Small bathroom, big ideas

Myryah Irby

January 11, 2013

By: Myryah Irby, Home Renovation Enthusiast

In: Bathroom Remodeling

Happy New Year! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted. A few weeks off work, trips to California and Michigan, then a post-holiday hibernation period, and I’m back with house progress to report. I’ve only been to our new house once since my last post -- we spent a cozy, relaxing long weekend upstate over New Year’s -- but my husband's been back and forth, priming the rooms in the original part of the house.  

In my last post I crowdsourced opinions on bathroom tiles for our master bathroom; thanks to everyone who weighed in. We’re still making some decisions there. Design-wise, it's more complicated than the other rooms. I’ll write about it soon. In contrast, we’re keeping things simple in the common bathroom. Here's what the bathroom used to look like:

weird bathroom shower

A peek under that red rug...

weird tilework in outdated bathroom

And here's what it looks like right now (from the future hallway):

framed out bathroom

And from where the sink will be:

raw bathroom with insulation
The tub will fit into the space to the right of the Kix box (not a prototype for a bathside Kix dispenser, to my daughters' chagrin).

Here's a sample board of the materials we're using:

sampleboard for bathroom

And a mock up of the toilet alcove and tub:

toilet and shelves

It's a small bathroom, but has high, sloped ceilings. This should give you an idea:

bathroom elevation

We originally planned to have floor-to-ceiling shelving right next to the door. Then my husband had the idea of moving the toilet to the shelving area, creating a little nook for the toilet.
placement of toilet in small bath

Cozy, right? It does open up the space, though I admit I was resistant. Here's how the conversation went down, pretty much verbatim. It's a good example of how most house-related conversations go nowadays.

Him: I came up with a great idea for the shared bathroom.

Me: I'm listening.

Him: Let's put the toilet in the nook where the open shelving is.

Me: Then where would we put the open shelving?

Him: Above the toilet.

Me: Won't that be a little claustrophobic?

Him: No!

Me: It won’t feel weird to be tucked away in a nook?

Him: No, it'll be awesome!

Me: Won't tall people like you bump their heads on the shelving?

Him: No!

Me: You seem excited.

Him: I feel strongly about this.


Me: OK.

Many of our recent conversations have concluded with him saying: "I feel strongly about this." His passion, combined with my exhaustion (see previous reference to decision fatigue) means that he is calling the shots right now. Except when he suggests something bizarre like painting all the doors different colors (actual suggestion), then things go down differently.

Tune in next time when I talk about propane. I have lots to say about propane! For starters, I advise homeowners with houses heated with propane to make sure they don't run out of it if the temperature drops to 22 degrees and they happen to be three states away...


  • Kim says: 12 January 2013 at 9:31 pm
    I'll never forget the day when I discovered I had married a *chrome* man. We'd been married for 8 years already, I'd always just assumed he was brushed nickel like me. He got to choose the toilet in exchange for our brushed nickel fixtures.
  • Amy says: 13 January 2013 at 8:10 am
    Wow, those ceilings are super high! I'd be less worried about hitting my head on them but more worried about how I'd ever get a towel down!Know what you mean with the exhaustion, but it's so great to have your husband throwing himself into it. Keep saying Ok!
  • Iris says: 14 January 2013 at 10:33 am
    Different color doors actually could be useful when you have house guests. Guest: "Where's the bathroom?" Lucy: "It's the yellow door to the right."
  • Jess says: 15 January 2013 at 9:54 am
    I've always worried if I put any type of shelving above the toilet that I'll constantly be dropping things into it! Iris does have a point, colored doors could be very helpful for all the house guests. Anxious to see what happens next!
  • Patricia Mann says: 30 January 2013 at 4:24 pm
    love the work you have done so far and am very impressed! The bathroom is awesome with the barn door and I like the black tile the best - - classy! I especially enjoyed the puppet show - - looking forward to visiting soon. Mom
  • stonesuperstore says: 21 February 2013 at 2:02 am
    The production and decoration of your bathroom looks fantastic. I hope that once you are finished that you are more than satisfied with it, because I would be. Thanks for the post.
  • bathroom renovation says: 25 June 2013 at 4:34 am
    The great ideas to implement in a small bathroom. An inspiring thought.
  • John OToole says: 24 October 2013 at 1:20 pm
    Most important room in the house. Amazing what you can do in such a small space. Great article about bathtubs.
  • gary birtles says: 17 February 2015 at 6:16 am
    I really like that hexagon tile that is used for the flooring. It has a really cool vintage feel. I'm about to start a remodel of my own and I'd like to do something like that. It is totally my style. http://www.raybrownejoinery.com.au/bathroom-and-laundry
  • Anna Picket says: 10 February 2016 at 6:39 pm
    Lucy, it looks like you're being pretty thorough with your bathroom renovation. I like your plan to put shelves above the toilet like that. Storage space in my tiny bathroom is at a premium, so maybe we should do that ourselves. It probably wouldn't be that hard. http://www.wunderlinbuilders.com/team
  • home additions remodeling says: 21 June 2016 at 11:30 pm
    After wasting almost an hour on internet I was surprised about the designs and services they were providing in their offers at home additions remodeling. Marvelous work!!
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