Friday, October 13, 2017

Live with it: the basement laundry

As you may have seen, the Fall 2017 One Room Challenge kicked off two weeks ago!  I looooove watching other people make over their houses, and some of my favorite bloggers are returning this round.

I would love to participate in the ORC, as I just bought a house and have 13 rooms to makeover....but zero budget.  Womp womp, sad trombone.  Also I can't use my arms, which makes DIY projects difficult.  However, this is a blessing in disguise, because it will force me to live with this house for a while before making any really big decisions.  Many times I have thought "I must have This" and then I get This and it turns out that spot would really function better with That instead.

I have already changed my mind on a number of design decisions.  I assigned all the children bedrooms based on what already-owned rug fit in which room, and then it turned out that the furniture each child owned did not fit in the rooms, even if the rug did, so that meant some reshuffling, and some new rugs.

One "live with it" sort-of-failure/success is the 30-inch nook by the front door.  My first inclination was to buy a small dresser with drawers, because the Mister likes to drop keys and wallet in a drawer as soon as he walks in the door.  Since he lived here for a  month before we got here, his keys and wallet drawer was the kitchen drawer with the spatulas, which wasn't working for either of us.  I searched high and low for a less-than-30-inch dresser, which was impossible to find.  Then I found a dinged up lingerie dresser at a yard sale, which I thought was perfect, as soon as I could paint it a pretty color.  I attempted to paint it, using my arms, as one does, and as I've mentioned, using my arms is currently a no-go, and I had to take to my bed for days after putting primer on it.  Two more attempts at painting it were unsuccessful, and it is still sitting in our garage, unpainted.

This past weekend I thought to myself, ugh, the front door is always a mess, there are always 400 shoes here, why doesn't anyone put their shoes away in the shoe cubby that is in the far back of the house?? Brilliant idea: I should put a shoe cubby here in the front, not drawers.  I pulled the shoe cubbies out of the back closet, and hunted down the cover my mom made three houses ago, put out a basket for mail....and voila, shoes are put away.

You are all now desperately wondering where the wallet and keys go.  They ended up in the Drexel console that now resides in the dining room (not yet ready for pictures), which is where the Mister previously dropped wallet and keys in the last house.  Things will work out if you ignore them long enough. 


There are a few problem items I will have to live with for a while.  One of them is the washer and dryer.  Our current washer and dryer are wee bitty, teeny tiny petite appliances, located in our basement.  Our w/d in California were enormous, but since it costs many thousands of dollars to move across the country and the Mister said "hey, this w/d here is brand new", I sold the ones in CA.  When we got here I discovered that my new washer is half the size of the old one, and comfortably fits a pair of shorts and some socks and a handkerchief but not much more, thus necessitating what I consider an excessive amount of small load laundry doing.  (Irony: I bought this house without the Mister ever seeing it. I noticed there was a petite washer, but figured no big deal, I already have a w/d to bring with me. Then I broke my neck and things went to hell and well, this w/d debacle is really my own fault for not paying more attention, but I was otherwise occupied.)

The laundry is also located in the basement here.  In California our laundry was located by the door to the garage on the first floor, and thus I passed by the laundry multiple times a day, so I also did laundry multiple times a day.  I would love to relocate the laundry to the first floor  here.  Unfortunately there is not an obvious relocation destination on the first floor.  I spent a week thinking how I could move walls and repurpose closets to get the w/d upstairs, then realized that if I am going to spend many thousands of dollars on improving this house there are more important projects to tackle first.

I gave up on that and decided that it would be simplest to just buy a new larger w/d and put them in the basement, even though I prefer the first floor.  Easy, right? I spent some time researching what w/d to buy...and realized that the reason we have these wee, tiny w/d is because the two doorways into the laundry room are 24 inches wide and 26 inches wide, with no possibility of widening either. 

One is banded by the stairwell and an HVAC duct, and the other door is banded by a plumbing pipe and loadbearing wall.  So...the previous owners bought tiny appliances.

So we will live with it for a while.  Perhaps that time living with the doll size w/d will give us some clarity on how we'd like to move things around.  Maybe I will learn to like washing 12 miniature loads of laundry per day. Perhaps I will just tear a washer size hole in the wall over the stairwell and just pass the washer through with the aid of a few burly men.  (Thinking outside the box here.) 

Next up: living with it, the refrigerator edition. 


  1. This is fascinating to me. I love seeing how other people think. It would never occur to me to choose children's rooms by carpets. We just passed 6 years of living in our house, and reading this made me so glad that we are past the newlywed stage with the house, where we're getting to really know each other and figure out what this new life together is going to look like and how it's going to work. I think your instinct to live with things for a while is so smart (even if not all by choice). I for-sure wasted some time and energy on things we later tossed or changed.

    1. I chose the rooms by carpets and beds--we had two pink rugs available, but both were large 8x11s that wouldn't fit in two of the smaller bedrooms (9x9 and 7x11). That meant that my daughter would have a pink rug in a larger room (the boys categorically rejected pink rugs), and I was going to put my middle son in the small room...but his two blue dressers and two twin beds wouldn't fit in the little rooms, and my oldest son was inheriting a queen size bed that wouldn't fit in the little I ended up switching everyone around from the original assignments, and buying a new rug. (After all that, no one has the pink rug in their bedroom. One of them did make its way to the rumpus room, and the other is still rolled up.)

      I recall reading an Apartment Therapy article where a couple rejected apartment after apartment that would have been great and cheap because their ginormous dining table wouldn't fit, and after they lived in a place that fit the table but none of their other needs, they realized they could have had places that were much better fit if they had just gotten rid of the table. So I've tried to think of what is the best solution for us in terms of flexibility and using what we have but not being bound by what we have, if changing it is reasonably inexpensive.

      For sure it will be nice to be over the honeymoon seems terribly expensive getting to know this house. There are so many things to do, and not even fun decor stuff. We just got a $$$ quote for replacing the stack pipe today. I look forward to buying new sofas instead of new plumbing and garage doors.


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