The key thing to achieve was to sit the appliances on a platform so they’d be at waist height and much easier to load and unload. I wanted a laundry basket to sit on a shelf in front of the washing machine or tumbler to easily load and unload the machines.
I knew regular kitchen units wouldn’t take the load and vibrations of a washing machine and tumbler, but thought I could construct a basic timber frame that would be strong enough.
The original scullery had been a utility room, but was in a pretty poor state. When we got our kitchen refurbished we asked the plasterer to re-skim the utility room walls. We also needed to secure some of the old quarry tiles by cementing them back in place and then I laid a screed over the top to level the floor.
Here’s the floor units for the sink in their rough position. And the first of the METOD/MAXIMERA units in place to get measurements for the frame after the room had been replastered and screeded.
Because the sink units I was using for the appliance platform only have two metal strips over the top, they’re easy to cut down to the desired height and reattach the metal strips to the top of the shortened side panels.
Construction the pedestal frame
Next was constructing the frame to support the appliances. I used standard studwork timber, braced with brackets from B&Q. Each end of the frame was screwed into the floor.
I thought 40mm worktop on top of this would probably be strong enough. But just to make sure there’d be no flexing and bouncing, I decided to add an 18mm plywood board to support the middle.
Below, you can just about make out the pencil lines marked on the floor for where it’s going to go. I was planning on covering the front of the timber frame with cut down VOXTORP cover panels, so figured I’d just cut another very slim strip to cover the front of the plywood too.
Here’s the platform constructed and the appliances in place. Also testing the all-important MAXIMERA drawer to take a standard laundry basket. You can also see the wall units in place.
At this point, I tested the washing machine with a load. The platform was strong enough, but on the spin cycle there was a lot of lateral movement I hadn’t anticipated!
I’d already planned to build a shelf over our floor-mounted boiler to the left, which would screw into the tall end panel on the right of the platform and brace that side.
Reinforcing against lateral movement
To add some stability on the other side, I screwed the end panel to the sink worktop, knowing the screws would be hidden by the tumbler. The timber frame below is also screwed to the corner unit, which is screwed to the wall, so this side was pretty solid.
Then I cut the worktop for the boiler shelf, screwing that through the other end panel and securing the other end on a timber batten attached to the wall.
With the studwork timber frame and plywood support below, the appliance platform was about 60mm wider than the combined width of the appliances. The wall units above are on a standard IKEA suspension rail and it was easy enough to cut a cover panel to use as a central spacer. They’re also screwed to the end panels for a little extra strength and stability.
To make sure the washing machine couldn’t go anywhere during the spin cycle, I found some self-adhesive firm foam panels on eBay. These are intended to stick on garage walls and protect your car doors when opening.
When stuck on the sides of the washer and tumbler and squeezed into my laundry pedestal, they provided the perfect spacers. I squeezed a strip of 6mm ply in the middle to add some additional force to the sides and I can confirm that our washing machine on a 1400rpm spin with a full load now doesn’t move anywhere!
Laundry basket shelves
The final step was then making my laundry basket shelves. The MAXIMERA sink units come with two sets of drawer runners. I used the bottom pair exactly as shown in the cabinet instructions to take the standard drawer. This is the perfect size to take a standard round UK laundry basket.
I then fitted the second pair in the top of my cut down cabinets and cut a piece of cover panel to size to use as a shelf and just glued it on to the runners. I also drilled a finger hole in the shelf, so you can easily pull out the shelf when you’re ready to load or unload a machine.
So the drawers each store a laundry basket, and you simply pull it out and sit it on the shelf when you need to take a load out of the machine. For a little extra stability with a full basket, we’ve started to close the drawer slightly so the drawer front supports the front of the basket, and that works a treat.
So there you go – our utility room has gone from a horrible mess to a really functional space where we don’t ever have to bend down to load or unload a machine.
The hacking of the IKEA sink units is really easy, and if you have some basic joinery skills you’ll be able to make a similar laundry pedestal that works just as well.