There are a lot of problems with this room, which we use a lot because it currently has the only shower in the house. So far we've done nothing to this room except put up a shower curtain and throw down a small rug.
It's small, 5 ft 9.5 in by 4 ft 7.5 in. The shower stall measures 33.5 by 37 inches (exterior, interior measurements are 28 by 30 inches). This means that there are only 22 inches between the shower and the 24 inch door. While this set-up probably made sense at the time the bathroom was added, it has issues.
One possible solution would be to simply make this a half-bath. We considered this. However, we are currently contemplating making a master suite out of the 2nd bedroom, hall bath, and part of the hallway. In that case, we will need a second bathroom for guests, so we need to keep this as a full bath. With that in mind, here are the challenges we face with the room and the possible solutions we're considering.
Problem: Cramped, awkward use of floor space (as shown in above photo).
Solution: round corner shower (click here for pic). Wall dimensions for it are 35.5 inches so it's about the same size as the current one. However, the round shape will eliminate the corner sticking out into the room, which will hopefully make the room seem not quite so cramped.
Problem: the 24 inch door can't open all the way in that 22 inch space. This will still be a problem even if we replace the shower.
Solution: pocket door. This may mean moving the light switch, but considering all the other electrical work DH has done to the place, this shouldn't be a problem. And since we'd have to tear into the wall anyway, this would be the perfect way to remove the old shower and put in the new.
Problem: ugly old linoleum. In fact, I lived with the exact same thing in a rental house we had awhile back. Gosh how I hated that floor.
Solution: ceramic tile floor
Problem: spring loaded faucets. Seriously, when you turn the water off, the faucet springs back on. It takes several tries before the stupid thing will stay off.
Solution: a new faucet, obviously
Problem: ugly backsplach
Solution: eliminate or replace!
Problem: sink can't stand on its own and needs to be propped up with a stick (it was like this when we got here.) Also, exposed plumbing not very attractive.
Solution: pedestal sink with a round or oval bowl will hide the plumbing and support the bowl. The smallest I've found have bowls which measure 18 by 20 inches, which should work. Again, with a rounded shape we'll lose the corners on the sink which will give the feeling of having more room.
Problem: no shut off valves. Not here or anywhere in the house
Solution: Duh. Install shut off valves.
Problem: no towel racks within reach of the shower door. There is one on the wall beside the toilet, but this is neither adequate for the two of us, nor is it any fun to fetch the towel when you're dripping wet. My quick fix for this was to add an over the door rack (above). While at least it gives us a place to hang our towels, it creates problems of it's own. For one thing, the door can't be closed without removing the rack (and then there's no place to put it). For another, the towels can't dry out very well when they're hanging like that because there's no ventilation.
Solution: More towel racks, though I haven't figured out exactly where to put them. That will depend on which way the shower door opens.
Problem: no ventilation or heat
Solution: one idea is to replace the overhead light with a combination light, fan, and heater unit.
Problem: zero storage
Solution: over toilet spacesaver shelf unit
In addition, Dan wants to update some of the plumbing and insulate the floor and ceiling. As you can see, this will be another pretty big project, which is why we're trying to think through all the details, and why it's the only house project we have scheduled for next year. We have a few things we need to finish before we actually get started on it, but hopefully it will get underway sometime before spring.
Bathroom Renovation: Planning Ahead photos & text copyright
January 2010 by Leigh at http://www.5acresandadream.com/