Small Space Laundry Zone Solution

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When I designed our new cottage, I considered several locations for the laundry zone.

When I lived in Manhattan in a ~350 sqft apartment, I had a combination single washer/dryer unit in the kitchen in lieu of a dishwasher. When we were in our ~400 sqft cottage by the canals, our stacked washer and dryer unit were in a bike shed that we shared with our neighbors. And in my ~200 sqft studio on Venice Beach, there was a slim, thoroughfare laundry room on the ground floor for all the tenants to share.

I took all of these experiences and others into account when deciding what we approach we should take in our new home. An shed setup beneath the house was out of the question due to the extreme climate and likelihood of flooding in this region. A kitchen setup would’ve been doable, but I was concerned that having our cleaning AND cooking hub in the same zone would lead to daily congestion. And we’re far too remote to efficiently rely upon a community laundromat. 

The logical location, in this case, was the bathroom. I first considered situating our bathroom counter over a side-by-side washer and dryer, but I really had my heart set repurposing a rescued slab of wood for the vanity, as well as designing a custom hutch for laundry + bathroom storage. So when I discovered a narrow, ventless, stackable washer and dryer, I knew it was the answer for us. Tucked into a custom nook opposite the shower and sink, the electrical would be far from splash zones, and the entire setup wouldn’t require any of the space needed for navigation and comfort within the room. 

Even though we’ve typically always had access to a dryer, we’ve long preferred to air dry our linens whenever possible. But given the realities of the climate here, including frequent sudden downpours and tropically humid months on end, I wanted to reserve free space within the house for drying, rather than relying solely on our retractable outdoor laundry line. What would be the most suitable areas for this in our relatively compact home? 

That’s when I began to picture the shower as a potential crucial component to our laundry room. 

We usually try to conserve water by bathing quickly, so our shower is really only in use for about 10 minutes daily. As such, the bathing area’s real estate is largely available for 23+ hours per day. So when approaching the room’s design, I crossed out the option of a glass partition along the shower curb, along with the alternate option of a low / pony wall. Uninterrupted access would be easiest with a curtain. 

Since we didn’t want a horizontal curtain bar running in front of the mindfully placed windows, we installed two towel hooks directly above the inner edge of the curb line on either side of the bathroom, giving us anchor points for stringing up a removable drying line that could also hold our shower curtains. In addition to the line, we have  a vintage, collapsible drying rack (that fits under our bathroom vanity when not in use), as well as our fold-down, repurposed baker’s bread cooling shelf for more surface space for drying laundry.

The end result is a room that’s fully in use throughout the day. It works perfectly for our small home and our family routines.