Thursday, April 18, 2013

Laundry Room Progress

 Here is a peek at how our new laundry room is looking. There is lots of work to be done, and we are no where near "reveal" stage, but it is finally taking shape. Obviously the photos here aren't staged, I just wanted to share a few of my "progress" snapshots. Maybe that will make a reveal post less exciting one day, but I'm okay with that. 
Next, here is the story of how the storage room became the laundry room. As a reminder, the space started out looking like this picture below (you can see all the scary before photos here). I know -- gorgeous! This pic was snapped on the day of our home inspection (the belongings are the previous owners'). 
We removed the nasty ceiling tiles, which our home inspection revealed were made of asbestos (and were crumbling. Disturbed asbestos is a big danger, so this was the first thing we did in the house before considering anything else at all. And by "we did" I mean we had a team of professionals with loads of gear do while we stayed far away). Here's a glance of the ceiling "before." 
Next we demolished the ugly shelving unit. 
Here's the side of the shelving unit. It is what you first saw upon entering the room. 
 I was not sad to see it go.
This simple demo revealed major black mould. Our contractor checked it out, and we then had two mould specialists come and assess it. They said that on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most severe) this room was about an 8. We knew there had been a leak in the foundation here (which the previous homeowners agreed to have professionally repaired before we took possession). What we didn't know was that this room had been made with absolutely no moisture barrier, so the water had leaked right into insulation and the drywall where it festered, and lots of mould grew. And grew and grew and grew. Ick. 

We suddenly had no choice but to rip everything out (including the studs -- even they were mouldy, some of the wood being best described as "spongey feeling."), have the cinderblocks scrubbed down with special chemicals, retest for mould everywhere else, and then put the room back together again. The mould specialists wanted to charge a lot for this (starting around $6500). Our contractor brought in someone with skills and experience (his own son, who was super nice) to do it with him for far less, only $2800. I think he gave us such a good price because he liked us. Also because he is just the best. Here it is with the drywall/insulation/studs gone, the cleaning in mid-process, and the ceiling insulation and studs waiting to be removed.
(When we did remove the ceiling insulation, we found three (THREE!) hidden junction boxes in there. Junction boxes should never be hidden behind drywall/ceiling tiles, even if not in use. Yikes! Lucky we found them!). Unluckily, we had to redo a bit of electrical work in here unexpectedly. Boo. (See the comments section for more on hidden junction boxes).

Anyway, the thing that was most frustrating was, originally, we really didn't plan to do much to this room besides line the walls with shelving and possibly painting the concrete floors. I am talking a budget of about $200. Then suddenly we were going to have this storage room with brand new drywalled walls, a nice new drywalled ceiling, new electrical, and our contractor even offered to throw in six potlights for free to brighten it up... not to mention $2800 spent on a storage room (crazy talk!). 
Meanwhile the laundry room (in the furnace room) looked like this (below). Not the worst, but definitely nothing to brag about. And not a very nice place to do laundry with babies (Ben loves to help with laundry). It seemed odd that we'd have this lovely new room that we'd fill with boxes of diapers and extra canned goods, and then this wire-filled cinder block mess of a space for laundry (i.e. daily use). 
With my Mom's encouragement (we were still feeling the shock of the unexpected work and major blow to our budget) we looked into how much it would cost to turn the old, mouldy storage room into a shiny new laundry room. Since we already had to do the drywalling and all that (leaving the mould was absolutely not an option -- safety first!) we found it wasn't all that much more to do the laundry room - provided we got new machines. The existing dryer was gas powered, and adding a gas line would not come cheap (as in, it was a deal-breaker). My mom helped us cover some of the expenses as a housewarming/new baby gift, generously buying us a brand new washer on dryer that she purchased during the Home Depot appliance event, which was amazing. My mom is the best. And we are super spoiled. 

Fortunately, we already planned to lay down new flooring in the basement, so digging a trench to lay the plumbing wasn't all that big a deal. Well, I mean, it was a huge deal in terms of how much work it was for the contractors, who were jack-hammering like mad men down there, but it didn't derail any of our other plans or ruin floors we liked or anything like that. 

Here's a few shots at the work in progress. Yikes!
This is right through the middle of the basement rec/TV room. 
And here's how the old laundry/furnace room looked. 
And again in the rec room, this time looking at the new laundry room door. 
I'll skip over some parts (I'll save our flooring choice, info on the new machines, etc. for another day) and show you where we're at. Lots more work to be done to finish things off, but hopefully you can see where we're headed now. Everything is covered in dust and is kind of a mess, but even so --- so much better, right?
Ceiling before, ceiling progress:
Door before, new door - progress!
So we feel like the worst thing we faced during the renovations -- all of the unexpected black mould -- turned out to be the best thing. As they say, life gave us lemons and we made lemonade. And we're loving it. Funnily enough, we feel like we got lucky finding mould. Sometimes things just work themselves out :)

We are going to be using the old laundry room as a storage space and have already started some simple things that totally change how the space feels and think it is going to be pretty awesome for us in terms of function. Can't wait to show you once I've got it all organized! 

Now, if we could just move in already...


  1. That's amazing, all the unexpected things you needed to do. But really, you are adding to the value of your house as well as making it ready for you to live in and enjoy. Don't move in until the dust is all gone... keep your lungs clean!

  2. That looks SO good! While finding that horrible, icky stuff totally sucks, it's a good thing that you found it early on so you weren't living with it for a long time. We're gearing up for some major work in our basement and just the your windows area makes me really excited! Good luck on the rest of the work!

  3. We have almost the same machines!

    I love how bright and light the room is now - it looks fantastic!

    I'm sort of glad we don't have a basement that could ever be finished. Jack hammering up concrete sounds like a nightmare.

  4. You've done good things! The laundry room already looks like a happy place to do washing. Looking forward to seeing how you finish it off.

  5. Oh my goodness, that is an AMAZING transformation. I know it isn't finished yet, but - wow! What a difference!

    Once question I have for you - are you worried about all the hidden junction boxes you're finding? With three in this ceiling, and one upstairs in your boy's room, does it make you nervous that they could be hidden all over the house?

  6. Replies
    1. Hey Jocelyn,
      The short answer is YES. We actually found these three first (I'm sharing rooms in a different order than how the work was done). This led to us cutting holes in the basement ceiling throughout to have the electrical checked. We found one more junction box hidden in the ceiling in the main rec room. That led to us having the electrical checked everywhere -- following wires and cutting holes into walls/ceilings. I think we found 8 hidden junction boxes in all throughout the house. TONS of time spent on this. (One of the biggest reasons our reno timeline has been so off). But in the end, though we've been staying in my old room at my parents' house for months longer than we ever thought, and spent time and money fixing lots of electrical stuff on a house where the home inspector said the electrical looked absolutely wonderful, we are happy to have several experts who've literally looked behind all of our walls and ceilings tell us they are SURE there is nothing weird, nothing dangerous, and to have replaced electrical where anything was wonky. I guess I should do a post on this kind of thing one day....
      Anyway, your question makes sense and anyone who finds junction boxes hidden should be concerned that they are elsewhere. In our experience, they probably are!
      Thank you so much for your comment :) We're psyched to share how things finally come together

      Jenny xo

  7. Oh what a nightmare! But it looks awesome now - I can't wait to see it finished!

  8. From dreary dungeon to laundry palace :) Wow. And it wasn't an easy "bippity-boppity-boo" makeover, you guys had to deal with a lot in there. The room sparkles in the pics now and looks like a new house ... this room definitely is!

  9. You have to be careful about the mould inspection after the restoration process.It is highly advised to make inspection once in a month.

  10. Wow, that is major work but the nice thing you get a new laundry room! I would still be in shock over all the work that had to be done. It's going to be so worth it, though. Can't wait to see what else you do! I am now following you!

  11. Wow! You have done so much work and its looking amazing!!

  12. This looks amazing! what a project but well worth the effort! I would love if you could share this project at my linking party! we love DIY!


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