This may very well turn into a rambling stream-of-consciousness post because I’ve got way too many things going on in my mind and what better place to put them all down than my blog? And then you get to have a little peek into how my brain works which, to be fair, sounds like a frightening prospect but I suspect my inner workings may at the very least be helpful to some and at worst, just annoying. You see, I’m a planner. I like to have all the pieces in order before I start most things so I have something vaguely resembling what appears to be organisation but more than likely, it’s just me being a control freak.
The prettiest of utility rooms designed by Norsu Interiors (Photography Lisa Cohen / Styling Beck Simon / Design Norsu Home)
I’m not one who loves surprises. I like preparation. I like spreadsheets and mood boards. I like the dreaming and the anticipation. I like visualising what’s to come almost as much as the actual thing happening. And this is probably more evident in planning my home than anywhere else in my life. While we’ve decided to take a bit of a break from any big projects over the winter months and just enjoy the finished spaces (kitchen, dining room and living room if you’ve missed those), my brain really just doesn’t particularly like taking a break.
Kassandra Dekoning’s pretty utility room – I am in love with the penny tiles.
I’m constantly planning for the next thing – in fact, I’m probably planning for the thing after that and after that too – because when it finally comes to the point where we’re going to start, I don’t want to be blindsided by something I’ve not had the forethought to predict in advance. And yes, of course, there are always things that will come up but if everything else around it is in relatively good order, I’ll have the capacity to deal with it so it’s fine.
At the moment – yes, I promise I’m getting to the point but I did warn you this was going to be stream of consciousness – I’ve been thinking of the next big project we’ll take on. As you may well be aware, we are currently living with two kitchens. Strange, I realise, but we kept our old kitchen whilst the new one was being built on the opposite side of the house. The new kitchen was relocated to where the previous utility room and bathroom were so we lost those during the build and were left, essentially, with two kitchens.
An old picture of the kitchen from last year. It still looks like this except there are no pretty bits any more and it’s filled with boxes, cat litter trays and miscellaneous building paraphernalia. Trust me when I say you don’t want to see what it currently looks like. It’s basically a bomb site.
Now, of course, we don’t need two kitchens but what we do need is a downstairs bathroom and a utility room (laundry/cleaning/pet zone essentially – we have a back internal porch which will be our mudroom which is also awaiting it’s big makeover). So the old kitchen will be gutted and renovated to include both. At this moment, we’re still building back up our savings after the costs of the renovations we’ve just completed so in terms of our budget, I’m not entirely sure how much we’re going to have to spend but pricing it all up and saving as much as possible until Spring, when we’d ideally like to start this project, will be part of my planning process.
For the moment, my brain is flip-flopping between the more practical aspects of the building work required and the (much more fun) aesthetics. In terms of practicalities, I know we’ll need a bricky and window fitter, an electrician and a plumber. Wayne will tackle the internal building work, plastering, flooring, tiling and fitting himself (with me as his not-so-glamorous assistant of course) but as usual, I’ll be the project manager. Our plan includes replacing the large window above the current kitchen sink with a slightly narrower one, allowing for a stud wall to be built and another window installed where the bathroom will be.
That corner will become a bathroom!
We also intend to replace the current side window in the kitchen with a new UPVC one. Ugly, yes, but practical and as it’s at the back of the house, I’m less worried about aesthetics and more about keeping the room warm whilst saving money.
This is how I have fun these days… rough draft of a floor plan just to figure out some of the spatial planning.
Other than those small details (did I just say small?!), I’m starting to think about how the whole space will actually work. I did an outline in Excel above (I know this isn’t particularly professional and please don’t tell me all about Sketchup and the million other programmes out there, I just wanted a rough plan right now) which helped me to put some of my ideas on paper.
I also did a bit of faffing with the IKEA kitchen planner – more to get an idea of the space I was working with. I’m a visual person and I know when I finally got to see the 3D designs of my kitchen, it just brought everything to life.
Of course, as much as I love IKEA, their planner leaves a bit to be desired (ie it’s a complete nightmare to use) but at least it was a start in terms of how things might come together. I’m planning on having full height storage rather than upper cabinets as you see above but the planner wouldn’t let me put any PAX wardrobes into a kitchen so I made do!
Three Birds Renovations House 8 – Isn’t this the dream utility room?!
Because it will end up a narrow L shaped room, I want to make the most of the space we will have. A nearly full wall of storage where I can store all the pet food and paraphernalia, all our cleaning supplies as well as spaces for the two vacuums, the floor steamer and mop, a washing machine, a tumble dryer, a sink, some open shelving, a wall-mounted ironing board and possibly – if I can squeeze it in – a wall-mounted air drying rack. It’s a lot to ask of a rather small space!
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Utility Room Mood board
And of course, me being me, I want it to look good too. Some of the photos above have been a big inspiration for me but we’re not dealing with a bright and airy room at the moment. In fact, it’s the darkest area of our home – north-facing ground floor which just doesn’t get a lot of light. So I’d like it to be as light and airy as possible but still tie into the colour scheme of the the rest of the house.
Peach Baby by Earthborn Paints / White penny tiles from Walls and Floors / Brass tap from IKEA / Marble-effect laminate worktop from IKEA / Square composite granite sink by Olif / Knurled cabinet pulls in raw brass from Dowsing & Reynolds / Off-white cabinet doors from IKEA / Terrazzo floor tiles from Mosaic Factory / Baskets from Hartleys Direct / Shelving from LaRedoute / Wilton London Laundry Products / Dustpan and Bamboo Brush from JVL
It’s all very early days so I reserve the right to completely change my mind a hundred times before it actually gets done but at least you can kind of see the sort of look I’m going for here.
I’d love a tiled floor and a tiled backsplash – and I want these details repeated in the adjoining bathroom as well with either the same or similar tiles used in there. The white penny tiles are fairly inexpensive so I may be able to splurge on a pretty floor tile instead. I’m also thinking most of the cabinets can be IKEA to keep costs down and a laminate worktop will be perfectly fine for our needs. Clearly, I haven’t yet started the bathroom planning but I figured if I can at least get this room sorted out, I can then move on to those details afterwards.
It’s quite a long road ahead with this one although it shouldn’t be quite as harrowing as Phase I of the building work was. Phase II is really just continuing to make the downstairs layout work as well as it possibly can. Of course, I’m sure I’ll be chatting plenty more with you once we begin and while we’ll be taking a physical break, the planning continues! I’d love to know what you think of the plans so far (be gentle, it’s early days)! What would be included in your perfect utility room? Let me know below in the comments!