Small Space, High Style: A Napa Valley Laundry Room

Interior designer Patricia Adrian-Hanson’s two-story house sits perched on a Napa Valley hillside with a sweeping valley view. And while it might exude a casual California elegance, her laundry room is a paean to efficiency, which she attributes to her German roots. Contrary to the norm, she decided to place her washer and dryer on the second floor because, as she tells us, “I wanted a laundry room close to where laundry gets generated.” Finding enough free space was the challenge. But with a little creativity her builders were able to carve a laundry nook beside the chimney, and the addition of a sliding barn door enables her to keep it out of view. Here, she tells us how she maximizes the use of her hidden laundry room.

Photography by Mimi Giboin for Remodelista, except where noted.

Above: Wood steps lead to the upstairs hallway; the laundry area is concealed behind the sliding door on the left. Photograph by Sean Dagen.

Above: Patricia prefers to dry things on a line rather than in the dryer, but notes, “If you put laundry on the second floor, you’re not going to take it outside, so I wanted to create a lot of room for drying things.” To do this in the narrow space, she installed Ikea’s Grundtal Drying Racks that can be closed flat when not in use. Sheets are folded in half before hung (the dry California air makes this work, especially in summer). The washer and dryer are from LG, selected for their extra-large capacity (the washer also comes with a steam function and speed wash), plus they have the bonus of storage drawers beneath. Says Patricia, “That’s where I hide the really ugly stuff, like the big tubs of detergent.”

Above: Patricia picked up the vintage baskets in France: “They’re typical old French laundry baskets, which means they have two sturdy strips of wood underneath that help them glide off the shelves easily.”

Above: The wire Laundry Hamper on wheels is from Pottery Barn. The white whicker basket atop the step stool holds fabric softener.

Above: Since the laundry is often on show, it was important to Patricia to make the space look pretty. The vintage glass bottles are a mix of French flea market purchases and local finds from the Alameda market and antiques store Chateau Sonoma. Patricia fills them with dryer balls, clothespins, and the like. The white porcupines in the middle jar are for drying down jackets and duvets. (She says the ones she uses are softer than the usual and make much less noise.) Not shown is her latest discovery: Felt Dryer Balls to which she adds a little eucalyptus essential oil to make her sheets smell nice.

Above: The large sliding barn door gives maximum access to the laundry space and also serves to dampen the sound in the hall when the washer and dryer are running.

Above: The custom-built door has a homemade knot handle: a length of rope was threaded through a hole and secured in place with knots on either side. The wood is limewashed old redwood, which is in keeping with the rest of the house.

Above: A framed French flag sits behind an enamel bucket that Patricia fills and surrounds with what she dubs “the nicer organic cleaning products.” To see more of her work and her house, visit Adrian Hanson Design.

Strapped for space? See Clever Camouflage for the Washer/Dryer and Favorite Laundry Rooms, Space-Saving Edition. We’re fans of front-loading washing machines; read all about them in 10 Easy Pieces: Front-Loading Washers.

Go to Laundry & Utility Rooms for design inspiration–and to see Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen Air Their Dirty Laundry.

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