A Utility Room with a Difference – The Before

What were the things that you always wanted as a kid?  I mean, everyone I know was lusting after Mr Frosty but I don’t think I can remember a single person ever actually having one, the barbie motorhome was also the stuff of actual dreams not to mention the millennium falcon for those of us with a thing for Star Wars.

Fast forward quite a lot of years and the things that we lust after have changed just a tad.  The other day I got ridiculously excited about a lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner and a new basket can completely make my day.

And then there are the long term lusts.

When we started to think about moving house five or six years ago, I was desperate for a utility room and he dreamed of a driveway.  In the end we ended up buying a house with neither.  We loved it anyway. We still do.  But sometime during the summer holidays last year I suggested turning our extra bathroom into a utility and that was the start of my dream becoming a reality.  (We have, in fairness, also looked at turning our little front garden into a driveway but ultimately decided against losing the greenery).

So what’s different about our utility?  Well one key thing actually, it’s on the first floor.

There is, first of all, an obvious practical reason for this.  We don’t have room in our kitchen to make a separate utility space (the washer and dryer currently sit under a bit of hidden away worktop) and we also don’t have currently a cellar space that we could hide it away in.

Image: Lived In 365

What we do have is two bathrooms on our first floor.  This was the result of the previous occupants turning one of the spare bedrooms into a bathroom as the family bathroom was fairly small as is often the case in our era of house.

We have always felt it slightly weird as they are right next door to each other and there is a lot of repetition (although one has just a walk in shower and one just a bath) but we didn’t want or need another bedroom and people kept telling us that we’d be glad of the extra facilities with a growing family.

They weren’t wrong, it is useful in the morning but it’s not an essential by any means.  The kids currently don’t have much need for privacy at the moment (that’s a polite way of saying they burst in on you regularly) and one day (when money allows) we would like to put an en suite on the top floor for the bedroom up there, which will give us the extra bathroom we will need as they get older and facilities on each floor.

But here’s the thing.  It’s also BETTER up there.

There was a big hoo-ha when Kirstie Allsopp suggested that having washers and dryers in kitchens is for peasants (or something along those lines…) but as Brits we are conditioned to think that they should at least be nearby.  Perhaps something to do with the plumbing and also, for those of us with more space, keeping them next to a boot room where everything dirty can just immediately get tipped into the wash.

For us, and many other families as well however, having the utility on the ground floor, or the cellar even, involves traipsing down a lot of stairs with the dirty washing and then traipsing back up again with the clean washing.  I blame the traipsing for the fact that it takes us a long time for our washing to make it off our backs and back into our wardrobes.

With our new set up, however, I’m going to be so bloody efficient!

As for the design, we are necessarily keeping it quite simple but hopefully it will still be a good space.  We are taking our wall units off in the kitchen and moving them up there, I bought this cork flooring from The Colour Flooring Company for a nice warm feel underfoot and I’m buying a vintage sideboard to go under a Belfast sink I found on our street a few months ago.  I was originally also going to buy a vintage pulley clothes airer but then when I thought about the faff of pulling it and all of the piles of washing up and down every day I decided it against it.  Instead I’m getting a heated airer, another thing which I am so bloody excited about.

Image: The Colour Flooring Company

As part of the process we are also having to redo our shower so that it becomes part of the bathroom that is staying and I’m excited to be laying these tiles for the wetroom floor with simple white tiles on the walls and nickel brassware to match what we already have.

Image: Mosaic del Sur

And finally, at the same time as the builders are here to knock a wall down to make the utility space they are going to block up a window in our kitchen so that we can install another dream of mine, a larder cupboard.  It’s like all of my grown up dreams are coming true at once.

Now if we could just agree what colour to paint it I could actually order the thing…