Over the last fourteen years Laura and Patrick Butler-Madden have built their business renovating properties, with many of their stunning projects featured in the press. Their exacting interiors are fresh, serene and elegant, and combine traditional features with the practicalities of contemporary living. We were delighted to sit down with Laura to discover her top interior design tips for utility rooms and why she opts for Miele laundry appliances.
What was the inspiration for your Cotswold farmhouse utility room?
“When designing a house, I always work with the energy and history of a building to decide what direction the room design will take. This room was the original dairy of the farmhouse and a very rustic space, so I wanted to create something calm and gentle with natural elements and soft greens to complement the marble and soft wood floor. I do love how it turned out!”
Does the utility room interior design continue throughout the farmhouse?
“The rest of the house is still work in progress, as we are waiting to finish the large kitchen extension – the other rooms are almost there, but until the new kitchen is finished the house can’t totally make sense (we are storing things in all the wrong rooms!) The overall design of the house will be similar though – soft, calm colours and bringing nature in wherever possible.”
What are your favourite design elements in the new utility room?
“I love it all – the marble sink feels very special and really elevates the space and I adore the stripes on the wall too!”
How has the interior design of utility rooms evolved?
“In terms of my own designs, I decided many years ago that utility rooms need to be beautiful! It’s a space where you spend a lot of time and whilst it needs to function well, I don’t see why it can’t also be a beautiful and uplifting space. I have used wallpaper in all my utility spaces for years now – I love adding pattern and it really helps soften the room. I am also now trying to always separate the laundry room from a boot room in my designs – it seems crazy to me to have the dirtiest things in the house stored where you wash, dry and fold your clean clothes! I always look for a hallway space or a cupboard elsewhere to house dirty boots and coats!”
Why do you think utility rooms have become so popular?
“I think more and more we are trying to separate beauty and function in the home, when space allows. Having somewhere to hide your laundry is a real luxury – I have lived for many years with clothes drying all over my kitchen and sitting room, but being able to have a space, however small, to do this makes such a difference in a home. In the US and Canada, the laundry room is always upstairs close to the bedrooms, which I think makes a lot of sense, wherever it is in the house I think great if it can be tucked away.”
Why did you choose Miele laundry appliances?
“We always choose Miele as they really are the best machines. They function so well and also look good. The technology is brilliant, and we love that they are always evolving and developing new functions. They are also built to last.”
What are the stand out features of your Miele washing machine and tumble dryer?
“The TwinDos system is amazing – you never have to think about dosing, just pre-load your detergent and softener and the machine does the rest for you and measures how heavy the load is etc, so clever! We also love the app – it alerts you when the wash has finished, which is brilliant as I always forget usually.”
Why did you choose to have them freestanding rather than hidden away?
“We chose to have them freestanding as they are attractive to look at, easier to access, and I don’t think you need to hide them in a laundry room set up. I think perhaps integrating is more important when they are part of the kitchen design.”
What programmes/ features do you most use on your washing machine and tumble dryer?
“I love that there is such a huge selection of programmes – short ones too, which is so helpful if you need to just pop a few items through quickly. I also love the sleek flat fronted design with no physical buttons, it’s very smart. It just works brilliantly and makes doing the laundry such a pleasure!”
What advice would you give to our readers who are planning this space?
“I think when planning a laundry room, it’s important to make sure you have enough storage and enough good surface space to fold clothes on! Usually there are piles of clothes either waiting to be washed or needing to be folded and put away and so a good worktop for this is ideal (rather than the floor!) I also love pulley drying systems that you can attach to the ceiling – a great space saver - and also really effective for drying larger items like sheets. If you can include underfloor heating in the room this is a game changer – you can keep it on a low heat, but it really does help dry things brilliantly and quickly.”
All imagery via Patrick Butler-Madden