DIY Counter in Laundry

So Jay’s been busy building some tables that we’ve actually been selling on craigslist (woo hoo for handy husband’s with carpentry skills!) and while he was fiddling with those, I asked him, pretty please if he could create a counter top for the laundry room since we’ve had virtually no storage in here for the past 18-months. It was time, as Rafiki would say. He’s a wise baboon, no? (I blame my 2-year old for any Disney references on this blog)

Y’all saw our current laundry room (and upstairs hall) in last week’s post, but here is a quick snap shot in case you’re like me and forget anything that didn’t happen in the last 30 minutes.


So while Jay was building away, he crafted this little counter, which has a few notches in the back to account for the electrical and plumbing behind the washer and the dryer.

These are just 10″x10′ pine boards y’all – to the tune of $9 each at Home Depot, so this entire project was under $30. Woot!


So although we DID account for the notches we had to make in the back, apparently we did not account for the fact that there was a wall on either side of this sucker cause y’all – ummmmm – our walls be looking rough after we got this thing (finally) wedged into place. We probably should have just taken it downstairs and cut an 1/8th inch off the side but I (true to form) was rearing to go and wanted this in place without hauling out the saw (again).

Luckily it was mostly just scuffing (there was a staple on the end of one of the wood pieces, doy!) and with some paint touch up it looks fine, but I was a bit stressed out about it during install. Jay can attest to that 😉


We used a vinegar and steel wool concoction that is a natural way to age wood quickly. We just used this tutorial and overall, we’re super happy with the way things turned out.


This did require a lot of experimenting, and I’d highly recommend testing it on scrap wood before you go ahead and put it all over your entire finished piece. It’s a bit of a science experiment, and will come out different each time you do it (based on how much steel wool you use, and how long you let it sit, etc) so test it out before hand. You can always dilute it to get a slightly less dark look.


And a wider angle view so you can see some of the color variation on the counter.


Over time I’d love to add some shelves but it took us a year + to get around to the counter, so don’t hold your breath on an update any time *too* soon in that department 😉


Super easy, darn cheap, and heyo – chic too! Pretty happy with this upgrade for a weekend, a saw, and thirty bucks!!

One last look at the improved space.


And the before!

Renovating Small Laundry Room

Laundry, These Days

So y’all saw some of our laundry room in this post – it was actually our first project here in the house where we installed some subway tile and dark grout (my first time trying a darker grout – I like it!). Here is a progress shot of that room, probably about a year ago now, right after we installed the tile.

Subway Tile Slate Floor Laundry

And if you want to go way back – here it is when we moved in. This green color was in all the rooms upstairs and y’all, it had to go 😉

Laundry Room Closet Renovation

Here’s what we’ve been rocking for 2017 so far.


The tops of the washer and dryer do act as a counter more or less, but there are gaps all over the place and I’ve been wanting to get something in there there was more finished (ie a real counter top).


One thing I really love about the laundry room / closet (?) is this hanging rack which is where we try to air dry as much clothing as possible. I swear with a child I feel like I’m constantly doing laundry and I wanted to think of small ways we could make a dent in our utility bill so we’ve been air drying most shirts and all bed sheets. I’ve found that sheets actually dry *better* on our stair railing (within 30 minutes if laid out enough) than they did in the dryer since they’d always get tangled up with other articles of clothing and come out moist after an hour + of drying – so if you haven’t tried air drying some of your laundry you should definitely do it!


Notice in the inspiration board below that there are a few elements still missing from our room? While Jay and I (mostly Jay) have been working on a counter top and y’all – spoiler. it turned out great and was insanely cheap. Details next week! (that much closer to a finish space!)

Here is my inspiration board for reference.

Laundry Room Mood Board

Farmhouse Industrial Laundry Room Renovation Round-Up

Y’all – we have moved beyond the paint brush. Call it our inaugural home renovation, but we’ve moved on to mortar and tile and whew – it feels good (like I knew that it woullllddd). It also felt tiring and hard and smelt like sweaty arm pits. But hey – it’s done! Well, actually, it’s started. 😉 We officially have a farmhouse industrial laundry room happening and it makes me oh so happy!

As a reminder, here is our mood board inspiration for our farmhouse inspired laundry room renovation. Simple, and industrial chic.

Laundry Room Mood Board

I’m waiting for a mega sale on the washer/dryer combo and unfortunately just missed the Memorial Day sale spritz, so I think I’ll have to hold off until Labor Day (boo!!!). I’ve got my eye on this LG beauty and I’m not will to pay over $899 each (which is what they were Memorial Day weekend), so I sit, and I wait to add these cherries to my farmhouse laundry room renovation, le sigh.

We’ve certainly made some progress since you last saw our laundry room, like this. What a lovely shade of green…

Laundry Room Closet Renovation

After some back-breaking hours of work, we now have this! Mmmm charcoal gray grout and some hubba hubba subway tile. My fav. I love the industrial vibe it gives in the space.

Charcoal Gray Grout Subway Tile

We decided to go with a dark charcoal wall, to tie in with the grout and the flooring. I can’t wait to accessorize the walls with some art, and storage! Ignore the sloppy edge on the tile, we haven’t caulked yet, so you can see the inconsistencies. Since we knew this wall would be mostly covered by a washer and dryer and shelves, we definitely were in power through and get it done mode vs. absolute perfection mode. Plus, I’ve learned over time that if there are hacks to make your life easier (i.e a line of caulk – use it!)

Charcoal Gray Paint Behr

Our general process for the farmhouse industrial laundry room renovation was to paint the walls and remove the washer/dryer the night before. For $10 we rented an appliance dolly from U-haul and it literally took us 15 minutes to move these (heavy!) appliances. For those that have been reading the blog for a while – you’ll remember our last washer/dryer moving experience did not go quite as well. Loorrrrrrdddieee.

We stored them in H’s room while we renovated. He thought that was pretty sweet. 😀 New toys!

Renting Appliance Dolly Cost

Then, the next morning (after demo) we started by laying the subway tiles. In general, our philosophy with this reno is that 95% of the tile (especially the bottom third) would be covered up with storage and/or our washer and dryer, so although we wanted it to look rockin’ we mostly wanted it to be done. We worked very quickly on this tile and we were definitely not as meticulous as past kitchen installs where everything is visible all. the. time.

Subway Tile in Laundry Room

Then, after the wall tile was up, we started in on the floor tile. I wanted a slate tile for the farmhouse laundry room renovation, but the local hardware stores only had this porcelain option in stock. It looks just like slate and was only $2.29 a square foot. I’ll call that a win. We had a very small area to tile, so this portion of the project cost us less than $50.

We just centered the first tile and worked from there.

Slate Floor Tile Porcelian

We actually didn’t install a threshold, and put the grout line right up to the wood floor. They didn’t have a matching threshold in stock, so we just worked with what we had and winged it a bit. I think it looks really good though!

Slate Floor Tile

Sans our appliances and shelving, this is how the room looks now. In the interest of preserving our sanity, we’re going to tackle the shelving another day. Super excited to bust that project out … coming soon!

Subway Tile Slate Floor Laundry

Industrial Laundry Room Inspiration

So each house, it seems, we move up one peg on the laundry room scene. First house – gloomy basement, second – still in basement, slightly less gloomy, still damp, third house – we added our closet laundry, but it was a tight fit, this house – a closet that’s actually planned to have a laundry in it. Maybe by our last house, we’ll actually have a room. he he. #LifeGoals

Ta da!! Behind door #1 and #2, is our laundry room!

Laundry Room Closet

Here is our laundry room as is below, pretty much how it looks on a daily basis. Can you see why I’m looking for some laundry room inspiration to spruce this joint up a bit? I love the industrial laundry room vibe – kinda the farmhouse look that’s going on right now.

Renovating Small Laundry Room

So things that left room to be desired in the laundry room inspiration category. Let’s start with the paint. I mean, need I say more.

There are things I really like about the room – like the hanging bar across the top. Tres functional.

Renovating Laundry Room

And there are things I don’t like as much – like our dryer (pan right…). It’s old and it sounds like an army of burly men are hiking through our upstairs every time we dry our clothes. Not good for evening loads when the babe is sleeping (or for that matter when we’re trying to sleep…)

Washer and Dryer Replacement

Before, the room had some beigey tile on the ground – the same stuff that’s plastered all over our bathrooms up here. Very builder grade, and not so much my jam. And definitely doesn’t fit the industrial laundry room vibe I’m going for.

Laundry Room Before and After

Once we had everything removed from the space, we had a very open, very green, room – ready for some over hauling.

Laundry Room Closet Renovation

As a sneak peak of what we’ve been up to in this space (more on that next week), here is my general mood board for our industrial laundry room inspiration and how I’d like this room to look. I think we’re going to get there in a few different phases, but I’m very excited with the progress so far! I want some raw wood elements, coupled with metal for that industrial laundry room vibe.

Laundry Room Mood Board




Stacking Up

Don’t know where it came from, but Thursday afternoon I got a legit burst of energy. For someone who’s days consist of barely being able to get out of the bed in the morning – this was a BIG deal. And as I was stumbling along past the laundry room to start my morning, I thought, you know, it just might be time to start switching things up and making our room look a bit more sprucified. Get things in there a bit closer to my light bulb laundry moment vision.

Since it was looking like this and all.

Washer Shaking on Second Floor

We knew we wanted to organize the storage along the left side of the room, to optimize the flow in this little space.

This was the general layout we were thinking about before we went out to buy the wood.

Laundry Room Storage

Since we had to first get up and around all the plumbing and electrical that runs along the floor, we decided to raise the base shelf 8 inches. We just used a 2×4 base to do that – so it was super cheap, about $6 to build out the base.

Building Base for Storage

For building out the shelves, we decided to use a combination of (1) 4×8 piece of 1/2″ MDF and 1″x12″x10′ pine shelves. Here was our complete source list

  • (4) 2×4’s
  • (1) sheet of 1/2″ 4’x8′ MDF
  • (2) 1″x12″x10′ pine boards (made 4 shelves)
  • (1) sheet of 5mm thick underlayment, 4’x8′

Total cost: $109.87

Alright, here’s how it came together – it was actually pretty quick, took about (3) full hours to get the shelf to the point it is at the end of the post (pre-paint).

For our side panel, we had to use a few more 2×4’s, to give the side something to connect on to. We had to get a bit creative with this, but in the end we created a mini little framed wall, to attach the mdf directly to.

We popped in some mdf onto both of the bases we had built, and then started in on the shelving. This is where we used the pine shelf. It was a little bit more sturdy than the MDF, and we wanted to prevent the shelf from bowing as we added additional weight on it with our storage down the road.

Adding Shelving to Laundry Room

We used a 1″ piece of pine for the shelf to rest on. We just screwed it right into the side of each panel (of MDF).

About 20 minutes later, we had all the shelves up and you could really see the direction things were headed in!

Floor to Ceiling Storage

We had some serious storage, y’all! Jay and I were both like kids in a candy store by this point. Man, did it feel good to have an actual, legitimate shelf adorning our tiny little laundry room. So much more functional!

At this point, we realized we’d need to run back to HD to grab a small (thin) piece of wood to come through and finish off a few extra details. Like our base, which still needed some attention.

Adding Custom Storage to Laundry

We also knew that we’d have to add a skin panel to the front of each of the shelf brackets, to help cover up the ugly fugly little brackets we used to prop up our shelves 😉 The front of the shelves were a bit rough looking, too (knotty).

Creating Floating Shelf

After day one, and our custom little veneer numbers we added on the fronts, we had this!

Built in Storage in Laundry

Not done, but definitely closer!

Now our list looks something like this:

  • Add trim
  • Add a surround to the area around the stacked washer/dryer
  • Patch the side wall
  • Paint the built-in
  • Grout the floor

Laundry Storage

Washer Woman

O. M. capital G, y’all. I washed my own pantolones in my own house this weekend. I didn’t go to the laudro-mat, or beg my neighbors, or, ya know, wear stinky clothes (again). We hooked up that son of a gun and washed our clothes. In our house.


Now, if you’ve been following along with the saga that is our second story laundry room, you’d know that these advances in modern technology did not come easily. Or, ahem, cheaply. Ah contraire, my friend. But alas, after our first washing machine bit the dust, we were left with the hard reality that if we wanted to clean our clothes, we’d have to (gulp) buy another one.

But first, ‘member how I mentioned our door was a bit too tight, well we had to get to removing the extra trim around the frame to prep for washer delivery 2.0.

Removing Door Frame

It appears Jay is adjusting well to life in the south as a hillbilly that doesn’t wear shoes around power tools and shards of debris. Not advised, not advised. {do not attempt this at home}

He does look proud of his demolition handy work though, wouldn’t ya say?

After our demoing was done, the next morning the moment was upon us and our new machine was entering the house. I made Jay come home on his lunch break, since the whole thing just made me feel like I was going to vomit. Something about another washing machine not making it up the steps just made me get weak in the knees. But you guys – the delivery guys were ROCK STARS. They even brought our old, busted machine into the garage for free AND brought up our dryer, which was becoming a permanent resident of the Living Room.

No more appliances in our bedroom – Huzza!!

Breaking Washing Machine

The delivery staff hooked up the washer, and tested it before they left, so we had complete peace of mind that everything was peachy keen before they bid us farewell.

Monumental sigh of relief.

Once the ball was back in our court, we still had to level the machine and lift up the dryer (which is half the weight of the washer, thank God). Leveling the machine required 30 minutes or so of tweaking before we got it just right.

Making Sure Washer is Level

We wanted to spend some extra time being diligent on this step since we had heard that having the machine level is crucial to avoid any extra shaking you might experience during the spin cycle. We’d read some horror stories online of washing machines shaking the entire house when they’re on the spin cycle, so we figured it made sense to dedicate some extra time up front vs. regret it forevermore.

I seriously don’t know how Jay motivated me to do it (I did not want to), but he convinced me I was capable of helping him lift the dryer up onto the washing machine. Now, it wasn’t that heavy but ya know, I had a few bad memories flooding through my head as we attempted to once again maneuver an appliance around the house. Thank GOD, this appliance remained unscathed. WHEW.

Before we knew it we were loading these beasts for the first load of laundry!

Washer Shaking on Second Floor

As mentioned, we had heard that second floor laundry room’s can lead to some serious house shaking, so once the machine hit the spin cycle, we pretty much both hunkered down to watch this thing, and see how bad it was going to get. Should have grabbed popcorn, man, it was that entertaining.

Washer Shaking House

It wasn’t bad at all though! For 99% of the cycle you can’t even tell the machine is on, it’s so quiet. When it transitions onto the spin cycle there is about 10-15 seconds where there is a bit of vibration, but it’s not something that’s all that noticeable, and it certainly doesn’t feel like the entire house is shaking, so that’s good!

I think we had hyped it up in our heads, so we were not quite sure what to expect, in all honesty.

The units themselves are quite large and have a ton of different settings. We feel like we’re living in the lap of luxury 😀

Samsung Washer

And although it’s oh so fine to have a washer and dryer in da house, the rest of the laundry room is lagging behind in the style department. You know, stuff like all of this plumbing and electrical. Ugly alert.

Plumbing in Laundry Room

Our general game plan is to cover all of this up with a built-in bookcase, but for now, it’s just depressingly ugly. Realistically, it’s going to be a few weeks (months, dare I say) before we come back to this room and start to make the magic happen.

When we do though, this is the general layout, and idea of what we have planned.

Laundry Room Storage

Since we were able to cut out an access panel behind the washer and dryer (in our attic space) we’re going to completely enclose the appliances so that they look more or less built-in.

Although the bookcase will not be deep, it’s going to be very tall, and I’m so excited to have all this extra storage!

Since we knew we’d be procrastinating on our final laundry look, we did re-install that door though, to keep all the ugly on the other side 😉

Newly Installed Door

So who else out there has a second story laundry? I’m curious to hear feedback from others on what works and doesn’t work with their spaces.

Another Day, Another $900

You guys – I can’t even tell you how hard this post is to write. We had something awful happen to us and I wanted to treat these next few words as one big fat public service announcement to make sure no one suffers the same fate as us.

Remember this beautiful washer?

Samsung Front Loading Washer and Dryer

The one that I said we were super excited about installing in our upstairs laundry room? Well, late Thursday night, with my family anticipated to get down here from Michigan the afternoon the next day, and our Living Room looking like this (picture below), we were motivated to go out, buy an appliance dolly ($100…) and move our appliances to their forever homes.

Appliances in Living Room

So we moved the oven, no problem, lickedy splickedy, took under a minute to hoist the thing gently up onto it’s side and into the kitchen. Done. We kinda looked at each other and said, well that was easy!

And perhaps it was a false sense of confidence that inspired us to tackle the washing machine – up the stairs – next. The oven went so easy, we had “stair climbers” on the dolly, we had the two of us to handle it, we thought we were good. We were so, so wrong.

When we got it up the stairs, we noticed one side was a little bent – I told Jay it was fine, as long as it was just aesthetic, no one would see that once this guy was installed (since it was on the side). As we looked closer though, we noticed that the machine itself was actually buckled a bit. Rut row.

And that’s when tragedy struck. After some additional investigation, we found that the inside plastic basin, the one that holds the water, was cracked. Like seriously cracked.

Breaking Washing Machine Basin

We both kind of looked at each other, dumbfounded as to how this could have happened. Once we had a second to reassess the situation, we realized that the unit must have been damaged from moving it from the control panel, along it’s back. This section of the appliance, it appears, is much more sensitive than the metal sides of the unit.

When Jay was downstairs, cleaning up the Styrofoam later that evening, he spotted plastic pieces in our living room, which meant that 1) the unit was somehow damaged during delivery and/or 2) The initial effort of hoisting the unit back (which was done extremely gently …) was too much weight alone, and the plastic internal tub popped just from that.

Looking back on the photos of the unit downstairs, you can actually see some of the buckling, which was present before we even moved it up the stairs, so we’re confident that damage occurred during delivery, as well. Sigh. No fun.

Damaged Washer

A few other facts, leading to a question mark on when this guy actually bit the dust include that all of our appliances were actually moved 3-times to different trucks before they got to our home. On our scheduled delivery date, the appliance delivery man said he couldn’t fit down our street (?) (which I find odd, since Lowe’s brought a semi down the street to deliver our fridge), so he’d have to reschedule for later the following week with a pick-up truck. Lots of moving around with fragile appliances = disaster, apparently.

Long story short, instead of resting in the laundry room, this beast is resting in our bedroom – completely broken. Along with our hearts. And our wallets.

Breaking Washing Machine

Insult to injury, we need to open up the doorway even more to get these units into the laundry room. So demo days are not behind us.

Closet Door Opening

To say we’re depressed about this, well, there couldn’t be truer words. Basically, we’re now in a position where our $800 washer is now worth nothing. Like – nothing. Plus, ya know, there’s the entire not having a laundry room – we were SO looking forward to having one functioning space in this house.

Did I mention our Kitchen currently looks like this?

Martha Stewart Kitchen

The Sell household has seen better days, this is certain.

The part that kind of boggles our minds about it, is there was absolutely no indication on the unit that we should not lift it up from the back end. Our oven, for instance, has this notification in like three spots. ONLY LIFT FROM SIDES.

How to Move Large Appliance

We looked for a similar notation on the washer, but when we didn’t see anything, we kind of shrugged and figured it would be alright. For one thing, it’s the way the delivery men brought in the unit (not so tenderly, may I add) and for another, we were dealing with a pretty tight spot once we got up the steps, so we figured it would be best to position it the slimmest way possible to ease that transition.

At the end of the day, by all appearances we will be out around $900 to buy a new unit. We got it on sale the first time, through an online retailer, that was quite frankly a nightmare. If we would have bit the bullet earlier and just paid for the unit at Home Depot, we would have had free delivery – which covers up to (3) flights of stairs. Now that’s what I’m talking about. My game plan was to head over to Home Depot and find a sympathetic set of arms to weep in, to see if they could help me out on the pricing at all – but ya know, turns out they just kinda shrugged their shoulders.

With all that being said, we did have a rather wonderful thing happen though when Jay was chatting with a co-worker that mentioned we may have protection under our credit card. Turns out, we do (!) Jay called and explained the situation, and Chase indicated up to $500 in damages would be covered under a large purchase clause they have. Basically, since there is ambiguity to when the damages happened, Chase is willing to cover at minimum $500 and up to the entire purchase price, if they can pin negligence on the company we purchased it from (during the delivery). How sa-weet is that?

The $500 refund clause (more info, here) actually protects against damages whenever they’ve occurred, so that is a huge, HUGE relief to us as it appears we’ll at least be reimbursed for that portion of our expenditure.

Damage Protection on Chase Credit Card

So y’all – my main take away’s from this tragic event are as follows:

1) Pay a bit more to buy your appliance through a company that will deliver it for you. The online retailer we purchased from was deceiving, because although it said “delivery” was included, they were adamant that they would just bring it inside the threshold of our door – no further. Home Depot on the other had, will bring it up 3-flights of stairs, and hook it up, at no charge.

2) Never, ever, under any circumstances, should you put the unit on it’s back (i.e. control panel). As I mentioned, before we even brought this up a single step, the inside basin had broke – since we found bits of the plastic down in our living room. The delivery crew also brought it in on it’s back – big no no.

3) Make big purchases with a credit card when you can. This provides an extra level of protection if you get stuck in a crappy situation like we did

In the mean time, what’s a girl to do when she just can’t wash those jeans fast enough? Why, hit up the clearance rack at Target, of course!

Shopping Target Clearance

Shopping. A quick distraction when I feel like bawling my eyes out. Any other sad stories of appliances slapping you in the face? Help me feel better, tell me your tale!

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