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Creating Spaces: Cramped laundry expands into sizeable family entry


I’m not a fan of the laundry/family entry combo, largely because it is not always pleasant to see laundry every time you leave and come back into your house.

Laundry can be messy. This is not to say that you should never combine these functions, but it is not ideal.

Builders got in the habit of placing the washer and dryer just inside of the back door and calling it a mudroom. This set-up is not ideal for laundry nor does it provide what you need as a transition space by the back door.


This home had a garage (A) that had been extended (B) to achieve some extra space. The door into the house (C) enters into a hallway (D) with no place to put things until people reach the kitchen.

The laundry room (E) is a tiny room barely large enough to stand in because of the door swing — tyry to sort and fold laundry. Strangely enough, there was a skylight (F) in this oversized closet.

The homeowner wanted to develop some space for a family entry and have a closet. They felt that there was nothing they could do about their barely functional laundry room, but I could tell that they wished for a better solution.

21704 BEFORE


Since the garage (A) was spacious, the natural approach was to expand into it (G). We angled the edge of the bump-in (H) at 30 degrees to allow room for the car.

This new family entry space (I) serves both purposes — laundry and entry. To save money, we kept the laundry equipment where it was. The floor was built up in the new space to be even with the house floor level.

We gained an outside wall so we added a window (J). Under the window is a folding counter with cabinets below and above.

The counter turns the corner and we put in a single bowl laundry sink there. An open rod is hanging space for coats or when is laundry drying. There is enough room for a chair (L) next to the new door to the garage (K). There are some hooks (M) for jackets and/or dog leashes on another wall.

Even though it is still the laundry, the new room is spacious and provides a more pleasant experience for the family when they are coming or going.

21704 AFTER

Marcia Lyon is a professional remodeling designer and freelance writer, producing projects in Western New York and across the U.S. and Canada. Reach her by email: or call 515-991-1300.

Editor’s note: Marcia Lyon will be consulting in Western New York March 1 to 5.

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