Before & After: Turning a Laundry Closet into a Laundry Center

The washer/dryer hookup in our apartment is perfectly located right off the kitchen and close to the dining room, where we do all the laundry folding. Since this is our first apartment with laundry inside the unit, we're quite happy to have it so centrally located. Although the location of our little laundry closet may be nearly perfect, the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Those louvered bi-fold doors have got to go!

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The louvered bi-fold door on this laundry closet was always a pain in the neck. Not only was there a large gap at the top of the door which revealed the detergent bottles sitting atop the machine, it also never stayed on its track. The solution? With the help of a very handy father, we removed the bi-fold door and replaced it with a standard door. The replacement door was leftover after we removed it from the doorway leading from the kitchen to what was intended as a second bedroom but which we use as a living room.

But it gets better! With this new door in place I was able to install a fold-down ironing board on the back of it, which is what turns this laundry closet into a laundry center. Now everything I need for a successful load of laundry is located right inside this closet.

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This is a project that I had been considering for some time but I was wary of tackling it on my own. And I'm so glad I waited to enlist my father's help. It turns out that the bi-fold door wouldn't stay on the track because the doorway isn't exactly square. Since the doorway wasn't square we had to trim a little off the bottom of the door so that it would actually fit. We also had to use a router to carve out the spots for the door hinges and that was another task best left in the capable hands of my dad.

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I can already see the comments stacking up about the safety of using of a solid door on a laundry closet. I'm aware that we may need to change this back to a louvered door when we sell our apartment but for just us, I'm completely comfortable using a solid door. When we are actually using the washer or dryer we keep the door open and when not in use there really shouldn't be any safety concerns. There is a window in this closet behind the machines and having the solid door has actually improved our energy efficiency by keeping the heat in the summer and cold in the winter trapped in the closet.

Images: Jason Loper