Creating Laundry Room Storage

When we moved our laundry up from our basement to our pantry, everything was pretty awesome. But we also didn’t want just a washer and dryer at the end of the pantry, looking like we just plopped it there without any thought (like this). So we had an idea to put a countertop over it for folding, then some storage space to hide things like laundry detergent and dryer sheets, and another shelf on top for even more storage. This seemed like a simple enough project that ended up taking a few weekends, but I’m loving the final product.

To get the countertop over the machines, I put some supports on the walls a few inches above them. I wasn’t 100% sure where the studs were, so we went out and bought a new stud finder. It worked pretty well, not perfectly, but with some healthy estimates and some (of my favorite screws) Wall Dogs, we had a good support for the countertop to sit on.

Washer & Dryer Shelf | Burritos and Bubbly

For the countertop we went with one of Kerry’s favorite types of wood: aspen. There was one problem though: sheets of aspen wood at Lowe’s weren’t as deep as we would have liked. To cover the area from the front of the washer/dryer to the wall, we would have needed two sheets, which was a bit more than we wanted to spend. Then we realized that the wood/countertop underneath the cabinet wouldn’t ever be visible, so we only needed aspen up front. In the back, we used a cheaper piece of wood, and we had to do a little cutout for the water pipes.

Washer & Dryer Shelf | Burritos and Bubbly

We have another project lined up for a natural aspen color wood, so in this room we decided to stain it. Then I used my kreg jig to connect the stained aspen to the back piece of wood, and all of this is sitting on the guides I had in the wall. In a few spots, I used the nail gun to attach the counter to the guides. Since it was on top of the guides, there was a visible gap between the top of the washer/dryer and the counter, so I used an extra scrap of the wood to create a front piece that fills the gap and gives the countertop the appearance of being thicker.

Washer & Dryer Shelf | Burritos and Bubbly

I got a bit worried about the weight of putting a cabinet directly on the countertop. I don’t think it’d be a problem at all but I got really paranoid,  so I decided to put some 2 x 4s up on the walls, and then screw the cabinet into those. This was also necessary because we realized the cabinet we bought wouldn’t come out from the wall far enough to hide the water connections on the left hand side.

Washer & Dryer Shelf | Burritos and Bubbly

For the cabinet, we bought an unfinished 2 foot tall, 3 door cabinet from Home Depot. The doors matched the style of our kitchen cabinets … closely enough. It fit into the space almost perfectly and it was on sale for less than $100, which was great. There were gaps of about 1.25 inches on each side that we later covered up with some trim. Kerry painted the whole thing with Valspar Ultra White satin paint, which happens to match our kitchen cabinet color almost perfectly.

Washer & Dryer Shelf | Burritos and BubblyYou can see it a bit there, but we also had to cut out part of the cabinet inside, so we could have access to the water if necessary.

Washer & Dryer Shelf | Burritos and BubblyWe put two coats of clear semi-gloss polyurethane on the wood countertop and upper shelf, which gave it the sheen you see here. It gives a clean, smooth look without looking wet, so it looks really nice.

For the shelf on top, we used another aspen panel stained the same color. After painting the cabinet white, getting the doors on, and adding the same matte black hardware we have on our kitchen cabinets, we had a fully functional laundry cabinet!

Washer & Dryer Shelf | Burritos and BubblyThe top shelf is a great place to put a bunch of oversized stuff, and the interior shelves are perfect for cleaning supplies.

Washer & Dryer Shelf | Burritos and Bubbly

And with that, this project is DONE. This one took a little longer than we wanted. A little word of advice, when you’re doing a project that involves painting or staining: it’s going to take longer than you think, probably. When we stained the aspen, we put two coats on it, and in between each coat we waited 24 hours. You don’t have to wait that long, but we finished the first coat at 8pm so there was no sense in starting until the next day, when I got home from work. Same with the paint and the poly: they take multiple coats so you really need to let them dry between each, which can slow you down. This is probably pretty obvious to anyone, but it just can add a lot of turnaround time to a project.

So, what do you think of our new cabinets? Got any recommendations on what we should put up top? I can’t wait to start folding stuff!

— Andy

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