How to: Renovate your laundry room
Doing laundry isn’t a fun activity for most, but that doesn’t mean the laundry room should be ignored when renovating your home. If it’s well designed, it can be so convenient and efficient, you’ll be wishing you had more dirty clothes!
Photography courtesy of istockphoto.com
Planning your layout
Everyone meticulously plans their kitchen and bathroom layouts, and it’s just as important to do so in a laundry room. It requires plumbing, venting and electrical, so taking the time to create a floor plan is crucial. Make sure you know where your vents and valves need to go. And remember, front-loading machines are designed to have the washer on the left and the dryer on the right. Place them the other way and you’ll be reaching awkwardly.
If you’re short on space, have your laundry room double as a storage area or mud room, based on its location and your needs. it may be as easy as adding more cabinets and counter space or installing an extra-large sink. the laundry room is built for function above all else, so think about multi-tasking when planning your layout.
6 tips for avoiding renovation mistakes
Having experienced many renos, Scott McGillivray has seen a lot of mistakes made. Some are big, some are small, but they all have one thing in common: They don’t need to happen. Scott shares his list of the top home renovation mistakes and easy ways to avoid them.
1 Poor preparation
A proper renovation takes preparation – lots of it. A detailed plan will help keep you on budget and on time. Set out a very specific agreement with your contractor before the work begins and get everything in writing. You should be able to see on paper how your renovation is going to play out before it even begins.
2 Buying before planning
I can’t stress this enough: Don’t buy materials or appliances until your renovation is planned out and all measurements have been taken. Online sales can be tempting, but that great deal on a 24-inch dishwasher isn’t going to save you any money if you only have room for an 18-inch model.
3 Ignoring issues
When you tear down walls or rip up floors, there’s a good chance you’re going to find something you weren’t expecting, especially in an older home. Electrical and plumbing issues need to be dealt with before you close the walls back up. It might be an unexpected renovation cost up front, but it will save you tons of money in the long run.
4 Cutting corners
Don’t do it. Much like ignoring issues, cutting corners on materials or finishes is only going to cause you problems in the future. It’s always better to go the extra mile and do it right the first time than have to go back and redo everything. Hire competent people to do the job, buy quality materials and take the time to complete all the necessary steps.
5 Unlicensed trades
There are projects that any reliable contractor can take on; then there are specialized projects that require a licensed professional to complete. Electrical, plumbing, HVAC, asbestos removal and anything to do with gas or the structure of your home should always be completed by a licensed professional in that specific trade.
6 Too much DIY
I love ambitious homeowners who want to take part in their home renovations, but there comes a time when it’s best to hand the reins over to the professionals. Projects like cabinetry installation, complicated tile work and carpentry are beyond the scope of most homeowners and can reduce the value of your home if done incorrectly. My advice? Involve yourself in the demo – it’s the most fun part, anyway!
How to survive a kitchen reno with a young family
How to survive a kitchen renovation with a young family and hectic schedules.
Two busy parents plus two young boys can add up to one hectic family home. When you subtract the kitchen, the outcome can be downright chaotic. Here's how Style at Home art director Karen Paddon survived her two-month kitchen reno.
Kitchen reno survival tips
1 If possible, schedule your reno for the summer months. We did ours in the winter, but having access to the barbecue and being able to spend most of our time outdoors would have been much more convenient.
2 If you can afford it, move out during the renovation or at least during the ruckus of the initial demo. We planned a family getaway for the weekend that the floors were being ripped up to escape the noise and dust.
3 Create a makeshift kitchen. We turned the upstairs playroom into a cooking space by taking up our old microwave, toaster and George Foreman grill, as well as a mini fridge from the garage. The tub in the adjacent bathroom was handy for washing dishes.
4 Shop small. To keep our temporary kitchen functional, we did a few grocery runs a week. That way, I cut down on the trips between two flights of stairs to the basement fridge.
5 Make a clean break. We isolated ourselves from the areas being worked on. We moved everything we needed (most importantly, the kids' toys) upstairs. My husband and I didn't go near the kitchen much, so the kids didn't seem to want to either.
6 Simplify. Without an oven, our menu options were limited, but we made it work. We ate a lot of sandwiches, salads and microwaved rice and peas. I tried to keep things healthy with veggie platters and cut fruit.
7 Stay in the loop. The more familiar you are with the reno timeline, the better you're able to anticipate the especially disruptive projects and plan outings during those hours.
8 Double and triple up. I think people try to tackle one reno at a time, but redoing the kitchen floor quickly snowballed into redoing the floors on the whole main level -- we wanted the same finish throughout. And once we got to the laundry room, we decided to renovate it, too.
9 Take this opportunity to visit with family and friends. A few times a week, we ate a meal at the grandparents'. And I don't think I turned down a single dinner party invitation in those two months!
10 Plan well. We survived it, but living through a kitchen reno was not easy. Above all else, I'd recommend having a game plan in place to keep the timeline as short as possible and to ensure all the boxes are ticked so there aren't any redos down the line. We chose a timeless aesthetic, so I won't have to touch the kitchen for another 10 years, at least!
DIY project: Cable-knit sweater footstool
The vintage footstool's shape lends interest, while the matte dove grey paint on its legs modernizes it.
1 Using pliers, remove the staples and old fabric from the footstool. If the upholstery foam and batting are in poor condition, remove them, too.
2 Lightly sand the footstool legs to scuff the surface. Apply a coat of primer to the legs and let fully dry. Then apply two coats of paint and let fully dry before upholstering. Add new foam and batting if you removed them.
3 Optional: If the sweater has a large weave and you can see the batting through it, upholster the footstool in a piece of muslin first.
4 Cut the back of the sweater as well as the backs of the sleeves down the middle. Then cut off half the length of the sleeves (approximately at the elbows).
5 Lay the cut sweater right side down on a flat surface. Place the footstool upside down in the centre of the sweater. Pull the edges of the sweater up toward the footstool. Put a staple in the centre of each side of the footstool’s bottom to secure the sweater in place. Then continue to staple the sweater along each side, pulling it taut as you go. Check the top of the footstool every so often to ensure the cable-knit pattern is straight. Trim off any excess fabric, but make sure to leave about a 1" allowance so the sweater doesn’t unravel.