Open and Closed Solution

This room hides necessary appliances with a decorative flair.
Sarah Jernigan

When Janice and Peter Young of Durham, North Carolina, decided to adapt the breakfast room of their old house into a convenient laundry room, they wanted it to be inconspicuous as well as useful.

By concealing a front-loading washer and dryer in a custom cabinet, they created a multipurpose space. One minute it's a fully functional laundry with plenty of room for folding and hanging clothes. Then, once clothes are put away, it becomes a decorative serving area.

Creative Container
The key to this laundry solution is the front-loading washer and dryer, because a square cabinet fits around the appliances to conceal them. Although front-loading appliances may cost more than standard units (full-size stacking units are a similar investment), they are worth every additional penny when making an awkward, little-used space more efficient.

All controls are on the front, providing a flat top that enables the units to slide into square cabinets or spaces without any trouble. Local carpenters made this cabinet to fit around each unit, with room for ventilation. A granite countertop complements the adjacent kitchen cabinets and provides a smooth surface for folding clothes.

Sliding doors offer easy access to the washer on one side and the dryer on the other. This feature adds an extra step when loading or removing clothes, but it is worth it because the cabinetry conceals the appliances once the doors are closed. The bottom panel was installed with screws so it can be removed for repairs, if necessary. Stenciled motifs on each door provide a distinctive finishing touch. Although this family chose to use sliding doors, a piece of fabric or a standard door made to fit the cabinet would also work.