Monday, September 17, 2012

Laundry Room Update: Bye-Bye, Wire Mesh Shelves!

Phase Two:  Wall-mounted Cabinets replace Wire-Mesh Shelving
This post discusses the second phase of our laundry room update:  Installing wall-mounted storage cabinets.  In the first phase, we installed a new countertop and laundry room sink.

We took a day or two to breathe after installing the sink.  But then, with laundry waiting to be done, we discussed the location of my wall-mounted drying rack.  My husband was never happy with it's previous location, adjacent to the sink.  When the rack is in use, clothes hang directly over the side of the sink (in your face) - not ideal.
The laundry room is not a huge space - the obvious choice for the drying rack was the wall behind the washer and dryer.  The wall with the wire mesh shelf I've hated since we moved in.
I am not a fan of wire mesh, though I tolerate it when installed in closets - behind closed doors.  The wire mesh in my laundry room consisted of a single, six-foot wall-mounted shelf and two wall-mounted bins.   I've been so frustrated with it that I never fully used it.  The shelf extends into the front of the window, items slip through the mesh, and (most importantly) I cannot stand to look at the stuff being stored there.
Under-utilized wall.
To me, that wall was just screaming out for an update.  And, that meant it was time to change it!
Taking another cue from our Savannah laundry room, we decided to switch out the wire mesh shelving with a combination of closed cupboard storage and my hanging rack.  My husband also suggested adding an over-washer/dryer shelf.  This type of shelf disguises the hoses and cords behind the washer and is a great place to keep the dust-buster, small bins, etc.
Our inspiration:  Storage and shelf we built in our old laundry room
Wall-mounted Storage Cabinets

Selecting Cabinets
The first thing we needed to do was decide which cabinets to install.  We got to work researching the following cabinet options:
  • Budget:  We knew we'd go with stock cabinetry.  It's a laundry room, after all. And stock is usually cheaper than custom.  It's certainly more convenient and quicker to acquire. 
  • Color:  White was the obvious choice - I like a clean, crisp look in my laundry rooms.  Plus, white is readily available and usually cheaper than the darker wood tones.
  • Cabinet Size:  I liked the symmetry of two cabinets flanking my drying rack.  Because the wall measures six-feet across and my drying rack is just under 24-inches wide, we needed to choose two, 24-inch wall cabinets.  We found 24-inch, pre-assembled wall cabinets at one store (in the Kitchen Cabinet department) and 24-inch, un-assembled at another store (in the Cleaning/Organization department). 
  • Cabinet Doors:  Prices are comparable among stock cabinets. The main difference is with the cabinet door dimensions.  Kitchen cabinets feature a single, 24-inch door.  The laundry cabinets have two, 12-inch doors.  
  • Door Hardware:  Kitchen cabinets do not come with door hardware.  The laundry cabinets do.  Since the hardware was already in a nickel finish, we save a few bucks by choosing the laundry cabinets.  
Our cabinet choice
Narrowing down the features we wanted before shopping made the buying process easy.  We bought two,  Estate Storage System 24-inch wall cabinets and assembled them at home.  Assembly took about 30 minutes. 

Prepping the Wall
The next morning, we prepped the wall and got ready to install.   First, we first removed the wire mesh shelving:
They painted around the brackets.  Really?
Then we used Spackle to patch the holes left over from the shelving brackets:
Spackle the holes 
Installing the Cabinets
We consulted the Internet to determine how high we needed to install the cabinet - eHow's post was very helpful.  In the end, we decided to mount the cabinets so that the bottom was just below the upper line of spackle marks.  Very scientific method, ain't it?  I wanted to hide the spots, and this worked out to be a good height.
The cabinets we chose are installed using cleats, which were included in the packaging.  My husband followed the manufacturer's instructions.  After determining the stud placement behind the drywall (using a stud finder), we used both screws and wall anchors to attach the cleat to the wall.  Then, we dry fit the cabinet to verify plumb and level:
Verifying the cabinet is plumb and level before securing to the wall.
Everything looked good, so we secured the cabinet box.  Of course, because nothing can be super easy, the first pilot hole went into the metal drywall strapping.  We needed to drill new pilot holes, just below the first and use a combination of dry-wall anchors and screws (because of the stud placement).  
Combination of screws used to adhere cabinet to the wall.
Once that cabinet was installed, we attached the doors, drew a level line across the wall for the second cabinet and repeated the install process:
Mark level on both walls when installing a cabinet in the corner.
First cabinet installed, second one in process.
Then, we hung the drying rack between the cabinets:
Cabinets and Drying Rack installed.

It looks SO much nicer already!  The cabinets have two adjustable shelves inside.  I loaded in my supplies and still had room to spare.  Then, I got busy catching up with laundry.  Check back with me - my next post will explain how we jazzed up the wall with an over-washer/dryer shelf for even more storage.

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