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The Refinished BasementMartha in her clutter-free, functional basement.Photography: Eric Piasecki
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Household StorageRolling, locking shelves use space from floor to ceiling. Custom wooden cases house screens and storm windows. A smooth concrete floor instead of the tiling employed elsewhere makes it easy to roll heavy, wheeled shelving units. As an added precaution against flooding, extra dining chairs and other furnishings are kept on aluminum racks. These pallets keep valuables off the floor and away from any dampness.
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Laundry Room: Folding and Ironing Table
An expansive table with a padded white muslin cover was designed to provide plenty of space for ironing and folding laundry. Commercial metal laundry carts, some with hanging bars, are convenient for organizing clean and dirty clothing and linens. Rubber edges around the basket tops soften the blow when they bang into a table -- or a knee. An expansive table with a padded white muslin cover was designed to provide plenty of space for ironing and folding laundry.
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Laundry Room: Soaking Sinks
Deep, vintage terra-cotta sinks were among the treasures that came with the house. Replumbed, they are just right for cleaning and soaking. A vintage white enamel towel bar mounted to the tiled wall is handy.
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Laundry Room: Supply Cart
Cleaning supplies look tidier and are more convenient to use when decanted into attractive, manageable containers.
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Laundry Room: Oversized Options
In a bustling household, oversize laundry equipment makes sense. Martha's long ironing table was built to accommodate her height.
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Martha found this vintage shelf at an antiques shop and left it in its charming, if slightly worn, condition. A set of slim metal cafe-curtain rods, attached to wooden shelf brackets, holds a colorful assortment of ribbons and twines. The rods are removable, so spools can be easily replaced. Oversize rolls of paper, such as butcher paper, can be found at kitchen- and shipping-supply stores. This one is positioned at the end of another stainless steel work table, where it can be unfurled quickly to cover boxes. Long, shallow drawers are terrific for sorting and storing large sheets of colored tissue and other papers -- with no worries about wrinkling.
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An extra-long stainless steel kitchen table holds crafts supplies -- many organized in clear plastic bins with press-on label sleeves. A paper cutter (on the tabletop) is a useful tool. This table is also used for unwrapping packages.
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Having an organized basement means paying attention to the little things. Every valve is fitted with a label, so it's a cinch to shut off water at the source if necessary.
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The ceiling fixture is one of the many vintage factory lights that brighten the room.
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Wall hooks keep an assortment of brooms and mops off the floor.
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Nonskid plastic shelf liners on slatted aluminum storage shelves keep breakables from sliding about.
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Rolling food-storage bins, found at restaurant supply stores, are repurposed beautifully as recycling containers; labels identify the contents of each.
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