Laundry with Martha

marthaGood Morning Lacquered Lifers. I have apparently ruined, through frequent ironing, a most beloved set of sheets that were a wedding present. When I got on the phone to order the replacements and asked the customer service representative how she would prevent this from happening again, she told me that I should remove the sheets from the drier while damp, lay them out flat and smooth them with my hands and let them air dry. Now as much as I appreciate the advice, where am I going to lay the sheets out flat? Who has room for that? A twin sheet makes my kitchen island look small!

It is funny how quickly one can go from NYC apartment living with no washer/drier and being happy just to have those in your home, to wanting a full equipped laundry room. So today, as I dream about a big space in which to air dry my sheets, or frankly just a laundry room where I can shut the door, I give you photos of the laundry room at Martha Stewart’s home in Maine, Skylands.

Skylands was built in the 1920s by Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford, in Seal Harbor, Maine. Martha purchased the home in 1997, and along with it much of its contents, including the much of the machinery and infrastructure in the laundry room. It is not uncommon in homes of this era to have a laundry room of this scale, but it is definitely uncommon today. With her sizeable collection of antique and hand embroidered linens, Martha takes full advantage of all that the Skylands laundry room has to offer. martha 4This huge padded ironing table would make a great space to lay out my sheets … martha 3Or better yet, this linen drying cabinet. Those racks roll out from inside the cabinet, you hang the linens, and then you roll the rack right back into the cabinet for drying. This is an absolutely fantastic antique piece of machinery that still serves a great function to this day. I think I have perhaps found my new dream appliance. One day when I have a huge beautiful laundry room, I will have a drying cabinet too. Asko has started making residential drying cabinets (albeit smaller than Martha’s) for the American market here. Who’s with me? martha 2These beautiful porcelain splash sinks most likely make soaking that red wine stained napkin pleasurable instead of stressful. martha 5And not to worry, Martha still has plenty of room for conventional ironing. While we can look at these photos and dream, I don’t have, and never will have fifteen bedrooms as Martha does at Skylands, so all I will really dream about is a small sink, a fold down ironing board, and a door that I can shut when the folding doesn’t get done.

Photos via The Martha Blog

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  • Put your sheets on bed straight from the washer without drying. Smooth out on bed and let them dry…..the dry fairly quickly. They will look like they’ve been pressed. You’ll still have to iron pillow cases.

    1. Thank you Shelly! I will try that – problem is here in Charleston that it is generally so humid that you have to quadruple the dry time on things like sheets. Luckily right now in winter I can probably get away with it. I really appreciate the tip! Thanks for stopping by.

  • 1) I love that you iron your sheets at all. Can you come live with us? My sheets are lucky if they get tucked in on a regular basis 2) I am totally OCD about not putting certain clothes in the dryer and as a result when I do laundry there are clothes hanging everywhere to dry. That laundry room and drying cabinet is amazing! Sadly, in Chalreston with our water level I think most laundry rooms are destined to be closet sized instead of sprawling basements, Downton Abbey style.

    1. Hahaha. I iron them b/c we have a teeny tiny washer dryer and if I just dried the king sized sheets in them without ironing they come out looking like a crushed piece of paper. 2) With you on that one Deirdre. Totally have the same prob. Oh but don’t you worry next house I will build myself a giant laundry, even if its on the third floor – doesn’t have to be a basement. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  • I have had my sheets ironed for years, there’s nothing more wonderful than slipping into fresh, crisp sheets. I used to live in NYC and had them sent out, which did indeed lessen the life of the sheets. Now we live in sunny Southern California and I put them on a drying rack outside
    They smell so fresh!
    Thanks for the post

    1. Hi Louise! Thanks for stopping by. So jealous that you can put things on a drying rack outside! Not only is my garden not large enough, but it is so humid here in Charleston that linens would just hang there wet for hours and probably mildew!

  • When I lived in the UK, the first house had no drier and it rained all the time, so I’d hang things around my rooms. But they never quite dried, and nothing’s worse than putting on slightly damp knickers. Then I found a laundress who had a tumble-drier, but no Bounce. Had to have some shipped over from the States. Then I found that the castle (yep!) where I worked had a huge “airing closet” which circulated warm air and everything dried quickly. I’d sneak stuff from home and hang it to dry there. Perfect. Now I am back in the states and have an old farmhouse with a long clothesline and I am in heaven!