Laundry. Yes that old chestnut. Love it or hate it, it's like a ongoing freight train testing your systems and capabilities on a daily basis. It's never been a favorite chore of mine, that was until I installed a few additions when we renovated and moved back into our house. Don't get me wrong, its still not my favorite, but its improved and moved up the popularity charts. Now it's right up there with cleaning out the chickens!
The three biggest bug bears I have with laundry are: being able to dry clothes in the winter quickly. I refuse to have a dryer as these consume so much energy. Another is the fact that my kids leave all their clothes on the floor. And finally, that the washing cycle never, never stops. By recognising what my issues are I have been able to find 'tools' to help me deal with them. It's also made me question the role of a laundry space, what it should be like. Should it go beyond, cleaning, drying, ironing and folding clothes?. Maybe it could do more. Read on. Read on.
So during the planning of our renovation / extension, how to dry laundry was in the top three design considerations. More to the point. the ability to dry fairly large quantities, quickly with out a dryer was key. I already owned a laundry hoist, but its low position and lack of ventilation was an issue. Clothes used to get that funny musty smell from slow drying. Foul. That's foul, not fowl!
To say the roof line of our extension was designed entirely to accommodate this desire to dry clothes wouldn't be an understatement. Yes we wanted morning sun, and no we didn't want windows at normal height overlooking the street. But deciding on a clerestory roof, with remote controlled windows was a no brainer because it did all those. The location and size of the laundry was completely designed around the roof gradient and window location. The result is a cavity with natural light and air flow way up high in the clerestory roof. Excessive? No. It's my favorite part of the entire project. Two loads of washing can dry up there within a day. I'm keeping up with that freight train.
The other issue I have with laundry is how it tends to end up all over my kids bedroom floor. Dirty, clean, and all in between. Small disheveled piles of clothes covering every centimeter of floor. It didn't matter how easy I made it to put clothes away, they just wouldn't go in. Then I realised, it wasn't the fact that clothes weren't being put away neatly on coat hangers (although that would be lovely) that drove me mad, it was the fact they were all over floor. They were also camouflaging other sharper harder objects on the floor, which when trod on tested all my strength in using a clean vocab.
Enter the ladder. Oh yes. One simple installation has put a stop to the floor gravitational pull. When the kids get dressed they either put their clothes in the washing basket (dirty) or on the ladder (clean / semi clean). At the end of the week, the ladder is sorted and cleared. No clothes on the floor. Bingo.
The last issue of the ongoing slog of never ending washing, isn't going to change anytime soon. About 10 years to precise when the kids move out. So that's one thing I'm having to accept and deal with.
This whole design process made me think about the laundry, it's role and how clothes moved through the house. Why do clothes move through the house? Just to clarify, I mean move through the house when not on a body. They move through the house as they go through the different stages of being laundered. I have developed the ultimate laundry by thinking about one simple question - Should a laundry be a family dressing room? Bold. But true.
Forget your tiny little laundry space, I'm seeing a laundry along the same lines as a large bathroom. three to four meters in either direction. In that room would a washing machine, sink and all the other normal attributes you expect with a laundry. But this laundry would house two additional features. A massive built in wardrobe with different sections for different family members. A dressing cubicle for said family members to get dressed or undressed in. No clothes would need to leave the space unless they were upon a person or being taken outside to dry. One family walk in wardrobe with inbuilt washing facility. Oh yes. I think I've nailed it.
Ok this space would need to be considerably large. But how big would your bedroom need to be if it didn't have a wardrobe? Completely flipping how we use our home, in this case accommodate our clothes, would mean shaking up how we allocate space in a home.
On googling my idea it turns out that someone has got there before me. So not original. Ah hah! But mine would come with a laundry hoist and a family set of ladders!!! All I need to do now is to come up with a name for it and to prototype it!! Anyone want to be a guinea pig?