Guest bath layout help

Johnny_DollarJuly 8, 2012

So, after lurking here for the last few years, Ms. J_D and I have decided it's time to work on our guest bathroom. We're stuck on the layout for the main items. Below are 3 potential layouts and the current layout. We originally were leaning toward layout 3, however if we keep items in their original locations, it cuts down on cost obviously.

The bath is 8'9" long and 5" wide, with a 24" door, and a 32" window. There is currently the pictured sink & toilet and a 22" closet that is gives floor to ceiling storage for the 2 cats toys and food along with a year's supply of plastic bags and some rags.

We'd like to add a shower or clawfoot tub with shower. We can find the tubs on craigslist or in our local salvage yard for not too much which is what's making us lean toward the tub. We're open to just about any layout, but do have some restrictions that we must follow.

The restrictions - we cannot move the door (or make it wider) as just past it is the stairway to the basement, we'd prefer not to mess with the window due to cost. The wall that the toilet and sink are located on now (Bath original) could be moved a bit, but not too much as the other side is our coat closet (1 of 4 closets in our smallish 1920's home) and storage is at a premium as always. The other 3 walls will need to stay where they are as 2 are exterior walls, and the third is the wall for the basement stairwell.

So I think that's it in a nutshell. Let us know your suggestions or questions.


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I'd say #1 is out, because you don't have enough room between the tub and sink. Space also looks pretty tight in #2. I would go with #3, except that I would place the sink on the same wall as the toilet. My guest bath is close to the same size as yours. Just a little longer at 9'6", but we have a 4 foot vanity. You could fit 3' vanity in your space.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:00PM
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What about #2 but placing the sink opposite the door at the foot of the tub (so your back would be to the door as you use the sink)? Alternatively, #3 with the sink on the same wall as the toilet.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:21PM
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I really don't think that you have enough room on the 5' wall to put the toilet and tub side by side as in #2.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:45PM
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Audry Barber

What terriks said. Your bathroom size and window/ door layout is THE typical, standard, no-brainer plug-in bathroom. And I don't mean that in a bad way - there's a reason that a 5' x 8' layout with the tub along the 5' end, toilet in the middle and vanity across from the door exists in thousands of homes. It works. It's the smallest space you can fit those 3 fixtures into, and it's the most efficient and spacious use of that size and shape space. I'm an architect and all for interesting and unique bathroom layouts, but it's also important to know when you don't have enough room to start deviating from the tried-and-true :-D

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 6:57AM
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The modified #2 seems promising, since the toilet doesn't move, and the shower and sink are just changing places so there are already supply lines in both places.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:45AM
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I like Prickly's modified #2 best, leaving the toilet in place and moving the sink to opposite the door. The two things that make this plan best, IMO, is that the toilet doesn't have to move (that's often expensive) and that the toilet is will hidden from the doorway.

If Terriks is right and there's not enough space for the tub and toilet to be side by side, then I'd opt for a modified #3, again just swinging the sink over to opposite the doorway.

In general, the sink is the best-looking and least 'private' fixture in a bathroom, so when possible, I like to have the sink be the most visible element from the doorway.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:20AM
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I like terrik's modified 3 best, but modified 2 is also a sound idea and would be the least expensive. It would be a good way to showcase a clawfoot tub. But if you have only 5' to work with, most codes will allow you to have a toilet next to a tub only if the edge of the tub is 30" from the wall, leaving 30" for the toilet.

With modified 3, I would consider doing a walk-in shower instead of a tub. Most guests would prefer that, I imagine, and it might be something you don't have elsewhere in the house.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:54PM
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Can you move the door?
Most inexpensive:
I'd be tempted to take your current layout and slide the door to the middle. Add the tub along the left wall now that you don't have a door right there.

Otherwise, as has been mentioned, take layout 3, but move the sink to the window wall (all 3 fixtured lined up across the back wall).

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:52PM
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With all fixtures lined up against the back wall, you'll have your plumbing on an exterior wall, unless you bring the toilet and sink plumbing up through the floor. You could have the tub plumbing on the right hand wall.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:52PM
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Thanks everyone for your comments. Its nice to know that we are on the right track with our original plan (Bath 3). We like the idea of moving the sink to the exterior wall as has been suggested for several of the layouts(and kicked ourselves for not thinking of it on our own - sometimes you just get stuck on a certain placement).

kcmg - Layout 2 would be tight as there's ~32" from the window wall to the toilet.

kirkhall - No dice on the door moving. The doorway/stairwell for the basement literally starts at the edge of the door trim (see photo). The bath/closet was tacked onto the east side of the house in the 60's or 70's adding a 5th doorway in the kitchen (yes there are 5 different exits from our kitchen).

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:33AM
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So another question - What is everyone's opinion on doing a tub vs. a shower. We had originally considered making the 5' wall into a shower or shower and a bit of storage. We've got a tub/shower combo in the full bath upstairs, so doing a tub doesn't give us anything we don't have now.

Our reasons for reconsidering a shower only were that we weren't in love with the shower kits we saw and got a bit scared off by the tiling, etc that would be necessary for the shower walls and floor if we didn't use the kit. Is the tiling really that difficult, or are we just scaring ourselves off unnecessarily?

Again, thanks for all the help and comments.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:36AM
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I am in the same boat with you re the shower. There is a Kerdi shower thread floating around that seems to give great directions and I've also seen the john bridge tile forum recommended a lot. We also have a friend that has done a lot of beautiful tile work in his home - including shower walls, but no shower floors. He is willing to to "learn" on our shower floor and my DH is all for it. While that scares me, it scares me less than us trying it ourselves so we have been considering it.

My other option is a cast iron shower pan (Kohler Salient). No mortar base, no grout, etc. and can be paired with tile, solid surface, or acrylic surrounds. You can also find clawfoot cast iron shower bases. One of those would be a very appropriate look for your home if you can fit it (they seem to be almost universally 42" square).

Here is a link that might be useful: Google shopping results

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 1:18PM
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We would so much prefer a walk-in shower than having to shower in a bathtub, that we decided to remove our gorgeous clawfoot tub and go for shower only. We ordered a Kohler cast iron shower pan because I think they're beautiful and my husband likes the idea of no grout on the floor and in the bottom corners of the shower. We'll have tile on the walls.

The cast iron pans aren't cheap, but my contractor said we would save money overall by not having him install and tile the shower floor (he uses the wedi system).

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 2:07PM
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We've looked at the shower pans, both the inset ones and those with claw feet. They are very nice looking, but ouch n the price. We'll be trying to hammer out the details on the budget this weekend. Thanks for you help everyone and I'll keep you updated.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:20AM
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