Wording With Purpose

Laundry Room Improvements

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Between our dining room and the garage lies the narrow hall with the adjacent laundry alcove. Doors at each end nearly touch when opened, and folding doors hide the washer and dryer. Operation of a combination of these access ports simultaneously requires skill.

The flooring is the original linoleum worn through in a couple spots by twenty-eight years of traffic, and the wall paint is whatever was left from a redo of some other part of the house. It’s time for a makeover within the parameters of a rigid budget and little room for improvement in utilizing the space.

I’ll skip the boring details like removing popcorn from the ceiling, removing baseboards carefully for reuse later, pulling up old flooring, and laying new flooring. Search for these DIY topics for directions. Interested readers can follow this link to find my ordered task list. Most DIY-ers work around people waltzing through the work zone so having a plan can minimize frustration.

We chose Classico Travertine Taupe Glazed Porcelain Floor Tile (# 591535) from Lowe’s for the floor. The wall color is Sherwin-Williams Silver Shimmer (#8771) in Cashmere Low Lustre interior acrylic latex. The paint seemed odorless to me, dried quickly, and covered my newly primed walls in a snap.

Here’s the finished room with new paint, new tile flooring and the trim sanded, painted, and reinstalled.

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We’re not finished yet. Coats and gloves occupy this space along with miscellaneous odds and ends. We need custom coat racks nestled in the space behind the doors, and a 2-bay shelf between the window and ceiling to provide basket storage for scarves and mittens.

The finished room (at the top of the page) shows the additions painted to match the wall. We felt painting these items in the trim color would shrink the visual space in an already cramped room.

Custom Coat Racks

Every serious DIY person has at least one pallet wood project. A pickup load of pallets yielded several board feet of useable lumber and a generous contribution to the firewood pile. Harvesting pallet wood is not for those afraid of sweat and hard work. Be advised that hidden nails in the wood can wreck a saw blade. Use caution, and always wear eye protection.

Harvested Pallet Wood

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Our need is for two racks with slats of varying widths. The overall height is to be 48”.

Rack Layout

Sanding the slats before assembly removed any splinters and rough edges.

I used 1×2 clear fir for the frame legs and clamped the first slat in place then installed a couple of brads with a trim gun. Given that a slat may hold the weight of several coats I returned later to countersink two 1” screws on each end and filled the holes with wood putty. Predrilling pilot holes takes a few seconds but may prevent gut-wrenching splits.

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Rather than measure the span between slats we butted the boards together, measured the remaining space on the frame and divided by eight to get the space between slats. Spacing blocks made assembly a cinch.

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The coat racks are ready to finish—fill voids, sand, prime, and then paint.

Unfinsihed Racks

Mounting the racks should have been straightforward using a pair of French cleats for each side. A last minute managerial design change forced me to disassemble and shorten both racks. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

French Cleat

Mitten Shelf

The glove, scarf, and mitten collections have always been problematic. Here in the south we don’t need them often, but when we need them we really need them. Past ideas for archiving these clothing items have proven to be just plain tacky, like the clothes pin on a string method or the stuff-them-all-in-a-tote-bag solution. We chose open baskets – easy to load and reload, easy to find articles, and easy for anyone to put the gloves away.

The shelf is made from ¾” maple plywood, very expensive to buy, but free for this project thanks to my dumpster-diving daughter who loves up-cycling as much as I do. She had a friend of a friend moving out of town who needed someone to unload lumber and tile from a garage. Sweet! Sure I can help. When?

I joined the box ends with the Kreg jig pocket screw system.

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We added simple trim around the bottom to cover the plywood edges. Trim around the top coupled the box and ceiling.

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The baskets are wire mesh from Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

 DIY Coat Hooks

The search for moveable coat hooks for the new racks was fruitless. Pot hangers (for hanging pots and pans, not for growing weed) were way out of our price range. S-hooks did not work well either.

I harvested coat hangers from the laundry room discard pile, grabbed a few tools and set out to solve the problem. My DIY hooks do require some hand strength to assembly, but they work like a Briggs & Stratton engine. And they fit within the low cost limitations of the other innovations. Free works for me.

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Cut the hanger hook in two places.

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Cut the resulting piece into two parts with an additional snip.

 Hanger 2 Pieces

Bend the curvy part so the legs touch and run parallel to one another.

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I placed the wire in the vise, bent the legs over, and tapped with a hammer to create a defined edge.

Hook Assembly

Now using two pliers bend the closed end of the wire to make the coat loop. This bending can be done over a pipe to create a rounder hook.

On the open end of the wires make 2 bends to create the square hanger portion which will fit over the top of the coat rack slat.

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To use the hook insert the square hanger behind the slat and pop the coat onto the hook. It’s that easy.

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Make as many hooks as needed. I created a mix of sizes, including small ones for hats. Shawn was delighted with the look and the functionality. Elegance and practicality can co-exist. She married me, didn’t she?

Hook Collection

The only room in the house not yet upgraded is my shop. Wonder if I can come up with some ideas for that?