ASKO - The changing face of Australian laundries

The changing face of Australian laundries

As I once wrote in my book ‘Design Your Home;’ if the kitchen is the warm heart of the home, the laundry is the often-forgotten metabolism that keeps it ticking along.”

While perpetually valued almost entirely for function over form, the modern Australian laundry is under more pressure than ever before to perform at peak productivity while the footprint it occupies decreases almost inversely.

The prevalence of high-density living (barely a day passes without a new apartment development springing up), and the growing popularity of show-stopping kitchens, butler’s pantries, and palatial bathrooms has squeezed the traditional Australian laundry (complete with back yard Hills Hoist) harder than a penny pincher trying to get the dregs out of a sachet of fabric softener. Yet we still expect it to wash and dry our clothes, store everything from mops and buckets and cleaning products to ironing boards, bulk packs of toilet rolls and assorted pet and human detritus.

Yep; the harder we expect our poor old laundries to work for us, the less precious floor space we expect them to occupy. It’s no coincidence then that I’ve been focusing on integrating my clients’ laundries into other spaces within their homes for the last few years.  

With that integration comes a different – European – look and feel to the Australian laundry. While previously our focus was on bigger is better for servicing our family’s laundry needs, hiding the tools and products that keep our homes humming along and storing towels and linens, now we aim for cunningly situated laundry spaces, sleek integration of technology, and sneaky stashes of products and Manchester.

Kitchen Integration

The meteoric rise of the foodie culture in Australia has shifted modern homeowners’ focus firmly onto the kitchen as a place to nourish, entertain and (let’s be honest) show off a little bit!

I designed my Borough of Hawthorn kitchen as a day-to-day kitchen to service my Blank Canvas team, a family kitchen for my clan when we’re in residence, and as a commercial kitchen that I can hire out to people using the space for functions.

Both Borough of Hawthorn’s family and commercial uses mean a laundry is essential, but the building isn’t designed to accommodate a separate laundry room so I decided to integrate the laundry into the kitchen. So, we have an ASKO washing machine and dryer cunningly tucked away behind double doors underneath the benchtops. To truly integrate a laundry into a kitchen it needs to be visually seamless and quiet operationally. My kitchen laundry is so effectively integrated that people who have visited BOH for years don’t know it’s there! The beauty of Asko laundry appliances though is, quite literally, their beauty. Their clean lines, minimalist interface and beautiful stainless steel surfaces make them a visual treat that you can’t help but want to show off.

My choice of Asko Condenser Dryer is perfect for integration into my kitchen because it condenses the moisture inside the dryer into water then pumps it out through a hose into the drain. That makes it perfect for apartment living, and also for renters who don’t have the luxury of bashing through the wall of their accommodation to accommodate a venting duct.

Butler’s pantry integration

As home design trends shift increasingly to bigger, more luxurious, bathrooms and kitchens, the butler’s pantry has made its way onto virtually everyone’s renovation shopping list. By necessity, as home owners dedicate a bigger footprint to the pantry they look to maximise the functionality of the space by incorporating laundry equipment.

Situating your laundry in a butler’s pantry is perfect where your lifestyle means you tend to do all your housework at the end of the day. It’s so easy to pop a couple of loads of washing on while you are getting dinner ready and sitting down to eat, then pop your wet washing in the tumble dryer when you head to bed and you’ll have freshly dried clothes in the morning when you’re getting ready for work. 

Traditional wisdom was to keep the tumble dryer visible (to avert over-drying and shrinking), but Asko’s SensiDry technology detects the level of moisture in your clothes and automatically turns off when they are dry, which prevents shrinking and also saves energy.

Integrating your washing machine into your pantry speaks to the modern necessity of maximizing space, and enables you to keep your laundry equipment close at hand to facilitate multi-tasking, both key principles of the Scandinavian design upon which ASKO appliances are based.

Bathroom integration

If you have a young family, or a growing, sports-mad family that rips through clean washing as fast as you can launder it, integrating your laundry into your bathroom could be the perfect space-saving and functional solution for your home. Little kids and sporty teens can bung their dirty washing straight into the washing machine before hopping into the bath or shower (no more three-week old footie socks discovered languishing under the bed)!

Integrating your washer and dryer into your bathroom is a top space-saving strategy that enables you to utilize an already functional space. And, Asko’s ‘Smart Interface’ design boasts sleek surfaces that lift the look of the bathroom lending a slick Scandinavian feel to the space.

Hallway cupboard/European laundry integration

If neither your kitchen, nor your bathroom have the space to accommodate your laundry it’s worth considering the European laundry approach and situating your washer and dryer in a hall cupboard. Not only does this approach save space, but it also maximises the functionality of that space. Asko’s ‘hidden helper’ Single Pull Out Shelf tucks away neatly between your washer and dryer but springs into action when it’s time to load and unload your washer and dryer, and also gives you a place to fold your linen and towels and stow them directly cupboards. Their Pedestal Drawer is another innovative storage solution, giving you a place to store powders, pegs and hangers discretely below your laundry bench.

Tucked away in your hallway, a European laundry is the perfect location for your washing and drying equipment as it doesn’t encroach on the footprint of your main living areas, and your laundry equipment can work away throughout the night without creating a disturbance.

As it turns out, the face of the modern Australian laundry hasn’t so much had a wash and brush up as adopted a more adult visage based on Scandinavian design principles that focus on elegance and function without frippery or frivolous use of space.