Doing the household washing used to be one of the hardest, most time-consuming household chores.
My grandmother’s laundry on her enclosed back verandah featured her gigantic copper, a mangle, or clothes wringer, and shelves filled with ancient bleaches and soap powders. Of course, she no longer used any of these. It was the 1970s, so they’d long been replaced by her trusty if somewhat clunky Simpson.
Now life is even easier. Nobody has to boil things in one machine, then wring them in another. Washing is easier than ever before, and this is being reflected in the design of laundries in modern homes. Laundries don’t need to be large rooms any more, and they don’t need to be out the back.
It is now possible to design a laundry that is perfectly acceptable for the guests to see. They are being integrated into corridors and bathrooms and are more like kitchens these days than messy workrooms.
Remember those old concrete laundry tubs? If you grew up in Australia you will be familiar with these, or you may have grown up with a standard laundry tub over a cupboard -“ not very attractive.
Now laundry tubs are being designed so they can be recessed into benchtops -“ just like kitchen sinks. Washing machines -“ especially front loaders -“ can fit between cupboards to give a streamlined effect, and there is a wide range of laundry storage options available to hide away all those messy laundry items.
Because of lack of space, Europeans have for years incorporated washing machines into their kitchen joinery. Due to the increasing popularity of apartment living this trend has started to catch on here. Concealing laundries in cupboards, either in a hallway, kitchen or bathroom, is popular in new developments and can work very well.
Bifold or sliding doors which blend in with the surrounding walls make it easy to hide any mess from visitors. You need to provide at least 800mm depth in such a cupboard as well as the necessary plumbing and ventilation.
When you plan a laundry it’s also important to think about the impact on the environment. Washing and drying clothes can be a real drain on energy and water.
Driers are one of those items people should really try to live without.
They cost a lot to run, and are an environmental disaster. Only busy mothers using cloth nappies in bad weather should ever need to use a drier.
Definitely check out the water efficiency of washing machines before purchasing. All appliances are given a star rating which makes it easy to compare them.
Modern appliances mean that we spend less time in the laundry, but if it’s well designed you may just want to hang out there more often.