It is an exciting design challenge to tackle the renovation of a main floor bathroom which has very little space, storage, or character. Most of the time, the pricey option of rearranging plumbing lines and fixture locations does not exist. This can make the task of creating a better functioning space feel impossible. But there is always a way!
When the house was originally built in 1974, it was the only bathroom in the home. Therefore, all of the necessities were crammed into a small space. Within the narrow layout, there was a linen closet with doors that could not fully open, and a vanity top that did not fit properly in its narrow location. There was also a full size tub, and a very old and very low-seated toilet. Additional bathrooms have been added to the home since its original construction, giving us the liberty to modify a few key components, allowing the space to visually open up.
The first thing that was removed was the tub and textured glass shower doors. When these came down it was like taking down a wall, making the room feel three feet wider. A low profile shower base was installed in the tub’s place, keeping the illusion of open floor space. A frameless glass shower door (not pictured here) will be installed instead of a curtain. This will also maintain an open feel to the space.
Storage space was still a necessity, however, the original linen closet was not an option. In its place, built-in shelves and lower cabinets were installed. The top was designed as open shelving in order to grab your towel, soap, or washcloth with ease. Another built-in shelving unit was installed above the toilet.
The existing vanity base was modified and made narrow in order to work better in the space. To save money on the vanity top we visited a stone yard and were able to purchase a remnant piece for a discounted price. This is a great option when a smaller surface area is needed. Originally we were going to install soapstone but we decided to go with honed “Absolute Black” granite. This granite is virtually indestructible, requires no maintenance, and ended up being a perfect choice for a bathroom that is used by two toddlers. While soapstone is still one of my favorite natural stones, the granite offered a very similar look and even better durability.
My favorite design detail is the horizontal plane that was carried along the walls giving the illusion of width to the long narrow space. This was executed by using a chair rail detail that is found in other areas of the home. We also carried this line into the shower with the tile layout. See the image below.
To make the bathroom feel light and bright the walls and woodwork were painted shades of white. The floor is 1”x1” honed marble, which is beautiful, surprisingly easy to maintain, and a non-slip surface which is great for tiny feet!