I can’t tell you how excited I am for today’s reveal! This Butler’s Pantry/Laundry Room is one of 3 spaces tackled in our Remodeling a Remuddle and was sooooo many years in the dreaming and planning (even before this post about 36″ colorful stoves nearly 4 years ago!).
The general idea of the overall project was to add in “Layers of Implied Time” to areas of our 1790 house that had been muddled and added onto in the 1970s. The whole project will be published in the December issue of Old House Journal.
I’ll reveal the kitchen & boot room in the future, but today I want to start with the biggest feat of small space engineering — the Butler’s Pantry/Laundry Room combo!
A Quick & Painful Recap — The Torture of Living Through a Major Renovation
We’ve been in our home 8 years now, and we finally were able to begin renovations on our mudroom, laundry room, and kitchen on August 15, 2019. The whole project took until just after Thanksgiving to complete. It was originally supposed to also include a master suite for ourselves, but that portion was postponed to have future year after we decided that it was worth removing and raising half the kitchen roof in order to raise up the 6.5′ ceiling.
During those 4 months, the 4 of us and our dog Nanny, along with much of our furniture from the other half of the house, were squashed into about 1200 square feet of the oldest part of our 1790 home. We had no usable basement (it’s rubble walls, dirt floors, and really scary), no laundry, and nothing but the bathtub or the powder room sink in which to do dishes. Every Friday, I went to the laundromat to do the whole family’s week of of laundry. We rotated the same few meals that were microwaveable, hot plate-able, and take-out-able. I never thought we’d get sick of takeout, but apathy toward eating quickly set in.
In October, Thing 2 (who is extraordinarily passionate about all sorts of creepy-crawlies) found a late emerging Monarch caterpillar. “Andrew” would surely die, as there was to be frost that night, so we brought him inside into a little mesh habitat we had from the summer, and placed him on the dining room table. We fed him with milkweed, and eventually he made a cocoon. Miraculously, Andrew emerged healthy (and turned out to be a “she”). We fed her nectar, waiting for the weather to warm up again to release her, and attracting a huge swarm of fruit flies to colonize the dining room for a month.
The Handsome Husband decided we need to switch to recycled toilet paper, and within 2 rolls, our entire septic system had backed-up. Now we couldn’t use our toilets or faucets. Luckily we had the port-o-let (yes, in the FRONT YARD) for all the sub-trades to use.
Do you know how hard it is to tell your boys that they have to wait to get to school to go #2?????
A few days later, we had working toilets, which quickly backed up again due to another couple flushes of recycled toilet paper. We thought we were going to have to pull off the entire screened porch to get at the backup (to a tune of $10K), but our amazing septic guys saved the day. To this day, we say it was our $3,000 toilet paper fiasco. Back to Scott 1-ply for us.
There were shipping delays, bad weather, lost freight, oy. But our GC, Jim Duval, was awesome. I recommend him in a heartbeat. And a HUGE thanks to his project leader, Buzz, who basically lived at our house for 4 months and did 85% of the job himself, including nailing Every. Single. Nail. in our wide plank floors to make them look antique like the rest of the house. His arm must have been about to fall off.
I never blogged about all this, because, honestly, it would have been pretty painful reading. But I want to let you know that if you’re going through a major reno (or even just your average decorating project), THIS IS NORMAL. You will think you can’t take any more chaos, mess, and pain, but then (much like childbirth) you have this beautiful new creation! All the pain recedes to the background, and all you think about is how happy, comfortable, and AT HOME you now feel.
The Butler’s Pantry/Laundry Room & Boot Room
For all the backstory and planning, check out the original post:
Today is about the REVEAL!
First, a few before pics. This was the old laundry room. It was kind of carved out of a space in the historic barn, which was attached to the old house by an ell, now kitchen. As such, there is no natural light to this space.
You can see an old barn beam in the ceiling.
The space, while super necessary, wasn’t maxed out by any means. It had a sink, a toilet, the washer & dryer, and a bunch of pegs, where we kept ski gear in the winter and boat gear in the summer.
Because we were planning to cut our kitchen storage by more than half, we needed to use EVERY SINGLE INCH and create a laundry room/butler’s pantry combination. The laundry would be sunk into the left wall, under the stairs that lead up into our “barn room,” (a family room/play room/exercise room of sorts with 1980s carpet), and the right wall would be used as a pantry/broom closet.
Here we go!
All photos by Eric Roth.
Above is the pantry wall, with the broom/vacuum/ironing board closet all the way on the left. The left counter serves as our coffee station, and the right side, my HH’s home bar.
The unlacquered brass hardware is from one of my favorite vendors for solid brass, beautiful hardware at a great price — House of Antique Brass Hardware. The simple offset pulls just feel so good in your hand. The knobs have just a *little* detail in the ridge around the circumference, perfect for my farmhouse with formal aspirations.
And if you didn’t know it already, my favorite color is GREEN.
I wanted the upper cabinet to feel more open and not use solid doors, but I also knew that we didn’t have lots of pretty barware to display. Linen backed open doors with wire inserts gave the right feel of open informality while hiding our mismatched (and not in a good way) stuff.
The walking space between the sides is 36″-40″. In a newer house, I’d recommend at least a 42″ walkway, but hey, in a 230 year old house, you take what you can get! I can still open all the doors with room to spare. I usually stand right in the middle of the aisle to fold the laundry.
I worked with LKM Design for the custom cabinetry and layout for both this space and the kitchen.
I REALLY wanted a vintage-inspired wall-mounted faucet, and this nickel one with an integrated soap dish was the perfect choice.
And yes, for those of you who weighed in when I was deciding whether or not to wax the soapstone counters, I obviously chose to wax. So glad I did — it was just right for this vintage-inspired space. The mottled greenish soapstone from Vermont Soapstone looks gorgeous with all the veining on display.
The soapstone sink was a definite on the wish list. The HH uses it all the time as he’s mixing cocktail and can slice all his lemons here without worry about etching!
It’s a good man that allows his wife to use pink puppy dog wallpaper and green cabinets!
The HH found this old panoramic photo of our alma mater in a random thrift shop years ago, and now it finally has a home! The oak frame has the perfect patina and inspired the rest of the dark wood accents in this space.
I fell in love with Nespresso coffee (yes, the espresso is good, too, of course!) when I was in Boston for a singing gig for 3 weeks many years ago. That frothy coffee is just addicting! Luckily, the espresso/coffee maker combos are less expensive than they used to be.
The green rimmed espresso set was a mother’s day gift from the HH. He didn’t know I’d end up using it as a styling prop!
The HH makes the best cocktail between Boston and Montreal.
The laundry behind the linen skirt on the left juts out from the wall about 16″, with the rest sunk below the stairs. The long cabinet at the very end stores the laundry bins, also sunk under the stairs. Let me tell you, they just barely fit under the stair stringers!
I got the inexpensive linen from Joann — I think it was about $8/yd (I used the same linen for the Roman shades in this cute boy’s bedroom).
I came across the top little painting by Ellen Rich years ago while scanning one of my favorite sites for original art, Daily Paintworks, but I never had the right place for it or framed it. I was touched by the little red maple hanging onto its red flames while all the other trees had relinquished theirs.
When I was decorating this room, I returned to Ellen’s page, and found the bottom painting — new green life! They made the perfect pair.
Not-ugly dog bowls can be hard to find! I wanted something that looked like old metal camp bowls, and I found the above. The boys usually stash their backpacks under the bench.
This is our family command station to corral all the mail, student/parent paperwork, and my design stuff that doesn’t make it out to the office across the driveway every day. It’s worked out very well for organizing all the clutter that used to sit on our kitchen counters (which drove me CRAZY!). There is a peg rail you can buy to go with the baskets, but I had our guys make one and paint it the same color as our trim.
I’m supposed to go through it every weekend … ummmmmm … I need to get better at that! The piles still get a little big, but at least they aren’t on the counter! 😉
The view to the kitchen! The boot room is out of sight to the left.
Other posts in the Remuddle Remodel series:
There you have it! I’m super proud of my Butler’s Pantry/Laundry combo and its multiple personalities in such a small footprint. I hope you enjoyed it!
I’ll be back on Saturday with particulars about my new online course for all you DIY Forever Home Decorators:
The Home Glow Method: A Step-by-Step System to Decorate Your Forever Home for Keeps
- Overcome overwhelm, indecision, and fear of making mistakes!
- Create a style that is unique to you AND appropriate to your home’s architectural style.
- Stop the endless trips back and forth to Home Goods with returns that haven’t worked out (while your husband snickers in the background).
- Decorate and source decor for your home that has the quality, comfort, and character that will stand the test of time.
I’ll be having LIVE Info & Q&A sessions, with dates posted next week!
Have a wonderful weekend!