Not terribly sexy to some, but hey – I’ve never had a laundry room! Our washer & dryer was down in the basement on cold hard concrete next to the spare bedroom. To have one on the main floor that’s easily accessible, well lit, and has room to, well, launder? Kinda cool. Anyhow, when we saw the house, the then-owner had old-as-shit appliances, a dirty saddle right next to the dryer, brass hooks galore, more chiffon curtains, wallpaper trim at the ceiling with a cowboy boot motif, grime everywhere (the woman did NOT clean), and a shitty old water heater that it (or it’s predecessor) had clearly leaked because, as we discovered when we moved in (thanks dipshit inspector who didn’t catch this!), the floor was definitely mushy around the water heater, indicating rotting floor underneath the butt-ugly linoleum.
(I snapped these shots during the home inspection so no, y’all, that ain’t my blouse or fifteen bottles of various toxic cleaning products that she also had the nerve to leave behind since she didn’t clean house after packing up. And here Dan & I had the bleach and mop out making things immaculate for the new owners of our PDX home. WTF.)
Considering we had plans for an upright freezer to accommodate meat from the pig we are butchering this fall and the 20 freshly processed & frozen chooks bought from our neighbor (next year we’re going to raise meat chooks, for now it’s getting them in bulk from our neighbor who is not only rad but whose chickens are WAY better than that bullshit “Smart Chicken” that most natural grocers are carrying, which is owned by Tyson. Yes, Tyson the factory farm assholes. So if you’re okay with a company on ethical par with Monsanto taking your money, go for it – but we’re not!), we looked at this room and said okay, we need to fix this room up this right before tons of meat goes in there and we’re in no mood to gut it. Yes kids, we gutted our laundry room before going upstairs to work on the master bedroom (soon enough…).
Yes, I know, we JUST finished the kitchen but hey, with a triple-digit-weight piggy coming sooner rather than later, we had to get this done PRONTO. And because there is nothing more fun than tearing stuff up as the unskilled laborers we are, I got crackin’ on tearing the floor out while husband was still getting the last of the kitchen appliances installed, heh. We’d already sold the old-ass laundry set for $100 our first week in town via Craigslist (folks – ALWAYS see if you can sell something even if you don’t value it, before you donate or recycle it – sometimes it’s easier to get rid of if you charge a few bucks for it rather than offer it for free believe it or not! it may not have paid for the new appliances but it bought us groceries and that was good), and replaced it with some pretty fabulous EnergyStar Electrolux models from Sears, so I did the measurements and ordered an upright which sat in our living room for several weeks while this project got done. During the kitchen remodel we used the existing laundry sink for dishes but you know the second our kitchen sink was up and running, that dirty, back-achingly deep tub-on-feet was yanked outta there by yours truly. I’m hoping we can eventually use it as a garden sink but for now it’s on sabbatical in the garage. 🙂
Nothing better than finding this “bloom” of water damage under the linoleum…
So yeah, there were sections of the plywood that were rotted and soft, and my nausea level went sky high thinking about how we were going to tear this out and replace it with perfectly level plywood – and worse yet, sending my husband under the house into the miserable “dug out” crawlspace (yeah, this house was originally on the ground and the former owner had hired guys to manually dig a crawlspace, far shorter than the average cramped crawlspace, something my husband learned when we had to get the floor insulation removed to deal with the huge wood-boring beetle infestation down there – noice!). Then thanks to the magic of the worldwide web, I found this blog post talking about a very similar situation and how she made over her laundry room floor without removing the yucky wood. She literally just put more wood over it. Brilliant. Yes, there’d be a 5/8″ step into the hallway but really? Who the fuck cares! The best part is we had enough scrap plywood in the rafters of the attic that we were able to un-warp (not as hard as it sounds) and puzzle-piece into an entire new base for flooring. So, while my dream was to get eco-friendly marmoleum click flooring, I priced it out at almost a THOUSAND BUCKS for one room. What bullshit! So I made the executive decision to give us the same flooring that the ducks have under their straw in the coop – stick on tile. I’ve blown a bit of my eco cred with this, but dammit it was $150 total including the liquid primer I put onto the plywood to prep it (laying stick on tile is brilliant and was by far the fastest part of the job – amen for our floor being exactly 10′ wide so there was only cutting needed on one end as well).
Along with this all, we decided it was time to follow our nextdoor neighbor’s lead and get a hybrid water heater. This is basically an electric that uses a heat pump and they estimate it cuts your water heating bill by about 75%, and is one of the biggest energy efficiency moves you can do inside your house. The Rheem Performance Platinum was on mega-sale at Home Depot for three figures instead of four figures and so, after a miserable experience draining the electric one (so much sediment it wasn’t even funny, it took almost 24 hours to drain using every tip we could find on YouTube to speed it up), I woman-handled the hell out of it to roll it out of there and literally tossed it off the front porch onto the grass (which of course meant my husband had to then lift it into the back of the wagon so I could take it to the recycler, heh…), we realized we had no fucking idea what we were doing on the install, as the good folks at Rheem don’t actually tell you in the “installation guide” how to install it!!!!!! Seriously, there are pages and pages talking about safety and such, but the instructions to install make Ikea look thorough. Literally one picture of the water heater, but no directions on what to attach to what. The doofuses at Home Depot were more like the dudes with beer cans on King of the Hill (talking about it but having no actual idea what items to send me home with even though I explained the setup we had), so I recommended my husband reach out to our neighbor who used to be a builder, and while he’d not had any experience installing one, the guy is seriously mechanically inclined. You know those people who can look at things and in ten seconds go, “okay this is what you do”? That’s him. He’s awesome. And four or five hours later, the guy would only accept a jar of my homemade hot sauce as repayment. Sometimes I get seriously emotional talking about the goodness of people, as this was definitely not the community vibe we had before. Hell, I remember my stepfather and ex-brother-in-law were both electricians and yet my mother refused to allow the former to help me back when he was alive, nor would my sister with the latter. Fucking biologicals. Proof positive that REAL family ain’t got nothing to do with DNA.
Anyhow! The room is DONE! Voila…
Yes, the water heater looks like a science experiment but it kicks ass! I also moved the refrigerator magnets over to the upright freezer to create a bit more minimalism in the kitchen (I inherited the fridge magnet gene…). As you can see, the freezer holds a TON of meat – here are the 20 Melville Farms frozen chickens we picked up from our neighbor, not even boxed to maximize space, and there’s still SO much space for our piggie that we are butchering next month! On the opposite wall I have a whiteboard I picked up at Fred Meyer for us to track all the DIY crap we’re working on, and I grabbed a piece of scrap wood and L-shape screws from the garage and screwed that into the wall to hold our broom, mop, etc. which works like a charm 🙂 Now I still want to build and install a shelf for over the washer/dryer (like this) but hey, it’s now a working, non-scummy laundry room. Rad. Rad. RAD!