Get a bigger kitchen by liberating your laundry room

OrlemannlaundryeaglerockWord at the Builders Show: Buyers of new homes want bigger and better laundry rooms.

But the remodeling homeowners I visit in SoCal want just the opposite, to incorporate the space of the laundry room into the kitchen, to make the kitchen bigger.

But then you have the problem of where to put the washer and dryer.

Bethany Orlemann and Danny Miller came up with this solution in their Eagle Rock remodel: They got new front-loading models and installed them into the opened-up kitchen, under a counter and behind folding doors.

In the bottom picture, you see the original kitchen with the service porch off the right. All that space, and a dreary breakfast nook adjacent to it, is now part of the kitchen. Now, the kitchen is so big, they have room for an island.

Bethany had a few challenges with this arrangement. She had seen it done in a magazine, but her contractor had his doubts. How could you have both a pan underneath the washer (to protect the wood floor in case of a flood) and a wood kick plate on the front? The solution: removable kick plates in case the appliances need to be removed.

Other ideas for incorporating the laundry room space into the kitchen:

• In Long Beach, Janet Foster moved the washer and dryer out to the garage, reached through a breezeway, after she incorporated the space of the service porch into her kitchen.

• In the Whitley Heights area of Los Angeles, Sydney Harvey and Rick Greenwood transformed their laundry room into this sunny breakfast room and relocated the washer and dryer to an upstairs closet.

Any other ideas?