Remodling a small bathroom.

I was presented with a challenge the other day by Matt at Habitation Mapleridge Homes.  A new client of his wanted to remodel a bathroom while doing a few other renovations to the house.  I was brought in to critically look at the space and come up with a space saving layout.  Always happy to step up to the challenge, I went in assuming that a simple layout change would make a world of difference to the……I was wrong.  After some humming and hawing i soon came to realize that not only could I not add the shower they were so hoping for but that the existing layout was just about as good as it gets!  So the challenge then became, how do we maximize the existing layout to make it feel bigger while not actually giving them more space.

Counterintuitively , adding elements to the space gave it the extra space they were looking for.

Here is what I saw:

  • A pedestal sink instead of a vanity because of how narrow the standing space is.
  • A shallow, narrow but tall unit jutted past the door but offered the most storage in relation the awkward space available.
  • A wide 36″ bath took up a lot of space.
  • Built in storage at the end of the tub was very deep and inaccessible.

Here is what we could modify:

  • Revamp the storage to be more useful and accessible.
  • Replace the bathtub to a more convenient size.
  • Play with the placement of the tub and storage to maximize the comfort of how it is used.

Here is how it looks now:

There is only 9″ from the door opening to the wall on which the sink sits.  The only possible solution is to use a pedestal sink.  This still leaves the need for storage that a vanity would offer.  In this case they used the smallest storage unit they could find.


On the other side of the door is the bath.  Having the bath right up against the door also makes the bathroom feel more cramped than it is.  It gives the feeling that everything had to be squished in.



The storage does make use of the awkward wasted space at the end of the tub.  But without thinking through the details, the storage itself is awkward and hard to use.

The tub and storage become our area to focus on.

Here is the design solution:

Bathroom storage using ikea kitchen cabinets.

Bathroom storage using ikea kitchen cabinets.

Prep area made from ikea kitchen cabinets.

Prep area made from ikea kitchen cabinets.

By flipping the bathtub and storage area we were able to put the bathtub in a more central area, taking it away from the door.

Rethinking storage made the area prep zone, not just a storage zone.  With only 20 inches we are able to slip in a 18″ kitchen cabinet unit with 3 drawers.  above we will install a 18″ wide upper cabinet unit.  We will buy one with a glass door.  Pop out the glass and put in a mirror.  By placing the unit at 43″ high it will be a very useful medicine cabinet.  By putting a plug above the counter in the wall it becomes the perfect space to blow-dry your hair and get ready.

Adding a prep zone less stress is put on the sink area for prep and there for makes the bathroom feel bigger!

Construction starts in feb, stay tuned for more pictures.


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