Hiding the Laundry Closet

We’re lucky enough to have a washer & dryer in the house, which is great. They only thing is, they’re located in our eat-in kitchen.

They also don’t match, because I’m not about to get rid of a perfectly good dryer from the 90s just because it doesn’t match the washer. (At least they’re both the same color, which isn’t the case for some of our appliances.)

So the inside of our laundry “room” looks like this:
operation hide the laundry closet

Functional, in other words.

Having a washing machine in the kitchen might be perfectly normal in Europe, but in the US? Not so much. (Don’t ask me why we store a Frisbee in there either.)

Thankfully, our builder gave our laundry closet DOORS so that we didn’t have to look at that everyday. Flimsy, cardboard-filled bifold doors. Those doors actually worked OK until last year — doing their job by covering up the laundry area.

But they didn’t do a thing for the sound. When we tried to watch a movie in the next room, we heard the rattle and rumble of laundry. It was LOUD. They also kept getting stuck when we’d try to open them, so in a fit one day we took them off.

The hunt was on to both hide and quiet the laundry closet.

We are s-l-o-w when it comes to doing things around the house, so our laundry closet looked exactly like the photo above for an embarrassingly long time. But having it open like that only made us more determined to find something that would block the noise.

We immediately ruled out pretty curtains, or another set of basic bifold doors. We also (at least for now) ruled out moving the laundry to the garage and expanding the eating area.

I moved on to browsing Pinterest and wishing for snazzy doors like these:

Pretty interior sliding barn door
(Note: you can only buy the barn door hardware at that link.)

Ilseng sliding doors from IKEA
(from IKEA)

But there were huge problems with any kind of sliding doors. To the immediate right of the laundry closet is a doorway, and to the immediate left of it is a shelf and the rest of our kitchen. Nowhere for a barn door to slide.

While the IKEA doors would have worked, we would only have been able to open one side of the closet at a time. Not ideal when you’re moving laundry from the washer to the dryer, so both of those were out.

We also looked at roll-up doors. I think an industrial vibe could have worked, but apparently those are only available for garages, warehouses, and appliance cubbies. Plus I couldn’t picture myself lifting up a door from floor to ceiling like that every time I wanted to do laundry or get something out of the cupboard.

Finally, regular doors or French doors were out due to space considerations. (Our kitchen table is only two feet away from the closet, so once again there would be no room for them to open.)

It was back to where we started.

In the end, the only type of laundry closet door that would work for our particular situation was — you guessed it — bi-fold doors. But that noise! Maybe using solid wood instead of flimsy hollow-core doors would do the trick?

But it seemed like almost NO ONE sold solid wood bifold doors. The issue is that solid wood doors are usually too heavy to be hung by a single track, so they don’t normally work well.

We finally some bifolds for sale on Amazon that promised to be thin, but still solid wood. Thin = light in my book, so we pulled the trigger on two sets of these:
Wooden bifold doors
(Amazon)

We primed & painted them to match our trim, and hung them using the hardware that was included.

All better!

Hidden laundry closet

(I did change out the wooden handles that were included for some pretty metal knobs, which luckily for me turned out to be much darker than pictured.)

I’m especially happy that the doors open and shut much easier than our old ones.

Wooden bifold doors reduce sound from the laundry closet

We had no issues for about 4 months, until one of the tracks pulled loose because duh, you can’t hang doors from drywall using just screws. So we hit up the hardware store, got some wall anchors, reinstalled, and now they seem fine.

The kitchen also looks a heck of a lot better.

Sometimes hiding stuff away is the best solution.

While I might (or might not!) pretty up the inside of the laundry closet someday, let’s be real. Sometimes hiding away stuff you don’t want to look at all of the time — like a laundry room in the kitchen — is a great solution.

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links, so I’ll make a teeny commission if you buy through any of them.)

We Don’t Have to be Pinterest-Perfect

I ran across this cool idea on IHeart Organizing recently:

Painted wooden hangers from IHeart Organizing

Those spray painted hangers look great in her laundry room, don’t they?

Of course, I immediately wanted painted hangers too.

How fun would that be, right?

So I opened our closet door and peered in to imagine how they might look.

Brown wooden hangers

And you know what? I realized that while our closet itself could use some organizing, the wooden hangers we already have look just fine.

And just fine is enough.

In fact, it’s pretty nice.

While I love to browse blogs and Pinterest, and am inspired by many of the ideas, it’s ok to just enjoy what I’m looking at without feeling the need to recreate a version of it in our own home.

We don’t have to want all the things. We can enjoy and appreciate what we already have. (Even if those things are plain-old wooden hangers.)

What do you love about your home, even if it’s not Pinterest-perfect?

Petting a Penguin

Visiting Antarctica was absolutely amazing — and the best trip I’ve ever been on, but there’s one thing you can’t do while there: pet a penguin.

They get really close to you, and can interact with you if they want, but you can’t pet them.

But guess what? You CAN do that at SeaWorld’s penguin encounter. So yeah, that’s the entire reason we headed off to San Diego recently.

Meet penguin #197

We got to meet this little guy, who is a one year old Macaroni penguin that was hatched at the park. (He may or may not actually be a “he” — it’s really hard to tell the sex of penguins unless they’re laying an egg.)

Macaroni penguin 197 at Sea World

The room we were in was chilly, and there were ice packs under that towel to help keep him cool. The bands on his arm are like identification bracelets.

He was adorable

Petting a penguin!

His little white front was downy-soft, and his black back felt like regular bird feathers. His flippers were surprisingly stout. He was super curious and interested in all of us.

Petting a very curious penguin
Basically, he was like the penguin version of a toddler. He especially liked my rings and the string on my shirt.

When he grows up…

When he grows up, he’ll look something like this adult Macaroni penguin that came over to see us when we went inside the enclosure:
An adult Macaroni penguin

(You get to do that too, along with learning a little bit about penguins in general.)

A bunch of other kinds of penguins came to see us too.
Inside the San Diego SeaWorld penguin enclosure

If I hadn’t been to see penguins in the wild, I might have thought these were just hoping for food, but in my experience they’re incredibly inquisitive. It’s more likely they came over to see what was going on.

A gentoo penguin the San Diego SeaWorld penguin enclosure

I know we enjoyed seeing them!

If you go…

Bring a light jacket if you get chilly easily. (It’s slightly below freezing in the enclosure.)

You can (and should) reserve the penguin encounter online ahead of time since there are limited spaces available. When we went it was $50 a person for the encounter, plus the regular park admission which cost us $64 each and included a free 2nd visit. (I looked for a bunch of specials online ahead of time, but you can also just call and ask what they have going.)

I may have to go back and pet another penguin since I’ve got that free second day burning a hole in my pocket :)