Beautiful Launderette Project 2

Though I have to do some cleaning and prep in my studio (a few items that aren't needed in the laundry room can live there) and I have to finish a client project with a deadline, I'm starting the actual hunting and gathering phase of the laundry room project and that means making some early (but still reversible) decisions. First, I want to make sure the color scheme is:  1. Bright and cheerful, since I find doing laundry pure drudgery  and 2. a complement to the backyard's color scheme.  This second one is important because the laundry room contains a toilet.  That combined with the laundry sink turns the room into a half bath--great for parties, especially our outdoor parties, as the only full bath is upstairs.  However, since I've let the room devolve into a dirty storage room, I've been too embarrassed to let anyone use it unless their potty situation was truly desperate.  I'd really like it to be pretty enough to function as a powder room.
This is the color scheme I'm leaning toward.  However, I'm thinking of aqua on the ceiling and keeping the concrete floors natural, but polished.
Anyway, because I want it to blend with the exterior, that means the scheme needs to be some combination of yellow, aqua, lime, hot pink, or orange.  An additional element is that the floor is just concrete, which means I can paint it.  However, I've always loved the look of polished concrete, and the floor is in good shape, so I may just seal and polish it and use an indoor outdoor rug.  Finally, fabric will play an important part, since the room's Roman shade and the skirt to hide the appliance will be the first thing one sees when one enters.  Since the room is small, and I plan on adding partitions to break it up even more, I think it will be important for the background color of the fabric to be the same as the wall color for a seamless look.  I'm planning to use indoor/outdoor fabric for practicality's sake since it is a room where there will be lots of water, and it is not climate controlled.
This is the outdoor dining area that is close to the laundry room/powder room and from where I'm pulling the palette.

So here are some inspirational color schemes, as well as some fabric choices (price is not a deciding factor, as all the fabric prices are within $2/yard of each other).  I'll tell you the one I'm leaning toward.

As much as I'm feeling the yellow walls, all that turquoise has me considering it as the main color.

I can't tell what the floor actually is, but this wouldn't be far from the look of concrete with yellow walls.
This is my favorite, but I'm wondering if the gray makes it a little too subdued (if you can call a fabric with a sunshine yellow background subdued)

I absolutely love this, and it's a very close second.  However, no matter what the wall color I choose, no fabric color dominates enough for a seamless look between window treatment/skirt and walls.

If I decided to go with aqua walls, this is definitely the one

*Note, if you wonder why I'm calling it a "beautiful launderette", it's a reference to an English movie from the eighties "My Beautiful Launderette" with Daniel Day Lewis in one of his first major roles.* 


Wanted: My Own Beautiful Launderette

One of the first things I learned when I first entered the design business is that there is a seasonal design demand cycle:  in the spring, when people start cleaning their houses and planting their gardens, the nesting instinct takes over and the decorators' phones start ringing.  Then, as summer hits, vacations start, and the kids leave school, most clients are distracted and, as projects end, the phone stops ringing.  However, as soon as the kids get back in school, the holidays approach, and cooler weather again starts the nesting instinct, business revs back up.  The point to this info?  Spring is here, and I'm ready to tackle another problem room in my home: the laundry room.
While my laundry will not be this elegant, this is the feel I want:  cottage inspired, bright, a vintage feeling.

I'm really excited about  this project because I love laundry rooms.  In fact it probably speaks to my peasant roots that, while I admire grand dining rooms and elegant living rooms, what I'm most enthusiastic about are service areas---impeccably organized closets, efficient kitchens, thoughtfully furnished workrooms, etc.  While I'd much prefer to LIVE upstairs at Downton Abbey or Gosford Park, I was much more interested by the service areas and servant's lives.  At any rate, after almost 5 years back in the house, I'm ready to tackle my laundry room.  Note:  this is kind of a bittersweet project though.  It's going to be my last major home project for a while.  I've gotten to that wonderful, but sad place where I've perfected my home as much as possible (well at least as much as my budget and current lifestyle allow).  I've still got plenty of small projects: organizing closets and drawers, remaking slipcovers, painting some stripes, etc., but other than that, I'm happy with the colors and room layouts.  On the one hand, it will be nice to be able to simply enjoy my home without the feeling that I need to do SOMETHING about this or that problem room, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'd miss the need to decorate just a little.
I know it's a kitchen, not a laundry, but it's the feel I want:  muted colors, some aqua, mix of old materials.  I love it, except those hideous stools---what were they thinking?

But enough moping.  To paraphrase Pollyana, if having a decorated home that doesn't need any major work is my big problem, I have no problems.  I'll show you a pic of the laundry room later, but suffice to say, disaster is the best way to describe it.  It's actually in a lean-to addition to the house, and has some assets:  it has a window with the original, delightfully distressed wood frame.  It's a decent size, about 8 by 12, and has a deep laundry sink.  But of course, there are issues.  Number one, it has a toilet.  While this is great for outdoor parties, it does distract from the look of a cottage like laundry.  Number two, in addition to storing laundry supplies, I need to also store a barbecue pit and the variety of coolers and the trash can we ice down beer in since I use the free-standing garage as an art studio.  It also has miss-matched appliances.  *quick story:   We ran into many problems and delays on the house, some unavoidable, some the result of human error.  At any rate, I was having one of those days when I COULD NOT COPE.  But trying to be all Pollyana, I had one thought, "For the first time in almost 20 years since leaving home, I would not only have my own laundry room, I would finally have a matching washer and dryer."  That thought had me calm and happy when the phone rang.  It was Thomas, excited over finding an expensive front load washer and dryer on a major clearance as they were floor models.  Then he dropped the bomb, " I mean, they're not the same color, but I was like who would care about that........."
I definitely want a counter and skirts to hide my mismatched washer and dryer

The vintage poster I'm thinking of replicating large scale on the accent wall
Anyway, a plan is evolving.  I'm planing to partition a corner and hang a drop cloth curtain to serve as a closet for the coolers and provide hidden storage, sell an unwanted bookshelf that is just taking up space, repaint the sink cabinet, hang a shelf with a rod for hanging clothes to dry, make a counter to cover washer and dryer, which I will then skirt, and finally paint a vintage travel poster inspired piece of art.  I'm also planning to paint the accent wall (the back wall where the art will hang) to look like reclaimed wood.  I'll keep you posted on progress.
I'm planning to use this palette and paint the back wall to resemble these boards.
My whole inspiration board so far is at pinterest.


A Current Project

I turned 40 in late November.  At that time, I swear, my warranty on my body must have run out.  Since then I've battled severe sinusitus, a bad back injury, and most recently, a serious case of bronchitis.  If you've wandered why I haven't been posting that much lately, now you know.  I've spent most of 2012 so far in bed, curled in a fetal position and sobbing over my lost youth.  Anyway, I'm finally on the mend and back at work.  I thought you might like a sneak peak at a project I'm finishing up.

The clients are a couple in their 30s with three small children.  They got a great deal on a fantastic mid-century house with some great original details like an irregular white marble and terrazzo floor intact.  They've finished the renovations and called on me to help put together a clean, but eclectic mix of furnishings that stays true to the house's mid century aesthetic, but reflects the collected look the wife prefers.  All done on a tight budget.

Here's a look at the dining area off the kitchen, part of an l-shaped living and dining room that wraps around the now-open kitchen.  This will be their only eating area (apart from the island), since they've decided to turn the formal dining room into a pool room.

I started with the table, World Market's tradesman table.  This table is a great deal, and I actually love the finish.  However, the pale yellowish wood didn't work with the gray tones necessary in this house because of the marble floor, so I gave it a gray paint job.  Mixed with wooden chairs, it's a nice counterpoint to the shiny chrome light.

I'm working on a custom large scale art piece to inject some color in the room and to tie together the palette of white, gray, brown, and black.  It's only about 50% done at this point, hence the cans of paint in the corner of the photo.   Eventually, there will be a built in floating bench that runs underneath the entire painting on the brick wall. I'll keep you posted on how it all comes together.


Decorating Evolution

If you've been bitten with the decorating bug, it's hard to ever leave well enough alone.  No matter how happy you are with the final design solution of a room, there always seems to be room for improvement.  And if you're really sticken with decoratingitis, no space is too small to be overlooked.

For me one such area that seems to be a constantly changing display is the nook underneath the stairs.  Though small, it's an important place for two reasons.  One, it's actually in direct eye line from the front door, so it's one of the first places you see when entering.  Two, in a home as small as mine with so little built in storage, no area can be overlooked as a place to stash my crap.

Originally, when the stair room was my office, a buffet was tucked into the space underneath the stairs.

You can see the buffet through the open door to the right.
 After the office conversion, I tucked in a brown club chair and black iron butler's tray into the area to create a reading nook.  It was much more convenient, but since I used existing furniture, it didn't really fit the space that well.

 At the same time, I had the other matching brown chair slipcovered and used in the dining room to create another seating nook with a 50's console tucked beside the fire place.
 This arrangement, I liked, but it did take up a lot of space.  Furthermore, I eventually (after more moves) needed the matching club chairs in the upstairs study. so this nook was dismantled. I then decided that the 50's console would work better in the office.

After the addition of a thrifted orange wing chair and moving the console table:

 This shows how a little more pattern really livens ups the space, as well as how the nook slides underneath the stair case.

The BoHo look I love.
View from dining room.

submitted to metamorphosis monday at Between Naps on the Porch.