Printer Friendly

Small bath solutions.

Innovative ways to make limited space more functional and appealing

* The typical small bathroom, which contains a tub/shower, a toilet, and a sink in roughly 50 square feet, is cramped, unimaginative, and devoid of personality. How can you make such a space more efficient and expressive without adding square footage? Here's a roundup of examples--including before-and-after transformations, storage details, and information on shopping for fixtures on-line--to help inspire a successful remodel.

Modest moves, big gains

BEFORE: It was the typical small bath: a charmless jumble in a constricted 5- by 7-foot space. The conventional wall-mounted sink, the projecting medicine-cabinet mirror, and the storage cabinet swallowed up the narrow space opposite the tub.

AFTER: The architect took a tailorlike approach, making small adjustments--like nips and tucks in a piece of fabric--to create a visually coordinated, functional, and comfortable room. The clean, uncluttered look reflects several key decisions. A new rounded sink occupies less space. The room's lines are simplified by treating the entire wall above the sink as a mirror and by a medicine cabinet built into what had been a jog in the wall to the right of the sink. Using tile as wainscoting unifies the space.

DESIGN: Mark Creedon, M2 Studio, Sonoma, CA (707/938-8345)

New layout

BEFORE: When Melody and Doug Wisdorf wanted to use their second floor bathroom, they practically had to take a number. With just one sink and one mirror in the corridor-like 75-square-foot space, two people were a crowd.

AFTER: The remodel gave each person a place for morning and evening routines, created more storage, and transformed a room the family described as "flat-out ugly" into an attractive space. Certified kitchen designer Jan Setterlund suggested adding a sink and subtracting a bathtub.

Instead of the typical side-by-side sink plan, Setterlund opted for a more efficient layout: a vanity sink, and storage area for each adult on opposite sides of the room, staggered to provide maximum floor space. One area features a cherry vanity with ample drawers and a ceramic sink, while the other incorporates a pedestal sink flanked by cabinets.

A two-person shower in the narrowest part of the room freed up space once occupied by a bulky tub and dividing wall.

Setterland sums up, "The key to making the bathroom work was putting everything in the right area." DESIGN: Jan Setterlund, Kitchen Witch, Issaquah, WA (425/391-6042)

Angled sink

BEFORE: The old green wallpaper, though attractive, only darkened and enclosed an already tight area. The main fixtures--the tub and toilet on one side, a pedestal sink and small cabinet on the other--consumed the space.

AFTER: Designers Pamela Pennington and Tsun-Yen Wahab opened up the room by removing the old sink and installing a new limestone vanity in the corner, where it could become a focal point without blocking traffic. To add flair, a wall-mounted spigot was set in a rectangular mirror flanked by halogen sconces. Shutters were removed, exposing the handsome steel-framed window and increasing the natural light.

The designers used the window as a cue for the floor tiles: The 4- by 4-inch tumbled-marble tiles, set in a checkerboard pattern, echo the window grid. A low wall at the end of the tub screens the toilet and serves as a display surface. DESIGN: Pamela Pennington and Tsun-Yen Wahab, Pamela Pennington Studios, Palo Alto (650/813-1797)

Compact elegance


The tub and opaque sliding shower doors cut the room in half. There was no Connection to the adjacent side yard, and the room lacked visual drama.

AFTER: Designer Christopher Grubb installed a shower enclosed by clear glass walls. He also replaced the small window with glass doors, letting in much more natural light and giving the owner a direct route to the garden hot tub.

To achieve an elegant contemporary appearance, Grubb covered the floor and walls with green slate tiles set at a 45[degrees] angle. "In an older house, the lines of the ceiling and floor usually aren't perfectly straight," he says. "Putting the slate at an angle helps hide uneven construction. It's less noticeable than when the tiles line up in a conventional grid." The tile is interrupted by a black granite "chair rail," because, says Grubb, "an entire wall of tile could feel too overwhelming. The granite breaks it up."

A mirrored wall gave the owner more tile and granite for his money Running almost seamlessly from floor to ceiling and wall to wall on one side of the room, the mirror is both decorative and practical. "It's much less expensive to cover a wall with mirror than with slate tile," Grubb says. "Here it reflects a wall of slate, and you get a built-in full-length mirror."

Grubb selected a black toilet because he feels that fixtures in small rooms should blend in. "White would scream 'Look at me!' Here, black fades into the background and relates to the chair rail," he says. Indeed, the toilet almost disappears. DESIGN: Christopher Grubb, Arch-Interiors, Los Angeles (310/724-6464)

Net surfing for bathroom fixtures

For bathroom remodelers in search of the perfect faucet, surfing the Web is becoming a popular alternative to driving from store to store. The Internet puts a vast inventory of products at your fingertips. But where do you begin? There are thousands of websites you can turn to, most of which fall into three categories: manufacturers, retail stores, and e-commerce sites. Here are the benefits of each, using a search for faucets as an example.

Manufacturers. Most big companies put a complete catalog of products on-line. These are great websites because they list full ranges of colors, finishes, and measurements. The best sites offer design ideas, printable spec sheets, and installation notes. Some even publish recommended retail prices, which can be compared to those at stores in your area. They also list customer service numbers to assist confused consumers. While not all of them allow you to purchase on-line, they will help you find dealers in your area. Simply print out the photograph and the model number, and have the dealer order it for you. What could be easier? Good sites for faucets include:






Retail stores. Many stores have their own websites- usually the store name is the Web address.

E-commerce. These stores exist only in cyberspace; you shop and buy on-line. Many allow you to peruse a gigantic and seemingly endless showroom without leaving your chair. Most also have cool features like do-it-yourselfer chat rooms or bulletin boards, design advice and articles, and experts you can e-mail or call with questions. Some particularly interesting sites include:





To achieve success in your search, keep the following caveats in mind.

Know what you need. Faucets come with single, center-set, or spread-fit controls. You need to select the correct size for your sink. Pop-up drains may be sold separately; be sure to check the information on the faucet you select.

Get the best price. The Internet allows you to quickly determine which outlet offers the best price. If you are inclined to haggle, use the information to get an even better price.

Don't forget to include shipping costs. Shipping charges increase the price, and the little charges add up.

Carefully read the return policy. If you don't like your purchase when it arrives, you'll want to be able to return it.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Bertelsen, Ann; Bowling, Mary Jo; Gregory, Daniel; Whiteley, Peter O.
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2000
Previous Article:Rock around the clock.
Next Article:Barbecue island.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters