The Victorian House: Laundry Room and Basement

You might want to shield your eyes for this part of the house tour. We’re heading down to the basement.

Stairs to the Basement

The laundry room is missing the part that makes it functional. You know, the washer and dryer? They weren’t included with the sale of the house (they were old coin-operated models), and so we had to get new ones. I’ve already ordered a set, and they’re scheduled for delivery on Friday.

Basement Laundry Room

I thought that there was a spot on the third floor that would make for a nicer laundry room (we miss our last one), but now I’m second-guessing that option. Some of you left comments about the potential rumbling/rocking/swaying action, and that was confirmed by the salesman when I bought our appliances. I guess washers and dryers are made for basements, not the third floor of Victorians from the late 1800s. But maybe the second floor? More investigation will be necessary.

Hey, look! A treasure chest!

Random Treasure Chest

I don’t know why it’s there either. Here’s the rest of the basement.

Basement

Basement

Basement

A safe! Another chest!

Safe, Chest

Had enough? Me too. We’re fine with it remaining an unfinished basement and just using it for storage. There’s plenty of living space elsewhere in the house. Speaking of which… more prettiness tomorrow, including the kids’ favorite spot.

48 Responses to “The Victorian House: Laundry Room and Basement”

  1. Anna September 3, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Oh, wow, the treasure chests! Have you looked inside? So mysterious. And the safe!
    I would want the washer/dryer upstairs too. It’s so much easier to get laundry done if you don’t have to go down to a creepy basement to do it. If all else fails, maybe you can just finish a little laundry nook in the basement and leave the rest as storage!

  2. Calliope September 3, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    The washer in my house is tucked behind a wardrobe door in the corridor of the bedrooms floor. would I loove a separate laundry room? Of course, but it wasn’t in the cards. And although I could fix a room in the basement I just dread the up and downs in all these stairs, not to mention that I’d have to give up my favorite task of air-lining my laundry.
    Now the humpers are next to the washer, next to the bedrooms and whenever a laundry load is completely done, putting it away in drawers takes…um…5 minutes top!
    I’d reconsider the second floor option…

  3. Laurie September 3, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Ooo, the safe and the chests are pretty! It is not going to be fun hauling laundry up stairs. I don’t suppose the house came with a dumbwaiter or something that could help with laundry haulage?

  4. Jenny G. September 3, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    My dad has a much younger house (I think his is only around 100 years old?) but he also had the idea to put the laundry upstairs. He did all this work renovating the bathroom & adding a laundry room, only to not be able to use the washer and dryer! The rocking/shaking almost brought the house down. He ended up having to tear apart the (already remodeled) kitchen below to add a bunch of beams. Bummer. I’m with you – laundry in the basement is no fun. Still, your new house is SO incredible, it’s a small trade off, right?

    • Julie September 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      We live in a late 1800′s 3 story row house that was renovated in the mid 90′s (not by us). Our laundry is on the second floor and we are seeing the negative effect of loads and loads of laundry in our first floor kitchen ceiling. I don’t think older homes can handle the weight and constant moving of the machines unless they are majorly refortified structurally. Not sure what’s in store for our repairs. Love upstairs location but not a fan of the damage slowly creeping along the ceiling.

  5. Laura @ Rather Square September 3, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    The bane of the unfinished basement laundry room! I have that as well, it’s kind of not fun. We are looking into putting rubber tiles on the cement floors to at least make it nicer to walk on when we have to go down there.

  6. Xenia September 3, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    I don’t like basements of very old houses, so there is no way that my washer and dryer was going to be placed down there. My laundry would never get done every week if I had to go down to the basement to do laundry. My laundry room is up on the second floor towards the back of my house. The laundry room, IMHO, should be on the same floor as the bedrooms. I don’t know who came up with the idea of putting the laundry room in the basement. Even in a newer home with a pleasant basement I would not like that. My house had four bathrooms, so I simply turned one into a laundry room.

    My advice is to try real hard to find a place for your washer and dryer on the second floor before they arrive. GOOD LUCK!!!

  7. Mary Smith September 3, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Thank you for changing your RSS feed so you don’t have to click to read more. I was just about to unsubscribe to your blog b/c of this.

  8. Alecia September 3, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    woa nice treasure chest? Any treasure in it?

    -Alecia likesof.us

  9. Ann M September 3, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I have a 3 story row home and my laundry is in the basement. I actually like having the dryer in the basement during hot months so that it doesn’t heat the rest of the house. Hopefully your situation will work out so that you’re happy with where ever you end up placing your laundry room!

    Ohhh and that first chest is fabulous! My family has one in our (old) summer home and we had an antique store owner tell us that they are quite valuable and to stuff it full of newspaper to keep it dry.

    • KD September 3, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      I vote for the basement laundry room, if you ever have even ONE washing machine mishap, the potential for water damage on all that beautiful wood is a nightmare.

  10. Carly September 3, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Get those chests appraised! My grandmother had an old one that ended up being worth tens of thousands of dollars! You never know :)

  11. Jamie Lee September 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Amazing! The coal storage is actually very clean and is that a log supporting the I-beam? You’ve got a gem…I’ve seen so many younger houses with much worse basements.

  12. Julia at Home on 129 Acres September 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    For an old basement, it looks very clean. It appears that you have decent ceiling height too, which is nice in an old house.

  13. Wendy September 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Love the chests and safe, so cool!
    This basement looks so much like our home in MI that was built in 1848, right down to the paneling. Though ours originally had dirt floors that someone poured cement over in the 50s. We even had a coal chute and room!
    I say try for the laundry on the second floor. Ours was in a mud room off the dining room in that house and though it was a bit loud, it was WAY better than being in the basement.

  14. Christina September 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Your basement looks dreamy compared to ours, ours has a dirt floor and 6 foot ceilings. And I moved the washer and dryer down there on purpose. :) When we moved in, they were taking up the ONLY closet in the house, so we moved them out to turn the closet into a pantry. I need the exercise anyway.

  15. Laura September 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    I loved our second-floor laundry room. Until. The washing machine hose leaked into the first floor kitchen, entry, half bath, office and crawl space, plus flooding the stairs, upstairs bathroom, hall and parts of two bedrooms. Repairs included removal of upper kitchen cabinets, replacing wall board in three rooms, painting the downstairs, new hardwoods, new carpeting, new subfloors and flooring in the laundry and bathroom upstairs, new crawl space insulation and kitchen appliances. At least in a garage or basement the washer is near a drain.

    People, replace your washer hoses every 5 years!

  16. Bmerry September 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    I think pirates must have lived there and they left all the evidence from their looting when they moved on.

  17. sarah September 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    let’s look at the glass half full and remind ourselves that if the w+d stay in the basement there will be no additional construction costs, no major repairs if water damage ever occurs, an awesome aerobid workout – totally forced (which is the only way i get it). And in the summer, there will be no sweltering heat from the dryer. the only thing i would recommend is a laundry shoot (mine is a godsend) and if you’re lucky, a dumbwaiter to haul it back up to the appropriate floor. it’s all a part of the charm, darling!

    • sarah September 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      aerobic…

  18. Rebecca H September 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    What is with the creepy portrait hidden in picture 5, it’s freaking me out. Those chests and safe are awesome, they might be worth something!!!

  19. sdajsdaj September 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Nicole, I’m happy that you are happy, but honestly, I can’t even begin to fathom why in the name of all that’s pink you’d want to buy this behemoth of a house.

  20. jenn from much to my delight September 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    My entire Queens apartment could fit inside your basement. This house is massive and marvelous!

  21. Catherine September 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    We don’t have basements in Texas for the most part, but I have to say yours would creep me out to do laundry down there. Maybe you can find another spot somewhere in the house. And you have to update us on all the old trunks!

  22. Rach September 3, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    I would be terrified going down there! We don’t have basements where I live so it would take a lot of getting used to. Great storage space though!

  23. Leslie September 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Ahoy ye matey. Fortune in ye treasure chest? Sorry too much time at Pirates of the Carribean at Disney. Carry on.

  24. michelle@decorandthedog September 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Our laundry room is on our second floor and I love it. I never have to lug a heavy laundry basket up and down stairs. Our house is new construction though and we had a little extra insulation added to that room. You can barely hear the washer or dryer running!

  25. Lucy September 3, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    Oh my goodness! What is inside the chests and safe? I would be dancing around and smacking myself on the butt if I found that in my basement.

  26. Judy September 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    I bought that 1st chest about 30 years ago at an Estate sale for $45.00,it wound up in a backyard shed(not practical for much because of the domed top and don’t let kids near it, they fall shut HARD! if you breathe… anyhoo the chests’ paper is now peeling off and it’s full of mildew. I brought it back in the house to see if I could revive it-not much hope though looks pretty bad. I love your new abode and watch for your posts daily. I know it will be excellent.

  27. Jill September 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    I never go into basements, and this one would really scare me. I say try to find a spot upstairs for the laundry room … I miss your old house and cheery laundry room.

    Any reason you didn’t bring the red washer and dryer?

    Jill

  28. May September 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    I live on the first floor (I believe in America you’d call it the second floor – the one above the ground floor, anyway) and I have a washing machine that makes the entire flat shake when I use it, so I’d definitely suggest putting washers and dryers on lower floors if possible. Treasure chest = awesome. World’s best dress-up box perhaps?

  29. Erin Q. September 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    What I really want to know is if there’s anything IN the chests & safe!!??

    My parents’ house was built in 1913, and they put their laundry on the 2nd floor. It definitely makes a racket – sounds like choppers are hovering above you – but they’ve had it up there for about 20 years now and it hasn’t damaged anything.

  30. Janine September 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    Everytime new posts with pictures of the new house go up, I’m like:

    - Is that carpet?
    - Is there a body in there?
    - Does that moulding go all the way around?
    - Why for the hooks?
    - Those lights: why?
    - That window opens?
    - The deck with the colourful glass – what are this?
    - The stove: it work how?
    - Sink on legs?

    All grammatical errors in my quizzical puppy thoughts are completely intentional. What are dis?

  31. Jenny Peters September 3, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    So I have a 1905 Victorian with a front-loading washer and dryer in my “master” bedroom bathroom, instead of a tub or shower. They definitely shake the house if the load is very full or heavy, but my basement is even worse than yours. Honestly, I kinda prefer it this way.

  32. Kelly.R September 3, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    If you were on reddit you’d have to get those open and show us their contents!

  33. Lynea September 3, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    That house looks too good to be true!
    So happy for you guys!

    I will be living vicariously through you guys… and Young House Love… again…

    Happy Decorating!

  34. Nicoletta September 3, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    You need a laundry chute! Perhaps work the treasure chest into the project… open the treasure chest and toss your laundry in! haha

  35. Xenia September 4, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    Your basement looks less creepy than mine, but I still would not want to go down there to do laundry.

    I have been in my house for nine years,so far,and never had a leak from my front loader washing machine. My dryer also does not make my house hotter in the summer because the laundry room is an actual room with the door closed. In my first house the laundry room was also on the second floor thanks to the previous owners. In the 5 years that I lived there I never had any problems with leaking.

    In my first house I never heard sounds from my washer or dryer on the first floor. In my present house I do hear it when it is on the spin cycle once in a while, not every time, and when it does make noise it is only for a few seconds. Never the entire cycle. I prefer this to the alternative of going down to the basement. But even if noise was not an issue, I still think it makes more sense to have the laundry room on the same floor as the bedrooms. Just my opinion. Even in a new house with a joyful looking basement I don’t want to lug laundry up and down stairs.

    Of course you will just have to weigh the pros and cons and decide which works best for you personally. Someone did mention a laundry chute. Perhaps you can work that into your house if you choose the basement. Too bad your house doesn’t have a dumbwaiter in it. That would be the perfect solution to bringing laundry up and down from the basement. A friend of mine who owns a house around the corner from mine has a dumbwaiter in hers.

  36. Xenia September 4, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Oh, I forgot to add that the reason there was never any sound from the washer and dryer in my first house is because it was not put to sit directly on the floor itself. A platform was built for it to sit on and that is why there was never any noise downstairs. My washer and dryer in this house is sitting directly on the floor. I really need to change that.

  37. jess September 4, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    We call those “Michigan basements”…. but I guess you have them in Illinois too. :) Our 1920′s house has a partially finished basement where the laundry area is, annnnnnd a creepy part where we store things that I don’t often need to locate. It’s not so bad if you can create a little laundry area that you’re comfortable in. I’m sure you could make even a creepy “Michigan basement” basement cute with a little love!

  38. Roseanna September 4, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Wait, Judy! Does this mean you are the former owner of this place? Oooh, do tell! I’d love to hear about the history of the house. Oak Park is so fascinating.

  39. Heidi S. September 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Your house is so interesting! We have a safe kind of like that in our basement (although the wheels at the bottom broke off at some point)! Everyone always wants to know what is in ours (we use it for boring paper work). I wanted to add my 2 cents to the laundry debate. Ours is in the basement of our Victorian (don’t have space upstairs) but I do know several friends with Victorians who have moved their laundry up to the second floor without much of a problem. If you go that route I would recommend anti-vibration pads for under the feet and automatic washing machine shut off valves like this:

    http://www.watts.com/pages/learnAbout/intelliflow.asp

    Good luck!

  40. Emily September 5, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    I’m fascinated by what stays/goes when moving in different countries.
    In Australia, the stove, oven and dishwasher stay in the house, but you move your fridge. The washing machine and (if you have one) dryer moves with you. The blinds and curtains usually stay.

  41. Stephany September 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    We’ve got a hundred plus year old house that was once converted into two apartments and we turned the second floor kitchen into a laundry room. I LOVE being able to do the laundry on the same floor as the bedrooms. That gorgeous second kitchen of yours would make a beautiful laundry room/ sewing room/ utilities room. You could store out-of-season and overflow clothing in those cupboards, too.

  42. Kyle September 5, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Please, please, PLEASE show us what’s in the chest and safe!

  43. Carla October 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    We moved into a Craftsman Tudor in Wauwatosa Wisconsin and the basement has a massive safe too- big and heavy and ornate. I wish I knew the combination— not sure it will ever leave our house- amazing what surprises these older homes hold!

  44. Carlene: Healthfully Ever After December 5, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    I’m a totally new reader to this blog, but I’m already in love with your posts on the VIctorian. My husband and I bought an 1890′s folk style victorian on the East Coast that we are massively renovating/restoring. And this post in particular- the one where large mechanical objects like washers and dryers aren’t supposed to be on the upper levels- totally hits the nail on the head. Some genius installed them in this house on the second floor and the entire floor moves! They’re going downstairs ASAP.

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