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Before & After: A Pet-Friendly Overhaul for the Laundry Closet

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Before & After: A Pet-Friendly Overhaul for the Laundry Closet

September 10, 2018

When Remodelista contributing editor Meredith Swinehart began planning for a big move from her longtime San Francisco Victorian apartment into her boyfriend’s early 2000s condo in nearby Emeryville, she started by scoping out available real estate for her furniture and essentials: a niche for her rolling desk, pantry shelves for her baking tools, and empty wall space for favored artwork. But there wasn’t an obvious available spot—or any spot at all—for one particularly unglamorous necessity: the litter box for her two cats.

On the plus side, the new digs had a dedicated laundry closet—a major improvement from the SF apartment’s coin-op basement laundry—and, almost fortuitously, its existing washer and dryer had seen better days. So Meredith and her boyfriend agreed to upgrade the appliances with a stacking set, buying the cats some unobtrusive toilet space in the process. Let’s take a look at the transformation.

Photography by Mahyar Abousaeedi for Remodelista.

The finished laundry closet has a new high-efficiency stacked laundry set (the LG electric Washer and Dryer are $764 each from the Home Depot), plus wood shelves, a pegboard, and a plywood laundry-folding table that doubles as housing for the litter box. Two wood peg rails—a long rail mounted overhead on the closet&#8
Above: The finished laundry closet has a new high-efficiency stacked laundry set (the LG electric Washer and Dryer are $764 each from the Home Depot), plus wood shelves, a pegboard, and a plywood laundry-folding table that doubles as housing for the litter box. Two wood peg rails—a long rail mounted overhead on the closet’s inside wall, plus a shorter one at left—are painted in Behr Coliseum Marble and hold hangers used for air drying clothes. (Meredith covered the hangers using an old cotton bedsheet; see $10 and a Day: Justine’s DIY Closet Makeover, Fabric-Wrapped Hangers Included for details.)
Meredith took the DIY route with the overhaul, and started by painting over the closet&#8
Above: Meredith took the DIY route with the overhaul, and started by painting over the closet’s cream-colored walls with a medium gray: Behr Granite Boulder.
The left half of the closet is hardworking: It&#8
Above: The left half of the closet is hardworking: It’s designed around a tall table that serves as both a laundry-folding surface, with the space underneath serving as a niche for the cat litter box, which is concealed by a linen curtain mounted on a 28-Inch Tension Rod ($4.27 at the Home Depot). Meredith chose black waterproof Phenolic Plywood for the tabletop. The sides are made of a single 3/4-Inch Maple Plywood 4 x 8 Panel cut to size, painted in Behr Limousine Leather in a semi-gloss finish so they’re easy to keep clean.
For close-access storage, Meredith had two shelves cut from a single 6-foot Pine Common Board from the Home Depot (price varies by region), and painted them in gray-white Behr Coliseum Marble finished in a water-based Polyurethane ($.97) for durability. The closet lacked lighting, so a single Incandescent Clamp Light ($8.59) spray-painted in Rust-Oleum Gloss Protective Enamel in Almond ($4.) now illuminates the space. (For step-by-step instructions on this classic Remodelista DIY, see The $ DIY: The Hardware Store Clamp Light Improved.)
Above: For close-access storage, Meredith had two shelves cut from a single 6-foot Pine Common Board from the Home Depot (price varies by region), and painted them in gray-white Behr Coliseum Marble finished in a water-based Polyurethane ($15.97) for durability. The closet lacked lighting, so a single Incandescent Clamp Light ($8.59) spray-painted in Rust-Oleum Gloss Protective Enamel in Almond ($4.25) now illuminates the space. (For step-by-step instructions on this classic Remodelista DIY, see The $15 DIY: The Hardware Store Clamp Light Improved.)
The simplest solution for keeping small items organized and at hand: Pegboard ($9.data-src=
Above: The simplest solution for keeping small items organized and at hand: Pegboard ($9.11 at the Home Depot), cut to size and painted with Rust-Oleum 2X General Purpose Spray Paint in Stone Gray ($3.98). It holds a spray bottle and towels, scissors, and a miniature trash can for dryer lint and wayward threads. Just like the table, the pegboard serves a surprise dual purpose: It hides the unsightly laundry hookups and their accompanying tubes and hoses. (This is typically a job for the stacking washer/dryer, but in this closet, the condo’s emergency water shutoff is on the left wall and couldn’t be blocked.)

Before

The &#8
Above: The “Before” closet was perfectly functional, but with the remodel, Meredith and her boyfriend gained an aesthetic upgrade and a clever, inconspicuous space for the kitty litter box.

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