Niche alternative - contemporary shelves or baskets

alina_1February 24, 2014

We finally going for remodeling our master bath. We are experienced DIY-ers and will do most of the work ourselves.

After reading lots of posts here on this forum and on the Internet, I was so upset to find out that shower and tub shampoo niches are not an option for us - we have two external walls in our master bath and niches will compromise the isolation.

What would be our alternatives considering:

1. The style is contemporary. We are aiming to sleek minimalist look.
2. We are on a budget. I've seen some cool shower shelves with a price sticker of $250-900 - do not know who can afford this, but these are not for us.
3. We will have a whirlpool tub and a shower with frameless glass inclosure - both along the external wall. The shower will be in the corner with both walls being external. We need storage for shampoo, soap, etc. for both tub and shower.

We will order custom vanity top, either granite or quartz.

I do not like glass or plastic shelves. Which leaves us with metal baskets/shelves or shelves made of our counter top materials. Or, tiled shelves maybe? Any advantages or drawbacks of these options? Any idea how to achieve a contemporary look?

If someone can post pictures of the modern solutions for this or share some ideas, it would be greatly appreciated :)

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How about some corner shelves made of tile. The design is what will make it modern. - straight or curved to fit in with your design. A single piece of tile will work. It would be best if the tile was porcelain so you could round or rout the edge. You can have your vanity top fabricator do it for you. Or even stone to match your vanity. Have you gone and browsed through Lots of pictures.

This post was edited by Anna_in_TX on Mon, Feb 24, 14 at 18:03

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 6:01PM
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As Anna said, for your shower, corner shelves would work,
I attached a link for corner shelves on Houzz. You could even have one low enough to use as a foot prop to aid while shaving legs.

Depending on whether or not you have room to build out one wall a few inches, you could literally build one long shelf on one of your outside walls, ie build out the bottom part another four inches, and cap it with granite or stone.
We were able to do this in our basement bath, as the foundation walls were 8" thick, so we created a 10 foot long shelf along one outside wall, 4 feet of it inside the shower.

Here is a link that might be useful: corner shelves on Houzz

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 6:40PM
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Are you doing any grab rails? We have one that has a removable shelf attached. Doesn't look "medical" at all.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:10PM
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These are great suggestions, thank you!
Believe it or not, I went through all of them before I posted my question. With each option, I am not certain about few things.
1. With corner shelves, I am not sure how to make them looks neat. We will use porcelain tiles, I do not know if the bullnose tiles will be available. I am just afraid that the shelf will look busy or just poorly done.
2. I really like the idea of a long narrow shelf along the entire tub and shower, but the space is very limited and I can't come up with the layout. I mean, the tub and the shower will be in a row, something like this:
How I am supposed to go around this glass wall of the shower? Can't think of anything, even if we will manage to get these 4-6" for the shelf..
3. I can definitely ask granite guys to make few corner or rectangular shelves out of our contertop remnants. Can someone tell me how to install them? Some support underneath?
4. I saw the grab bars with the shelves online, but the shelves were plastic - just did not like them. If I will come across a nice looking grab bar/shelf combo, it could be an option.
5. And finally, houzz seems to be a great resource. It wasn't available at the time of our last renovation. It stopped me after few pages and pop ups were annoying. Should I register there?

Thanks again for your help and thoughts guys!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Here you go. We got our grab bar/shelf in bronze, to match our other hardware. Perhaps one of these days (years?) dh will get the thing installed!

Here is a link that might be useful: Moen Grab rail/shelf

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:26PM
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Trust me, I am just finishing renovating a tiny Master Bath, I know all about space issues! Since we had the same issue as you, two outside walls, we created our niche on the inside wall with the plumbing by building out the wall the width of a 2 X 4 and directing the pipe for the overhead shower behind the niche. With the added thickness of the thinset and tile the inside of the niche is almost 5" deep and with the granite overhang, the bottom shelf is almost 6" deep. We built it tall enough to add a second shelf of tempered glass.

Pic of finished MBR niche showing built out end wall

I will try and answer all the above questions.
1. If you want to use tiles to create your corner shelves, you would have to live with having your tiler create his own edge, bullnose wouldn't work, as I believe they usually come in only rectangles 3-4" deep. Porcelain are full body colour tiles, so the edge would be same colour as the tile. You would have to see your tiler's work to see if he is neat enough.
2. With custom glass, they just cut around the shelf. That's what my guy did. (One reason I went with framed glass in my guest BR, frameless was more than I wanted to spend with custom) You obviously have them come and measure for the glass after the shower is built.
3. The granite shelves are installed as the tiling is done, so the bottom of the granite sits on the edges of the tiles, and then the next row of tiles is thin-set over the shelf, so that it is securely stuck in place between the two rows of tiles. I am guessing they must have to cut out the top tile to fit around the shelf. (In a niche, the tiles are all on the same plane). I used tempered glass for my second shelf in my MBR niche, as my granite was very thick (I used granite for the bottom shelf sitting on the bottom of the niche).
4. Yes, I have seen grab bars with glass shelves. Try Moen
5. Definitely register for Houzz. You can create your own ideabooks, and save all the pictures that you like.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 1:03PM
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Thanks for the link Gladys - will not work for me because the shelf is too small for our stuff. And 4 or 5 grab bars in the shower would look crazy even for our family :) Good luck with installation of yours!

raehelen ,
Thank you for such a detailed response!
Porcelain tiles are not always full body, sometimes they are glazed. We will be our tilers :) I guess, this will not be an option, I will not like the look.

Thank you so much for the pictures! Your shower looks really cool! I do not see the overhead shower there. It is not installed yet?The niche is very roomy. Before&after pictures are really helpful. Will try to implement something like this in our only internal wall (it will be next to the short side of the tub).
I guess, we will use a combination of different fixtures.

Planning such project is a full time job... I spent a month designing a vanity combination. I picked a whirlpool tub and got a couple of quotes (one is acceptable) for a vanity top. Still, it is all so overwhelming... I am sure I will ask more questions here.

Will register for Houzz now..

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 2:39PM
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I have Ginger shower baskets. I like them because they hold enough stuff and are easy to clean.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 4:01PM
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I'm also doing Ginger baskets in this remodel (actually the remodel is almost complete and the baskets should be installed this week). In my previous home, we had a ledge about 4-5" wide, 3' long and 3' high, which I loved (I'm not a huge fan of niches, which I had before the ledge). I'm hoping the Ginger baskets will look at home in my two contemporary bathrooms.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Funny, I've almost filled the niche already! Never too much room! LOL I thought I had taken lots of pictures, but didn't have any showing both the end wall and the niche, and the shower fixtures. Took my first shower Sunday...happy dance... only 1 year and 1 month from when we began to gut the BR. I coach part-time and was just saying to my DH that there is no way we could have done this ourselves if I was working full-time...I can't even begin to calculate how many hours I've put into this.

You will love Houzz... I have spent many an enjoyable hour browsing on there...

Here are the fixtures... they are all Riobel. (Really, I enjoy any excuse to show off my shower, can't believe it's actually done!)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 4:35PM
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If you are having someone help with the tiling, they can shape the edge of porcelain tile. So no need for bullnose. Mine's not done yet but all my niches just have straight edges made from the tile. My tile guy is not cheap but he's very good.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:34PM
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