Thursday, June 14, 2012

Home Tour: A Song To Move The Job Along

"Give me a laundry list and I'll set it to music." - Gioacchino Rossini

I grew up in a time and place where people did their laundry in their basements. This involved a lot of dark corners, cold floors, trips up and down the stairs, and encounters with big, scary spiders. Gah!

Thankfully, times have changed and I consider myself lucky and blessed to be the proud owner of a warm and cozy laundry room. Although it a busy and often cluttery place, when I take a moment to restore its order, this is a room that sings to me. 

A flock of origami cranes flies across the top of the doorway. I added that little garland, made by my fourth daughter, just a few months ago, and I really like the way it calms me down and makes me smile as I walk in the room

I'll pause here and let you get your bearings. With the entry hall behind you, you can see little glimpses of the family room and the kitchen from these photos; check out those room tours herehere and here.

Standing in the doorway, underneath the good luck cranes, you can take in most of the room with one quick glance. 

And speaking of quick glances, as I was standing here, focusing and framing up this shot, my little black kitty, Luna, flew past my legs, leaped up on the counter and went to work on his food bowl. All in the blink of an eye. I didn't even see him go past me; suddenly, he just appeared in my shot.

Luna's photo bombing aptly reminds me to explain that this is not just a laundry room; it very importantly serves as a pet dining room.  The kittens, of which we have three, eat up on top of the counter. And dear old Ranger has his food and water down below.

This system quite effectively keeps Ranger from eating all the cat food, which he would do if he could. 

But of course, it does nothing to prevent the cats from dipping into Ranger's bowl. And strangely enough, one of the cats has a fondness for dog food. If Ranger spies that cat eating out of his bowl, his feelings get very hurt, and he stands and barks as if he were about to starve. Good lord. It's always something, isn't it?

Truth be told, it's a never-ending job to keep this room tidy. Pet food gets scattered across the counter and the floor, the diners leave little muddy footprints, and puddles of water are left behind from messy drinkers. I do my best to keep up with the chaos, but it's four pets against one human, and I often lose.

So in order to keep the musical spirit of the room, and to keep my eyes up and away from the messy floor, I did my best to bring some beauty to the long stretch of wall over the machines, sink and counter.

Over the washer and dryer hang two drawings that my second daughter made during her undergraduate days. 

The one on the left is Sumi ink and charcoal on a giant sheet of graph paper; the one on the right has a background of black Sumi ink with white circles of watered-down acrylic paint. I love them both because they bring a structured rhythm to the room.

Down near the window hang two other pieces done by the same daughter during her circle phase. These two were composed in a series of layers - upon the white background, she added ripped pieces of brown paper, and then layers sheets of translucent vellum over the top. The black lines are drawn on that top layer of vellum with India ink. 

It's hard to tell in the photograph, but this layered composition creates a depth and softness to these pieces that I really love. They are the soft and soothing yin to the strictly ordered yang of the dots at the other end of the room, a melody line to the other pieces' strict rhythm.

When I walk through the room, looking at first one and then the other set of drawings, they work together to bring me back into balance, and sing a song of harmony to my eyes.

In between the two sets of drawings, hanging directly over the sink, is my collection of vases and vase fillers. This arrangement makes sense from a functional point of view, since I can use the sink to trim up a handful of flowers and conveniently plop them right into a vase. 

But I also love the aesthetic of these simple wooden shelves filled with mostly clear glass vessels. Like the art that surrounds them, this arrangement brings me balance. The hard, straight edges of shelves are balanced by the various rounded clear shapes, another example of rhythm and melody. Together, they make visual music, clearing my head and lifting my spirits whenever I take them in.

The wooden shelves are IKEA, as are the little metal baskets and their hanging bracket. The vases are an assorted lot, including several repurposed glass jars and a couple of tiny Dr Pepper soda bottles.

Because I love to peek in other people's cupboards and drawers, here are a few shots of my secret hiding places.

Buckets, big bottles, and a pile of old bath towels for messy clean-ups.
Sewing supplies and short selection of oft-used tools and hardware.
Batteries and light bulbs, dog food and a hanging basket full of other pet supplies. The flashlights are hiding on the bottom.
At the far end of the room, light shines through from the front side of the house. Pegs keep my odds and ends neat, and this magnetic board is home to our favorite photos and cards, mostly from faraway family and friends. 

See that door that appears to the right of the window in the above photo, and to the left of the bookcase below? That leads to the garage. Which means that the laundry room is actually a hallway connecting home and garage. Which also explains the high level of traffic and clutter that typically goes on around here.

This little white bookcase has served me well. Perfectly sized to fit in this little niche near the garage door, I use it to store the cleaning supplies that we use most often. The baskets corral rags and microfiber cloths, laundry detergent is within easy reach, and a handful of squirt bottles stand at attention, ready at a moment's notice to do their thing. It may seem silly but for me, cleaning really is a lot more fun when I can find what I need, neatly organized and ready to go when I need it. 

To the right of the bookcase, on the wall opposite the washer and dryer hangs our tried-and-true white board. For many years, we've used it for math lessons, spelling games and pre-test memory drills. Now, I'm sorry to say, I mostly use it to list out jobs that need doing. See all that purple writing? It means work. If you see me coming, I advise you to look busy or I'll rope you into a few chores.

Here's another look back at the room from the far corner by the garage door.

It isn't fancy or fine, but my laundry room makes the right kind of music for me to get my work done.

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  1. Looks like a pretty fancy laundry room to me. I have what you might call a laundry closet. Yours is fabulous!

    1. Well, thank you...and I'm not complaining but just remember that 93% of the time, there is a four-inch layer of pet food littering the floor.


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