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Problem corner to the left; potential problem-solver to the right; potential problem-solver problem in the floor.

I have had this on-going problem that isn’t really a problem yet but setting up to be in the All Things To All People Room in our new house.

We keep calling it the “laundry room,” and it is where all the laundry action is scheduled to take place, but this is everything going in our 8 x 12-foot laundry space:

A utility sink.

Coat, boot, hat storage and a bench for our “mud room.”

A pet feeding and medicating station.

Linen storage.

Washer and dryer but also air drying space (good for the environment, hard on floor space), and a folding counter.

It’s this folding counter that has been causing problems. Since I envisioned the laundry room in its current location (originally it was going to be south-facing; it ended up in the northwest corner of the house), I’ve had the counter running along the west wall, with the dryer next to it on the south wall. This was leaving a rather inaccessible deep corner. The counter surface would have been fine, but I have been puzzling and puzzling over what I could do with the space underneath, and wondering how this would impact cabinets.

When I went to Arvada for Mother’s Day, I was given a tour of my parents’ laundry area. (Funny how the things I’ve never given a thought or second look to before are now of great interest.) They also have a counter next to a dryer in a very similar configuration, The difference is that there are no cabinets under their counter — it’s just open to the floor, and gives them plenty of room to store laundry detergent and soda pop.

I decided that could be an option, although we’re very cabinet-challenged in this house already. Lynn suggested we could put a rolling hamper in that corner under the counter, which seemed like a good option.

And then we went to True Value, where we had planned to at least look at cabinets, only to learn the owner had just had his cabinet line taken away by the manufacturer. This has left him with two demo cabinets, a floor set and a smaller wall set, that he’s offering at a very good price.

The bottom cabinet set is really intended for a kitchen. There’s no hole in the countertop for a sink, but the cabinet underneath is intended as an under-basin area. Next to it is a pull-out spice rack (with adjustable shelves) that might be a challenge to see what all could be stored there (although I’m thinking Lynn’s collection of stain-removal products might fit).

But the biggest problem with buying this demo piece is that it’s 67 inches long, which is the space from the north wall to about the dryer, leaving that corner hole even less accessible.

Yesterday I had a very Dusty morning, and it wasn’t even due to the wind (which has picked up considerably today). I sent our contractor an e-mail (now I don’t even remember about what) early, and then he called around 8. Sanding our interior trim took his crew less time than he expected, so he was hankering for a final decision on trim color. So then Oz and I went out to meet him before showing up (late again) for work.

Somewhere in there, I was seized with what I regarded as inspiration: why not put the folding counter on the north wall, and make the west wall my air drying space? I’m not always great at thinking outside the box, and the plan all along has been to use the west wall for folding. So look at me being creative.

When I got to the house, Dusty was deep in conversation with crew member Jayme, so I measured my north wall. Without the utility sink in place it’s a little tough to tell, but it seems like a 67-inch cabinet unit would be just about perfect. However, I did identify at least four problems with my revision:

This arrangement will cover most of my green wall. Now, some of you may not see this as a bad thing, but I have been enjoying my alien-green wall, and it’s also been making me laugh, because it’s so bright that it’s reflecting off every other wall in the room, giving them a light greenish tinge (Roswell alien green).

Second, outlets would not longer be optimally placed. One would end up behind the counter, and I haven’t come up with a great solution yet. I could cut a hole in the back of the cabinet, but cords would have to run through it. I could put a power strip on the countertop with a cord running down behind, maybe. The west wall has no outlet option, so this is the one outlet available to most of the room.

[In other outlet news, I discovered just the other day that we have no outlet on the outside of the front of the garage. I use that all the time at our current home. Dusty seemed a bit cross, I think blaming us for not communicating that to the electrician, but I’m sure I would have asked for that outlet because it’s so used here at home. I would still like a second outlet along the west wall of the garage, too. I did ask about that one and was assured I don’t need it, but I still want it.]

The third problem would be that my drying area would now run in front of the window. As part of that, I now won’t be looking out the window while folding clothes. On the plus side, though, I would have more wall space (covering up more of my green wall) for cabinets without a window taking up most of the cabinet space.

The fourth one may be the deal breaker, and I wouldn’t have thought of it at all had Ben the plumber not been on the job site. But he was, and since he was, the crawlspace access hatch (also contained in the “laundry room,” along with the microwave-oven-sized HRV — heat recovery ventilation unit) was open. It’s only 22 inches from the north wall, and the cabinets are at least 24 inches deep.

Dusty did make a call to someone who could tell him what code requires for access, but he had to leave a message and I haven’t heard back. The plumber has rather broad shoulders but the rest of us don’t, so maybe if a couple of inches of access are missing it wouldn’t be a terrible thing.

I don’t have a lot of plans to be in the crawl space anyway, although Dusty, eying one deck pier hole with water in it, has decided to make provision for a sump pump. He did also tell me, as I was commenting on how cold the air coming out of the crawl space was, that it will take about a year for the house temperature to “tune” itself. Apparently the crawl space will have to go through a summer season and a full winter of the house being heated for all that trapped air — although we do have radon mitigation in place — to adjust.

In outside house news, racks suddenly materialized yesterday for solar panels, just under my solar tube into the bathroom. It required far more tubing than Dusty expected, but it is now bringing a bit more light in. We haven’t seen the sun in so long it’s been hard to measure, which may not bode well for my solar panels, either. No sign of the stucco guy, who was supposed to show up at least a week ago, but perhaps this is bad stucco weather. Maybe in July . . .

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One thought on “Cornered

  1. You can always custom build a cabinet – you have a brother-in-law (Donnie, not to be confused with Michael) who could probably help you with that. And you’ll only have to wait about a year. See? Problem solved,.


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