Carve out Space for a Separate Laundry
South African homes are not designed with a separate laundry room but you can easily carve out a bit of space for a convenient but separate laundry.
I find it strange that most older South African homes don't offer a separate room for laundry, particularly more so when you consider that many tumble dryers (or mine at least) have the filter on the front of the machine, which can be messy when you are drying towels.
Laundry day can be chaotic in a family home, with piles of washing lying around, both the washing machine and tumble dryer spinning as if they are ready to take-off from the runway, and a kitchen that is constantly full of fluff. Wouldn't it be nice if you could find space to set up a separate area for laundry?
I don't have an overlarge kitchen, it's just the right size for me and ideal for two people to move around and cook in. But I do get frustrated when laundry day rolls around. With a family of four there are always piles of whites and colours, delicates and bedding - all piled on the kitchen floor or in laundry baskets. But my worst beef is that the flipping tumble dryer blows fluff around the place and I have to clean the kitchen from top to bottom regularly.
Where is the sense in fitting a filter to the front door of a tumble dryer!
Making space for a laundry
With all the improvements going on in my home, and many that I have already shared with you, one area that I am so excited with is my new laundry nook. I call it a nook because it isn't very big, but it is large enough to house both the tumble dryer and the washing machine.
The laundry is now housed in what used to be the pantry before I built the Pull-out Pantry, and before that it was the entrance to my house. It's a small space that served well as a pantry until I decided to make the pull-out pantry in a cupboard. With the space emptied out I worked out that the tumble dryer would fit both side-by-side or one on top of the other. Since I still need some space for cleaning materials, I opted to go with the one on top of the other configuration to have some space left over for the vacuum cleaner and other cleaning stuff.
Requirements for a separate laundry
If you seriously want to separate your laundry from the kitchen, there are a few requirements to be met before you can go ahead.
If there isn't a power outlet where you want to situate the laundry, you are going to need to have an electrician install one for you. An affordable way around this if you don't want to have that expense would be to invest in an extension cord that will reach from the nearest plug outlet and can be mounted safely out of harm's way in the new laundry area.
The cable should be rated for household appliances and be fitted with an earth wire. Don't skimp on the cable as you don't want to put yourself or your home at risk. If you are not sure what cable you need, ask someone who knows.
If you are running a tumble dryer in a small space, installing an extraction fan is definitely a requirement. Air circulation is essential if you are going to be running both a washing machine and tumble dryer.
If the space doesn't have a fitted light, you will need to have a cable run in order to have light in the room.
GOOD TO KNOW: Only use a qualified and registered electrician to do work in your home, and ask for a Compliance Certificate once the job is completed.
You will obviously need water supply for the washing machine, as well as an outlet pipe for waste water. I had a reputable plumber install both of these for the laundry at a cost just under R1000. With this in mind, when selecting a space to set up a small laundry, it should be close to water supply and waste.
While the plumbing tasks are easy to do as a DIY project, I'm getting a bit long in the tooth to want to do the job! All the plumbing supplies are readily available at any Builders Warehouse store.
Washing machine - tumble dryer configuration
Another thing I find strange is that, considering we don't have a separate laundry, why can't we buy laundry appliances that can be stacked on top of each other. Makes no sense to me since these would take up very little space. Anyways... I tested and tested if the tumble dryer would sit nicely on top of the washing machine, and it does.
GOOD TO KNOW: If you decide to stack a tumble dryer on top of a washing machine, the floor must be one hundred percent level and the feet on the washing machine stabilised to accommodate any unevenness. It is not safe to place a tumble dryer on top of a washing machine that is not absolutely balanced. When the washing machine starts to spin and is unbalanced, it could result in the tumble dryer falling off.
Finishing the space
The space for the laundry was stripped clean of all shelves and painted with water-based enamel paint. This paint will be able to withstand any humidity in the space due to the fact that both the washing machine and tumble dryer will be running. I don't want to have peeling paint later on!
New doors were added to finish off the laundry nook. These are simply 16mm SupaWood panels with a 3mm-thick trim, all painted with water-based enamel paint. You can have the SupaWood doors cut to exact sizes at Builders Warehouse.
The laundry nook was finished about 4 months ago and has proved to be an exercise well worth the effort. My kitchen is fluff-free and there's no longer a train smash when it's laundry day.