A Laundry Room With Bunk Beds and a Shower for Muddy Dogs

Article by: Mitchell Parker

Tom and Jamie Pumpelly’s four dogs like to get dirty. A lot. The couple and their dogs — two blonde Labs, a bichon and a rat terrier–Chihuahua mix — live on acreage along the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers in northern Virginia, and the dogs are always showing up at the side entrance wet and muddy. 

So during an extensive remodel of their home, the couple incorporated plenty of functional space for washing and drying their animals, and for containing them when guests arrive. Using a former bedroom suite vacated once their kids moved away from home, the couple worked with Leroy Johnson of Four Brothers to create a dog-washing station, laundry room, mudroom and dog-bed area.

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15 Doggone-Good Tips for a Pet Washing Station

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This is going to sound harsh, but your dog stinks. Don’t feel bad — it’s natural, and you are nice to let him swim in that creek and run in the mud and roll around in yucky things. You don’t notice anymore, because your schnoz is used to it. But when I come over to visit, the smell of your dog’s bed and the smell on my hand after I pet him is very noticeable, so chances are, the same smell is in your carpets, car and any furniture Fido lounges on. 

You probably mean to wash the dog more often, but it’s a pain in the neck. Large dogs are tough to get into bathtubs, the big shake afterward makes a mess, and the whole thing can be quite an ordeal. 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, a home pet washing station isn’t looking so crazy. In fact, you can use them for other things, too. A builder who’s been adding them for years, Vincent Longo, says that one client uses his pet care station for cleaning dirty golf clubs, gardening tools and even the kids after a busy day making mud pies. 

Whatever your thoughts about pet wash stations, there’s no denying their popularity. If you’re thinking about adding one, here are some ideas to consider. 

Incorporate the washing station into the mudroom. Mudrooms are a very popular spot for dog wash stations. Dogs enter from the back or side door, and their muddy paws never make it into the rest of the house.










Traditional Laundry Room by Chicago Design-Build Firms Orren Pickell Building Group 

Include a handheld showerhead or sprayer. Not only will it help you get your dog’s entire bod nice and clean, but it will also let you do a quick paws-only wash.











Be prepared for the big shake. Anyone who has ever washed dogs knows that afterward they shake off the water with gusto and get the entire area wet (including the person doing the washing). Having a surround and floor that can stand up to water will keep the big shake from damaging drywall and floors. 

If your dog is the type that runs around the house in crazy circles after a bath, all I can recommend is shutting the mudroom door until Sparky dries off and calms down, or else letting him into the garage for the runaround.


Go bigger with the drain. Longo recommends using a 3-inch drain in a pet washing station. It will handle dog hair better than the standard 1½- to 2-inch shower drain. He also recommends adding a hair filter over the drain.

Clearly, this dog loves the pet wash station and is just begging for a rinse. 

Consider an elevated dog bath for smaller pets. It will be easier on your back and knees in the long run, as long as your dog is willing and able to jump into it, or you don’t have a problem lifting your pet into place.


Step it up. In this clever design, the counters double as steps up to the basin. The middle step serves as a drying station and has room for a cozy pet bed underneath. 

For smaller dogs a large utility sink plus a sprayer is all you need. 

Use what the pros use. You can find professional bathing stations complete with ladders or ramps at places like ProGroom. 

Combine gardening and pet grooming. Pet washers are also great places to water plants, rinse off mucky Wellies and clean your gardening tools.


Incorporate your own style. This custom dog bath utilizes vintage tiles that the homeowner had been collecting for years.


Have drying towels handy. An overhead drying rack is a handy spot for drying dog towels as well as laundry. If you utilize this kind of system, be sure to remove your people laundry before the big shake. 

Embrace the theme. This area celebrates dogs in the wallpaper and has plenty of shelves for dog supplies.











Consider going high-end. Do you and your pet have luxurious tastes? If so, try a dog-specific tub. When family-owned company Hydro Systemsdecided to dip into dog bath design, the owners collaborated with their groomer of more than 20 years, adding features like skidproofing to prevent slips and slides, and even an optional jetted whirlpool system. 

Is your dog the spa type? Do tell, because this idea is certainly new to me, and I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Unless the dog’s name is Zsa Zsa. Then it makes sense. (Seriously, though, the folks who designed this tub and added the spa option say it’s a matter of personality on a case-by-case basis.)

This model is for smaller dogs. I included it because a photo of a dog sitting in its own personal bath wearing a bling-bling necklace simply must be shared.





Think about storage for supplies. Just like a human shower area, this one has handy shelves for dog shampoo and sponges.



Take it outside. Homeowners are increasingly incorporating pet washing stations into their outdoor showers. All it takes is a handheld sprayer or showerhead that can reach down to the ground. Rinse off muddy paws here before they can get inside and muck up your rugs.







Provide a clean path to the door. A concrete, gravel or stone walkway will prevent your dog from dirtying up his paws on the way in from an outdoor wash. Unless, of course, the dog breaks free and does that crazy circle thing out in the yard.


8 Ways to Make the Most of Your Laundry Room

Article By: Shane Inman

We spend countless hours in our laundry rooms, scrubbing out stains, pressing our best and even washing the dog. Shouldn’t we make this space as functional and pleasant as possible?

Laundry rooms have come a long way from the barren basement rooms so many of us grew up with. Take a few tips from these uber-practical laundry-room additions to help you lighten your load. 

Refrigerator. Many homes have a second refrigerator in the garage, but these homeowners put one in the laundry room. Building it into the wall helped save space. 

Tip: If you’re not ready to go that far, a mini fridge (no built-in necessary) could still help you store extra beverages. 

Sewing station. Anyone who enjoys sewing knows what a pain it is to set up and take down your clunky machine every time you want to make a repair or tackle a project. A special sewing station in your laundry room can help you get your work done with an ironing board and other necessities nearby. 

Tip: Lower the counter height to 30 inches and knock out a cabinet for some knee space. Make sure there’s an electrical outlet nearby, and don’t forget task lighting to help you thread your needle.


Dog washing tub. Every friend and neighbor with a pooch will be green with envy when you show them your personal dog washing station. This is a great addition for laundry rooms that have an entrance to the outdoors or a garage. Wash Fido’s dirty paws and soiled fur before he comes into the house. 

Tip: Tiling the washing station and your laundry-room floors will make cleanup a cinch.


Raised washer and dryer. Bending down to take heavy loads of clothes out of a washer and dryer isn’t good for anyone’s back. A platform like this takes the (literal) pain out of washing and drying and has a seamless look. 

Tip: Aim to lift your washer and dryer at least 15 inches for the best fit. 

Drip-drying location. A drip-dry station in this spacious laundry room allows wet garments to dry without making a mess. In lieu of more cabinetry, this cavity was tiled all over for ultimate water protection. 

Tip: A bar from the top provides a spot to hang clothes, and the floor drain guarantees there is no standing water.

Floor drain. Even if you don’t have a specialized drip-dry spot, a floor drain can be a great idea in your laundry room. Not only does it make everyday cleaning easy, it can also prevent serious damage if your washing machine ever leaks or overflows. 

Ironing board. For those short on space, a drawer ironing board can give you the benefits of a built-in board without taking up wall or cabinet space. You’ll never have to wrestle with a squeaky freestanding board again. These are easy to retrofit into budget remodels, too. 


Hampers. Built-in laundry hampers like these can help you keep your laundry space extra tidy with minimal effort. When the clothes are piling up, just make sure the drawers are closed! This homeowner has a hamper for whites, colors and darks — all tucked away and out of sight.

Get More From a Multipurpose Laundry Room

Article by: Lisa Frederick

I’ve written before about laundry room envy, but laundry rooms that pull double duty as office spaces, potting areas, wrapping stations and more take it to a whole new level.

It makes total sense to squeeze some extra use from your laundry space, as it’s most likely designed for durability and already outfitted with plumbing. And if you’re lucky enough to have counters or an island for folding, they can moonlight as flat surfaces for wrapping gifts, arranging flowers or doing almost any other task you can imagine.

Take a look at how these laundry rooms have expanded their role with grace.

Traditional Laundry Room


Louisville Architects & Designers

Rock Paper Hammer

Mudroom. What could be more efficient than having a washer and dryer in the same room where dirty socks, wet gloves and soiled jackets land? This beautifully integrated space does an admirable job of keeping the laundry pile to a dull roar. Bonus points for that gorgeous sky-blue ceiling, a trick borrowed from the classic front-porch technique.

Traditional Laundry Room


Princeton Architects & Designers

Knight Architects LLC

Linen closet. Tucked into a beach house, this laundry room also houses towels and other gear for days in the sand and surf.

Traditional Laundry Room


Millbrook Architects & Designers

Crisp Architects

Potting room. Take advantage of the plumbing lines in place and install a second sink for watering plants, washing empty containers and rinsing garden tools. 

Traditional Laundry Room


Bethesda Kitchen & Bath Designers

Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.

Office. Do your laundry while you pay bills or answer messages, and you’ll check two tasks off your list at once. The cushioned benches are an extra-nice touch — you could stretch out and read or nap while the washer spins.

Traditional Laundry Room


Virginia Beach General Contractors

Crestline Homes

Wrapping station. It can be tough to find a flat expanse of space large enough to allow for wrapping presents with ease. Laundry rooms lend themselves well to roomy counters for both wrapping and folding.

Traditional Laundry Room


Toronto General Contractors


Breakfast nook. What a wonderful start to the day: a cup of coffee and a muffin or scone in this light-filled space, with the comforting scent of clean laundry in the air. 

Traditional Kitchen


Portland Architects & Designers

Whitten Architects

Pantry. The pass-through layout in this combination laundry room and pantry makes for an especially smart use of space. 

Traditional Laundry Room


Norwich Architects & Designers

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Pet area. This laundry space incorporates a custom dog shower, handy if you have the square footage. But you don’t have to be that fancy. Just add a comfy dog bed, litter box or other designated area for your furry family members. 

Eclectic Laundry Room


Winters Photographers

Dave Adams Photography

All-purpose room. This lovely, cozy laundry space adapts however it’s needed — as a butler’s pantry, potting station and more. It’s so appealing that I’d probably just hang out in there with a book while the laundry was going. 

Get More From a Multipurpose Laundry Room



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Cleaning Up in the Laundry Room


Downstairs, lurking somewhere in a dark corner of an unfinished basement, is a cramped area housing the washer and dryer. It’s an image most people can relate to as, at one time or another, we have stood in a “laundry room” like this.

Well, that image can be banished from memory, as today’s laundry rooms are not only bright and airy, they are places where people actually enjoy spending time. They are incorporating many amenities from other areas of the home and acting as gathering spaces for a variety of activities. And, the desire for these spaces to incorporate high-end design and functionality is definitely on the rise.

“I consider laundry spaces to be almost on the level with kitchens and baths,” states Tina Kuhlmann, principal designer, Primrose Design Interiors in San Diego, CA. “People are in and out of there all of the time. It’s a really integral part of the kitchen and the family.”

While storage is a necessity in the laundry room, Lee Taylor, showroom manager for Taralla Kitchen and Bath in the Bronx, NY, notes, “the look of the cabinets and countertops are sometimes more important. These rooms have become an extension of the kitchens and living spaces.”

laundry room

Photo: Kelly Keul Duer and Virginia Vipperman | Designer: Cameo Kitchens

Laundry necessities

The approach to designing today’s laundry rooms is much the same as with other rooms, according to designers. It’s critical to understand how clients not only wash and dry their clothes, but also use the surrounding space.

Families tend to do laundry in different ways, so it is important to know their habits, stresses Mike Macklin, designer, Cameo Kitchens in Falls Church, VA. “If the family brings their laundry down in baskets and promptly takes the basket back to their rooms, open shelving is a practical way to go. But, if the laundry tends to pile up, storage behind doors may be a better idea.”

“I put a lot of things behind doors because I know people are messy,” stresses Kuhlmann. “Very few of us live like the catalogs look.”

Of course, a surface to act as a folding area is critical, and one size does not fit all. “When I’m dealing with empty nesters, they often ask for a place to fold that is nice and at back level, so there isn’t a lot of bending over,” comments Kuhlmann.

“Many of our customers opt to use washers and dryers that fit under the counter,” notes Macklin. “This provides a counter space more than long enough to fold and organize clean laundry.”

An oversized sink is an important element, according to several designers. “I always include a laundry sink with a pull-down faucet,” states Kuhlmann. “The pull-down faucet is really nice because you can get in there and spray those stains out or pretreat.”

It can also be used to wash delicates and, once those delicates are washed, areas for hanging become very important.

“Sometimes I’ll do a tall hanging cabinet for delicates because people don’t always want to dry them in a dryer, and they don’t really want to look at them, either,” reports Kuhlmann. She has created cabinets to hang delicates that function like a closet. She includes open-weave bronze or copper on the door, sometimes backed by fabric, to allow for air circulation for drying.

“Drying racks and drip areas are a big deal,” adds Lynley Serratt, CKD, CBD, Allied ASID, director of sales and marketing, Palmer Todd in San Antonio, TX. She reports that her firm has done pull-out drying racks in the space between the top of the front-load washer and dryer and the cabinet above.

laundry room cabinets

Photo: John Lennon Photography | Designer: Tina KuhlmanAnd, while ironing may be akin to drudgery, ironing boards are important to the room’s design. However, tucked away and out of sight is the preference for this household item. Kuhlmann likes to put the ironing board behind a finished door panel so that it looks like it’s part of the cabinetry.

Laundry plus

In addition to the items people expect to find in the laundry room, there are several surprise amenities that are finding their way into the design. Charging stations for the family’s multitude of electronic devices have found a home here, as have beverage refrigerators and flat-screen televisions.

Of course, innovative storage is a must, especially in rooms that serve multiple purposes.

“Organized space for coats, hats, backpacks and sports equipment is essential [when this area is combined with a mud room], and bench seating can be an effective means of hiding these necessities,” reports Macklin.

“These rooms are used by all members of the house on a daily basis for staying organized, and for keeping the clutter out of the rest of the house,” she reports.

“I tend to like drawers in the laundry room that aren’t as deep – maybe three or four of them. That way, you don’t lose things in the bottom,” remarks Kuhlmann. If a larger drawer works better for the space aesthetically, she will often add a hidden drawer within the larger one that can roll fully to the back of the drawer.

Lighting – both natural and installed – is key to the space for both function and spirit. Since time will be spent in a laundry room that serves multiple purposes, windows that bring in daylight are essential to the overall design. And, according to Kuhlmann, good undercabinet lighting is important, especially for matching dark socks!

People also like to personalize the space with add-on features. “You can explore your personality a bit more in this room because, typically, it’s just one family member running the show, unlike a kitchen or bath where you have to compromise,” explains Jenny Rausch, CKD, president, Karr Bick Kitchen and Bath in Brentwood, MO.

laundry room cabinets

Photo: Denash Photography | Designer: Jenny Rausch

She has created laundry rooms with glass tile, marble tops and crystal chandeliers. “If you love an expensive backsplash tile, the good news is that, in a laundry room, you probably won’t need that much of it,” she stresses.

Kuhlmann agrees. “A tile backsplash is a significant amount more money, but you can have a lot of fun with it. It gives the difference between looking at a dry wall surface and that punch of design.”

Kuhlmann also likes putting solid surface countertops in the laundry room when she can. “Nobody wants to be scrubbing tile grout,” she comments.

Rausch stresses that the laundry room can be just as profitable as a kitchen because the same materials are used in both spaces. “Lighting, cabinets and tile carry high margins, and all can be done to the max in these dream laundries,” she comments.

“It’s important to pay attention to all of the details,” continues Rausch. “It’s not just a laundry room – it can be a sanctuary.”

While the idea of laundry room as sanctuary may not have caught on as of yet, the laundry room as mud room, gift wrapping center or craft space certainly has.

Wrapping areas are very popular in the laundry room, according to Kuhlmann, and she will incorporate storage for rolls of ribbon and wrap, scissors, tape and the like.

Kuhlmann has done laundry room dog washes, too. “I’ll install a shower pan and a handshower low on the wall for when your pet comes into the mud room and has muddy feet,” she explains.

“We expect more requests for laundry room renovation in the future, as customers seek to maximize every inch of their home,” concurs Macklin. “The laundry room will be more of a home center and an important component of the home’s design.”

“Call it what you will, the laundry room has become this wonderful multi-use space that’s not just about laundry anymore. It’s almost like a secondary multi-purpose room adjacent to the kitchen, and if we educate our clients in that general direction, they’re going to want it that much more,” states Kuhlmann.

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