This reveal has been a long time coming… back in January 2021, with a three week old newborn, we discovered the base of our washing machine had rusted out and water was leaking behind the machine. Realllly fun stuff, especially when you have to resort to handwashing newborn clothes because you’re in the middle of a pandemic. Anyway, instead of just repairing the subfloor and replacing the washing machine, we took the opportunity to update the whole space, including the hall that connects to the laundry room and our outdoor patio. Let’s get into those updates, which took us nearly two years to complete, but was so worth it.
*This post includes product gifted by several brands I love, including Schumacher, Backdrop, Emtek, Buster & Punch, and Hudson Valley Lighting. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create helpful content while featuring products we use and love!
First off, the ceiling height in both rooms was incredibly low at seven-feet, knowing that the rooms were an addition that was only a single story, I had a sneaking suspicion we could easily vault the ceiling to gain ceiling height. And my suspicions were confirmed once we opened up the drywall that there was no structural reason for the low season, which gained us nearly three feet at the peak. This instantly became a feature I wanted to highlight in both rooms.
Next up, the floor was previously a vinyl wood-look that was quite orangey in colour and was not holding up very well (an unfortunate incident with a steam cleaner had left it discoloured). I had this vision for marble checkerboard tiles running down the length of the room and after replacing the subfloor with a much sturdier and thicker OSB, we installed the tile over a Schluter Ditra membrane to create a waterproof flooring that would not be subject to the same issues as our last floor that had rotted out thanks to the leaking washing machine. We used this darker Bardiglio marble tile in a 12×12 size and this lighter Carrara marble tile, both in a honed finish. We also laid the same tile in the adjacent front hall for a mirror image effect (that transformation is next on our list). I absolutely love how the marble flooring turned out and it has turned a sad afterthought of a space into something special.
Once we had the bones in place for both spaces, I could actually have some fun with them.
I wanted the side hall to feel like a jewel box moment and to highlight the dramatic ceiling height, so I knew wallpaper was going to be the star. After looking at what feels like a hundred wallpaper samples to find the right one, I discovered that Schumacher was now carrying Boråstapeter, a Swedish wallpaper collection, and discovered so many great papers that I knew would work beautifully in the space. I quickly landed on Hidden Ivy in the Spruce colourway, which is dramatic yet a bit muted and very livable. I wanted a wallpaper that I could run all the way up the ceiling to really let those sloped ceilings shine and this paper’s repeat was absolutely perfect. What I love about this paper is that it pulls a lot of the colours that already exist on our main floor together into a single paper and yet, it feels fresh but not too over the top. In short, we’re obsessed.
We also hung the paper ourselves, spending an hour or so every night of one week installing a panel or two at a time, making it a low pressure install that wasn’t as overwhelming as tackling it all in one go. It also allowed us to really see the transformation day by day as the paper was installed, appreciating the new views. The Boråstapeter wallpaper went up really nicely and is a nice, thick paper that is printed really well. It has also held up to little hands touching it frequently without any issue.
I love how the peek of wallpaper looks from our kitchen, where it sits so nicely with the colours of our cabinetry and backsplash.
And how great the wallpaper looks with the Schumacher Moncorvo custom cushion on our mudroom bench.
To pair with the wallpaper, we turned to Backdrop for paint for the trim colour. Originally, I had planned to use the same navy paint as in the laundry room, but I quickly decide that wouldn’t frame out the view into the laundry room as nicely as a contrasting colour. After ordering the large sticker swatches from Backdrop (a game-changer!), I narrowed my sights on Road to Todos Santos, which is a lovely sagey grey-green. It picks up the lighter green in the wallpaper, while also being considerably lighter than the navy in the laundry room, creating incredible contrast. This was my first time using Backdrop paint, and we were so impressed with the low sheen finish and how high-end the paint feels.
Our side door had always been a roadblock to me painting the door any colour but white because it has between the door white grids, which is not my favourite look with a different colour on the frame. So, after a lot of searching for a solution that didn’t involve completely replacing the door or the glass, I discovered that you can replace the frame around the glass with one that has grids on both sides of the glass with this kit for only $115. It was relatively easy to install and allowed us to paint the door in the way that I like, with window grids that match the door. I will say, it’s not a completely perfect alignment, but it really is 90% there and I’m not going to stress about the slight misalignment.
After painting out the door in Backdrop Road to Todos Santos too, it became very clear that the old door hardware was not doing the room any favours. Before we painted the door, the hardware had already been painted over and pretty unattractive. We also had installed a cheap electronic lockset on the door when we first moved in that had been destroyed by all our construction and was covered in thinset and paint. So, I replaced the lockset with the EMTouch Electronic Touchscreen Deadbolt and the Hamden handleset in Satin Brass from Emtek, and it is hands-down the nicest looking lockset I’ve ever seen. Having installed Emtek products throughout our house, I know it’s a high quality lockset that is super solid and will stand the test of time.
It was a huge transformation to update from a doorknob to a full handleset, which looks infinitely more elevated, and we used an egg knob on the interior. I love the customization that allows for a totally distinct look. To upgrade the hardware even further, we added new hinges with ball tips, that feel even more special.
We also took the opportunity to paint the exterior side of the door in The Early Stuff, a soft blue, from Backdrop paint. Against the all white exterior, the blue is such a welcome addition that creates a focal point when you’re looking from our patio space.
As for lighting, I was on the hunt for a light that was substantial but didn’t obstruct the view of the wallpaper. Oh, and it needed to articulate, in order to be hung on a sloped ceiling. I have for a long time loved this Morris Lantern from Circa Lighting and with clear glass, it was the perfect fixture for the space. It balances the pendant in the laundry room, without overpowering it, and it also feels fresh in shape.
Finally, I updated the switches to these favourite toggle switches from Buster and Punch in brass, which feel more special than a standard switch, especially against this gorgeous wallpaper.
And that’s it for the side hallway! I would love to add a large piece of art on the big wall in this room, but until I find the perfect piece, I’m holding off on pulling the trigger on anything just for the sake of filling the space, especially since this wallpaper is so gorgeous.
In the laundry room, after lots of debate over front loaders compared to stacked machines, we installed this front loading washing machine and dryer, which have been fantastic over the past year and a half. We added a butcherblock countertop over top of the machines to provide a space to fold laundry, which we were previously missing. In order to have access to the washing machine cut off valve (we also added one to the basement) and outlet, we divided the countertop along the length of it and added recessed brass marine hatch handles to allow us to pull up the back piece of butcherblock for easy access. We purchased the cheapest countertop we could find that was deep enough, which was red oak, so we stained it in Kona Wood gel wax from Varathane.
We installed tongue and groove paneling on the ceiling to match the mudroom bench area, which creates more interest on the ceiling. We then painted the ceiling in a high gloss finish to draw your eye up further. I love it.
We built our own upper cabinets, after the least expensive quote we could find for inset cabinets for this spot was $700+. We made sure to take them as high as possible and that the depth was sufficient for large detergent containers from Costco. These cabinets provide lots of extra storage that the room was sorely lacking. For hardware, I used these cabinet latches from Rejuvenation in unlacquered brass, to coordinate with the kitchen hardware.
We painted all the surfaces in the same colour, Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue, and it’s dramatic and moody, in the best possible way. I love the experience of walking through spaces sequentially that feel completely different in terms of lightness, and in this situation walking from our white kitchen/mudroom area into the fully wallpapered side hall and then landing in the dark navy laundry room feels memorable.
On the ceiling, we hung this fantastic sphere pendant from Hudson Valley Lighting that’s part of the Mark Sikes collection, which I have pieces from in several other rooms. I love how substantial this light feels and the historical feeling of the prismatic glass in a more modern execution. It’s a very, very good fixture and is a vast improvement from the pull lightbulb that previous was in this room.
Finally, we hung two inexpensive retractable drying lines to create more function. I opted for a matte black finish to recede into the walls.
And that’s that! We’re so proud of the work we’ve done in this room, even though it was a slower pace than we have run at in the past (on account of the addition to our family during this time).