The Laundry Room, 2018 Edition!

At some point in the past couple of years, I got a little…stuck with my own house. I know for a lot of people this feeling might not be especially out of the ordinary, but to me it was novel. The house itself was going through a decidedly “rough patch” in the course of this whole renovation/restoration madness, and to some extent my mental health followed suit. My ability to make decisions and actionable plans seemed to evaporate, which of course made everything feel worse. I’m not sure if I was looking for answers, or trying to remind myself that beautiful things do, in fact, still exist, or just to try to un-block something in my brain, but I found myself looking more and more to visual inspiration.

I’ve had the inkling for a very long time that too much “inspiration” can actually produce the opposite result. I’ve seen this with various clients over the years—they’ll send me a Pinterest board they’ve assembled over some time for a given project, hoping that each image might in some way be represented in the final product. The trouble is that most people aren’t only attracted to one particular aesthetic: they’re attracted to lots of them. It’s much easier to recognize what we think is beautiful than it is to create it. So then, armed with too much inspiration, we try to devise a way to incorporate all these things into a given space, which is usually not possible. Or at least not possible if the goal is to produce a beautiful result. So then we have to start making sacrifices, but now we’ve fallen in love with all of these disjointed elements, all generally done by other people who are really good at this and have lots of money, and we don’t feel confident in making those calls, or even know which calls we have to make, and then we’re paralyzed.

Then, seeking clarity, we bury ourselves in more “inspiration,” as though the image that will make all of this come together could be just the next click away. This, of course, is not especially productive, but it feels like it is.

Being somewhat aware of this, I’ve never used Pinterest except when a client gig required me to. This seemed like a good way to avoid this issue for myself, but I think I failed to appreciate the extent to which the Pinterest mentality has really permeated so many other spaces. The Inspiration Overload is everywhere—Instagram, Facebook, other blogs—and this crept up on me a bit. Soon all of my own work felt so small and shitty and lame, and making simple decisions became an extended exercise in self-doubt and insecurity. Each project in my house became an opportunity to create something amazinggggg but then only if I could remove the very real limitations of time and budget. When it came to my laundry room, I got so caught up in all these things I could see doing: beautiful and spacious custom built-in storage, a sink-to-end-all-sinks, a gorgeous tiled floor, and of course something more interesting for the walls than just painted plaster. Right? I wanted it to look fresh and original and like nothing I’d seen before, while at the same time wanting it to look just like a thousand things I’d seen and bookmarked or screen-capped or otherwise “pinned” without the benefit of organization that I suppose Pinterest provides.

Naturally, once these ideas entered my brain, it became impossible to dispense with them. The floor tile would have cost about $1,000 I didn’t have, but felt so essential to the very premise of renovating the laundry room that I couldn’t see a way around it. Since about half the room would be taken up by the machines, the sink, and storage, I thought maybe I’d compromise and save the expensive tile for the visible part of the floor, but then I’d need the sink and attending cabinetry to be installed first, which of course would mean buying or making those, which I also didn’t have the time/money for. I also really wanted to get the laundry done before being completely occupied with the much more involved kitchen renovation, but in order to do that I’d have to actually start working on it, which would mean finalizing these decisions, which of course I couldn’t do. This all rolled around in my mind for months while my washer and dryer sat useless in the spare room.

I guess when I started this whole renovation “journey,” I felt like the only logical path forward was escalation. Bigger projects. More advanced DIYs. An ever-expanding collection of tools and technical skills that I’d use to create the most amazing spaces I could dream of, because otherwise what’s the point? Putting this much time and effort and money into something should not yield mediocrity.

And then it hit me. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last, but I’m really trying to actively keep it in mind: Not. Everything. Has. To. Be. The. Very. Best. It. Can. Be. IT REALLY IS OK. A lot of things can be improved and changed down the line, when the time and money materializes. It doesn’t all have to happen in one take. At the end of the day, this laundry room has to accomplish one thing: wash my dirty clothes. Everything else is bonus. Also, it’s JUST A LAUNDRY ROOM.

And then something happened: I FELT SO LIBERATED. Without realizing it, and largely out of necessity, I took away the pressure of perfection and replaced it with the momentum of just GETTING IT DONE. Added to this was the challenge of doing it as inexpensively as possible, because the goal was no longer incredible beauty but instead just getting to a place of very basic functionality—and still being able to afford a kitchen stove.

And then another thing happened: in spite of my best efforts, the room actually turned out kinda cute, if you’ll permit me just a little bit of self-congratulation. Because I actually do like my stuff. I actually am generally happy with the decisions I make about my own living space. I actually am capable of making those decisions if I just lighten the fuck up a little and stop freaking out about having the coolest laundry room that my brain can conjure, and creating it in one shot.

Because only a monster would post an after image without a before, here’s the now-laundry room way back when I bought the house! It was one of the first rooms I really tackled, trying to get my renovation sea legs, and I turned it into this office:

I loved that little office, but for various reasons it eventually made way more sense to make this little space into the laundry room. It was sad for a while. Out came the desk, down came the obsolete chimney, in went new electric and plumbing, and up went new drywall and a couple fresh coats of paint annnndddddd…

Laundry room! With a utility sink! And a pink floor! I ain’t mad about it!

By the way, YES. It feels very weird/kinda embarrassing to now have “after” photos of the “after” photos from 4 years ago. I’m also 100% positive that there are those among us who will view this as a downgrade rather than an improvement, but in the context of the whole house I SWEAR this is so much better. Second floor laundry with all this natural light is such an insane luxury. My clothes are literally cleaner because I can see stains and stuff so much more easily, so my pre-treatment game is now ON POINT. I feel very on top of my laundry situation generally and it’s a great feeling.

ALSO, due to my chronic condition of over-sharing—here is the room like a day or two before I snapped the “after” photos. And honestly this is more of what I had in mind when I was all “I HAVE NO NEED FOR CUTE I ONLY NEED CLEAN UNDIES,” but then I sort of liked the additional challenge (/let’s be honest, procrastination) of trying to dress her up a little and add some storage without spending a dime. So I spent the next day just puttering around the house and hanging things up and messing around and it got kind of nice while I wasn’t looking!

Anyway. Point being, that little bit of extra effort was totally worth it and made me feel like I don’t have to really mess with this room for a long time. It also got some of my shit out of indefinite storage and put to good use!

The single biggest new purchase in this room was this cheap plastic utility sink. Various commenters were gravely concerned about this sink choice when I first mentioned it, encouraging me to go with something higher-quality/prettier/ceramic/stone/fireclay/stainless/vintage/antique BUT honestly even trolling Craigslist for some amazing $100 antique soapstone sink STILL involves trolling Craigslist, going to pick up the thing, overcoming the lurking fear of getting Craigslist-murdered, getting it home, cleaning/restoring it, getting it upstairs, probably special-ordering various parts to hook it up, maybe needing to enlist a plumber who wouldn’t show up anyway…SO WHILE I APPRECIATE ALL THE SUGGESTIONS, I am also so very happy that all I had to do was give $95 to Lowe’s and it wasn’t some whole production. When the perfect sink shows up, all the plumbing is there waiting for it.

I still spray-painted the legs black, because I can’t help myself.

Regarding the sink, it is exactly as mediocre as you might expect. It is decidedly un-fancy. It’s very lightweight and therefore doesn’t feel solid or substantial, although I did screw it right into the wall to keep it stable. It stains REALLY easily and stubbornly. It’s also HUGE and was so cheap and I LOVE IT SO MUCH, UNAPOLOGETICALLY. But like, get something nicer if you can swing it. Tell me all about it.

The plumbing under the sink isn’t so great looking either, so I spent 10 minutes making it a little modesty skirt. It’s just a tea towel folded in half with some velcro pinned to it, so it’s all easily removable and the tea towel is intact whenever I want it to be a tea towel again.

Maybe I’ll make a bunch of them so I can change the sink’s outfits seasonally. Hawt lewks for my stained plastic tub sink.

I hung up an old mirror just behind the sink to provide a little backsplash. Problem solved! I kinda love those little plastic clips that hold it up—they were a couple bucks at the hardware store but feel so 60s kitschy. Like not something you should be able to still go buy.

I put up a shelf! My pal Anna gave me like six of those IKEA brackets when she moved and they’ve just been cluttering my basement since. They were white and I spray painted them black and hung them up with some brass screws. Cute! I don’t think IKEA still makes these exact ones, but these are really similar.

The wood came off of the house at some point over the course of renovation, but I’m really struggling to remember what it did in its former life. I guess it doesn’t matter. I gave it a quick sand and a few coats of shellac and BOOM, shelf.

On the shelf is an assortment of things I have accumulated in my short but hoard-y lifetime. The yellowware bowls are antique—one holds detergent pods and the other holds those Affresh tablets that are supposed to rid the washing drum of that swamp smell in the summer. This is to prove once again that I will decant anything.

Tucked into the mirror frame are my two Laundry Idols, my mother below and my grandmother above. My grandma’s favorite task was laundry, and she passed much of her wisdom on to my mother, and I feel some grave sense of duty to, like, not ruin my clothes and bring shame on the family. So they watch over the goings-ons in this room.

I’m sorry I’m not sorry for loving that portrait but I can’t help myself. Her expression is SO GOOD. I bought her at an auction (I think I paid ten actual American greenbacks for that!), and then they told me the staining was because someone was storing her in a laundry room and she got bleach spilled on her. So it seemed right to carry on the grand tradition of this poor little old lady getting stuck in the laundry room, but maybe with a little more respect this time around.

I love my little hooks! These just came from various closets and stuff around the house, I don’t know. The long Turkish towel hides the supply lines which are hooked up under the sink.

Here we find a small sampling of my childhood collection of dog figurines. I’ve gotten rid of most of them, but some were actually kind of cool and maybe I’m pulling it off and maybe I’m not but I don’t care. It’s sort of fun seeing these guys again.

OH RIGHT, THAT HUGE SLAB OF MARBLE. So here’s the deal. Craigslist, $300. It’s a little over 5’x3′, and I bought it with the intention of it being my kitchen island (and therefore not considering it part of the money spent on this room). It’s 2″ thick and came out of this contractor’s garage, where he’d been storing it for the same purpose for the last 30 years. He got it out of another contractor’s garage who’d also been storing it for 30 years, also for that same purpose! The original contractor had pulled it out of a Victorian-era candy shop that was being demolished—can you imagine that?! So ANYWAY it’s huge and probably weighs 400 pounds and I needed to put it SOMEWHERE since custom-kitchen-island is still a ways away, so I just put it right on top of the machines.

I recognize that this sounds like a very bad idea, but I figured….hey. If the washer can stack on top of the dryer, SURELY it can handle a 400 pound slab of natural stone, right??? So I did it, and it’s been three months, and it hasn’t budged, and the machines didn’t collapse, so obviously there’s nothing to worry about here. Lol. If I ever need to call LG out for service, let’s keep this between us OK?

The marble is COVERED in 100 years worth of dings and scratches and pitting and I think that’s pretty perfect, personally. I’ll likely want to seal it with SOMETHING but I’m not super concerned about it continuing to age and patina.

I bought those two big hooks years ago, and it turned out they they make a good rack for the ironing board and iron! For the ~2 times per year that I use them.

There wasn’t really a great spot in this laundry room to hang the drying rack I had in my old laundry room, so instead I put up my Eames Hang-it-All! Anything that needs to dry flat can go on the marble, and anything that needs to be hung can go on a hanger off of this. I love my Hang-it-All and it’s so nice the be using it again after it collected dust for a few years!

It’s hard to get a good picture of, but that little tiny closet under the stairs is my new cleaning cupboard! Those stainless steel shelves used to hang in Anna’s kitchen in Newburgh—they were part of the GRUNDTAL series at IKEA but I’m not sure they still make them. The red bucket has all the cleaning basics so I can carry it around from room to room when I clean and it feels SO ADULT I can’t even stand myself. A cleaning caddy of my very own! Talk about peak experiences.

I mentioned this before, but I re-painted the floor from white (WHICH MADE ME INSANE) to this soft Farrow & Ball pink called “Setting Plaster.” I love it! Painted floors do show a lot of dirt and dust no matter what, I think, but shifting away from white makes it much more manageable. And the rug! I have a weird soft spot for old braided rugs—they just feel so homespun and sweet. I think this one was $10 a while ago and it happens to be the PERFECT size for this room.

OH! And this is neither here nor there, but I did want to circle back on the now-painted-white-but-originally-PURPLE XP drywall I used in this room! This is the Soundbreak XP, which is recommended for rooms you want to contain noise in (or keep it out of), and it’s GREAT. My bedroom is on the other side of this wall, and I really can’t hear the machines when they’re on at all. Cars just driving down the street are louder! I do get a bit of structural vibration during the spin cycles, but nothing dramatic. Everything I was worried about with moving the machines upstairs has thus far turned out to be completely fine. Better than fine! Because I have laundry again!

And it’s sorta cute, IMHO.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 7.5.18
    Rachel said:

    I love it! And I love you “walking” us through it and explaining all the details – and I love your dog figurines!!! (You’re totally pulling it off).

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Thank you Rachel! :)

  2. 7.5.18
    Amanda Taylor said:

    I love every single thing about this room. It’s simple beauty filled with loads of function! And why am I so excited that you can still buy those cool mirror clips?! Like, I want to go buy some right now!!

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      I know right? They’re really made to go through holes in a mirror and into a wall, so they kinda sit at a funny angle installed like this but I was too attached to them at that point to get the “right” ones, ha!

  3. 7.5.18

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I’ve had house fatigue too. It’s just too much! It’s emotionally, physically and financially draining. I’ve put off projects until I can get my head right about what I really want vs what I know I should do for the internet. What’s going to photograph well… blah blah… bullshit. Onward. XOXO

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      I hear ya! We both took on huge projects with these houses!! It’s crazy how you know what you’re getting into, and then also NOT AT ALL. We all gotta get back to having fun and trusting our guts…otherwise it just feels so crushing! We can help keep each other in check. ;)

  4. 7.5.18
    april said:

    I loooooove it! (do you miss the wallpaper or were you over it?) But then-I love absolutely everything you do because you’re so real real.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Thanks April! I DO MISS THE WALLPAPER! Loved it when I saw it, LOVED it when I put it up, never stopped loving it! I have an extra roll that I may use elsewhere in the house, and it’s still available to purchase, so it’s not actually a HUGE loss but losing it here made me sad.

  5. 7.5.18
    Mom said:

    Thanks for the special “inspiration” pictures in your laundry room of my mother and me. You do come from a good line of laundry pros. Keep up the good, clean work.

    • 7.6.18
      Haley said:

      It’s my all time favorite thing when your mom comments. Also Daniel’s mom, you are gorgeous!

  6. 7.5.18
    Chrissy said:

    I’ve been struggling with functional versus fabulous in our new place for awhile. I don’t want my house to look like an IKEA showroom but I do love the rule of three where all of their items have at least three potential uses. The big thing for me about my house is the Marsha Brady Rule though. It applies to humans, particularly to my hair, and to anything you have to decorate. When I was younger, I wanted Marsha’s beautiful straight blonde locks but I’m a naturally curly girl who pulls red. Not only did Marsha’s hair look really bad on me when I did finally get to fake a view, I had failed to see my hair as beautiful because it wasn’t what I thought beautiful was. So…many growed up years later…my hair is natural and curly, greying beautifully and I love it! I’m applying that same principal to the house. What I love and what suits the house may not gel in form or function but if I work with what I’ve got and realize that does change over time, the end result will always be the best it can be! Go Marsha, go me!

    • 7.5.18
      Cindi M said:

      This is inspirational. I love it. And it’s so true. It’s a hard lesson to learn. I learned to deconstruct fashion magazines, although I didn’t know that word or concept, when I was young and poor and couldn’t afford all the looks I wanted. So first I learned what I liked about an image, but then I had to learn what worked for me. And it’s the same for my house. But then there’s the unexplained emotional pull that tops everything, but that’s another story. Thanks for another great post, Daniel. I look for your Instagram stories everyday.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Yes, thank you Chrissy!! I think going hand-in-hand with what I’m talking about in the beginning of this post is the effect of looking at SO MANY NICE THINGS ALL THE DAMN TIME kinda gave me this feeling of nothing in my home or my choices about it being “good enough” even though I KNOW IT IS AND MORE, and that feeling blows! It’s a lie, and a mean one! My house isn’t ever gonna look like any of the stuff I “pin” (in my own 2003 pinterest-less ways) and DO LOVE—and I need to keep in mind that that is actually A GOOD THING. Why would I want it to?? Anyway, much love to you and the never-ending lessons of the Bradys!

  7. 7.5.18
    Kristin said:

    Well done! And always remember to LTFU. My husband and I have that engraved in our wedding rings. Cheers!

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Man, that’s awesome. <3

  8. 7.5.18
    Cheryl said:

    This is completely charming.
    The pink floor and that rug were made for each other. And the way you painted the legs of that plastic sink really took it up a notch! Based on looks alone, I didn’t even realize it wasn’t an older piece until you mentioned it!

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Thanks Cheryl!!

  9. 7.5.18
    Laura said:

    Excellent job!! And a good lesson for us all. My favorite thing to do is put in the affordable basics then add in the free personality. You can style out a photo shoot like any of the best btw.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Thank you Laura! I always feel a little embarrassed of my “styling” (it started and ended with throwing that coverlet onto the marble, which I then removed because I got embarrassed about it looking so intentional, because it is, hahaha) so I’ll TAKE IT! :) :)

  10. 7.5.18
    Robin said:

    I still have one bathroom that I can’t quite face finishing….I get the whole fatigue thing! Maybe now….

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Bathrooms are tough!! I’m sure the crew here’d be happy to weigh in if you need to decide between this or that! :)

  11. 7.5.18
    Sarah said:

    It’s so great and cute! Just an FYI, if you don’t close the washer door after you run it, the washer can dry itself out and then you NEVER EVER EVER need to put anything in it to get rid of the smell, because it just plain won’t start to smell! I’ve had front loaders for ten years and I’ve never had a stank issue, but every other machine I sniff is like a GD dog bed because people latch the doors. I’m not even talking YAWNING open, just leave it cracked open (which still satisfies the need for visual neatness and perfection you and I both suffer from) and it’ll be fine. xox

    • 7.5.18
      Mom said:

      I completely agree. I NEVER leave my wet washer closed. Let it air dry and it’s good.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Amazingly I actually KNOW THIS and STILL haven’t been able to get into a steady habit of actually doing it!! I have no idea why!! I walk into the laundry room and curse myself in disappointment! So until I get my act together it’s good to have those things on hand. ;)

  12. 7.5.18
    SLG said:

    DANIEL. First, your “basic” laundry room looks amazing, and almost tempts my minimalist, condo-dwelling self to become a hoarder-of-old-random-things so I can be like “oh yeah, I just had this antique portrait and this slab of marble that makes my laundry room look GORGEOUS, nbd.”

    And also, you are so right about the Inspiration Overlord. I am a year and a half into a cabin renovation that started as “sure, let’s just paint the walls and get rid of this terrible carpet and then relax! so great!” and then, after the discovery of mold and a massive carpenter ant infestation, turned into a full gut reno. Now part of my brain is all “cabin p**n! scandi minimalist rural I-don’t-even-know-what! or boho! light and airy! or dark and moody! what if we airbnb it someday!” and it is paralyzing. Thanks for the reminder that we can all do this, it doesn’t need to be a production all the time, and it’s going to be fine.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Haha! ALL YOU NEED is a spare room and another spare room and a basement and an attic and a garage and then you can keep SO MUCH STUFF! It’s crazy how that works! Lord help me.

      CABINNNNNNNNN! HOW MUCH FUNNNNNNNN. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE just have the BEST time with it. Go bold cause ya can! It’s yours! Whatever your heart wants! Promise me!!!! Ok calming down now.

  13. 7.5.18
    Vanessa said:

    I LOVE Your pink floor! Also, I was going to send you an IG PM to ask about this yesterday but it seemed invasive. It looks perfect: functional, not fussy, and DONE! Also also, I’m
    So glad you’ve been posting lots of IG stories so now I can read this and hear your actual voice.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Haha! I actually wrote the post Tuesday night but then thought posting on a national holiday was kinda flagrantly stupid even for me. Thanks for waiting!! :)

  14. 7.5.18
    Amelia said:

    It’s perfect. I’m going to pin it right now.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      This response is everything hahahaha <3 <3 <3

  15. 7.5.18
    Dianna said:

    Spectacular! So talented.

  16. 7.5.18
    Christine said:

    So glad to hear I’m not the only “perfect is the enemy of the good enough” crazy person out there…and second, my laundry is in the basement of my building and my apartment is a 3rd floor walk-up so your laundry room is already PERFECT when you moved it upstairs based on my criteria!

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Ha! I think the reason I’m SO ABOUT THIS is from the Brooklyn years of 5th floor walk-up with basement laundry but the machines were awful and often didn’t work and there were chihuahua sized rats down there, and then the 3 block walks to the laundromat with loaded IKEA bags in the middle of July…OOF. I was not emotionally equipped for this so I moved upstate, hahaha.

  17. 7.5.18
    Jean said:

    I love the pink floor and the marble is fabulous!

  18. 7.5.18
    Barbara H. said:

    Oh Daniel, I so loved the first part of this post – it’s so true and I hate being in those “stuck” places. I’m trying this summer to get my house and big yard back under control – it’s slow going. Then you showed the laundry room and I loved this post some more. I think you did a great job and good for you for going for the plastic tub to get things rolling and keep the costs down.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Thanks Barbara, and good luck with your projects!! I’ve been putting in work on my own backyard and it’s a slog, but I’m starting to see progress and that feels good. Little by little!

  19. 7.5.18
    Karin said:

    So cute, and I hear you on the decanting! My kids are even trained to decant all snack food into Tupperware when they open a new package!

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      I’ve never even been able to train an adult boyfriend to do this! TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, I DEMAND IT!

  20. 7.5.18
    Stephanie Zell said:

    I think your laundry room is too cute. I’m quite jealous what with my tinyt closet that barely fits a stacking washer/dryer. There was ahot water heater behind (totally not too code) and I had it removed, but apparently the gas line sticks out not allowing me to use the extra 3 ft of space behind. Makes me so sad, but I can’t afford to pay someone just to push it back. Anyhoo, short story way too long. I think the amount of work you put in is fantastic, as is how the room has turned out. Fuck the naysayers.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Argh, pesky gas line!! Maybe some day! It shouldn’t be a big deal to just shorten it, but obviously I might be missing some complicating detail. One thing I won’t mess with is a gas line. :)

  21. 7.5.18
    Devyn said:

    Looks great Daniel!
    I love that your laundry room has a window AND a closet! We had grand visions of having our laundry on the second floor, but alas the doorway to the room is too narrow when combined with the narrowness of our staircase. Fortunately, hubs is fine with going to the basement.

    Also love the portrait… I have been building my own collection of random portraits this past few years and imperfections only add character.

  22. 7.5.18
    laura said:

    MODESTY SKIRT!!!!! I’m still laughing. As so many readers have commented over the years, your description of things and general storytelling is a gift. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I love bleach painting lady. She’s a gem.

  23. 7.5.18
    'col said:

    You know I love you because I take every opportunity to tell you so but eeeeeeeee! So good. I’m especially fond of the dog figurines and the marble, and as I suspected now that I can see the whole room the pink floor is great, and the braided rug! And the portrait is gonna give me nightmares, but it’s cool.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      Haha, preemptively apologizing for any nightmares starring little old 1800s Dutch ladies!! And thank you, as always. :) <3

  24. 7.5.18
    Jill said:

    Man, we’ve been stuck on our kitchen backsplash for a thousand years. I want it to be (a) basically white, (b) smallish tile, (c) full height, and (d) distinctly old-fashioned/Spanish looking. And lord help me, I cannot find something that fits that description and I can’t talk myself into anything else.

    I am SO pleased for you about getting your laundry up and running. The day we got ours installed after a lengthy and non-linear remodel of many parts of our condo, I did seven loads of laundry with the most enthusiasm I have ever done anything in my life.

    By any chance, do you have any green ceramic bowls or art or knick knacks? I keep looking at your after pictures and wanting some green on your new shelf to match the green in the rug and to speak (as an opposite) to the pink floor.

    Maybe the green vase from this room?
    Or a light fixture like this?$/Vintage-Green-Porcelain-Enamel-Pendant-Light-Fixture-16-_1.jpg The rose gold brass kinda goes with the pink too.

    • 7.5.18
      Daniel said:

      OH MAH GAH, don’t even get me started on backsplash tile! I KNOW. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. How are there 20 million tiles out there and NONE of them feel right? HOW is that possible? WHAT am I even looking for? I’d offer to help but I don’t think you want that. *breaks into tears*

      Good call on the green! I totally have some good green stuff, and I agree!

  25. 7.5.18
    Chris said:

    Love it! The old lady painting is just so kitchy perfect. Well done getting it done!

  26. 7.5.18
    Lynne said:

    I’ve followed you on IG- but just discovered your blog(obviously I’ve been living under a rock)! I love this room. I love how you explained your choices and I love that it is so personal to you! Isn’t that how all our homes should be? Not every house needs to be farmhouse or pottery barn or boho styled! I look for rooms that are unique and inspire me to also be unique. Yes, I have some things that are “trendy” but I Love them, and will remain long after everyone else moves on. I like that my house looks different from everyone else’s. I do change things around on a fairly regular basis so my home never feels stale. Puttering is my favorite pastime! Keep sharing your wonderful rooms!

    • 7.6.18
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Lynne! Welcome to the blog! Putterers, unite!! :)

  27. 7.5.18
    Sheila said:

    Daniel! Your new laundry room is wonderful. You’re so lucky to have all that light, and to have it up on the second floor. I love how you’re always repurposing beautiful, interesting, and useful things, so rooms can evolve naturally, with minimal expense. That’s the name of the game, if you ask me. Otherwise it becomes a money pit. Another great room!

  28. 7.5.18
    nella said:

    Just right.

  29. 7.5.18
    MB said:

    Love it! I love the super amazing design stuff you do as well, but find these types of projects refreshing. This is SO MUCH more achievable for the DIY hobby person! Glad you got that whole mental block taken care of. 2nd floor laundry with a window is definitely living your best life.

  30. 7.5.18
    SP said:

    Ok, so when your post popped up in my email I just had to smile. Picked up Chick Fil A and kicked back. Your design work and your storytelling is more satisfying than anything on Pinterest. Seriously. Glad you decided against the tile. The paint color and rug have way more personality. And btw, I have a marble slab in my garage. Genius idea!

  31. 7.5.18
    marc said:

    Awe inspiring. And that “unexpected” pink floor just takes it to another level. Bravo!

  32. 7.5.18
    Diann said:

    One of the things I love most about your style is that it is distinctively yours. I love looking at design blogs, but many of them have developed a homogeneous style. It’s beautiful, but not always interesting.

    You are always interesting and your results are beautiful. Also, it’s good to not go broke buying things you can’t afford and you’ve made your affordable sink look great.

  33. 7.5.18
    cc said:

    beautifully simple! When my partner and I were renovating our bungalow, we came up with a phrase “we can always upgrade later” Like you, there was so much to do and money had to go to important stuff – like the hole in the chimney! By remindig each other we could always upgrade, we got the basics done – then went back and upgraded stuff to what we wanted. And if it makes you feel better, our kitchen went through four upgrades before we were happy with it :)

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      That does make me feel better, haha! I don’t even know WHAT phase my kitchen is in anymore. 8? Hahha

  34. 7.5.18
    SheLikesToTravel said:

    This is one of my favorite updates.It is perfect in that home and it perfectly reflects you. A favorite for sure.

  35. 7.5.18
    Anne said:

    I love your Instagram stories, but it’s wonderful to be able to read you again – you write so beautifully. This is a perfect description and analysis of design and visual overload! Your laundry room is brilliant precisely because it does not have the tile of the moment, but a collection of existing modest and personal pieces that you have brought together to make you feel good when you are cleaning your clothes.

    Visual perfection was ok when there was nothing else to worry about. These days we need to have a home that keeps us safe from a nastier world – your words and your laundry room are a real inspiration. Don’t agonise too long over the kitchen – just crack on with getting a congenial working space that you can refine over time.

  36. 7.5.18
    Ryan said:

    The coffee maker and the soda water maker in the 2 days ago photo show that you’ve realized that having a laundry room/wet bar adjacent to the tv room is super luxurious. Even though the room is all styled out now, I hope you put back the Mr. Coffee and fizzy water if they make your life better.

    Seeing that photo helps show how just some tidying up and styling with things already in the house takes a good enough room to the next level. We all have those good enough spaces that we might have bigger plans for in the future, but they could be happier places now (and for the next 7-10 years while we obsess and plan).

    Your laundry room #1 and #2 put mine to shame and here I am still with now sink installed even though i had the plumbing put in years ago and got a $5 plastic laundry tub from a neighbor’s yard sale just sitting in my garage. Why am I still soaking my sheets in the bathtub!!!???

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Ha! What they really show is that there wasn’t a functioning sink on the first floor, so this was a wild improvement over brewing coffee in the bathroom! Now that there’s a temporary kitchen sink, coffee operations have shifted happily downstairs! There’s no fridge for creamer upstairs! :)

      Get that sink hooked up! It’s easy, I promise!!

  37. 7.5.18
    Kate said:

    The real-ness of your blog is one of the things I love about it! That, your style, and your writing :)

  38. 7.5.18
    Pippa said:

    For some reason my brain sees (or would like to see) 2 little bird figurines perched on top of the old lady portrait right above the bleach stain.

    • 7.6.18
      Eileen said:

      LOVE that idea…LOL (she says after cursing the bird crap all over her car from the overhead line that runs the length of the driveway)

    • 7.6.18
      Barbara H. said:

      Oh Pippa, you made me laugh out loud! Love it.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      This is such a good plan. *gathers all bird figurines in house to test*

  39. 7.5.18
    Susan said:

    The best kind of writing, the very best, is the kind that you read and your whole being jumps up and says “yes, YES! You understand me!! I’m not alone!” The poet Mark Nepo writes about this sense of connection as “God breathing on the embers of your soul.”

    Thank you, thank you, for being that kind of writer.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Thank YOU for saying so! That’s very kind. <3 <3

  40. 7.5.18
    wilma said:

    Love the room. I especially love the mirror behind the sink. But what I really love is how you tell a story.

    Here’s a hint for the stained sink: if you ever need to bleach something, use the sink! A large number of stains will disappear with a good old fashioned bleach soak.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Amazingly I tried that, and some of the stains stayed put! I was warned about this but I didn’t think they could withstand a 12 hour bleach soak! It’s really something.

  41. 7.5.18
    Lucie said:

    I don’t write that much but once again, thank you for sharing this. This room feels so calm, so fresh, so clean and so simple. Simple in a good way, essential. Also, it is very personal and for this reason, very interesting.
    I am also trying to do something nice with my home but quite stuck. Your story really helps me to see how some tidying up and styling with things already in the house can make the difference.
    Thank you very much. You give me hope.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Aw, thanks Lucie! It’s so true—a good cleaning and a few things peppered around that you love is sometimes all a space really needs! Or at least what it needs to help you see what it needs next, ya know? I definitely get the most overwhelmed when I’m just planning and thinking and considering options forever…just starting to move things around and having fun with it is so much more productive!

  42. 7.5.18

    Is it irony that I pinned the living shit out of this? Is that the proper use of irony? Because I did and I’m not even apologizing.

    It’s magic. Well played, sir.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Haha! No apologies! Thank you! :)

  43. 7.5.18
    Alena said:

    Reading this post was like having a huge banana split with strawberries and blueberries, but better because, no calories.

  44. 7.5.18
    Nola said:

    I fell in love with that portrait the moment I saw it, with the stains and before I read the story behind it. The history of it makes all the more glorious! Great choice!

  45. 7.5.18
    Whitney Kerr said:

    Thank you for the realness of this post. Not everything has to be top of the line and over the top. Your laundry room is *perfect*. It’s totally functional, AND it looks great :) The thought in your details is wonderful.
    Also, your mom’s comment above is super cute too :)

  46. 7.5.18

    I’m with you on Pinterest as I think it perpetuates the inadequacy that many feel by seeing super “perfect” images of well designed (sic) rooms that were staged within an inch if its life to look great on camera and on the web to impress, and I also feel people then are seemingly shamed into impressing others when that’s really not necessary.

    If you look at a lot of the images, I think form follows function, rather than the other way around as so much now seems to be emphasizing the minimalist aesthetic that may or may not be realistic or even achievable.

    My kitchen by itself would not hold up to the scrutiny of the Pinterest crowd as it’s not curated, nor picture perfect – and I know that, but to be quite frank, I don’t give a shit. My big concern now was just getting it functional better than it was as there literally was NO counter next to the stove for starters as I had the fridge on one side, the hot water heater on the other and a sliver of counter (a very bad condition laminate plastic counter bought at a local box hardware store 50 years ago at that) next to the sink and the whole thing was made crudely out of plywood at the same time and sits next to the bathroom door. Yeah, so there is about 3 steps between stove and sink.

    I had to move the fridge to fit between the bathroom door and hot water heater to my left and add a large island from IKEA to place next to the stove and just doing that helped with functionality the most, adding in a dishwasher by jury rigging and a partial replacement of said sad counter did much of the rest. :-)

    The kitchen was from the 1920’s, the house originally from 1908 and the kitchen has not been updated much since then outside of a cosmetic freshening periodically over the years.

    But you are right though, too much stimulus/inspiration and we get overwhelmed and thus leads to the problems you addressed (and me but I’m also fresh out of budget to do anything at the moment until perm work is regained again).

    I think your laundry room is just fine and here, a little styling goes a long way and in the end, it should make doing the basic domestic chores like washing clothes etc much more enjoyable (I get this totally now that I have my own laundry porch and again when I jury rigged in the dishwasher I bought second hand last year. Makes cleaning up the kitchen SO much easier, and quicker too).

    Just keep on keeping on and we’ll all muddle through this journey together. I hope to resume with projects here like get the living room repainted this fall and find a better dining table, get my project/art room whipped into shape (it’s much better than last year I can say that much). Right now I’ve just made another step closer to turning my front hall into an art gallery. it got painted a luscious brown called awesome auburn (red undertones) and got a floating saddle canopy for an old Lightolier track light kit I was given so now I can install that, soon.

    Keep it up Daniel and I’ll keep reading…

  47. 7.5.18
    greta said:

    When I look at pictures on Pinterest, I can often feel the work that went into its perfect staging, camera angles and lighting. Your rooms are comfortable and livable, not precious. They feel so honest, interesting and usable–just step in and get to work. Actually,you have worked on this room since you first started reno. At that time, a second floor laundry was mentioned and dismissed as being unnecessary. I think it takes a long time to decide exactly what the room is going to do for you.

    • 7.6.18

      Yup, almost 2 years in my house, I’ve finally decided what to do about arranging the kitchen when I finally can redo that room down the line as the room itself is awkward due to 3 doors and a window, and 2 of which will need to be shifted down for the counters.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Totally! I often think about how insane it would have been if I could have just blown $100K on renovating right after I bought the house. I probably would have cringed at so many decisions forever! At the time I would have been more likely to move the laundry to the basement than the second floor! It’s crazy how much your perspective shifts just from living in a place.

  48. 7.6.18
    Jen said:

    I love this post. It’s not very fun anymore to be constantly bombarded with all of these “high-end,” expensive, “perfect,” aspirational renovations (which are all starting to look the same to me, to be honest). Most of us don’t have the option for something like that, and it’s refreshing to see someone making a $95 plastic sink look great, and creating a functional room with style that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Aspirational is fine, but so is realistic. In fact, I’d argue that sometimes realistic has more heart. Congrats on the laundry room and on being able to let go of “perfect” to move forward with a space that allows you to function and live better in your home.

  49. 7.6.18

    I’m so glad you shared the story of the bleach stained frumpy lady because at first I thought “huh, that is not the laundry-inspiration pic I pegged Daniel going for”. But now I know about her bleach stains I realize she’s perfect where she is. xx

  50. 7.6.18

    Thank you (again!) I am always anxious to see your next post, and this one made me smile. Perfection is just a “thing”. We have a tiny (2 bed terraced – row) house. it is full of stuff we like. A lot of that is painted furniture…. some painted by us, some by IKEA employees, some by somebody or other at some time or other. Instagram I don’t do. Pinterest I do, but the page I add things to is a sort of cheer you up and make you smile, so it has children’s book illustrations, pics of harvest mice, and other cute stuff. I understand about perfection because I have a friend who always puts her furniture in the exact place every week after vacuuming – so that the legs sit in the dents in the carpet…… of course, after a year or so, the dents will not come out, so this continues for years until a new carpet is purchased and……… you know what I mean!!
    Anyway, stop waffling Ms Mac and tell him you are pleased he got his laundry room done.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Haha! I grew up with wall-to-wall carpeting and remember that struggle WELL. I CONSTANTLY wanted to rearrange my bedroom furniture (imagine that, hahahaha) and I remember a lot of water + scrub-brushing and other methods to try to get those pesky dents out. I know that’s not the point of your comment but it made me look back on it with fondness and frustration. <3

  51. 7.6.18
    Alexandra said:

    It looks great! Super cute and really functional! Keep up the good work! :-)

  52. 7.6.18
    Nadine said:

    Currently facing the dilemma of having to replace a crappy utility sink with another crappy utility sink. (Long story) so I feel your pain. BUT … aside from missing that gorgeous wallpaper the space looks great! Wash on. ✌️

  53. 7.6.18
    thelady said:

    Obsessed with portrait of The Laundress!!! She is your patron saint, watching over you like your Mom and Gma! You should start a line of laundry products with her image as the branding–the line could be called, simply, “The Laundress: Forgotten Laundry Wisdom Passed Down from Generations” etc!! Love the room

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Well I don’t know if *I* should do that, but somebody totally should!! Some good old-timey branding for products that actually work—hell, I’d buy it! (This after giving up on Mrs. Meyer’s and Method…good packaging but I swear that shit made everything dirtier)

  54. 7.6.18
    susan said:

    Two things in particular I love about this room. 1) you kept the ceiling light! I was so hoping for that because that light is awesome sauce, and 2) I love that you kept the window clear. I hate it when I see a laundry room where they’ve stacked the machines in front of a window. WHY?

    As usual, you do great work.

  55. 7.6.18
    Susan L said:

    I love it all! Pink floor, braided rug, marble slab, dogs, all of it. I particularly like the photo taken before you “dressed it up”. It shows that the details are important. I think I am in the minority who doesn’t love a second floor laundry but if the kitchen proximity option doesn’t work, this works well. What happened to the wallpaper??

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Unfortunately it wasn’t salvageable here—I removed the chimney which left a huge hole in the wall/ceiling/floor, and then covered the whole wall in a soundproofing drywall. It’ll more than likely made an appearance elsewhere, though!

  56. 7.6.18

    This room is lovely, Daniel. I am so happy to read your post too. Inspiration fatigue is real. Pinterest makes me so edgy that I rarely go there. Every now, I try to muster up the interest because as a blogger I think I should love Pinterest. However, I just can’t. My brain is busy enough.

    I appreciate you and your work, Daniel. Thank you for keeping on keeping on. :)

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Thanks Stacy! I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you ought to love Pinterest and the like! I think part of it might come down to the fact that we (as bloggers, old house people, whatever) ALREADY dedicate a lot of time to looking at/thinking about/observing the very things we’d be pinning, and it’s just all too much! At this point I’m conditioned to look at so many things whenever I walk into a house or any building, really—colors, textures, moldings, floors, doors, hardware, the height of the sconces, the dimensions of the wainscoting, WHATEVER—but most people probbbbabbbblyyyy don’t go about their days like this, and in that case I’d imagine Pinterest is helpful! At the end of the day it’s just one tool among many—and it doesn’t have to fit every job!

    • 7.10.18

      I think you’re on to something with these observations.

  57. 7.6.18
    Barbara said:

    Congratulations, Daniel! It’s freakin’ adorable! I love all the little stories the objects in the room tell. Another job well done and a wonderful ride along the way in telling us the tale. I so enjoy that you share your journeys.

  58. 7.6.18
    Sharon said:

    This turned out great: functional + some good dashes of personality! Love all the natural light, the soft pink floor, the little mirror “backsplash”. The pics of your mom and gram, too! Happy you’ve got it working for you.
    And you’re so right about too many choices. I remember reading about a study on how people got overwhelmed in the grocery store with an over abundance of options. (In case you’re interested, it was about jam flavors:

  59. 7.6.18
    Carla Hinkle said:

    A) I love your laundry room! So many lovely touches. Plus it’s done! B) For anyone looking for another budget idea, we put a single, stainless steel, restaurant-style sink in our laundry room (bought at a commercial kitchen supply store) and I absolutely love it. It does have a sort of backsplash/lip that we had to incorporate but it was $150, it’s super sturdy & doesn’t stain.

    Congrats on the laundry room! It’s fantastic.

  60. 7.6.18
    Caitlin said:

    Your style is very different from what I usually gravitate towards, yet I always look at your rooms/outdoor spaces/knickknacks/whole house overhauls and think they look wonderful. I really appreciate your unique style (which shines through any budget!) and certainly hope you don’t try to conform to others’ standards because you have a natural eye & talent that shouldn’t be ignored!

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Caitlin! That’s so nice!

  61. 7.6.18
    Jen said:

    Congratulations for getting ON with it and realizing not everything has to be so fucking precious. And I lovelovelove the portrait. She is so RESIGNED.

  62. 7.6.18
    Lori said:

    I love everything about this post!

    The laundry room looks awesome and I love that imperfect slab of marble, and seeing that Eames hanger that I remember from way back near the beginning of your blog. The story behind the laundry lady painting is awesome and I love it.

    I really relate to the design paralysis/inspiration overload thing. I like too many things! I can’t make up my mind! And I don’t have the budget to do a fraction of the stuff I see all over Pinterest and Instagram, so it makes me feel better to be reminded with this project that budget isn’t everything when it comes to making something awesome.

  63. 7.6.18
    Alison said:

    Your logic on the marble slab on top of the washer/dryer is flawless. I can already hear the voice inside my head telling me the same thing. OF COURSE IT WILL BE FINE. (I mean this very sincerely.) :) So glad you’re doing happy laundry once again.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      Haha, between you and me I can’t BELIEVE I’m not being torn to shreds for this decision, but also so grateful. LOL

  64. 7.7.18
    JPB said:

    I”˜m kind of suprised since I really really liked your old laundry room and your old office, but I like this room so mich better as a laundry room and it is an even more brautiful laundry room than your old one. Sure it’s perfect (especially to me as a renter with a toploader in a fake-marbled-tiled bathroom) but more than that it looks like it has always been this way and seems to fit the house perfectly…maybe it’s the dogs or the painting but the office had a more newish feel to it.

    You inspired me to do an insta fast! I have been following so many gardening bloggers sind I got a big allotment garden a few months ago and it seriously demotivated me to actually do bigger stuff since the actual goal seems so far away…maybe being inspirationalless for a while will help!

    (Sorry, I used weird probably non-existent words, not a native speaker.)

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      One foot in front of the other, JPB! I’ve been in the same place with my backyard/”garden” and the BEST piece of advice I’ve been given is to CALM DOWN and not worry about having a big grand plan for the entire thing—which is funny, because I think that’s how I approach the interior of my house, but for some reason the garden seemed like something that REALLY needed a fully realized plan for every single part before just getting started. Nonsense! This summer I’m working on a couple areas that I feel confident about, and just letting the rest of it become clear over time as I spend more time really using the yard for more than a dog toilet and occasional workshop. I feel so much better about it AND I’m making actual progress again!

      (no apologies, your English is better than mine!)

  65. 7.7.18
    Jo said:

    I love it so much. I love how you put stuff together and it looks gorgeous. I envy the hoard from which you pull out perfect items to use. And I often think the best design comes not from limitless possibilities, but from limited ones. The more limits you have, the more creative you get because you have to solve problems. If you actually had made a laundry inspired from Pinterest and you had all the money in the world, it would not be as beautiful and unique as this one is.

  66. 7.7.18
    Karen said:

    Love all the honesty (and humor) that go into your posts. Thanks. I have recently found a way to deal with my own feelings of “I can’t start project because…” by deciding to break projects up into parts. 1st: just doing something, anything to fix or make it good enough. Fix the closet door. You don’t have to take everything out of closet, add funky wallpaper, rework the shelves today. That can be part two. This has freed me up so much. I don’t have to decide on wallpaper pattern today, just get new hardware and rehang the door. Bam! Done! Now at my leisure, I can plan the next step(s). I swear this has been life changing.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      YES, absolutely! I’ve been trying to practice the same thing. One of the sillier “revelations” in the last year was discovering that I COULD, in fact, put some furniture into an un-renovated room and just start using it JUST LIKE THAT and nothing bad would happen! Amazing! I don’t know when I created this mental hurdle for myself but trying to get away from it feels good. :)

  67. 7.7.18
    Caitlin said:

    That shelf is everything. Consider me jealous.

  68. 7.7.18
    Robin said:

    Laundry room is perfect Daniel! Love the pictures of your mother and grandmother. I always love your mother’s comments. Well done. Also love the IKEA brackets painted black and the reclaimed shelf. Adds so much warmth. We have used reclaimed wood for so many house projects, including our handmade kitchen and 2 bathrooms. LOVE..

  69. 7.7.18
    Jakob said:

    Love the nod to previous generations of laundry queens! When I do my laundry room, I’m hanging up my great-grandma’s laundry apron with the big pockets for clothespins, and her vintage jars of rainwater she used to collect for ironing (why rainwater, I’ll never know). She spent a lifetime doing other people’s laundry and cleaning as single mom to put food in the table and could make anything spotless.

    • 7.9.18
      Lori said:

      I’m betting she collected rainwater because your ground or city water has a high mineral content, which would affect fabric color/texture when used for ironing & eventually clog the iron with mineral deposits. My grandma always kept a bottle of distilled water around for the same purpose.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      <3 <3 <3 *wipes eyes*

      And thank you Lori—I love that!

  70. 7.7.18
    Jenna said:

    Man. I’m so overwhelmed with our current house I don’t know where to begin that ISN’T a firebomb.

    This makes SO much more sense to me than a teeny little office. While adorable, were you ever truly going to sign there and work or read? No. But laundry, laundry is never ending. And you’re most likely laundering clothes and bedding. And when your clothes and bedding largely live upstairs, having an upstairs laundry is a luxury! There’s virtually no excuse to not do it – it’s RIGHT. THERE.

    Brilliant. And I love the haunted old bleach lady. I have this vision of her wandering the halls at night, all spectral, sighing, moaning softly, “Whites only! Ooooonly bleaaaaccccccch the whiiiiites…bewaaarrrreee!”

  71. 7.8.18
    samantha said:

    I also have a super cheap laundry sink. I found a vintage school desk that was the perfect height and size for me to put the sink on top of. All I had to do is drill a hole for the plumbing and done. I love the way it looks.

  72. 7.8.18
    Barbara said:

    Super cute! I have been stuck for 10 years with an ugly laundry room. Thanks for the inspiration. One suggestion would be to consider a drip tray for under the washer in case of leaks. Not cute at all, but will give a little protection. They are pretty cheap on Amazon.

  73. 7.8.18
    NestFan said:

    Some thoughts that occur to me on what you’ve figured out here, in case it helps to remember if you get stuck again as you go forward:

    1. As somebody said above, form follows function.
    A laundry room near where the laundry (clothing, mainly, but also sheets and towels) is way better than one off the kitchen – if your bedrooms are upstairs as yours are – so lose any regrets about destroying your nice first laundry room. (Doing up your small rooms, your laundry and office, was what your brain needed to do at the time, and perhaps was needed for your blogging purposes, but you need something different now.) Same goes for form about having natural light where you need to see to do work – I’ve never had a laundry room, but I’ve learned this about kitchens and bathrooms – I far prefer them to have lot of natural light from windows – there’s no comparison with electric light. (That’s one reason I prefer older houses/apartments – ALL the rooms tend to be well lit with windows.)

    2. Your house’s style is generally not fancy – and it doesn’t want fancy in your renovations – it will look better without fancy.
    A fancy tile floor, in my opinion, would have looked ridiculous here. It will help you to resist decision paralysis from inspiration photos if you let your house’s style guide you. It isn’t that it isn’t a great house, but it is a mid-1800’s house, where not only was everything about form following function because of all the very hard work keeping house was back then, but because the form of the house’s style, while somewhat formal in the public areas, is decidedly austere in the work areas and other less glamorous areas, which is most of your house. (The fancy ballroom off to the side is the one exception in your house, the space built for entertaining.) Your entire renovation will look better if you don’t try to make the 1800’s Greek Revival look like a modern fancy house – or even like the fancy NYC brownstones of the later 1800s that you are familiar with, as they were built in a different generation to be somewhat fancier than your house is. You always come back to this in your choices – going with your house’s style – so if you just remember to start there, you’ll save some time and mental effort.

    3. It’s an old house, so without ridiculously gutting the entire soul out of the house, you can’t make it look or function just like the houses you grew up in. But the graciousness of the house’s rooms leads to something much better to live in.
    You know this from living in NYC brownstone apartments – you have to adapt to a different lifestyle, as you know, but there are benefits to the civility of living that the rooms were built for (that is missing in most all newish homes, I think.) But, when you get a house, and you think you can put in everything you want in a house, but you never can – you’re still always limited by the bones of the house itself – and its rooms. So you don’t have room for a kitchen island, but your kitchen will be far better for your realizing that it never wanted one – see #2 above.

    4. You don’t have to put everything in the room on the first renovation pass – sometimes, like living in a house before you renovate, you can gain from living with rooms partially renovated as you figure out what else goes best in there.
    In this respect, not having a lot of money to spend actually saves a lot of houses from horrible renovations. Cheap doesn’t mean bad in renovations – it can mean stylishly simple – which I think is what looks best with your house (as in #2 above.) For example, if you do decide to add flooring to this room in the future, it will probably be best to add something utilitarian, like linoleum or cork, not fancy tile. 1800’s homes had a lot of little fancy details due to the craftsmanship of most of the small materials, but the overall style was not the fancy look of later centuries trying to make homes looks like someone’s idea of a castle – it was a more austere formality, which is what is so great about your house.

    Can’t wait to see the kitchen and pantry!

  74. 7.9.18
    KimW said:


    And in my case it’s not even about a house, it’s about a damn BLOG. I’m going to be launching a movie blog soon (giving some things on my current blog their own dedicated platform), but I’ve been getting so bogged down in “design” that I haven’t done anything for getting that set up: what kind of imagery should I use? Three columns or two? Widgets? Maybe stills or clips from the films?…but just today I realized that my current favorite movie bloggers literally just use a single header with, like, a photo of Marilyn Monroe or a movie camera or something, and that’s it.

    The function of your laundry room is to make clothes be clean, and the function of my blog is to let me talk about movies. Amen. I’m finally moving forward.

    • 7.9.18
      Daniel said:

      YAYYYYY! For what it’s worth, all I want is for blogs to look like blogs!!! Some of the themes nowadays look really slick and probably promote increasing page views but they just feel so needlessly elaborate (and, in turn, confusing) for a blog. It’s just a blog! It’s just posts! With some stuff on the side! And some comments on the bottom! Boom, done! Let us know when we can check it out! :)

  75. 7.9.18
    Julie P said:

    Great room Daniel! I think having a coffee and Nespresso machine on your second floor – close to the bedrooms! Is awesome! Add them back!!!!

    I’m suffering from Pinterest overload myself with a kitchen refresh. Gonna stop now I think – you’ve inspired me. I may have withdrawal though….

  76. 7.10.18
    Pam the Goatherd said:

    That shelf is the icing on the cake! It, and the things on it, elevate the room way beyond utilitarian to sublime. That’s a laundry room that I would actually enjoy doing laundry in.

  77. 7.10.18
    Kate said:

    I really appreciate this post. It is refreshing to see someone struggling with the same sorts of issues I am! Ultimately our homes are places to live, not to portray perfection. It feels really great, too, to see the recognition that there can be beauty in just simplicity and function. Love it.

  78. 7.10.18
    Vittoria said:

    Is it ironic to pin this for future inspiration????

  79. 7.10.18
    Doorot said:

    This looks so pretty and functional, I love it.

    Concerning your painting, there’s this little old lady in Spain who restores antiques for free, you should reach out.

    (I loled so hard at this)

  80. 7.10.18
    Ellen Genovese said:

    Omg. You nailed my house paralysis. I feel like I just had a therapy break-through.

  81. 7.11.18
    Alan said:

    Shortcut brushes forever.

  82. 7.12.18
    Leah said:

    Ikea totally still makes grundtal! We have them in our laundry room — we use one to hang up all of our work shirts out of the dryer. We used one for pots and pans in our old apartment. They are such workhorses.

    Seriously, this is great. I love to see something on a design blog that actually looks like I could do it. This gives me something to aspire to. Magazine decor porn is just . . . so out of my league, because I can’t afford to buy the materials (especially since I don’t own my house). And to DIY seems like a lot of work for me right now. So I really like this, because I could do what you’ve done.

    Good work! And yes to second floor laundry. I used to have laundry right outside my bedroom, and I miss it so much.

  83. 7.17.18
    Claire said:

    This is lovely work – form, function AND whimsy!
    Quick query about “down came the obsolete chimney”: We have an obsolete chimney jutting awkwardly into a bedroom in our 1860’s rowhouse, and I’m itching to demolish it to recoup precious space and less bonkers wall-alignment. How many steps are involved in demolishing/removing/finishing, and how long a process is it? One day for demo, one day for re-dry walling/patching floor & ceiling? Longer? Shorter? I’m pretty handy, but a slightly nervous reno newbie…

  84. 7.22.18
    Andrea said:

    New follower and ALL the above! Real, transparent, Pinterest perfection break-through, free therapy.
    The only NEW thing to add…I have those same elegant, long, mixed-metal scissors on my coffee table. Something unique my Mom had. I adore catching small/odd/meaningful/useful things like that.

  85. 7.26.18
    Amanda said:

    This is what I have in my small laundry room:

  86. 8.4.18
    Josie said:

    I love it! Love the dog figurines and the backsplash mirror. And the three beautiful ladies to keep an eye on you!

    I hear you on the inspiration fatigue. It can make small renovationy tasks seem very overwhelming. And I think it’s easy to lose sight of what your house actually has to work with and what will bring out the best in the particular space. Square peg, round hole etc.

  87. 8.16.18
    Bonnie said:

    I like the sink. it has a classic midcentury vibe. LOVE that you put the crystal knobs on the faucet. they make me nostalgic for many 70s bathrooms of my childhood. (I’m not that old, but our bathrooms were.)

  88. 8.21.18
    Michelle said:

    It’s beautiful!