My clients, in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Washington, DC, own a 1920’s federal style duplex. When they called me, their basement included a partially finished laundry room with a toilet. We succeeded in giving them everything on their wish list including:
- A separate laundry
- A separate powder room
- A finish level similar to the rest of their home
- Ceramic tile on the floor
- Beadboard Wainscoting
- Making all the exposed utilities — including phone lines, ducts, and vents — disappear.
- Extensive storage built into the new spaces since, like many homes built in the 1920’s, they had limited closet and storage space
And we did so while still meeting their limitations:
- They didn’t want to take away any space from the utility room or the family room so we were restricted to the existing space.
- And finally, they didn’t want to spend more than $20,000.
As you can see in the Before and After floor plans, below, we split the room in half and relocated the washer and dryer. New interior walls adjoin the existing exterior walls and allowed us to hide the plumbing without the additional expense of breaking into the concrete floor. We used the same walls to hide the exposed vent pipe, waste stack and drain – adding access panels where appropriate. Initially my clients thought the sink should be located next to the toilet. However, by locating the new pedestal sink across from the toilet on a new wall, we could tie into an existing vent and the drain line for the washing machine — again, avoid breaking into the concrete floor. We also hid the dryer duct this way and shortened the duct by about 10 feet – thus increasing the efficiency of the dryer. The dryer now vents out to a narrow pathway between our client’s duplex and the one next door. Exposed phone wires were hidden behind new trimwork around the glass block window.
Economical and efficient storage in the powder room was created by building a closet with an interior dimension of 24” x 36”. The placement of the closet also makes the powder room area feel more intimate and more separated from the family room beyond. By setting the height of the wainscoting at the height of the window sill we helped unify the odd angles of the bath.
By flipping the washer/dryer to the adjacent wall we provided sufficient room in front so the homeowners don’t feel cramped and we moved them out of view should the door to the laundry be open when guests use the powder room. We used the existing washer, dryer and toilet. We used cost-saving ventilated shelving in the laundry.
Lighting in the laundry room is provided by re-using a 4 ft fluorescent fixture. Lighting in the powder room is provided by a single sconce mounted above the new medicine cabinet and by the light in the exhaust fan.
The combination of decisions resulted in a bright and efficient combination of rooms with almost triple the storage. It also saved between $5,000 and $7,000 in plumbing, cabinetry, lighting and other costs.
Images courtesy of Braitman Design/Build.