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Old 02-02-2013, 12:39 AM   #1
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Convert laundry room to kitchen for rental?


Recently purchased a new home, quite a bit larger than the wife and I need. The lower level has two bedrooms, a living room, and bathroom, with a convenient separate entrance. The only thing keeping it from being a self-contained space that could be rented is the lack of a kitchen.

We are considering undertaking changing a laundry room into a kitchen. It's a small space (just over 80 sq ft), and we don't want anything extravagant; obviously hoping to keep the space down. So, a few questions-- does it seem reasonable that we could plumb the sink in where the washer currently is? We can get to the pipes in the crawlspace, so no need to remove the wall. Any advice on how to lay out such a small space? Finally, think it could be done for $5k? Thanks in advance for your help.

Pictures show current layout, dimensions, and my first thinking on a potential layout.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:41 AM   #2
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Convert laundry room to kitchen for rental?


You need to post your location in your profile. As for that space, 8x10 is way too small to be a workable Kitchen, unless you plan on following New York City new rules on micro living.

To add, our Kitchen is 10x12, until I took the wall down, now it is 12x17, which includes the dining area, in which one side will be cabinets, the other is from the fridge, to 106" of cabinet space, that is with the dishwasher as part of that side. The other side is 72" of cabinets & a 32" range. It leaves 7 feet of space aprox. between cabinets.

So yep, you are going to be in a world of hurt. Not to piss in the pool, but why buy a place that you could not afford, and now have to look into making extra income, by renting to others to pay your bills?

We are happy with our 825 square foot home, and if I ever decide to finish the basement, that would add another 825 square feet finished space, then if we redid the attic for living, that is another 720-825 square feet of space. More than enough for the two of us, and even if we had grandchildren, over kill at that.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:32 AM   #3
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Convert laundry room to kitchen for rental?


I looked at your floor plan and ideas and this is my opinion. The main things you're going to run into is functionality and budget. Also keep in mind a standard bathroom is 5 feet by 8 feet, so 80sq feet or 8 x10 is going to be cramped. You want a 3' opening in front of your door, 3 feet between your two walls of cabinets for an aisle and 18" in front of a window. The plumbing may be able utilize the washer drain but not sure on how much or what it involves to bring in new plumbing line and connect it. If you have any cooktop you need to make sure to get a self ventilating hood, otherwise you have to have a vent pipe leading out the roof. Hope this helps I think you should leave it a laundry room and advertise your rental as a community kitchen.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:08 AM   #4
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Convert laundry room to kitchen for rental?


It could still be rented as a nice basement apartment with only 1 bedroom and a nice laundry area. Just make sure the bedrooms have proper egress.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:43 AM   #5
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Convert laundry room to kitchen for rental?


Might want to check with zoning before spending any money on anything to see if it's even allowed.
In the past I've lived on boats and even a camping trailer with kitchens that small so I know with some planning it can be done.
No dishwasher, apartment sized ref. single bowl sink can help keep the size needed down.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:15 AM   #6
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Not to piss in the pool, but why buy a place that you could not afford, and now have to look into making extra income, by renting to others to pay your bills?
Yeah.... pretty negative... anyone who has gotten a mortgage in the last 12 months (and it will be even more so going forward) can tell you that you WILL be able to afford what you buy. All of our bills are comfortable, with plenty of margin. We don't need to rent. With family on the East Coast, we expect that they will come for some extended stays. We may rent to friends, at a cost which would be well below market value. And, in the not-too-distant future, our family will grow into this home. In any case, having a separate cooking area, even less full-featured than the "main kitchen" (13 x 19; I'll be considering that layout later), would be nice.


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We are happy with our 825 square foot home, and if I ever decide to finish the basement, that would add another 825 square feet finished space, then if we redid the attic for living, that is another 720-825 square feet of space. More than enough for the two of us, and even if we had grandchildren, over kill at that.
I'm very happy for you. It is true that I have never lived in a place as large as this, and maybe that is why I am even considering the idea that such a small area could be repurposed as I describe. If it proves unfeasible, I won't do it. But, clearly there is a lot of experience on this forum, so I'll see what others have to say.

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Old 02-02-2013, 10:20 AM   #7
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Might want to check with zoning before spending any money on anything to see if it's even allowed.
In the past I've lived on boats and even a camping trailer with kitchens that small so I know with some planning it can be done.
No dishwasher, apartment sized ref. single bowl sink can help keep the size needed down.
Thanks Joe C. Good advice, I'll definitely be familiarizing myself with the zoning laws before I move forward. We had the permits on the home updated before we purchased it, so I know the people to contact (and the headaches associated with the process )
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
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Actually CA_Wolverine I have growing up, and it was more space than we could utilize while our family lived there. I chose to downsize, because we knew what we could afford, plus I do not have to worry about people wanting to stay over, because both bedrooms are taken.

And also anyone who has gotten a mortgage in the past 12 months, has to be over qualified and a ton of money available, because then and even now, mortgage lenders are no longer just letting any Joe or Sally to sign on the line.

Going back to the original topic at hand, what is the total floor space of that area, that you plan on using all together? You may find that you will have to move some walls, in order to make it proper sizes, depending on what your AHJ states. Then again, they can state that you may not be able to. Always good to find out from them, before you go any farther and start knocking down walls.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:58 PM   #9
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Actually CA_Wolverine I have growing up...
Apologies, I meant to say that I have never lived in a place this large, I didn't mean to imply that you hadn't. Regardless, the issue at hand...

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You may find that you will have to move some walls, in order to make it proper sizes, depending on what your AHJ states.
The space is ~86 sq ft, and has an exterior door on on one side and a doorway to an "rec room" on the other. It shares a wall with a bedroom (the wall opposite where the washer/dryer are currently). Combining the space of these two rooms would be wonderful, as this would still leave 1 bedroom on the floor. But, that's a bigger project than we're ready to undertake at the moment....

Thanks (sincerely this time time) for taking the time to respond.
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:01 PM   #10
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Just a thought..someone more knowledgeable will comment on the logistics if it is doable.

How about the laundry and all the walls stay as is. BUT, if you raise the floor in the laundry just enough to accomodate pipes to the opposite wall where that bedroom can become the kitchen ??
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:34 PM   #11
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Just a thought..someone more knowledgeable will comment on the logistics if it is doable.

How about the laundry and all the walls stay as is. BUT, if you raise the floor in the laundry just enough to accomodate pipes to the opposite wall where that bedroom can become the kitchen ??
Majority of the places, that will not fly, due to not code. They are going to have to cut into the concrete floor, to pull all DWV lines properly. Also depending on who finished the basement to begin with, it may have not been done right at that time. Another thing, with the OP living in California, especially in Oakland, there are tighter constraints, due to Earthquakes in that part of the country, that have brought down structures.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:00 PM   #12
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Convert laundry room to kitchen for rental?


This got me thinking about how much space I had in my last kitchen. Answer is, slightly less! The current project has two doors, so that in effect "takes up" some of the space, but I'm sure it can be done. Next thing is to figure out the budget.... I'll keep you updated.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:08 AM   #13
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So I take it, a 18" next to a 36" sink base, with the 24" counter over the dish washer, and for the stove side, a 24" on either side of the stove base of maybe 30". Not much counter space. This would work for a Wet bar/snack area, but not for a functioning Kitchen, if you are having say the parents over for longer than a month.

Also, you are only giving 4 feet of space between cabinet fronts, so it may not fly with your local AHJ. You may find as I mentioned before, that you are going to have to do a lot of homework, and possibly move some walls to make it a better functioning Kitchen space.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:52 AM   #14
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Just to be clear, that is not a proposed design, that WAS my kitchen, in a condo that I shared with a friend, for the six years prior to buying my house.

We like cooking, and did wish we had more space, but it was by no means a terrible situation. Sure, we all want giant granite and steel kitchens, but you may not realize how many people live, especially in urban areas. It's good that you like your home, because with your conditions on what you find intolerable for longer than a month, you might find it hard to adjust to anywhere else.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:40 AM   #15
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ive lived in houses with a smaller kitchen, and my parents' current kitchen is about that same size, just two feet wider. Its tough, there is no counter space, no storage space, if more than one person lives there they are always on top of each other, but its doable. Id check local laws if i were you, but i dont see any reason why this wouldnt work just for a couple nights or for a college student or something. Hell even an RV kitchen is smaller than that and people use those all the time!
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