Cleaning your clothes, a oncedaunting task requiring a ribbed tin board and a river, now rivals yoga as one of the more relaxing moments of your day, thanks to an emerging trend of a Zen-like laundry room.
No longer is laundry banished to a dark, windowless room with cold cement floors, sharing space with the litter box. For homeowners such as Chuck and Linda Kuhlman of Paradise Valley, they’ve welcomed the laundry room in as one of their own.
“It’s really as much a part of the home as the bedroom,” says Chuck Kuhlman. When the couple renovated last year, they decided to make the laundry room just as swank as the rest of their Tuscan-style home. Granite countertops line antique white walls, while solid wood cabinets in a distressed maple sit above the couple’s top-of-the-line frontload washer and dryer.
“I think in larger homes, laundry rooms are no longer just places to put a washer and dryer,” says Kuhlman. “Today, they can become quite elaborate.”
In addition to the style, the Kuhlmans also incorporated function into the room, adding a full closet, “an awful lot of cabinets,” says Chuck, a stereo with surround sound, a television and a desk.
“Maybe you want to do two things at once,” explains Chuck. “Maybe compose a letter while you’re working on laundry.”
Roni Zee of the Closet Factory in Scottsdale is called upon to help organize many a laundry room throughout the East Valley. For her clients, the challenge is making the space blend into the rest of the house while still incorporating all the necessary items, such as jugs of detergent, an ironing board and plenty of counter space.
“What is happening now is that the laundry room is an extension of the kitchen,” says Zee. “The cabinetry is the same as the kitchen, the countertops are the same. So when you walk in, you don’t feel like you’re in a laundry room.”
The unsightly cleaning products shouldn’t sit out on countertops, says Zee, but rather behind doors. “Aesthetics is important, it should be pretty.”
If there’s not enough room for countertops, try adding a folddown counter, suggests the designer. Same with the ironing board, many of which can now be folded down from inside a shallow cabinet.
And as for the appliances essential to a laundry room — the washer and dryer — Zee suggests thinking outside the box and going for something other than white.
“There’s fabulous new washers and dryers in colors now,” she says.
Last, but not least, no matter how you dress it up, the clothes aren’t going to iron themselves. Zee says that’s why adding a small countertop TV can sometimes be all it takes to make the chore fly by.
“Pull down the ironing board,” she says, “have a little bubbly water with lemon and watch Oprah.”
14425 N. 79th St. Scottsdale (800) 540-2102 www.closetfactory.com