please help with my two tiny depressing bathrooms

feisty68April 19, 2014

We are renovating the kitchen and - shhhh! don't tell my husband - I am thinking about the bathrooms now. I get so depressed when I look at inspiration photos for bathrooms. I don't even know what kind of lens you would need to photograph bathrooms the size of mine.

Our home is a 12-year-old, 1000 sf, 3 bedroom apartment housing a family of four. The home - though small - is designed for a family (it's a cohousing community). It's tight for us but it's a close-knit community and we need to make it work for now. Re-sale IS a consideration.

I've posted the layout below. It is very odd because there is a powder room and a bathroom side by side, off the hallway. They are both tiny, windowless, and have 7 ft ceilings. I feel horribly claustrophobic in both bathrooms. The original tiles, toilets, vanities, and wall colour are all awful and need replacing. Mold and musty towels are issues due to lack of ventilation - we use the bathroom fan but it is crummy and there are no windows.

If we weren't a family of four, I would remove the toilet from the main bathroom to create more space and feeling of luxury. Unfortunately, I think that two toilets are necessary for us. Also, I am using the complex's laundry facilities, but I want to maintain the option of installing a washer/dryer in the designated location in the powder room (re-sale).

Should I maintain the current layout? There may be significant constraints due to it being a multi-family building, load bearing walls, etc.

Some ideas I have:

* install an openable frosted window on the south wall of the bathroom (above tub)

* install a solatube in the powder room (laundry machines would block a window

* remove the drywall on the ceiling and leave pipes/vents exposed (or drywalled) to create 8 ft ceilings

* IKEA Godmorgen wall mounted vanities with drawers - with white ceramic sinks and modern single hole faucets

* install between-the-stud storage on the east wall of the bathroom

* upgrade ceiling fans to ones that actually work

* tile floors that have some continuity with adjacent hardwood for "flow" in the small spaces

* good quality wall tiles in main bathroom - possibly tile all walls since it is small? minimize grout somehow? the grout has not held up well after 12 years

* the tub is an ugly but functional white acrylic soaker tub that has lost its gloss - any way to freshen it? better options? I would love something easier to clean...I think I damaged the tub by using tile cleaning chemicals -arg.

* I really want skirted toilets - my son has "issues" and...let's just leave it at that. I need easy to clean surfaces.

Am I missing something? Any inspiration photos for me? Speciic product advice? What works for me is a soft modern look, with subtle retro/artsy/organic touches.

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> the tub is an ugly but functional white acrylic soaker tub that has lost its gloss - any way to freshen it? better options? I would love something easier to clean...I think I damaged the tub by using tile cleaning chemicals -arg

I have seen car wax suggested for some brands of acrylic when that happens.

However, I'd think very hard about whether or not it wouldn't be best to do a full redo now if you want to tile. Once the tub surface is damaged it's all downhill and it would be a shame to go to the expense of tiling only to have to rip it all out in a couple of years to replace the tub.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:28AM
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A little out of the box, but not a lot of wall changes...also makes some assumptions about measurements that aren't listed.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:37AM
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I'd go with a new tub. Cast iron is durable. Have you considered wall hung toilets? Even easier cleaning, modern style for small spaces. I'd tile at least part way up all the walls. Grout should last a lot longer than 12 years. Epoxy will be easiest to clean though it is a trickier install.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:12PM
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Thanks for the input writersblock, williamsem, and crl! The kitchen reno that we started in January is my first time renovating, so I really appreciate the advice of the pros!

Hmmm. Perhaps replacing the tub would be best. Our tub is an 18" deep (16" up to center of overflow) soaker tub - my 6'2" husband loves baths and that depth is a necessity for him. I love the idea of cast iron but I have the impression that a soaker tub of similar dimensions would be expensive and hard to find? I'm in Canada and that's one thing I wouldn't order over the internet I guess? I will try the car wax idea of we can't find a reasonably priced cast iron tub. Or get another acrylic soaker tub :( .

Acrylic seems so impractical to me - a tub is something I want to SCRUB. When I figured out - too late - how I was supposed to clean the tub, I couldn't believe it how you're supposed to baby it. I am now using Magic Erasers and a LOT of elbow grease because the finish is dull.

The tile grout situation is partly my fault. We do not wipe down the tile, the bathroom is too moist, and I have not been re-sealing the grout. Being overwhelmed with children, divorce, and remarriage over the past decade has really been hard on my housekeeping. I need to be realistic, though, that high maintenance surfaces are not for me - especially in the bathrooms because I feel too claustrophobic to want to clean in there. I like the idea of epoxy!

About the wall-hung toilet idea, and moving the toilet idea - I'm not sure if we can move the toilet sanitary drain hole. First, they have to hook up to the building's sanitary lines which connect to units above and below us. Second, the holes below the toilets go right into concrete skim containing hot water radiant heating pipes. It seems like it would be really hard to access piping to do work on it? I will investigate.

Williamsem - thanks for the outside the box idea! That is very interesting and I can see it having quite a few benefits. It would create more space and take away from toilets being the focal point. I don't mind the "toilet in a closet" concept if it frees up space elsewhere. Unfortunately, I don't know how feasible it is to move toilet drains, and the piping in the shared wall - I will have to investigate.

I'm also wondering about pocket doors. If I am in the bathroom doing something non-private, I generally have the door open, and the door itself effectively removes a lot of the space in the bathroom.

Any suggestions for a window that would work well in a shower situation, and be easy to retrofit?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:05PM
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I like a lot of details of the bathroom below, including ledge on tub wall, toilet, fixed shower curtain, tub with surround, and sliding door.

I wish our tub orientation was as above. The toilet is so focal in our bathroom - if you're soaking in the tub you are looking right at it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chezerbey bathroom reno

This post was edited by feisty68 on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 13:38

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:36PM
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Can't help with the windows, but I think your idea of removing drywall and seeing if there's someway to increase ceiling height is a good idea.

We did that in our basement BR. The original owners had ducting from the furnace which they had just sort of drywalled around and then painted, there was always this sort of weird angled jut out coming down from the ceiling. When we gutted, we also put in a new furnace, and had them use a shallower but wider duct so it could fit up between the joists instead of jutting down into the BR. Amazing what just a few extra inches of height made. We kept the ceiling in that part of the BR (hallway) lower, ie about 7.5 feet, and raised in the rest to 8 feet.

Maybe, once you take the ceiling down, you will find that your ducting/wiring/plumbing can be modified to take less room and or be moved to one edge and fit into a soffit. Even if your ceiling is raised by only half a foot, I think you will notice and appreciate the difference.

A pocket door in your PR would definitely make a difference, but it would require demoing your broom closet if you go to the left. If you go to the right, just make sure there is enough room for light switches in the next BR. If there isn't enough length, then you can make the wall a little deeper to accommodate the framing for the pocket door, AND the electrical box for the switches.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:43PM
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My bathroom is slightly longer than yours, but otherwise not much bigger and also has low ceilings (industrial loft space converted to condos - the bathroom ceilings are 6'4"). I think we ended up with something beautiful, and I don't feel claustrophobic at all (although that was a strong consideration when we were deciding whether to buy this place). We are all small people though. Here's a picture of the end result (mirror being installed Monday). I hope you can be as happy with your when you're finished as we are with ours.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:43PM
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Oh, and mine has no windows either. Here's a picture taken from a different direction.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:47PM
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Sjhockeyfan - your bathroom is beautiful! Thanks for sharing. It feels very soothing and high quality. I love the tile and the shower drain details especially. I think that a shower stall is a great use of space in a bathroom that size. Unfortunately, 3/4 of my family members are hooked on baths, so the tub has to stay.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:53PM
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Raehelen, thanks for your comments about the ceiling height. I have a feeling that the only thing up there is the ceiling fan duct. And I'm thinking that could just be on the outside (south) wall in both bathrooms - which would eliminate the necessity for a duct entirely. I think there are fans that are rated for being in a shower. The light fixtures could just be wall mounted sconces rather than ceiling fixtures. Then the ceiling would be elevated by 10" which would make a huge difference IMO - esp for my 6'2" husband.

The hall wall has a fan switch and an electrical outlet between the two bathrooms - nothing on the coat closet side. I definitely wouldn't want to do anything that would affect the hall floors - they just got redone at great expense.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:07PM
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Feisty, our shower takes up the same space as your tub will - I know, because we removed the tub that was there. It will be fine, really.

(Funny you mentioned the drain - that was a "find". Because we have concrete floors and couldn't "dig" a regular drain was going to make the shower even shorter - by about 6". Luckily I found these low-profile drains in time to change the plan).

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:27PM
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>I am now using Magic Erasers and a LOT of elbow grease because the finish is dull.

Nooooooo! Magic Erasers are basically serious abrasives. That's why they get so much gunk off--they just remove everything you rub over.

You are almost certainly removing more of the surface material every time you scrub with one. Don't get me wrong, they're great for the right uses, but I wouldn't use one on any surface you wouldn't use steel wool on.

EDIT If you were debating whether or not to do a new tub, that probably means it's more than time, I'm afraid.

Doing a large cast iron soaking tub means more than just finding a big tub; also making sure the floor can support the weight. I think it would be a lot easier and probably less expensive to look for an acrylic tub and just learn to adapt to different cleaning methods.

This post was edited by writersblock on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 15:46

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 3:43PM
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feisty, after a lot of back and forthing, I decided my new tub will be acrylic. I will use whatever cleaning methods are approved. I went a bit over budget with it, but it'll be deeper than my cast iron choice.

sj, be sure to post pics after your mirror is installed. I keep wavering between framed and unframed. I'm looking for a sign. :)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:09PM
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Linelle, we had gorgeous framed mirrors in our previous home, but that bathroom was large - separate framed mirrors won't work in this small low-ceiling room, so we're going with plain mirror for the length of the vanity, with the two light fixtures coming through the mirror. I'll post a picture on Monday.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:56PM
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Sjhockeyfan, thanks for the clarification about the dimensions. Having the toilet and sink on opposite sides definitely uses the space differently than my current layout.

Writersblock - I'm pretty sure the floor weight capacity is fine - it's rated to hold up concrete so I assume it's over-engineered. but that is a good point and one for me to double-check.

No magic erasers? Awwww. Thank you for the information. I just cannot fathom how you're supposed to clean an acrylic tub then. With 4 people using one tub, some using bubble bath, the soap scum does build up quickly. How do people get it off? Even when the tub was new I didn't find it that easy to clean. Am I missing something?

Linelle, I'm afraid that a deep cast iron tub may be out of our budget so we may end up with acrylic if we replace.

I like the idea of a frameless beveled mirror that extends from the vanity over the toilet - someone was recommending that in a thread discussing out to make a small bathroom look larger.

The real budget killer here will be the window penetrating a load bearing wall and building envelope materials. I think that will be a priority because of how much it will improve the look and feel of the space.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:04PM
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I did read about someone using Brasso to successfully buff an acrylic tub. It probably can't hurt at this point, right?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:06PM
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Here are Kohler's recommendations for cleaning acrylic tubs and whirlpools.

For tubs in bad shape, there's also this, which Kohler does recommend. I know people who've used it with much success on old discolored cast iron kitchen sinks, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: R.O.G.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:32PM
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Forgot to say I use steam and a microfiber cloth, but those can also cut into the finish. You need to be sure of what "strength" of microfiber they are and go gently.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:34PM
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Using liquid soaps instead of bar soap does help with the build up issue. I noticed this when I made the switch. I also wipe down the tub when I finish my bath, every time. I never clean my tub otherwise, except maybe every 3-4 months. It is sparkly. It is cast iron though. I am the only one using it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:24PM
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Thanks for the tips writersblock and enduring. I guess, with a family of four, I am pretty sensitive to the cost of cleaning products and soaps because we go through a LOT. I find Kohler's recommended products to be pretty expensive and stinky compared to old standbys that work great on cast iron, like Bon Ami for example. Liquid soap is a lot more expensive than bar soap and I think there would be more waste with kids using it. Maybe I haven't done enough comparison shopping. Edited to add- my children and husband will be not be reliable tub wipers, either.

This post was edited by feisty68 on Sun, Apr 20, 14 at 1:27

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 1:19AM
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Feisty, you are definitely between a rock and a hard place! You don't say how old your kids are (or your husband, LOL), but all three should be trainable. However, from what you've said in your posts, I think you would prefer something with a more durable finish than acrylic yourself. Perhaps hold off the bath renos until you can afford a cast iron tub, which I'm thinking might be your best option seeing your cleaning preferences. I would try the car polishing/wax options for now, and lay off the hard abrasives.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 12:53PM
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Last year I went through a lot of elbow grease cleaning soap scum build up off the tile in my shower, like with a razor blade. Vowing to not get in that situation again, I was one of the last people on the planet to switch from bar to liquid soap. I was sad to give up some of my favorite soaps. :( Liquid soap seemed expensive. :( I ended up with EO lavender. You need so little for a good lather, and I found that it goes as far as the equivalent $$ in bar soap. Plus less scum. Yay!

[My doctor told me soap can be very drying and is overused. His exact words: "Pits and crotch."]

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 4:01PM
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We just don't have a bathtub maintaining lifestyle. Dh has a quick shower and literally runs out the door at 7:15 AM. I could train my 7 year old daughter, but I have my hands full with parenting and educating my 10 year old boy who has ADHD, sensory issues, and a grab bag of learning disabilities. We are still working on the basics of daily routines, and toilet hygiene with him.

I did a bit of searching on the forum and I'm not sure if there are any cast iron tubs that would hold 16" deep water and fit in my space??

I guess I am a bar soap holdout. I like my inexpensive Pears soap. Dd needs an eczema-friendly soap which we buy in bar form (cheaper). When you use liquid soap, everyone then needs a cloth/puff as well - and all of those then need places to dry, and they need to be cleaned regularly. I did a little reading and it seems that most cost comparisons indicate that liquid soap is significantly more costly than bar soap. Especially with kids I imagine (we are working on toothpaste wastage right now, sigh).

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 6:24PM
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Do you need the broom closet? Ditching it and adding the space to the adjoining powder room, or just making the closet shallower, would substantially increase space in the powder room without having to move plumbing around. Alternatively, would the laundry stack make sense where the broom closet is now? Then you could add the space to the powder room, and again maybe move the back wall so there's more room in the 1/2-bathroom.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 6:17AM
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You can lighten/brighten a bathroom a lot by painting the ceiling bright white, the walls a lighter color, and installing a high-wattage light fixture. I would do that, plus put in a decent ceiling fan now. That won't cost much and will tide you over until you get the full rehab planned and budgeted.

I'd stick with your existing layout. It's the most efficient in your space, and with 4 people you definitely need 2 toilets.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:47PM
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This is a bit off topic but I wanted to put "tiny" fully into perspective.

I looked at this house the last time it was on the market. It's late 18th century and the bathrooms were squeezed into an area between the fireplaces and the stairs. It's not a small house, but it simply wasn't designed for bathrooms. Whoever rescued this house in the gentrification of Society Hill wanted to tread lightly on the original house.

The house is currently rented, I don't think it sold the last time, and I think part of the problem is the existing bathrooms and the relative lack of alternatives for new ones (except for maybe one Big on taking over a whole room somewhere). The house is listed for almost $700K

Two of the three bathrooms open directly into living space including the living room. This picture is shot from outside the bathroom. All three are this size.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Thanks for your ideas about the broom closet Lee676. It would be worth considering using the broom closet as a laundry hook-up spot. That would allow a window in the powder room, and potentially even a shower - dh was just saying today that it would be nice to have one there. Of course, it would be VERY painful to lose the storage space in the broom space is so very precious in this apartment. I'll think about that. I think that more space in the main bathroom would be a higher priority to me...that's where I would hang out more if it was nicer.

Weedyacres, thanks for your suggestions to make simple changes. I'm trying to make reasonable changes towards a more pleasant and liveable home, with an eye to eventual resale.

Palimpsest - you have a point that "tiny" is relative. I still remember the Paris bathroom in the flat where I stayed, where the toilet was basically in the shower stall. Then again, step out the door and you're in I didn't have a problem with it ;) . It's hard to tell from the photo above what the size of that bathroom is, but I'm not surprised it's a resale issue for that house - they probably should bite the bullet and take over a room for a luxury bathroom.

Believe it or not, our humble 1000 sf condo has been valued at $475K. When the time comes to sell, I don't want the condition of the kitchen or bathrooms to be a negative for potential buyers.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:33AM
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It would be helpful to have a whole-house floorplan for context. For example, if the room to the right of the bathroom is a bedroom, the door could be moved to that room rather than, or in addition to, the hallway. Then the shower could be added to the other bathroom. Things like broom closets and even laundry machines can be moved to (or near) the kitchen since you're renovating that now.

Do you have access to the space below this floor (i.e. a basement or lower level)? That makes it much more feasible to move plumbing fixtures around or add new ones.

Oh, and if your DH wants a shower, take advantage of that to get him signed up for the bathroom renovation....

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 3:09AM
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The bathrooms are slightly over 4 feet deep. The "bathtub" is more of a deep shower receptor with a seat, and I would say its about 27" wide. It's basically the size of the smallest bathtub still available for trailers. It's probably about 5 feet wide with an extra little alcove for the pedestal sinks. The ceiling is also lower.

I think these would not be very pleasant to use on a daily basis as the only bathrooms.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:52PM
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I agree that those bathrooms don't sound appealing palimpsest! Especially windowless/low ceilinged.

Lee676, there aren't too many options related to adjacent rooms. The adjacent bedroom is the smallest one, and there really isn't room for adding a door there. Moving plumbing would be tricky if it involved the floor because we have concrete radiant heating in it. I think the bathroom/bedroom wall might also be a load bearing wall and we learned the hard way that it is not easy for us to do the standard header/side stud procedure to create an opening, because we cannot access the floor joist below to properly attach structural studs in this seismic zone. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my bathroom dilemma!

This post was edited by feisty68 on Tue, Apr 22, 14 at 15:34

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Ok, now that the floor plan is up... I am even more massively in favor of Lee's idea of putting the washer/dryer in the broom closet so that you can put a window and possibly a shower in the smaller bath. I think doing laundry in that little bath would be very awkward because of the toilet placement, and it would also really aggravate your moisture/mustiness problem.

As for the broom closet, it looks deeper than the w/d hookup space. If it is, then you could have room to install a w/d in there and still also be able to hang brooms and mops on the wall right by the door, in front of the w/d. That would keep brooms and mops (and anything else you want to hang on the walls) out of your way.

If the scale in real life is different enough that putting a w/d in there would prevent you from hanging mops/brooms on the walls, you could consider replacing the broom closet's folding door with a regular door and hanging mops/brooms on the inside of that door. And if having two swinging doors in that space (the outside door and new broom closet door) seems awkward, could you rehang the outside door so that it opens to the outside rather than the inside?

And finally... storage. What are you storing in the broom closet? Do you actually need all of it? If so, do you actually need all of it to be in the kitchen? There are many solutions to storage issues that do NOT require you to put up with a tiny half-bath with no natural light, bang your knees on the toilet while doing laundry, or endure moisture problems. We can brainstorm storage solutions rather than just continuing to sacrifice the bathrooms.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 5:16PM
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It looks like you have a good idea on the type of products you would like but are working with a budget where you are not sure if you will end up with lower quality products. Here at Whites Plumbing we offer many great products and brands that I believe would fit your needs for both your kitchen and bathroom. We make an effort to give our customers quality products at competitive prices and we also offer free shipping across the United States. From what you said already it looks like we are a great fit for you because we also have custom kitchen cabinet experts that can help you design your kitchen. Feel free to browse some of our selections in our brand new online store; I am sure you will not be disappointed.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 12:41PM
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Ideagirl2: thanks for your input :) . That definitely gives me a lot to think about. Interesting that you are focusing on the powder room. I was more concerned about the situation in the main bathroom.

I am using the communal laundry so I don't have experience using the powder room for that. The W/D nook in the powder room is 33.5" wide. If you were doing laundry, you'd have the toilet right there (ick), but at least the room is wider where you are actually standing. I do have neighbours (a couple) with the identical floor plan who have used that nook for laundry for over a decade so I will ask them how they feel about that. That room doesn't currently have moisture issues because there's no bathing going on there.

If I didn't put a window in the powder room I would investigate a solatube and/or an interior frosted window between the bathrooms (assuming I had a window put in the main bathroom).

The broom closet is 34.5" wide and 41" deep. To do laundry there you'd literally be standing in the only entrance to our apartment...that could be tricky. I don't see there being room for a broom or mop. The spot where you'd be standing would be pretty closed in. is an option to consider.

Storage - I am reorganizing storage for the whole home. Keep in mind that I have no garage/attic/bonus spaces (just a tiny storage locker on the parkade level). The broom closet is planned to have: broom, mop, steam cleaner, vacuum, all cleaning supplies, all tools/paint/DIY supplies, and some kitchen overflow (heirloom silver/china/glasses). I am already using the balcony for a chest freezer and emergency water and supplies.

Kitchen storage is tight due to the emphasis on creating a spacious, light feeling in my design. It's at the entrance to the home so I want it to look good and feel great because I spend a lot of time there, cooking and teaching my children to cook and bake.

I am currently using shelving in the powder room to store camping supplies, my professional equipment, extra toilet paper, tissues, and toiletries, and the family laundry hamper. These are all things that we use. It's covered up by a curtain so it doesn't look too cluttery.

Storage is obviously an issue when 4 people are living in 1000 sf. I'm not sure if an extra shower is worth losing the storage space - I know that even couples looking at condos like this are concerned about where they will put their stuff so I want to strike the right balance for re-sale value.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Since there doesn't appear to be any natural delimiter between the kitchen and living room, it looks like you could extend the kitchen cabinets several feet to the right of where the stove is now. That would give room for extra storage, perhaps a narrow full-height broom closet to the left of the fridge. Then you could move the laundry machines into the existing broom closet area. Some laundry stacks are only 24" deep, or 27" for larger ones, which would allow the back wall to be moved inward to make more space in the powder room. OTOH, right at the entrance isn't the ideal place for laundry machines, but since they're covered with a door at least they're out of sight most of the time.

Another option - put a side-by-side washer and dryer in the other closet (if the depth is there - you'll need at least 22" but most machines need at least 24"), with wall cabinets above for storage and maybe broom hooks on the side walls if the width is there. Then reallocate the broom closet for jackets and clothes, and again move the back wall inward to give more space to the bathroom.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 7:34PM
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Thanks for the comments Lee676 - very helpful. I am currently renovating the kitchen and extending the base cabinets 36" down that wall. I will also be adding shallower wall mounted cabinets along that wall.

The coat closet is only 18.5-19.5" deep so that probably won't work for laundry.

I see what you mean about widening the powder room by not using the full depth of the broom closet for laundry. That would certainly make the room more pleasant and allow light from a window to travel nicely. And possibly make space for a reasonable shower stall. Or it would allow the sink to be under the window.

If I didn't move walls or add a shower to the powder room, I guess I would still have the option of putting a window in there and enjoying the natural light. If future owners wanted to put laundry machines in there, they would end up being in front of the window, but I don't see that mattering.

I need to get a better sense of the cost of putting windows in. I think that natural light could make all the difference in those rooms.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 3:06AM
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Here's a real simple layout change, kind of what I proposed earlier, at least the main items that shouldn't cost much since the plumbing and electrical can mostly stary where it is. Look at it and see if you can figure out what i have in mind.

Smarter W/D stack location takes some width from the bedroom closet, but leaves enough (you could also ditch or shrink the linen closet some; I blew mine away to add space for an adjoining toilet AND made an adjacent bedroom closet a foot shorter so the bathroom wouldn't be claustrophobic. Anyway, you still get two entry closets this way, plus a large shower for 2 with window if you want one (that's "rain shower" head on the middle ceiling and "trench drain" at back, didn't scan very clearly. Just trying to get fancy, you can use basic showerheads and a simple round or rectangular grate at one end if you want, or if it absolutely wont fit anywhere else, the center.) I drew in sliding glass doors for the shower. You can tap the existing hot and cold water intake currently used for the washing machine for the shower instead, and likewise its drain.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 5:03AM
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I forget whether you're "on slab", but if you are, just know that adding a regular shower drain will take the floor of the shower pretty high -- the "trench drain" lee refers to (usually called a "linear drain") is much lower (in inches) and lower profile, but expensive. People are very taken with it though (we have one by necessity) so it might be a selling point!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:32PM
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Lee676, thank you soooo much for taking the time to show me this option! What a fantastic idea because it would be easily accessible from the hallway, which is much roomier space than the other options.

Unfortunately moving plumbing and drain that far is not an option. We already have a W/D hook up in the powder room and I assume moving to the broom closet would not be a big deal. But moving across the hall - I can't imagine how we'd do that since we cannot access under the floor from above (concrete slab with radiant heating with expensive wood floors on top) nor from below (someone else's unit). We have so many constraints compared to renovating in a house, unfortunately.

Your idea of moving the W/D to the broom closet and stealing some space from the broom closet for the powder room shower stall probably is feasible though. With even a small window, it should not be too claustrophic.

Sjhockeyfan, your linear drain is really awesome - definitely would be something for me to consider with the shower stall idea.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Main bathroom -

I still think that the main bathroom is priority for upgrading: 1. it is larger and 2. it has a soaker tub and people actually spend quite a lot of time there.

I have confirmed that, other than the door wall, the three other walls *are* load bearing. That means no layout changes for that bathroom. The window and raising the ceiling are the only hopes for making that room feel more spacious and luxurious.

I'm thinking large format glass or glass-look tiles for around the tub (and walls?):

Waterworks 12 x 24 White Glass Tile

Korel 6"x12" California Sand

Korel 6"x12" Heavenly White

Cerif Bloom Super White 6.5 x 19

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 3:07PM
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I would do the same flooring in both bathrooms. The bathroom doors are usually open and the bathroom flooring is visible down the hall. I'd really like a tile that flows with and complements our freshly refinished topnailed site-finished oak floors.

Here's ARTO BB44 6â Hexagon Creme Fraiche Vintage beside our oak floors - I think IRL the honey-coloured tiles would echo the oak colour? I would do dark grey grout.

Thanks to Spanish1929 for pointing me to Arto Tile in another thread.

This post was edited by feisty68 on Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 15:51

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 3:33PM
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I love that tile with your floor!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 6:11PM
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Thanks enduring! The tiles should be non-slip because they have quite a bit of texture. No price yet though.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:32PM
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This is a cast iron tub option:

Toto Enameled Cast Iron Bathtub
59-1/16" x 31-1/2" x 23-1/4"
water depth 19"

But there would probably be serious issues with installing it (weight, access, etc.).

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 1:02AM
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You can install a cast iron tub, they've been going into houses for over a hundred years :) You have concrete floors don't you? You can get it through the door. It will just take 2-3 people, thats all. I had an old one, took it out and installed a new one, through a 31 or 32" space. Plumber initially suggested I get something lighter, I just looked at him and smiled stating that I was getting a cast iron tub. If you are willing to spend the extra time you will be very happy with the cast iron. Beautiful material.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 6:44AM
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Getting it through the door depends on size not material--acrylic tubs don't bend either.

Weight can be an issue when it comes to floor support, guess you'd have to check that part out. (And yes, some plumbers flaunch at cast iron because it is heavy--IMO they get paid and can charge more for extra helpers if they need them, but I wouldn't let their one day of difficulty keep me from having the tub I wanted for years and years.

On cost, budget is budget, but it sounds like your tub gets a lot of use and the durability of cast iron would pay off in the long run. So if you can mange it, I'd give it some serious thought.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 9:22AM
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Yes, I would have to check weight issues on the floor.

I guess it should fit through the door and into place, with some careful application of geometry.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 1:36PM
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The tub you have got in there somehow. Of course in really old buildings they used to sometimes put the tub in the bathroom and frame around it. . . . If your tub isn't original to the building, you should be able to get one of the same size in somehow.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 8:45PM
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My building was built in 2001 and the tub is original.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 2:10AM
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I put shelves above the regular shelves found in normal closets. In one I had to put in a more shallow shelf - 10" deep. but across 6' it holds a lot. In another closet I put another shelf as deep as the regular one and even a 3rd shelf above that one - that one had to go to just 10" deep. that closet is about 8" deeper so I could go up higher in it.

a lot of wasted storage space up there now in use.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 3:29AM
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Are you really able to add windows and solatubes in a co-housing apartment where anything outside of your interior walls is likely community property? Wouldn't that change the exterior appearance and make your unit not conform to the style of the rest of the building?

I think that your use of the washer/dryer space in your half-bath is much more productive now than it would be if you lost that storage space for a window. Effective vent fans seem to be what you need in the main bathroom. I would consider also getting one with a heating fan that you could put on a timer. Then the heater can also run after the hubby showers and it will help dry out the shower area if he is not willing to use a squeegy. I know if we give the shower curtain a hard shake a few times and leave about a foot open on either end, the vent fan does a better job of getting out the moisture. Having the heater fan going for a while really dries it out, though. I will admit to running them both at the same time sometimes. The fan on my heater is strong enough to get the heat down into the room, so I am not just venting out the newly heated air!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2014 at 5:17AM
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Nancy_in_mich, thanks for your comments.

It wouldn't be a problem getting permission from my housing complex. The window(s) wouldn't look bad on the exterior wall. The complex has many different units in small buildings so there is no regular pattern that would be disrupted by new windows. It would be easy to select windows that are of similar size and style.

Thanks for the suggestion to use a heating fan. The musty towel issue is so bad. Basically towels don't dry well even after 24 hours in that room. I've started daily washing of them because I don't have a solution for the humidity in that room.

Space use in the powder room is a tricky one. There are those combined washer/dryer-in-one machines - that would allow a window above?

I do think that windows would make those small rooms much more pleasant. I've always had small bathrooms in old homes and apartments that I've lived in, but none have made me feel so claustrophobic as these ones do. Also, I would love to be able to put on makeup in the bathroom with strong natural light. I've noticed that things look different in the harsh light of day! ;)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2014 at 12:48PM
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So, this will never move forward because our kitchen will NEVER be done! We started in February, but dh had health issues and life swamped us :(

But...I think this is an interesting option for flooring because it would look really cute beside the honey oak of the hallway and be presumably cheap and waterproof.

This is what the sellers says about use in the bathroom though:

" Pura Vida Home Decor
They are durable and made for indoor outdoor use. I asked the manufacturer your question and this is their response: The floorcloths are great in bathrooms but in a soaking wet environment we are unsure how they may stand up. I'm sure they would be okay but we have not tested it ourselves and don't want to recommend something we aren't 100% sure about."

But heck, it's VINYL. It should be waterproof if I buy a continuous sheet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pattern 31 Rajha vinyl floor cloth

    Bookmark   December 12, 2014 at 4:19PM
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I am sorry to hear about your dh's health problems. I hope all is well now, or at least on the way to well.

That floor covering is super cute. No idea about how it would hold up.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2014 at 5:45PM
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Hi feisty68, weâÂÂve got a bathroom which looks a lot similar to the one youâÂÂve got. It has got a good ventilation facility. The space really matters and one needs to find ways to make space in there. Ventilation is need and your plan on dropping the drywall and exposing the pipes, I wonâÂÂt suggest that. The first thing you need to do is having proper ventilation and then making space in your bathroom. I would suggest to get rid of that vanity cabinet and it is taking a lot of space. You can definitely compensate it by different bathroom accessories like caddies and all. Only keep useful things in your bath and for a longer storage make space in your adjacent bedroom or kitchen, whichever is convenient.
IâÂÂve done a similar procedure; shortlisted the items that are most needed in bath and the rest are stored in our kitchen cabinet. The needed ones were arranged using several bath accessories from Better Living (ON) and it gave a lot of space. Try it and you will feel the change.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2015 at 5:34AM
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Thanks crl_ and TanyaRey. Health situation is improving so we have re-started the kitchen renovation.

TanyaRey, you are correct that ventilation is key. We are struggling with this right now. One problem is that four people are using one windowless bathroom for bathing and showering. There is a fan that works there, but we live in a humid climate and have to ventilate the steam produced from both bathing and the kitchen. I cook a lot - sometimes I'll have a soup simmering for hours, or something in the oven slow roasting. When the fan is on in the bathroom all the cooking smells get drawn into the bathroom and my husband doesn't like his towel smelling like last night's dinner. We need to install a better hood in the kitchen but I'm not sure that's going to deal with the issue of the bathroom fan drawing in kitchen vapour and smells.

TanyaRey - I'm not sure how we would get rid of the vanity cabinets in the bathrooms. We need to store towels, toilet paper, toiletries for four people, and basic cleaning supplies in the bathrooms. We are tight on storage in every single room (small bedrooms, limited storage in kitchen, etc. - the bathrooms need to store items that are used there at the very least. I would like to avoid a lot of caddies and open storage in the bathroom - it's hard to avoid visual clutter with those storage methods.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2015 at 2:34PM
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I have a small house. Small baths. You don't like housecleaning nor wiping down after kids. One thing I did was I got rid of the ceramic tile tub surround and had white swanstone panels installed. I never want to clean mildewed grout again. I love tile and put it above the panels. Yes, I prefer, way prefer the look of tile but not at the cost of cleaning it.

The swanstone looks pretty good. Sorry no pics.

I have two Americast tubs and I think they are acrylic..I love them. Had cast iron before. They are shiny, sparkly, fresh and white. I think my cleaners use a spray to clean them.

I am glad you are thinking this thru before you do extreme drastic measures. 1000s f is not going to be better with the addition of windows. Editing, building up, and up going storage will help, not windows. Natural light is overrated.

Look at small space solutions and not at glam or cliched luxury sites. We built closets onto our bedroom walls instead of new dressers. Up to the ceiling. Think California closets. With drawers and cabinets. Not pretty but functional.

We have ikea Brimnes headboards with under bed storage drawers in our new house. I am an ikea slave.

Your family is always going to take a lot of time and energy and that's just the way it is. A 1000sf house will not be easy but it's home. And I love love your kitchen. Think about the life you live for now. Think first before acting.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2015 at 1:29AM
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Agree strongly with Lee, move the washer dryer to the broom closet and install a shower where the closet was. It will not be a huge shower, but if it at least 30 x 30 it should work. You can put a small window high up in the shower.

Reorganize your other closets, an additional shower will increase resale. I would use tile on the floor, no floor cloth, it is cute but will not wear well especially if your son has some issues, heck, I have three sons and I want something that can be disinfected on the floor.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2015 at 10:32AM
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Westsider, thanks for the recommendation of the panels. My practical side is impressed! Not sure how it fits into the resale plan though. I actually think that fixing the ventilation issues will help a lot with the grout because there won't be mold growing there. This is the most mold-prone bathroom I've ever had - and the only one without a window.

Thanks for the input on the resale value side gmp3. I am surprised that an additional shower is viewed as a big asset in a 1000 sf condo! Interesting. These units seem to attract mostly older couples rather than families like ours.

Storage really is a conundrum. The vacuum cleaner, brooms, pantry supplies, and tools do need to go somewhere! It would be hard to let go of the broom closet.

Yeah, I think the vinyl floor cloth is not appropriate for our needs.

We are not ready to proceed yet so this gives me food for thought.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2015 at 1:57PM
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