mess. There is still sand in the cabinet, and that will need to get cleaned often, but so much less on the floor.
All in all, I truly think it’s going to be a daily life changer. It’s clean, so functional, so organized and it lends itself to making sure that we keep our lives in order.
California Closets installed all of our closets and the laundry room in two days. They worked with any irregularities and really solved so many problems. Their guys were so neat, clean and respectful (they even removed everything during the kids naps so they didn’t have to try to sleep in chaos). There are a million different finishes to choose from, although I LOVE this linen finish. I chose simple classic handles on the more traditional side to work with the rest of the house. This room cost $7373, with the cat commode/hooks being $880 of that (so just the laundry unit is $6500). That includes all meetings, renderings, materials, off-site cutting and on-site installation. Now, I know that it’s not nothing but there really isn’t an alternative for that. A cabinet company would charge $12k for this, and doing something yourself (Ikea or Container Store) would still cost money, be way less efficient, way more janky and take so much of your time. Right now in my life I’m willing to sacrifice more money than time – that may change, but with two toddlers and this business, trying to figure out the right ‘system’ for our laundry room and executing it on my own wasn’t a realistic situation so having California Closets on board made everything so much better.
Birdie and I are obviously very excited about having a proper Laundry Room and a place to keep things organized. A big thank you to Chloe O’Keefe and the team from California Closets for making all of our requests a functioning reality. They all could not have been easier or more wonderful to work with. Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go grab a command hook from my “hooks pouch” in my “everyday hardware” drawer. In the meantime let me know if you have any questions on anything below in the comments.
***Photography by Tessa Neustadt