Q: What is it that makes for a great laundry room? Maxine Ordesky: A laundry room is function-intensive. Running the washer and dryer are only two of the tasks that take place here. My starting point, whether I am drawing up plans for new construction or a remodel, is to find out what else needs to be done-and stored-in this area. A deep sink is useful for people who like to soak clothes or who take care of their plants in this room. For a large laundry room, I often design an island, which is great for sorting, folding, storing rolling carts, and even gift wrapping. Vince Vega: Layout. The beauty of any room that functions as a room for tasks is in the layout. A laundry room is similar to a kitchen in this regard. How close are your work surfaces to the appliances you use? How much room do you have to work in between counter spaces? Are the tools and surfaces you need easily accessible so you don't have to take too many steps? The ideal in my book is no steps. Q: What about when the laundry area is in the garage? MO: The obvious challenge in the garage is cleanliness. One solution is to configure your laundry area so you can close off the space. I would urge doing a very wide space with sliding doors or bi-fold doors. Keep the doors closed except when you're actually using the machines. I would not recommend air drying clothes or ironing out there, unless the garage is finished and heated like a room in the house. VV: You want to avoid any collision between the dusty, grimy, oily world of cars and the pristine conditions of clean, folded laundry. To me, an obvious way to separate the cars from the clothes is with partition walls. And install additional lighting-graceful adequate lighting can make a huge difference. Place a simple rug in front of the washer and dryer. And get cargo containers that really work for transporting the kind of laundry you have. This is very personal. Q: And what about storage in the garage? MO: In my experience, it is easier to design an organized space for people, with all the accouterments that they need at hand, than to try to change their personalities or behavior. I always say: Think of the garage as a large closet in your home. It can serve as an adjunct to kitchen, pantry, and bathroom storage-as well as for seasonal wardrobe and gear. If your garage is large enough, you can install an actual storeroom or pantry and close it off with a door. VV: Realistically, planning your garage storage usually requires some purging and sorting. Like should be stored with like, all in the same spot, rather than spreading like items in several locations. Floor space is at a premium. If you use your bicycles every day, then it's appropriate to park them on the floor, but if it's once a week or less, hang them. Ladders can be hung. Sports equipment, if at all portable, should go on shelving. Q: Do you have a preferred storage scheme or favorite kind of containment for the garage? MO: For starters, open storage for things you access frequently, closed storage for seasonal and holiday items. If your closet space inside the house is limited, a cedar closet in the garage is wonderful for rotating your wardrobe. Many garages have high ceilings, with ample overhead space for a loft to hold relatively light, bulky items such as skis, children's toys, and beach gear. If you have room to the left and right of your vehicles, install shelves and cabinets on the wall just above your side mirrors. VV: A combination of open and closed storage. Closed is more elegant, open is more casual, but in the garage it is all about what works for you. Peg boards work for the DIYer. I know a lot of people who like a Snap-on-type toolbox, like vehicle mechanics use, to put their tools in. I prefer shelving and cubbies because you can sort items by category. Plan your shelving configuration based on the available space when your vehicles are parked in the garage.
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