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Catherine is a CPA-turned-creative entrepreneur. She is the founder of Beginning in the Middle. an interior designer, photographer, writer, and business schemer.  She loves being cozy at home, miniature everything, and has a not-so-secret dream of living on an island one day.
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Our Creepy Basement is Getting a Makeover (Part 1)

Pearl St.

We’re slowly making progress on #pearlgoesmodern, the other side of our Pearl duplex that we’re renovating as an Airbnb.  All of our framing, plumbing and electrical rough-ins are done, and our drywall subs are getting walls up as we speak!  Bryan & I have a small window of opportunity to tackle the creepy old basement… AKA, the future laundry room.

Let’s dive in!

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement.

before

This home is over 100 years old and has a very ugly basement.  Here’s the view of the future laundry area from the bottom of the steps.  The machines will go along the back wall, where the mantel is being stored.

And here’s the view of the wall on the right. Not much better!

This basement hasn’t ever been used for anything other than storage, which explains its appearance.  On the bright side, it could be worse – one of our other rentals has a gravel floor, so we feel like we have a good starting point with this one.

LG Top Load 7300 Series Washer & Dryer

We’re incorporating LG’s new Top Load 7300 Series washer, electric dryer and clothes steamer into our laundry room.  After reading the reviews & specs, we’re looking forward to putting them to the test!  A few features I’m loving:

LG Washer

  • Great reviews! Avg. 4.5 stars from over 150 customers; 93% recommend it
  • 5 cubic ft capacity (the largest capacity top load washer in its class!). Our cleaning team washes sheets, comforters and towels several times a week, so this is going to be CLUTCH.  These machines can fit a full set of king size bedding in a single load, which will certainly make the laundry process much faster than it has been at our other rentals.
  • WiFi control: you can access the washer & dryer remotely via WiFi using SmartThinQ technology.  You can get alerts when cycles finish, start cycles remotely, download specialized care cycles and monitor energy usage… and you can control it hands free w/Google Assistant.
  • The washer has no agitator, but instead creates a strong flow of water w/Turbowash technology that causes clothing to rub against each other to get clean.

LG Dryer

  • Even better reviews! 5-star average from 70+ customers; 96% recommend it
  • 7.3 cubic ft capacity is nice and roomy for large loads
  • The door can be hinged on the side or on the bottom.  Having this flexibility can be extra helpful if your dryer is against a wall.
  • Same SmartThinQ WiFi control technology as the washer, and can be controlled remotely

LG Styler Programmable Clothes Steamer

Before working with Lowe’s and LG on this project, we admittedly hadn’t heard of a steamer this large that can be programmed.  Nine times out of ten, there’s something that comes out of the dryer that’s wrinkled.  This will solve that.  In addition to removing wrinkles, it’s certified by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America for reducing bacteria and fungi by at least 99%.  Steaming can also can reduce odors from food and smoke.  It’ll be great to use for our guests who have allergies, and to get our pillowcases wrinkle-free.

THE PLAN

We’re working with a $2,000 materials budget for the space (not including our appliances), so we want to stretch our dollars as much as we can.  We anticipate all of that budget to go toward materials, so we’ll be DIYing the whole thing to save money.

Our main goals for the laundry room are:

1 – Design a basement laundry room that feels light, airy and welcoming.  We want to enjoy doing laundry down here, and make it a space we feel great about letting our Airbnb guests use, too.

2 – Create a dedicated space for folding, steaming and sorting.

3 – Incorporate extra storage space for toilet paper, paper towels, etc. that don’t fit upstairs (#oldhouseproblems).

The highest impact projects we’ll need to tackle down here are the surfaces: walls, floors, and ceilings.  Our basement is not entirely dry, so we need to choose finishes that won’t be damaged by moisture.  On the walls, we’re going to try skimming them with a new, thin layer of concrete to smooth them out and lighten them up.  We saw this treatment on a building in Puerto Rico a few months ago, and ended up meeting the contractor who did them while we were there.  In talking with him about his method, we learned that it’s actually all concrete – no limewash, paint, etc – and is very reasonable to do.  We’re excited to experiment!

On the ceiling, we’ll paint everything one color to even it out and make the space feel cleaner.  As of now, we’re thinking of going light just to brighten things up down there, but we haven’t ruled out going dark.  This photo from a local real estate listing makes going dark a tempting choice, but it could just be a photography trick.  Dark paint + low ceilings don’t tend to go well together.

On the floors, we’ll apply self leveling concrete to give them a fresh, clean slate, and then seal them and finish them off with a pretty indoor/outdoor area rug.  We considered laying vinyl flooring, but ultimately decided against it because we would rather apply our budget to other things in the space.  Instead, we’ll lay a few indoor/outdoor rugs down over our new concrete and go with a more raw, urban look.

INSPO

We’ve been pinning like crazy to get inspo for this laundry room (you can see the full board on our Pinterest page here).  I love the use of curtains to cover certain areas that you might need access to & don’t want to finish with drywall.  I also love the use of slats on the basement ceiling, and the idea to mount a curtain rod or clothes rack from above.

In terms of layout, this photo below is almost exactly what I’m envisioning.  The LG washer & dryer that we’re using will also be top-loading, and I love how they’ve worked with that in the storage they’ve designed.

Source

We put together a list of all of the materials we’ll be using in this project, from our laundry machines all the way down to the paint sprayer.  We’re coming in right around $1,500 and leaving some wiggle room for add-ons that are bound to come up (because they always do).

Links: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

We’ll be back next week with a progress update.  Wish us luck!

Ready. Set. Go.

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  1. […] plans and inspiration, and the products we planned to buy within our $2,000 materials budget.  Catch up here if you missed it, then keep on […]

  2. […] you missed posts #1 and #2 in our series, catch up here and here, and if you missed our IG Stories of our progress, you can view them […]

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About BEGINNING IN THE MIDDLE

Catherine & Bryan Williamson moved from NYC to Columbus, OH in 2013.  Beginning in the Middle is a journal of the couple's design and renovation projects, real estate investment and Airbnb hosting journey, travel, and other life happenings.

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Our journey started unexpectedly in 2012, when we decided to make a big move from New York to Columbus. The glamour of climbing the corporate ladder was wearing off, and we knew that renting an expensive small apartment and dealing with crowded subways everyday was not going to work forever. We wanted to start creating something for ourselves, and although we didn’t know exactly what that something was, we knew NYC wasn’t the place for it.

We decided on Columbus because Bryan grew up here, and we were intrigued by all of the development going on in the downtown area at the time. We drove through many of the neighborhoods and admired the boarded up old houses, most of which were built in the early 1900s, and started dreaming about the things we could do here.

I'm Catherine, and I'm the founder of Beginning in the Middle.

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