Making the Most of a Tiny Bathroom

Having such a small bathroom was always going to be a challenge, this meant that we would have to get creative. Originally, tenement flats had no internal bathrooms, the people who lived there would share an outhouse in the garden. When indoor plumbing became possible they had to try fit bathrooms within the existing space. That’s why so many have weird layouts. But at least this one has a window.

Another challenge is the old pipes. All the flats share one waste pipe which can’t be moved. This means (very annoyingly) that 99% of the time you have to keep the toilet in the same place.

The first step was ripping everything out. The bathroom suite wasn’t in bad shape so we were able to give it away. We are very concious of the amount of waste we produce so we always try to reuse materials or donate anything that can be used again.

After that came figuring out the layout. We knew we had to add a shower so that was the main goal. In an ideal world, we would have moved the toilet and added a walk-in shower across the back wall (example 1) but we couldn’t move the toilet. We also thought about adding a roll-top bath with a shower on the sidewall and a shower curtain (example 2) but Stuart HATES shower curtains and wouldn’t entertain this idea. Since I don’t shower I don’t have an opinion so I trust his judgment. I take a bath every day if anyone is concerned about my hygiene.

We decided that a shower above the bath was the way to go. The problem was that we needed a wall to add the shower and mount the shower screen. We couldn’t use the door wall because it wasn’t wide enough and if we were to use the window wall we would have to cut the window in half. So we needed to add a wall. This seemed counter-productive in such a small space but there was really no other option. You can see in the before picture that there is some boxing behind the bath. This was covering some old pipes which we were able to redirect and fit under the new bath. This meant that we could push the bath right back to the wall and gain some space. We also used a space-saving 1500mm bath.

Then came wall building day. I was nervous that we had made the wrong decision and the room was going to be really awkward. But it didn’t look as bad as I’d feared when it was up. I did a few trial walks pretending I was a swaggering old mobster and I fit, so that’s going to be my new measuring method.

We had originally planned to add a radiator but when the new wall was up we realised that it would be too tight. So we added underfloor heating in the room. This wasn’t too expensive because the room is so small. We ended up using 2sqm of heating and the room is nice and toasty. It also adds a little feeling of luxury.

Then we were onto the fun stuff. The plasterer finished the walls which were going to be painted and Stuart tiled the others. I like a mix of tiles and plain walls in a bathroom. I think it feels a little softer than a fully tiled room. It also means you can add art, hooks or shelves without having to drill into the tile.

We used some offcuts from the kitchen worktop for shelves in the bathroom and added a countertop basin. The bottom shelf can be used for storage and baskets could be added to the floor for extra storage.

Stuart fitted the rest of the suite and I added some staging props then we were done. This room was definetly the one that worried me the most but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I’m even tempted to try out the new bath myself.

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