written by:
photos by:
July 29, 2014
Originally published in Modern Across America
as
Happy Hamper
Often, we cleanse our duds in a wasteland of half-forgotten detergent bottles and dryer-sheet-detritus. But one creative couple in Boston’s South End have reimagined their laundry room as a sanctuary.
Modern laundry room with fiber-optic chute

30E Design transformed a hallway in a Boston brownstone from a “dumping ground for all the plumbing and utilities with an existing metal ductwork laundry chute” into a modern space that houses the laundry, furnace, and boiler.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in How to Design with White
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Modern laundry room with fiber-optic chute

The focal point of the sleek, white space is a glowing laundry chute illuminated from within by fiber-optic cables.

Photo by 
2 / 5
Modern laundry room with fiber-optic chute

The Pyrex tube was produced by a manufacturer of laboratory vacuum equipment and was sand-blasted from the inside to contain the light. 

Photo by 
3 / 5
Modern laundry room with hidden wet bar

The architect worked carefully to create ample storage for myriad uses, since the space doubles as a wet bar for entertaining due to its proximity to a garden terrace.

Photo by 
4 / 5
Modern laundry room with hidden custom drying rack

The cabinetry cleverly conceals everything, including a custom drying rack.

Photo by 
5 / 5
Modern laundry room with fiber-optic chute

30E Design transformed a hallway in a Boston brownstone from a “dumping ground for all the plumbing and utilities with an existing metal ductwork laundry chute” into a modern space that houses the laundry, furnace, and boiler.

Project 
My Beautiful Launderette
Architect 

According to architect Anne Barrett of the Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, firm 30E Design, the vision for revamping a laundry room in an 1849 Boston brownstone began with her favorite question: “What would James Turrell do?” The back-of-house space was originally a cold, dank hallway with a dingy aluminum vent linking the basement and first floor. Now anchored by a glowing borosilicate chute—illuminated by a bundle of fiber-optic cables—this laundry room is more of an art installation than a hub for domestic chores. 

The residents wanted the space to be as beautiful as it is functional. Barrett’s challenge was to create a minimalist design to conceal the water heater, cables, Miele washer and dryer, and storage space, all of which are now tucked away behind lacquered cabinets and chiseled limestone. The sleek new laundry room forms a graceful passageway that serves as a transitional space from the main part of the house to the garden out back. 

Modern laundry room with fiber-optic chute

The focal point of the sleek, white space is a glowing laundry chute illuminated from within by fiber-optic cables.

The top of the luminous chute sits beneath the residents’ first-floor sink; they can toss garments from their main bathroom through the diffuse tube, and into a basket below. “Life is messy,” one resident says, “but we never have dirty clothes around. The laundry chute is a big deal in our lives because it makes the mess from upstairs vanish.”

After occupying the house for over a decade, the residents knew exactly how to transform the space so it catered to their habits—and part of that meant that it does double-duty when they entertain. “When we’re not doing laundry,” says one, “this becomes a kitchenette—we can store glasses here, have drinks, a bucket of ice, and an hors d’oeuvres prep space for a garden party.” For these clients, at least, Barrett says, “the laundry room is the new kitchen.” 

Modern laundry room with fiber-optic chute

The Pyrex tube was produced by a manufacturer of laboratory vacuum equipment and was sand-blasted from the inside to contain the light. 

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