Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Country Laundry | ORC™ Mechanicals Week 3

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Mechanical renovations in the laundry room were the reasons for updating the room. Once the decision was made to update the washer and dryer connections and to add insulation, it seemed a good time also to add French Country style to another room in our post and beam house.

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 renovations to washer, dryer, lighting, insulation

Welcome to Week 3 of the ONE ROOM CHALLENGE™ hosted by Linda of Calling It Home and sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens. 

Major structural progress was made since last week's post, ORC™Design Week 2. And there was also exciting progress with the design aspects. All week, boxes arrived and shipments were picked up. Plus, my favorite part of the updated laundry, a beautiful French style print, was framed. 

However, before all the design features are installed and shared, 
the structural bones of the laundry room 
have to be updated.

The French Laundry Room must function, not just be another pretty room. ⓵ Demo, ⓶ new electrical wiring, ⓷ new washer box connections, ⓸ new dryer vent connections, and ⓹ new insulation all have to be completed before the fun, beautiful parts of the room start coming together. 

This post is filled with practical information about upgrades to the laundry room's mechanical and electrical components. 

D E M O 

A project begins! Demo day kicked off the dream of a new vision, a laundry room functional, yet beautiful. 

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 hit a snag with washer and dryer electrical lines during demolition of cabinets
Old cabinets and trim were removed and carried to the greenhouse to be repurposed. The fluorescent ceiling light was removed and taken to the storage room above the garage to be installed. 

Old sheetrock and blown-in insulation came down from the ceiling with no problems. 

A SNAG in the plans occurred during 
demolition of the walls.

You never know what's behind your walls until you open them up... or at least try to open them up! 

The two exterior walls have very few 2x4s because the walls were built up with four layers, an unconventional construction style for outer walls. 
  • The visible first layer was sheetrock as expected.
  • The second layer was plywood panels, not expected! 
  • The third layer was solid 4" thick insulation foam boards, not the expected blown-in insulation. 
  • The fourth layer was plywood panels to which the exterior walls and siding of the house are attached.   

The demo crew had already taken out one wall of the solid foam insulation before I saw the demo progress. After a quick consultation, we decided to keep intact the foam insulation in the other exterior wall. A combination of new plywood panels and 2x4s will be installed. Then the new walls and ceiling will be ready for batts insulation and installing the new tongue and groove.  

E L E C T R I C A L  W I R I N G 

SNAG #2 during demolition of the walls. 
The electrical wire to the washer and the 220 wire to the dryer were nicked! 

A licensed Master Electrician investigated solutions to the dryer and washer electrical wiring issues and repaired the wiring. I had to contact four electricians before I could get one who could do the last-minute repair as quickly as possible. We only lost one day in the schedule and are back on track to finish on time for the final reveal day. 


L I G H T I N G 

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 progress with lighting and electricity with 2 new wall sconces

Plans and installation of wiring for two new wall sconces and a new wall switch went forward. 

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 progress with lighting and electricity wiring for overhead light and wall switch
A new wall light switch (new blue electrical box) inside the door from the hall will make it much easier to turn on and off lights in the room. Before the renovation, the only light switch was across the room by the door leading to the garage. This was another decision made as "Why not?" We had the room opened up to the studs in the walls and ceiling making access simple. 

The ceiling light fixture connection (blue box in the ceiling) was relocated closer to the washer and dryer. Wiring for two new wall sconces was completed this week. The sconces will be on either side of the window to provide more light from the opposite side of the room. 

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 progress with new overhead lighting flush mount patterned clear glass globe

Wiring for the large ceiling light fixture was connected to the new wall sconces' electrical wiring so all three lights will come on at the same time. 

When I was shopping for new lighting fixtures I entered the name of each light fixture for a search across the internet. There is a wide variance in prices for the same fixtures made by the same company. Be sure to read all the details, including shipping costs and return policies, before placing an internet order. What at first glance looks like a bargain price may not be a real bargain! 

Also, read comments from buyers for each fixture. I learned good information in the seller's fixture descriptions, but also learned more valuable information from the comments and questions sections. Be sure to read the comments made by people who rated the item as a 1 or 2 unfavorable review. 

W A L L  S W I T C H E S  &  O U T L E T S 

While remodeling electrical fixtures, consider changing the color of existing electrical switches and outlets at the same time. 

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 progress with electrical wall plugs updated with white plugs

The cost of electrical switches and outlets can be as low as less than a $1 each. For only a few dollars you can update old electrical parts at the same time as installing new wiring and fixtures. Why not? You have the walls open and wiring exposed already! 

The old switches in my laundry room were ivory. We are changing out the existing switches and outlets to white to match the new white painted tongue and groove walls. Little details make a difference in an overall design. 

W A S H E R  &  D R Y E R  

C O N N E C T I O N  B O X E S 


The non-functioning washer drain was capped, left in the wall, and the washer box was removed. A new washer box for the operable drain and water lines was installed. 

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 progress with new washer box and relocated water lines

Since our old boxes were discolored plastic with rust stains, updating those connections was another small detail that makes a big impact in updating a room. 


Does your dryer fit snugly against your utility room wall? Mine doesn't. The coiled vent pipe is a mess. After I started dreaming of a new laundry room, replacing the dryer vent pipe was high on my wish list. There is more than one option for getting a dryer hose connection that links your dryer to the vent. 

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 progress with new dryer hose magnetic vent connections to fit dryer against the wall
A MagVent dryer vent connection is what I chose after researching for over a year. Re-connecting the washer and dryer will be the last thing my contractor does, and the dryer connection should be a snap with this new magnetic hose connection designed to fit close to the wall. 

My first plan for upgrading the dryer wall connection was to install a metal dryer vent box in the wall between the studs. This would allow the dryer vent pipe to fit inside the vent box and make it possible to push the dryer close to the wall.

After the sheetrock was removed during the demo, we found the wall behind the dryer was filled with pipes with no room to install a dryer vent box between the studs. The MagVent dryer connection is my plan B, but the more I think about it, the more I think it should have been my plan A all along. Sometimes the best things happen as alternatives. 

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 progress with new dryer exterior metal vent cover with snug flap
Another dryer vent connection update is the dryer exhaust vented to the outside of the house. Fortunately, my dryer is on an exterior wall that allows a straight vent pipe through the wall to the outside. 

Upgrading my old plastic vent cover with this factory-painted metal vent hood was the best vent cover I could find. And, all the customer reviews were excellent! Every comment shouted the praises for this cover. The internal flap fits snugly and prevents air infiltration which will help keep the laundry room warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. 

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 progress photo for washer and dryer connections and repaired wiring

I N S U L A T I O N 

New ceiling and wall insulation were the main reasons for updating the laundry room. All other updates happened as a "Why not," while taking care of the new insulation.

New insulation will be added to the walls and ceiling next. 

Next week's schedule calls for installing the new white-washed tongue and groove ceiling, the new white painted tongue and groove walls, and new wall cabinets! Sure to be the highlights for next week! 

Progress to date...

French Country Laundry One Room Challenge Week 3 progress to do list with checked off items

The 'interior dryer connection box between studs' has been X-ed and crossed off the list since a different dryer connection has been selected instead.  

If you missed previous posts for my laundry room ORC™, you can see them and my sources at Source List

You may also like to see my Pinterest board, One Room Challenge™ Botanic Bleu for materials and products I am using to create the French Country Laundry of my dreams. 

Each week I will update both sources above. 

I can hardly wait to see the new white-washed tongue and groove ceiling ready to be installed by next week. And, to show it to you for the Week 4 progress post. Are you as ready to see new walls and ceiling as I am? 

Check out the progress for everyone else in the ORC™at ONE ROOM CHALLENGE™. See their progress and the hurdles they overcame this week.