Alma House: Laundry Center Complete

September 19, 2011

Oh hello y’all, how are things?  I’m feeling pretty good today having finally finished the laundry room over at our adopted Alma House.   For those who don’t know, earlier this year, the hubs and I decided to adopt a house in partnership with our local COTS (Committee on the Shelterless). 

The Alma Project began as the transformation of a fixer upper house into a comfortable functional home for women who desperately need it. Living inside the Alma House are single mothers, previously homeless, who reside for free on the condition that they are learning skills, stabilizing their lives, attending counseling, and that they remain drug and alcohol free. Busy remodeling their lives, these mothers have no time or money to fix up this house.

Over the past few months, we’ve given our time to this project with money donated by so many of you. Some of you blogged about the Alma house and others held small fundraisers to benefit the project.  We cannot thank you enough. 

In April, we spent a day transforming the entry hallway to create better utility:

alma hallway after


In May, we built them this media center

alma house media storage center


Over the summer, we set out to build the families a laundry room center in the garage and at last it is complete! 

Here’s a glimpse of the space a few months ago:

laundry room before


Here it is today!

laundry center alma after


This all started with a simple request for more storage. These ladies weren’t even asking for a laundry center, I’m sure they never envisioned one in their wildest dreams.  They just wanted a place where they could store their extra things they had no room for in the house.  

Me?  I saw something a little more than storage.  I wanted to create for them a laundry center because I know how it is when you’ve got kids – the laundry just never ends.  It piles up everywhere and all a mom really wants is a place to lay it down and fold it. 

I knew my local Lowe’s carried stock cabinetry, and their white versions were great quality. I sketched up a diagram and off we went to Lowe’s to investigate how many cabinets and countertops we would need, but the projection for the entire project came in higher than we could afford in the budget for the project.  

I had a great contact with Lowes, and asked them if they’d be willing to donate $500 worth of cabinetry to the project.  Big props to Lowe’s, they agreed!  We were able to grab all the cabinetry, three base cabinets and five upper cabinets, for $995 (one base cost us only $20 since the back was damaged).  With the $500 store credit, we got all the cabinetry for this space for $495 !

Originally, we planned to install the entire laundry center ourselves.  After some consideration, we realized that times are really rough for contractors right now. We budgeted some extra money, we assigned the building of the half walls and the installation of the cabinetry to a local contractor we knew could use the money. 

The first thing he did was build those half walls with wood framing and sheetrock (seen below). The new half wall has the effect of hiding the washer and dryer behind it and also stabilizing the cabinetry and folding counter.  We also primed and painted the walls which were covered with dirt and stains.

countertop storage wall


We squeezed three lower and five upper cabinets into this new space and topped it with a brand new laminate counter to create a folding surface. 

folding table


Finally, we added new pulls and knobs to finish it off. 

cabinets pulls and knobs

The ladies who live here are over the moon with excitement – they absolutely love it!

I’m so proud of this new laundry center, and again I wish to issue a great big thank you to Lowe’s for their generous donation of cabinetry to this project.  We couldn’t have completed it without that extra credit.  

Also a huge thank you to Becky at Vinyl Crafts who donated these custom signs that she made for the children’s bedrooms and also the family rules subway art for the living room.  You rock Becky, the kids are so excited! 

vinyl crafts


Total Expenses:

Cabinetry:  $995 (minus $500 credit) = $495

Laminate countertop: $105

Framing supplies: $55

Primer & paint = $30

Knobs & pulls = $55

Laundry baskets & soaps = $45

Labor = $300

Total for laundry center = $1,085


We’re so proud we completely transformed this space, providing a ton of new storage, a folding counter, and also disguising the the washer and dryer behind the half wall.   

alma laundry center

  Isn’t it fantastic ?!

We couldn’t have done it without all of your support !!

We have a small amount of money left in our Alma House account, and we are trying to decide where the money will go.  We think it will be best used to purchase a new sink and faucet in the kitchen.  We will keep you posted!

Many thanks to all of you who donated and raised funds for this worthy cause.  We’re so grateful to all of you who helped us give back to these families living in this shelter. 


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