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Design challenge: A bigger laundry room or a new bathroom?

Which of these choices is best?

Andrew C., a reader from Crofton, Md., needs our advice on whether to add a bathroom to some extra space on his ground floor, or to enlarge his cramped laundry room. (See the miserable laundry room here and here.)

A little background: Andrew bought his three-story townhouse a year ago and plans to live there another five years. The second story has an eat-in kitchen, living room, dining room and half bath. The top floor has the master bedroom, two more bedrooms and two full baths. So far, so good.

But Andrew feels the space on the ground floor could be better used. There are two rooms down there that Andrew uses as a media room and an office. There is also a utility room with the washer and dryer and all the home’s mechanicals, and an adjacent storage room. Both spaces together are 6 feet by 12 feet.

Andrew wants a larger laundry room, but he also would like a bathroom on that floor. He considered a half bath, but it would require a walk through the laundry room to get to it. And he wonders: Is that too weird? A real estate agent told him that a full bath would bring most resale value in case the two existing rooms are used as bedrooms.

But it makes me sick to think of Andrew doing his laundry in that pitiful space for the next five years. That can't be right. I wonder if there is some compromise or another idea we're not considering.


5 Comments on Design challenge: A bigger laundry room or a new bathroom?

  1. Can the bottom wall be removed? If so, I would suggest put in a full bath oriented horizontally along the top wall, taking about 3/4 of the depth. Then build a laundry closet/ counter outside the bathroom. This way, you’ll have a roomier laundry space and a full bath.

  2. Stack the laundry pair with front loaders, then go with a variation of D. The space will be more important, and the stacking will reduce the floor footprint.
    Best way to free up space.

  3. Get a stackable washer/dryer to save space, build shelving next to it for storage, folding etc. and place the hamper underneath the shelving. You won’t need a utility sink if you have a full bath next door.

  4. lil_gaucha // June 20, 2008 at 9:48 am // Reply

    Why not Option E — “giant” bathroom with under counter front load washer/dryer.
    Then you get the benefit of both a larger laundry room and a large bathroom.
    And if you put in a large-ish sink, it can double as bathroom sink and utility sink.
    I have a friend who did this in Oakland and she even added a retractable clothesline in the shower. If company was coming, she’d just pull the curtain.
    And as long as we’re dreaming, why not install a laundry shute or dumb waiter? save your back.

  5. I love the idea of a Laundry Room/ Bathroom combination. That would solve the problem with limited space. Keeping them as separate rooms just takes up valuable space. I also believe the bottom wall could be shifted slightly to give me a little extra room to fit everything comfortably. The front loading w/d inside the cabinet looks fantastic and is also something that I will consider. Thank you for all of the ideas!

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