The Laundry Revolution!
The design and functionality of every room in a home has undergone enormous change over the past few decades and whilst the laundry is not generally looked upon with the same level of interest nor ‘excitement’ as a kitchen or bathroom when it comes to design it is nevertheless an important room to consider.
It’s hard to believe that just a couple of generations ago someone in the household (normally the lady of the house or a domestic servant) would spend a considerable amount of time each day laboriously washing clothes by hand – boiling water in a copper, scrubbing the clothing by hand with soap, rinsing, and then squeezing out as much water as possible by putting each item through a wringer – hard work, but a great activity for building up the biceps. The place where this was done wasn’t called ‘the wash-house’ for nothing!
(Many of you will need to turn to Google to gain an understanding of much of the terminology used above!)
The advent of the electric washing machine was an enormous step forward even though by today’s standards it’s operation was still time-consuming and largely manual having an agitator and still, the wringer (albeit now without the need to wind the handle!).
Through all of this, a sizable room in every home was needed to carry out the significant domestic task of washing clothes, bedding, and towels.
Then came the automatic washing machine! What a revolution: just put the clothes in, add the detergent, hit the buttons, and walk away. Not only a huge time-saver but a machine requiring far less space for its operation.
By now, the wash-house had gained an elevation in status to become ‘the laundry’ and as long as there was room for the fancy new gadget (the auto washer) and a tub beside it that was enough. Clothes driers too had appeared and been refined so people would often attach one to the wall above their auto washer in order to make efficient use of space.
And who wants to allocate space to chores?
In time, many new homes were designed with a ‘laundry’ simply being a small alcove in a garage with a tub plumbed into one corner and because the previously required work space was no longer required this gained ready acceptance from most people.
Along the way homeowners have also realised that a washing machine and drier can be accommodated behind a pair of bi-folding doors inside a small cupboard or alcove. With so many dwellings becoming more compact – especially with the proliferation of small city apartments – the need to find somewhere to house the washing appliances has increased and laundry storage within a bathroom for instance is now very normal.
The appliances themselves are now available in more compact sizes along with the availability of washer-drier ‘combos’ so now even those contemplating life in a ‘tiny house’ can still create a laundry system of some kind.