small / tiny master bathroom needs help! pics

eldemilaDecember 3, 2009

I thought I posted here about this bathroom, can't seem to find it if I did, did a few searches to no avail...

We are under contract to purchase this late 1960's built home. The thing I hate about this house the most is the master bathroom. Besides it being totally outdated, it's the layout that bothers me more. As you can see below, the toilet is RIGHT at the doorway. The sellers removed the door and put in an ugly brown accordian door.

I want to switch the vanity location and the toilet location. I also would like to put in a glass shower enclosure, take half of that wall on the right down and put up glass (or would having it total glass be better?) so it will let in some light.

The bathroom is very small, so I can possibly make it a bit more luxurious since it is so small. But to move the plumbing, I'm sure that's going to be costly, though hopefully not too bad since it's on a crawlspace.

I think the existing vanity is 41" - would like to keep a vanity and not do a pedestal - need the storage space, but if needed, could probably due with a smaller vanity.

There's a wall heater, old, but works. Going to replace tile, remove that, or update it to a new one? If I remove it, I think I can get in a pocket door, but not sure. Any other suggestions - want a door, but not an accordian and a regular door will take up too much space.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and considered.


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Rather than move the plumbing which could be quite pricey, why not move the door going into the bathroom? You could frame in a pocket door by having the new doorway in front of the vanity and have the pocket door slide to the right.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 3:12PM
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I need to put my furniture on that wall just as the current owner has it, unfortunately. I don't think I'd have enough wall space if I moved the doorway over to the left, putting my furniture on that wall (which will also cover the floor vent, and I'm already covering one up with a nightstand (furniture is solid to floor) The wall that's not shown in the bathroom is only a little wider than the towel bar that's on it. It also has a little wall heater in that wall as well.

I'll definitely give it a look, it's worth doing so, I may be wrong. BUT, I'd much rather be able to have the doorway where it is, if I can. Since I'm going to redo the bathroom, I figured moving the plumbing may not be so bad since I'm on a crawl space.

Wall in Question

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 3:33PM
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I sympathize because I have a 1960's house that has a small, very narrow main bathroom 11ft x 5ft.

The toilet in our bath faces the door at the back of the bathroom right next to the tub. We decided not to change the plumbing around because it was going to be a major added expense and because some of our plumbing is cast iron, which I've heard can be more difficult to deal with.

We took in account the cost of the house and the fact that it is our first house and we didn't want to over remodel when we knew we wouldn't get our money back for moving a toilet.

So we are doing just a DIY total remodel and that alone is costing us around 3,000 when all said and done. That doesn't include any labor costs as we have been doing everything ourselves including electrical and plumbing.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 5:00PM
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Putting a pocket door where you can move the doorway will not stop you from placing your furniture on that wall.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 7:20PM
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I thought I had an idea, but I find now I'm a little confused. Can you draw a floorplan or give some measurements? What is currently to the left of the vanity behind that wall -- does the shower go all the way back or is that like the closet to another room? Also, what is the hallway like just outside the bedroom? (thoughts are whirling, but i need details!)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 12:17AM
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Jean Bo

I would leave the door alone. I assume you will put your bed where the prior owners did and I doubt you would want to stare straight into the bathroom either. With the dresser in this location you could put yourself a nice flat screen tv and away you go. I suggest a good looking elongated skirted toilet and leave the lid closed as well as the door to the bathroom. I think you won't mind the layout so much if you just update the bathroom with a new vanity, toilet and a nice cloth shower curtain that hangs from the ceiling. I was recently in a hotel and they had one that had the big rings that the bar itself went thru and the top 1/4 or there about was a tight mesh so it let the light in. It looked really nice. You have tile on the walls that look to be in good condition. I wouldn't tear into that bathroom to much too soon. You never know the hidden expenses a house has till you live in it awhile. And later if you decide to redo the bath you will have already purchased your major components.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 12:51AM
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Thanks for the replies!

ROOBEAR, I think the other bathroom is about the same size as your master, it's really long and narrow. It has a ridiculously long vanity with 1 sink in it. I'm going to be redoing that one as well. Thought, if there was some way to tap in to that bathroom and utilize some space for the master...have to get in there and see once we get the house. I'll get a plumber to get under there and let me know how hard it would be to switch the plumbing, may not be as bad as I think.

PKSPIGS, that wall where the dresser is from door opening to door opening is exactly 7" across. The dresser you see in the pic is 5'4" across. My dresser is the same size. So that gives me 20" to work with. Now, on the other side of that wall is the shower stall which measures 3" wide IN THE INTERIOR (my realtor must love me and my measuring tape!). Three feet/3ft+ would have to come off that wall before I could put in a doorway to clear the stall. Plus another 2'4" for the new doorway. Let's call that 6ft to be safe? I'm left with 1 foot, plus the old door opening of 2'4" for 3'4" - not enough to put the dresser. Am I thinking correctly??
HUDSONLEIGH-plz see my reply above regarding measurements. That's the shower stall you see. The purple shower curtain you see is the left side and the shower head is to the right, behind that wall, next to the vanity. I want to cut that wall in half and put in a glass shower enclosure. Can't do anything on the other side, the doorway in to the bedroom, that's the hallway and you can't extend anything out to there.

JJAAZZY, yes, furniture will be as current owners have it. Really the only way ours will fit. That's my whole issue, having to stare straight in to the bathroom - and I sleep on the left! Me, I'm in and out, but my OH - geez, he's in there forever, every time it seems! The tile is in great condition, but really needs to be updated. It looks white, but it has little specks of a mustardy-gold color. Since it's so small, will replace everything. I just wouldn't be happy to have to live with it the way it is. The bathroom I have now is great. I won't even be able to sit and do my hair in this one, my current one has a spot for me to sit and do my girly things - will be moving that elsewhere in this house - had to give up somethings for others to finally find a house!!! Hopefully, no major hidden expenses to come up, had it inspected by one inspector, waiting for 2 others.

If I did have to keep the toilet where it is - can anyone suggest a good door to put there. I'm not sure a pocket door will go or not. There's an outlet on the wall behind the dresser that's 33" from the doorframe. The bathrooms side of the wall has the wall heater. I can remove that when I retile. Other than a pocket door (and no more ugly accordian doors) is there anything else worth looking at?

Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 7:48AM
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You can put in a bifold door which can open to either side, or split the doors so they open outward as French doors.

It looks like to be a 24 inch door opening. You seem to have enough room to install a slab door which opens outward would rest against the wall. There seems to be enough clearence to between the door way and the window.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 8:58AM
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You could do either a paneled bifold door which would stack on one side of the opening (my grandparents replaced an accordian door with this in their assisted living apartment and it looks much better!), or you could do those double doors that are the same side as a single door, just cut in half (if that makes sense). This would let you open the doors without taking up so much of the room.

Not sure if that would work or not but have seen that done as an alternative to a pocket door before, since it decreases the room needed for door clearance.

I think from an aesthetic basis, the pocket door would look the best.

I agree switching the toilet and vanity would be a good idea if it is not too expensive. I am not a fan of opening a bathroom to see the toilet right in front of you.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 10:22AM
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collins design

You can get pocket doors for any size slab. We just got 28" ones for our closets. The slabs are 28", the actual opening you walk through is maybe 27" and you need a rough opening of about 5 feet. A bit tight but do-able.

Cost for one of these: $140 for the door slab (you could certainly choose a cheaper door though!), $40 for the pocket door kit, ~$175 carpentry/installation/sheetrock (though that was rolled into a bigger project so would likely be more if this was the only thing a guy was doing.) Plus door handles. So about You will be needing to remove wall studs and reframe the wall there... so you should make sure it's not a bearing wall first. If it is, you'll just need to be sure it's framed properly with the correct headers to distribute the load, which will be a bit more complicated/expensive.

Moving the outlet over a bit should not be an issue since you're already going to be removing drywall for a pocket door. Just have them remove another square foot or so past where they need to put the door in. How handy are you? Where we live, homeowners are allowed to do their own electrical work, and moving a receptacle is simple. (Be safe though!)

A bifold door would probably be easier/cheaper but not as nice looking nor as private. (On the other hand, anythings better than an accordian door!)

But-hey-why not just put a regular door that opens into the bedroom? If you don't have furniture there, it looks like it would not overlap the window and there's just blank wall there now. Get a pre-hung unit and do it yourself, easy!

I agree that moving the toilet would be nice, but moving DWV is always expensive and a PITA. Issues with cutting joists, distance from the vent -maybe adding new vents- and all that. Can you get under the crawl space and see what the DWV layout is? There are certain distance requirements from vents and when you start moving fixtures you sometimes need to do a lot more to make it up to code :(

Can you post a floor plan with dimensions of all existing walls, fixtures, and doorways?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 11:03AM
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We have a similar master bedroom and bath, except our toilet and vanity are switched. (I can see why that would annoy you.) We plan to use a split door and recess a floor to ceiling storage cabinet between the studs in the wall directly behind the dresser in your photos. A pocket door would be nice but would not allow us to use the stud space. Also, if you want to mount a flat screen t.v. to that wall (or any heavy picture/object), be careful of the nail placement in relation to the pocket door. (I have a pocket door to my laundry room, and yes, I nailed it shut one day.)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 1:00AM
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Thanks for the replies!

I was able to find a program on line that I could make a layout of the mbr. I don't have the exact measurements, but I'm sure I'm pretty darn close with using the measurements of what I know. I figured the bathroom must be around 10'w x 4'6"d If it asks, hit LAUNCH to view it. Great site - you can actually load your own pics in to the floor plan!!

Mike, thanks for the door ideas - not sure about a bifold in as I think it would be a little awkward to have th bifold folding in, out would be a better option if I go that route. Will look in to French doors - I have the image of the O.K. Corral with those. My first choice would be pocket if I can swing it.

Athens, thanks for the ideas - I'd much rather see a pretty vanity and lighting than an ugly ol toilet any day. Will see if it can be done (I have to keep saying IF we get the house!)

Stacey, posted the layout I was able to come up with, close, but not exact. Won't get back in there until walk-through. May think twice about opening the door out in to the bedroom, but still would want to change the floorplan just the same, even with the door. Will be doing that whole bathroom over. I'm not the kind of gal to get in the crawlspace, nor whould I know what I'm looking for, but will definitely have a qualified person get in there and tell me what can/can't be done.

SPITFIRE, no TV in the bedroom, just another place for DH to drive me crazy with the remote if we did! I'd like to put in a recessed cabinet somewhere in there if possible, but it wouldn't be on that back wall. Do you have a pic of your current bathroom?

Thanks again everyone!

Here is a link that might be useful: My FLoor Plan

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 10:59AM
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"a small, very narrow main bathroom 11ft x 5ft. "

Small? Bwahahahaha! Ours was 4.5'x8.5', with a bump out for the toilet so the door can swing in front of the toilet. BOTH our full baths TOGETHER were in an 8.5'x11.5' footprint.

That's small.

Anyhow, I'd definitely do full glass doors in that space. I'd also put in an outswinging door rather than a pocket door--I have a hatred of pocket doors.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 1:17PM
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We have a very small bathroom that we just remodeled and our door is in exactly the same place as yours although we see the side of our (skirted for that reason) toilet. The door opens into the bedroom and yours can too. See my pics in the gallery (small bathroom finished) and the picture where you can see the door is one titled "from inside the shower).

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 5:54PM
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debelli, In your place I'd use the "half" doors that open out to either side. We just removed a set of them from a bathroom we renovated. They are in our garage now - if you are nearby, and want them, they are yours. If you're interested, I'll measure them for you, and I think I have a photo that I can post. They probably date from 1931, when the house was built. They are wood, painted, simple. My email is mfk02115 (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 12:54PM
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(I lied--ours was 4x8.5'--and both measurements are TO THE STUDS.)

I like the idea of a split door, BTW.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 4:14AM
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