Before and After: A $2,000 Redo Turns an Impractical Bathroom into a Dream Laundry Room
If you want to take on the big project of redesigning a room, it’s often best to start with a mood board to get a handle on exactly what you envision and break down the different steps that will be needed to get there. This can take many forms: It can be tangible or digital; can consist of words, magazine cutouts, swatches and textures; or it can simply be just a compilation inspiration images.
A couple of things to keep in mind during the inspiration phase? First, “inspiration rooms” don’t have to line up exactly. If you really like the look of a specific living room, for instance, there’s no reason you can’t replicate the vibe and overall aesthetic in your primary bedroom. And second, “don’t limit yourself by what other people will think of your design,” homeowner Erika Conner (@oliveandjunehome) says. “Dare to dream.”
Erika’s laundry room redo is a good example. Instead of limiting her inspiration to just other laundry rooms, she based her design off of a photo of a kitchen that she saw.
In a nine-week project, most of which Erika completed during the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge, she created her dream laundry room in a space that was once a “shower room” on the upstairs level. “The original laundry room was on the first floor of the home away from all the bedrooms; during our master suite renovation, we determined this space could be utilized for an upstairs laundry room,” Erika explains, adding on her blog that she’s really not sure why the previous homeowners dedicated an entire separate room for the shower.
“It sat with just the unfinished drywall for about a year when ORC rolled around,” Erika explains. During the challenge, she and her husband, Lucius, took on several DIY projects to complete the space. “Aside from the flooring, which we installed about a year ago, we were starting from a completely blank canvas, so everything in this room is new,” Erika explains.
Erika’s inspiration image had pinkish terracotta walls, white and gray veiny marble, and a long, floating shelf along the backsplash. “I couldn’t get the idea of a warm, terracotta wall color mixed with natural tones and textures and black accents out of my head,” Erika writes on her blog. “So I ran with it.”
She and Lucius installed new cabinets, painted (a Valspar terracotta for the walls and Sherwin-Williams’ Kilim Beige for the cabinets), replaced the door to the room, installed a tile backsplash, built and hung floating shelves, and poured concrete countertops. “The concrete countertops were trickier than anticipated and much more labor-intensive, but they turned out great,” Erika says. She and Lucius installed theirs using a kit, and she recommends it as a budget-friendly alternative to marble, which she once envisioned for the space.
As for tiling, Erika’s best advice is to use shims to make sure your first row of tiles is level (her hand-poured countertop was not perfectly level, which meant stacking a few shims was necessary to create a straight first row). Once the first row is installed in a level line, the upper rows get easier. Erika laid all of her whole tiles first before making cuts into pieces to help them fit into the end of the wall.
The art and finishing touches in the space are are a combo of thrifted finds, DIY projects, leftovers from other home projects (like the light fixture above the sink), plus a couple new accessories.
“The only thing I would change is the wall to build in the washer and dryer,” Erika says. “We used two pieces of wood to create the wall, and there’s the smallest seam, but it drives me nuts. If I did the project again, I’d use one solid piece of melamine. But if that’s the only thing I can think of, I’d say I’m pretty happy with the finished product.”
Erika and Lucius still have to get the plumbing set up for the sink to work, but so far, their project total is around $2,000 for their brand-new dream laundry room. “I’m so happy with how all the design elements came together,” Erika says. “Knowing that my brain thought of the design and made it come to life with my own two hands is an amazing feeling.”
Inspired? Submit your own project here.