26 July 2011

DIY: laundry closet redo: the before, and inspiration

Remember when I promised you that awesome project last week? Well, guess what. You get to hear about it today! And the next day and the next! For the rest of the week! Maybe all these exclamation points will make you as excited about it as I am!

It has to do with this room:

Specifically, the space behind those doors, which is not so much a room, but a closet. The laundry closet. And it’s the one place in the house that remained sorely in need of a serious makeover. You might want to shield your eyes before looking at the photos of the inside. Perhaps gaze slightly to the right of your monitor so as only to see it in your peripheral vision. It’s that bad.

Ready? Here’s what was behind those doors:

Oh dear. There are so many things wrong with it. The lighting is awful, because there's no natural light to be found nearby. The single shelf has become sort of a catch-all for random home things:

But there is one glaring problem that I’m sure you didn’t fail to notice:

I mean. Yeah. I’m sort of shocked, too. Even the attention to detail doesn’t make up for the fact that the laundry closet has an UNDERWEAR MURAL:

Don’t worry, though. Women get equal time in there, on the other side.

Even if it’s pricey, fancy, sexy undies, it’s still undies. PAINTED ON A WALL. And is that black crayon used to outline the paint?

Please don’t think that I was responsible for any of this. Oh no. I bought this house because it had been updated nicely, and done well, with the hardwood floors and crown molding and tile and whatnot. Even if the master bedroom suite was maroon it wasn’t bad, just not my taste.

Except for this. I guess if you’re going to do something you think is “cute” and you at least recognize most would think it “awful and tacky” but you’re going to do it anyway, the laundry closet was the place to do it. But still. Oh, Tara.

After working hard to follow in the previous owner’s footsteps and update the house to make it even nicer, this was the one remaining space I hadn’t touched yet. I knew I had to do something, but I wasn’t quite sure what. So I started by deciding to copy one of my favorite spaces we’ve redecorated in the house: my kitchen.

Specifically, I love the paint color I picked in there, and I love it even more with the white cabinets. To me it's just bright and classy and interesting and lovely, all at once. So I decided to just straight-up copy my kitchen for the laundry closet, which was a good plan considering I had leftover paint from the kitchen, and you all know how I love something FREE.

Except I would have to adapt it a bit, as my laundry room didn’t have cabinets, and the white cabinets are part of what I love about the combo. Installing cabinets would be costly and unnecessary, so instead I planned to take out the single wire shelf and replace it with two wood shelves painted glossy white. To secure them, I could use horizontal boards. And maybe paint them glossy white, too?

It's that train of thought which reminded me of an image I’d recently seen posted by one of my favorite shelter bloggers, Thrifty Decor Chick...

...as she was installing board and batten in her office.

Wait, did you hear that little chime?



The absolute second that inspiration struck, I knew I had to do it. Like, I gasped, flapped my hands, grabbed my tape measure, and ran downstairs to the laundry closet with Mr. P calling after me, “Hey, wait! What? Oh noooo, did you just have another one of your visions?”

You see, adding board and batten would introduce architectural interest in what's basically a closet sorely in need of some glamming-up. It would let me have the glossy white contrasting with the Perfect Shade of Green, similar to my kitchen that I adore. I could use it to support new wood shelves. And those wood boards could provide big impact for fairly cheap – which meant I could cover most of the cost of this redecoration with a Home Depot gift card, given to us by my lovely mother-in-law as a hostess/housewarming present! (Housewarming because, you know, it was a new house for her son. And because I love house projects. I know, she is precious.)

After a bit more inspiration-hunting, I found this example of board and batten in a much nicer laundry room than mine (click the photo for source):

And a tutorial from Thrifty Decor Chick, plus another from Centsational Girl, another of my favorite shelter bloggers, convinced me that I could totally do it:

So I decided to join the massive ranks of bloggers who have installed board and batten and lived to tell about it. Seriously, at this point I think there are more who have done this than haven’t. But that’s not going to stop me telling you how I did it! If only so you can see how not to do it. Or at least how you can totally fake your way through it. While vastly inexperienced and under-equipped. Stay tuned!