Okay, here is the bathroom plan!

nancyinmichJanuary 16, 2014

I am planning for a full bath reconstruction due to a bathtub leak and rot. Because I have a disorder that makes all of my joints loose, worsening with age, I am trying to make an 8.5 x 7 ft floorplan accessible. More or less. This is our only full bathroom. We have a half bath between the kitchen and laundry room that cannot steal space to become larger.

My plan is to make the tub space into a roll-in shower. Because I cannot scrub grout (my joints) and am a reluctant housekeeper to begin with, I will not use tile. I have learned that Swanstone has a shower base with an integrated trough drain. Since we are tearing out down to the rafters, it does not matter that it is for new construction. I will use their walls to ceiling height, have a shower wand on a bar, grab bars in the shower (and at the comfort-height toilet), and use a teak bench in the shower. If I become disabled, I have a more substantial shower bench to move in there. It is too big and clumsy to want in there all the time. Ventilation is already in place - a big vent/heater/light/nightlight is just outside the shower.

Currently, there is a 6ft vanity with two sinks, a full wall mirror above it, and then the toilet all on the wall across from the shower. The rest of the shower-side wall consists of the space that the door opens into. I will widen the door to 36" and have it open outward. That leaves room for a "train rack" towel holder shelf and hook rack in that space for my wet towels. It will be on the wall, up high, above where anyone could hit it with their head as they walk into the room. Another train rack will be above the toilet for hubby. (Got them on sale already.) Train Rack

The vanity will be replaced with a 41" wide antique dresser with the Kohler Brockway cast iron utility sink on top. The sink is used several times on Houzz. The small version of this sink is 36" wide. The basin has a single drain in the center and is 8" deep. It looks like an old farm sink with an integrated backsplash and wall faucets. Two faucets. That way, my hubby gets his "we can both be at the sink at the same time" functionality and I get floorspace. The Brockway is only 18" front to back, so there will be a 4 to 6" ledge up behind the sink for us, so we will not be entirely without counter space. I plan to position the sink so that the very front of the "belly" is seen coming out the front of the vanity, if it does not endanger the structural stability of the vanity or add too much to the depth of the vanity. The "belly" on this sink is black, which goes with my color scheme, and I like the idea of being able to sit and have the sink right there to wash in. Vanity-to-shower edge floorspace is the tightest bottleneck we have. Currently, there is a wall protruding into the room past the tub. I have to talk to my builder about how much of that we can "lose" in the remodel, if any. I can't move the vanity down closer to the door of the room to get it away from the shower. There, it would interfere with the new wider doorway. As you can see in the one lousy pic I have of the dresser, the advantage that it has as a vanity is that it is narrower at the base than at the top. More room for wheels to pass.
dresser for vanity
See the sink hanging on the wall in the link at the bottom of the post. Brockway in vanity with ledge behind it.

The two narrow room walls consist of the entry wall with the big new door and the small old medicine cabinet next to it. At the far end wall, just outside the shower, is a 3' x 3' window. It is currently an original 1978 aluminum slider, but will be replaced with a fiberglass white casement, probably with privacy glass. I hate window treatments in bathrooms. I plan to have black ceramic liner trimming around the window, door, and the in-wall painted storage cabinet.

I plan to add storage in two ways: two narrow mirrored medicine cabinets above the sink, and having an in-wall cabinet made in the 2 ft space that is between the vanity/dresser and the front wall of the bathroom. I plan on a 5 ft high cabinet that goes between studs and uses the 4" inside the wall, then sticks out a few inches to give you 6" of interior space. I also have an existing med cab in the wall next to the entrance door that we will keep. I am going with a vintage look with the antique dresser and Brockway, so I am keeping the old metal-banded med cab look like the one that is there. The two new ones will be flanked with long tube lights from Pottery Barn that I already bought. I have a picture of these lights to post, see below.

We will have a curved shower curtain rod. I will get a bidet wand for the toilet and a small tankless water heater. You wait five minutes to get the hot water to this sink from the tank on the other end of the ranch home basement. I would rather have instant warm water for toilet hygiene and I am so sick of washing my hands in freezing water!

Between the toilet and the vanity, I will have one of the handicap rails that can be raised up out of the way. Then, if I ever become a long-term wheelchair user, we can take the Brockway out of the vanity and hang it onto the wall. I will at least have the blocking for the hanger in place behind the tile, if not the hanger itself behind the vanity. Then, with the extra space with the vanity gone, I can wheel closer to the toilet to transfer. The rail will raise or lower as needed. A regular handrail (but from a line that looks nicer) will be on the wall on the other side of the toilet and on the wall behind the toilet tank. I may try to talk DH into a new toilet. We have a Kohler comfort height, but it flushes funny and I really liked the Toto I had in my last house more. It had the Sanigloss finish and needed scrubbing far less often. I also want fewer curves to clean on the outside surface of the porcelain throne.

I plan to have the new room floor sloped toward the drain and backed with a waterproof system like Kerdi. I am thinking of a Carrara and black basket weave or floor tile. White 6x6 wall tile on bottom half of all walls with black sanitary base and chair rail and black ceramic molding around the window, door, and in-wall cab. The vanity and wall cab will be a light buttery yellow. Vanity top and the box behind it that hides the plumbing and gives us our ledge will likely be Carrara look-alike. Walls- Palladian Blue, metals- polished nickel or chrome, Swanstone in their new color, Ice, which is a bit like Carrara, only with paler gray streaks. If I can get a SketchUp shot in here, I will. I am just learning how to use it. I have the whole bathroom laid out in SketchUp, but do not know how to change their files to ones I can post here. I have changed them to PDF files, but no dice, there!

No timeframe for completion. I am not working. DH is supporting our household and the one living in our old house, still. We have started to purchace small items. I have to get Jim's okay on the design before going for things like the $3000 worth of Swanstone. I have not chosen shower fixtures yet. And my whole design could change if a wonderful tile shows up on Craigslist, cheap! One thing that will not change is that I will get a solid surface shower pan and walls. The lights are now set in stone, as well. I have two vanities in the garage, but the other one is a bit bigger. It is a real vanity and is a bit too deep, making my squeeze point between vanity and shower wall end worse.

Ideas? Something I am missing? Criticism?
Swanstone roll-in shower floor with trough drain

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler Brockway hanging on a wall.

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Nancy, my nephew is a wheelchair user. His main issues are that he has hyper-mobile joints, and was born with a spinal column defect that caused incomplete quadriplegia. I'm telling you this so you can compare his abilities to your own, to see if any of what I'm going to say is relevant.

My DB and SIL had an addition added to their house for him, consisting of a mudroom, play/therapy room, bathroom and bedroom.

All the doors are pocket doors. These are easier for him to open and close, as he can just give a shove either way and the door moves. With regular doors, he tends to use the wheelchair to push them. And even in his power chair, it's a bit of maneuvering to turn around in a small space and pull a door closed. His bathroom also has two doors, so the pocket doors save a lot of room.

Light switches--make sure they are at a height you will be able to reach from a wheelchair.

Shower--sounds like you have that covered. I'd just make sure that if you need a rolling shower chair at some point, that the shower can accommodate that.

Sink--Make sure that with the sink, you can sit in front of the sink in a wheelchair and still reach and operate the faucets. My nephew's sink has the faucet on the side, not back, of the sink, and it is operated by a lever.

My nephew has 16 hours a day of home nursing help, and once he reached 50 pounds in weight, the nurses were not supposed to lift him without assistance. So DB had to have a ceiling lift installed, which meant reinforcing the ceiling of the bathroom. This would have been easier to do while building the addition, but no one had considered this--everyone thought Nephew would be able to transfer to the toilet by himself at some point. (But his shoulders keep dislocating when he tries, so it's not an option for him at this time.)

You'll also want to have a mirror and flat surface and electrical outlets available for hair and makeup. If you use an electric toothbrush, you'll want to be able to reach that from a wheelchair, as well.

The guy who designed the addition came in with a wheelchair when everything was roughed out and sat in the chair and rolled around, making sure the chair would fit under the vanity counter in the bathroom and that the clothing rods could be reached in the roll-in closet. It might not be a bad idea to tape out the dimensions of the bathroom and the toilet, shower, vanity, etc. somewhere, like the basement or the garage, and borrow a wheelchair to see how it functions in that environment.

Also consider any intermediate steps you might need before using a wheelchair--crutches, a walker, etc.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 9:38AM
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OHHHH the train racks are wonderful. So classy looking. Love the double sized sink too. Your wall color is really pretty too. So sorry you are having the loose joints. sounds very painful.

Do you know how to do a print screen? Paste it to your paint program and save as a jpg.

There is a print screen KEY on keyboard usually upper right corner. Just press key like typing. Nothing happens you will notice but it will put the whole page on your clip board. Then open paint, new window, and click paste and your whole page will come up. Crop and save as JPG and then you can load it up here. If it is too large in your Adobe then go to top and reduce down to?75% or whatever you think we can still see then do the print screen. Learn it you are gonna love it. :^)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 6:46PM
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I love your ideas, and I considered some of them for mil. The swanstone roll in shower for sure. I even want that for myself. I am sick to death of cleaning grout (and I'm not big on cleaning either).

Ditto the pocket door rather than open out.

You've probably thought of this but do you have room for a caregiver in all the tight places, like getting to the toilet?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 9:44PM
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Wow, Camlan, it sounds like your nephew might have a severe form of a connective tissue disorder with his hypermobile joints. I have a mild form of one, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility Type. Mine resulted in dislocated elbows as a toddler when my daddy picked me up by my arms, dislocating kneecaps starting in my teens and affected my ability to stand in one place for long the rest of my life. I generally have been good with walking if my knees were not acutely injured, though. I had troubles here and there with elbows, shoulders, my lower back, and fingers since my teens. After I got a master's degree that would allow me to do non-standing work, I was able to be employed full time for the first time at age 34. Around age 45 I started to fall apart. PT and nsaids worked until my other medical problem that caused massively swelling legs intersected with my inability to care for them correctly due to my wrist and finger problems at age 53. Then I quit working and applied for disability. I currently use a walker with a seat to go out for social events or things like clothes shopping with my husband - anything where I would have to stand for long. I do housework in short bursts. I garden with a walker due to uneven ground. Sometimes my knees are "out" and I use the walker at home. I am working to lose weight and become smaller so that I will need less room for walkers and wheelchairs if I ever do need them full time.

I wish I could do pocket doors or sliding doors, but our three bedrooms and bathroom meet at a square at the end of a hallway. The only one that could have a sliding door is the door to my PT mat room, and that would keep me from ever making a bigger door to our bedroom. I have to be content with the bathroom door opening outward. Or I could maybe make it a bifold door. If it were an unattached bifold door - not in a track - it would be easier than a big 36" wooden door.

This remodel is sticking within the home's current footprint. I won't mind if it takes a few inches from the bedroom next to the shower. I have a feeling that the shower wall will come down anyway, due to rot. We might as well get 6 extra inches when we rebuild the wall. That may be enough to fix the bottleneck between the shower and vanity, or to make that shower chair possible one day. I am trying to make it flexible. I don't want to hang the sink now if I don't have to do it - especially if I never spend time in a wheelchair in the end! The Swanstone shower pan is 34" front-to-back, but some of that is taken up by wall and swanstone, so the shower itself is more like 31.5". I am going to waterproof the bathroom floor and have it slope toward the trough drain, so if we need a shower chair, the room floor just would become an extension of the shower floor. I guess I should put a heat mat under the floor there too, to help it dry as well as for toasty-ness.

I have seen those nifty ceiling rail and lift systems online. Ones where you get in the lift in the bed and the track takes the sling to the bathroom where you toilet, clean up, and get dressed and in your chair. Wow. We would need to reinforce the ceiling to install that, too. We had to move DH's dad in a hoyer lift from the bedroom next to the bathroom (the one I am stealing inches from) to the bathroom a few times. He was a tiny little guy and I would not want to hoyer lift anyone bigger.

Our bedroom door is directly across from the bathroom door, but is not enlargeable where it is today. I could imagine, however, putting it at an angle and losing the short wall I have a bookcase on and having a huge double-door opening on a funny angle if we ever needed to do it.

My next purchase, after the bathroom, is likely to be a king size split-function adjustable bed. I have five pillows and a wedge now and it is getting hard to climb into bed over all of it. I kind of do a bit of a Fosbury Flop, turning in "flight" as I pull my legs up to get over the three pillows I need to keep from hyper-extending my knees at night!

You are right about the mirror and outlet. In the space between the vanity and the door to the bathroom, where the wall cabinet sticks out a few inches, I plan to have a stool where I can sit and do my hair. I will have a mirror either on the inside surface of the cabinet door or on the front of it. There is currently an outlet right at switch height as you enter the room that I can use for my hair dryer. If we do take six inches from the bedroom for the shower wall, I can also envision having a cupboard on the lower half of the wall below my train rack towel rack as you enter the bathroom instead of in the wall next to the vanity. That is because the closet in that bedroom would become 6" deeper if we steal 6" from that room. That really is not needed for clothing, so instead of wasting it, I could use it in the bathroom as a shallow cupboard, instead. It would be 28" wide and 45" high, just huge! It could hold a lot of TP and all the toiletry products and hair fixing do-dads a person could want. That would leave a bigger space next to the vanity for me to sit and do my hair.

After reading your brother's family's accommodations, maybe I should just steal those 6 inches to start with and get the shower further away from my vanity. Thanks for sharing these experiences and ideas, Camlan.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:18PM
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Chris, I am a printscreen fool here tonight due to your instructions. Bathroom plans are a-comin! Glad you like the elements I have chosen. If you click on one of the links that takes you to my pbase gallery, you can see the faucet that goes on the sink. The sink comes drilled with holes for this faucet - two vertical holes that don't work with anyone else's faucet except for a few made to order. Chicago Faucets does one. The reason this is important is that the Kohler faucet is rough metal on the body. Not sure I like it.There is also a hole in the sink for the soap dish.

I got the two train racks as they were phasing out. They were considerably less expensive than the other models, so I got them. The little curved shelf portion comes out and then you have two towel bars that are quite far apart.

Here is the big pic of the bathroom and below you can click on the link and see just the skin wall of the bathroom. In the big picture I have made some walls invisible. I did this by making them 30% solid. So they are "barely there" and if you look at them head on, you see them, but you can see right through them, too. That is why the train rack by the door seems to be floating in space, it is on a nearly invisible wall. While we are over there, the reason there is tile sticking out past the room is that the little bit of wall that goes on that side of the door would not form right. Whenever I shrank the wall to the right size, the tile got all messed up. So I just made the tile wall bigger, and it extends out past the room. Off I go to see if I can do any other interesting shots!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sink Wall

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:39PM
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I like your picture! Where did you get that software?

The bathroom sounds like it will work very well. The vanity is wonderful! I would love to have something like that in my bathroom...maybe in the farmhouse remodel :)

When my husband came home from the hospital, we had our master bath remodeled with a roll in shower. The floor goes up slightly from the main area, then down into the shower. It works very well, and the water stays in the shower! I was worried it would travel all over, but the only time it's gone beyond the shower area, is when the septic backed up this week. Thank goodness, it was only the washer.

Nancy- I am so glad to see you back. I've been kind of worried about you and hoped you were doing well. You always have such lovely ideas and input...it's nice to see you and know you're doing well. Best of luck on the new bathroom...I really like your ideas!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:57PM
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Here is a view of the floor plan where you can see how the shower wall juts out into the room. Originally, I was thinking of asking Jim (mighty construction angel) if we could move this back if we use the curved curtain rod, but if I take the 6" from the bedroom behind the shower, it goes away all on its own. I only have around 36" clearance between this jutting wall and the vanity.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 12:37AM
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Here is the view from above once I have taken 6" from the bedroom, gotten rid of the wall sticking out into the room from the end of the shower, and have moved the shower back 6". I now have 42" clearance between the vanity edge and the wall across from it. I will go play with the layout some more and see what I can get.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 4:15AM
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Looks like Sketchup LL.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 2:12PM
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Ha Nancy, At first I thought you were going to have a drive through shower.

Looks great.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 4:08PM
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Nancy, my nephew has Larsen's Syndrome, which is in the same family of disorders as EDS. He managed to have all the more severe symptoms. Or as my dear sister-in-law says, once an over-achiever, always an over-achiever. It's tough, because he has limited use of his hands due to the spinal injury, and then his fingers just bend in ways he doesn't want them to. But he's managing well and is fully mainstreamed in school. Jeepers, he's in high school now! A year ago, he had to have spinal surgery, as his spine was getting worse.

I like the way you are making the bathroom look nice, instead of just slapping together an accessible space. I love old dressers used as vanities, and I think the sink you have chosen is going to look great.

If you can get those extra 6 inches for the shower, you will also be able to roll a wheelchair partly into the shower if you need to, to get the extra room you need.

Oh, my nephew finds the rocker type light switches easier for him to use. I don't know how involved your hands are, but that's another consideration. I have a friend with MS who just installed a motion sensor light in his bathroom, so he doesn't have to mess with switches at all.

As for closing the bathroom door, I was just Face Timing with my nephew and he says he uses a rope tied to the door knob. He grabs it as he goes through the door and then pulls the door shut. They use this on the two doors in the house that he goes through that aren't pocket doors.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 5:25PM
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Hi Lavender Lass, I have been in and out of the Smaller Homes forum, but not a whole lot. I have been obsessing about this darn bathroom. It has gotten so that when I walk into it in real life, I am surprised to see a tub and six feet of counter! So I have been at the Bathroom forum and a lot of time at Houzz.

Then a bit over a month ago I downloaded SketchUp. It is free. Just Google it and you will find it. There is a full-function version for $500, but you don't need that. There are lessons to take and places to get elements to import into your house. You could go absolutely nuts with it. You could build your house in it and change all of your ideas yourself without needing anyone else. The problem for me is that I did not build a house, I only made a room. I did not build 2 x 4 walls, I made boxes. I interconnected boxes and painted their sides. Somehow, while tiling or measuring, or adding other elements, or who knows what, I accidentally introduce lines and folds into my boxes. When I go to erase these errant lines, the whole colored box that makes up my wall disappears! I cannot tell you how many times I have rebuilt walls and soffits.

The neat thing about using a 2D box as a wall is, though, that I can color one side of it "Marble, 100% opaque" and when you look from that side, it is a solid wall. If you paint the other side with the same color, with 30% or 40% opacity, you can see through the wall on that side, while still being able to see what the surface looks like. I discovered this by accident when I painted a wall solid on one side when I had it mostly see-through on the other. When I went around the other side, I could see through it! Cool!

I don't have the patience for lessons. I am a dive-in and do it girl. I took lessons until I learned what the basic buttons do, and went off on my own. Their lessons start you off building a house with roof lines. I was just building a bathroom, I did not need a house. The lessons will be perfect for you, though. My biggest complaint is that the 3D Warehouse, where you go to find things to add to your model, is horribly organized. Worse, it has no memory of where you were. It does not return you to where you were searching when you download something and go back in. So you need to take notes, reminding yourself of what path you took, what collections you clicked on to get to where you found things! I still have not found some things that I KNOW I saw in that darn website. I truly don't think that the search function can search all the things that individuals have uploaded. If the person who uploaded did not add terms to their item, it does not appear in a search. Sometimes, these things are the BEST. I don't want a commercial cabinet door. I want one that is simple and scalable so that I can make it fit my space. I don't want it attached to a Kraftmaid cabinet, and I want it to be uncolored so that I can paint it to match my vanity when I get it in my model. They are out there, but they are hard to find because the maker just plopped it into a file and did not put in enough search terms! You come upon it by looking at all of the items people offer. For hours.

Then there are all the buildings and cities. I have no idea why every pretty building in the world seems to be in SketchUp, but it is. And water towers. And colleges and municipal buildings. It seems like a terrorist's toolkit sometimes. "I will just pull up the X building on Y university in Z city and see where the exits are." Every famous building and a zillion lesser buildings are offered up to you in the 3D Ware house. Fantasy locations I can understand being in there! Hogwarts I run into all the time. I wonder if people have virtual copies of their cities in their computers to play Sim City with or something.

I am still awaiting Disability. The people working on my case are submitting my appeal this week. Since I turn 55 this month, I go into a different category. I also have some nifty new diagnoses and better physician statements, so I am hoping they will give me disability without a hearing. It has been a bit of a downer waiting. I don't want to spend money, so staying home is safest. I messed up my gardening by spending May helping a friend who has not responded well to being helped. It is hard to stop helping someone! So my garden went in way too late and did not do well. The friend I helped ended up homeless and blaming me, despite the fact I gave her almost $900 to get her last apartment.

I have had difficulties with dizziness all spring, summer, and fall. In PT and doing house work I got so tired so easily that I just could not go on. Turns out my blood pressure was dropping during exercise, not increasing, we discovered in October. That is so like an Ehlers Danlos Person! After taking my BP at home for a few days, I went off my BP meds (I was waiting for my Dr. appt. the next week, and she agreed that I had done the right thing). I was almost fainting when I bent over, too. My flower gardening really suffered this summer. It is in the ground! My veggies are in raised beds and did not do well because I started too late. I also think I got some of that bad Miracle Grow dirt that someone on here had mentioned. I really did not accomplish anything at all except for attending PT. No, I did not sand and stain that one remaining cabinet door from the kitchen remodel three years ago, so I still have a gap-toothed look to my kitchen and some missing molding around the island floor! The entire back wall of the island needs to be stained and poly'd, too.

I have been spending a lot of time on the forum for Ehlers Danlos people. It is at a site called Inspire.com and is laid out a lot like THS. There is so much to read and learn. I also have been reading about Lipedema, my other major disorder that caused my legs to get so big. All of this led me to finally call University of Michigan to ask to be seen at their Genetics Clinic to determine if I really had EDS. I did that in November and got the diagnosis. I have thought I might have this since I first had a Windows computer on the internet. Back with dial-up and half-hour page load times, we felt so lucky to not have to drive to medical libraries to read this stuff. It always sounded like I had EDS, but never with enough symptoms at any one time to convince anyone. Aging did the trick, though. So I have been hanging with my bendy folks, the bathroom folks and the fat legged ladies online.

I am not loving life these days, and need to build more face-to-face friendships and find things to do that are not online. DH and I have found a church. We attended one service, then the holidays hit and we got sick, but we will get back there soon. We were pleasantly surprised to find that there were lots of people there our age. We also attended a movie club, but everyone else got sick and only two others attended! The two doggies we have are doing well, but one needs schooling. I have had her a year, but she is about 12 years old, a mini Dachshund, and when she needs to potty and no one reads her subtle ESP signals (or she does not want to go out in the cold) she sometimes chooses to poop in front of DH's chair. He takes this personally, especially when he steps in it in the dark of morning when he goes to put his shoes on before work. Touchy fella, isn't he?

So I spent today remodeling my remodel due to Camlan's advice. I think it is a good move to take 6" from the second largest bedroom (I want to say it is 14' or 15' x 12') in order to gain 6" between the vanity and the shower. When I mentioned it to my sister today, she agreed. She said that she cannot get her walker through the space now. She is much larger than I am, but her walker may be the size a wheelchair would be for me. Here is a Sketch of the shower side of the room with new cabinets in the wall next to the shower. I can do that because the closet just got 6" deeper when we moved the wall out in that bedroom, so I stole those 6" by indenting a cupboard into the closet. This gets rid of the cabinet in the wall next to the vanity. Don't forget to click below for another view, and while you are at my Pbase site you can look at all of the photos in the Bath folder if you like.

Here is a link that might be useful: Close up of New Cupboards Next to Shower

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:52PM
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Hi Camlan, Your nephew sounds like a great kid. I hope he can stay away from the surgeon and be stable for a long, long time. I put off my second knee surgery until after graduation and we used to joke about my knees all the time. It was the best way for me to deal with it. I was kind of permitted to show up late for first hour, and my friends would take bets on whether I would be crutching in or walking on my own two feet in the morning.

I use a shoelace tied to a magnetic wreath holder on my garage-to-laundry door to pull it closed. This is my most dangerous entry point for me. Garbage can in garage, cement step, a patio block I put there to make the cement step into two smaller steps, then a turn and a small step down to the surface of the garage and all the junk that I cannot get DH to STOP leaving right there by the door. I have a dent in my forehead from where I hit the turpentine can when I fell there last year, and an extra bulge in my leg that my fat disorder made where my leg hit the concrete. I can still see that turpentine can coming and remember thinking I would be blinded if it splashed in my face. Luckily, the top stayed on. No permanent damage, except to my leg, and that is just another bulge.

Thanks for the kind words about the design. I bought the dresser on Craigslist for $125. It needs the back to be reattached and the drawers are coming apart at the dovetails. It has three drawers across the top, then the drawer with fancy metal pulls, and the bottom drawer has wooden pulls. From the one photo I have of it, you can see that it is narrower at the bottom, which is beneficial for this project! :-)
I had decided not to use it when I saw a used Kraftmaid cab for $150. It was used as a makeup vanity - no sink - so it was in great shape. It has three small drawers down each side and then a door in the center. It is a couple of inches longer than the dresser, and an inch deeper front-to-back. that is what sent me back to the dresser. My heart was always with the dresser, but I did love the idea of four functional little drawers. No matter what we use, the top drawer will be lost to the sink. My carpenter may be willing to re-make the drawer boxes to allow for a cut-out for the drain. I am hoping that the two sets of water supply lines will just sneak in behind the drawers, but that might mean making the drawers shallow to make it happen. I wish I could take a picture of the real dresser front, but it is hidden in the garage.

Here is a view of the sink wall without the wall cabinet and with things moved over a bit. There is a teak bench there for me to use in the shower, to sit on to do my hair, and for poor DH to put his shoes on in the morning (see note to LL for the story behind that). The clicky will be a view from the door side of the room with all of those wall's elements "hidden." That leaves behind a lot of lines, so that is what is going on above the sink. The soffit left evidence it exists.

You are right, Marti, it is SketchUp. The free version. And yes, Chris, I did leave off the shower wall in earlier versions in order to see into the bath better!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bigger Bathroom from the view of the door.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 11:45PM
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You know how I extended the shower wall out 6", stealing that 6" from the bedroom? Then I decided to use the extra 6" depth that the bedroom closet now had and I made cupboards on the bottom part of the wall. That way, I got rid of the cupboard in the wall next to the sink and could space out the sink and handrail more. Well, I decided to steal the 6" above the cupboard from the closet, too. I recessed the wall in the bathroom 6" above the cupboard, tiled it, and put a Warm Floors mat behind it as a heat source. That way, there is a steady, warm , radiating heat coming from the wall that will help to dry the towels hanging on the three hooks on my Train Rack. The one in my model is not the one I have, remember. I don't have a 3D version of mine. See mine at my pbase site. Go to the link below and then scroll back to see it. You can also see the actual dresser I am using. The one in my Sketch Up model is a bad approximation. Mine is not curvy in the front. The clicky below shows a close up of the towel warming area. I have an email out to Warm Floors asking if they think this is a good application and if they sell mats this small.

Here is a link that might be useful: Towel Drying Area

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 6:08PM
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Nancy, I got your email. But you probably wont get my response because you haven't given permission to receive emails through GW apparently (thats what is stated at the end of your email by GW)

Let me know if you got my email or not and I can post the info here if you did not get it :)

I love your bathroom vanity and the marble look of your shower. I think the white tile with the black is enough action on the walls.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:11PM
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Have you seen this bathroom reveal? It was last year and she did such a terrific job. Your yellow vanity immediately reminded me of Mabeldingeldine's sweet sweet bathroom. The mission was different but the style seems similar to your plans.


Here is a link that might be useful: $4K DIY Bathroom Renovation

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:21PM
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Hi Enduring!
Small Homers, Enduring has some great bath DIY remodels over on Bathrooms. She made her own sink out of soapstone and even cut down tiles to make the size she wanted. Her bathroom is one of my inspirations. I think she is right that Mabeldingeldine's is another. The yellow with white and Cararra was influenced by hers. I remember looking over her pictures with great interest. I just went to my file and added the name of her Moen grab bars.

Enduring, I did have it set so that others could email me from My Page, but I just changed it so you could get my email address, too. Let me know if this does not work, and thanks for the reply. You are right, I did not get your email. You figured out how to reach me to let me know, thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Enduring's Bathroom

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 1:50AM
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Nancy, thank you so much for your complements. It was a lot of fun to do. The balance of elements was a real challenge. When I finished I wondered if it was too busy. After using it close to a year as my other bathroom is being remodeled, I have grown to love the space. I really like looking at the different surfaces and shapes. I tried making a second sink for my current remodel and flunked out. The stone was too hard to work the finish, and the color was off for my scheme. The sink will still work as a sink but just not in the new bathroom. I might give it to one of my sisters. Or I could mount it in the basement for a utility sink down there. (Great idea!)

This is the email that I sent last night:

"Email me back if you get this. I see that there is a note that you have "chosen not to reveal you email address".
My old bathroom before the remodel was 5x8. now it is 9x8, that does include the shower.

I looked at your link and that is mighty cool. I would think that some air would transfer through to cause some cool down. But the overall room is modest in size and probably will heat up and maintain a pleasant environment. But I really have no idea. I looked around on their site but didn't come across any feedback from shower users. One thing I could see happening, is that the metal, over time, could scratch the surface of your shower material [at the curb].

When I made my tile decisions, I got samples of the decorative material and laid it all out in a long section, chair rail down to the base board, to really evaluate if I liked it. I drew it up to see if it seemed balanced. My colors are so similar to each other that the different sizes and shapes don't stand out so much IMO. If there is a strong contrast of black such as in the rail and baseboard, I think a deco tile might be too much."

Then I found your GW post on this Small Home forum and posted.

Overnight I had a thought, if you get the curtain and it doesn't work with keeping the warmth in, you could always line it with a vinyl curtain from Target. I remember my current shower (before this remodel) getting a bit too warm sometimes with my heater going and would have welcomed a bit of a breeze.

The ease of sliding the curtain sounds better than opening a swinging shower door. The sliding shower doors are what I will be using due to the distance between shower and vanity. I didn't have room for 36" doors so went with 32". This is larger than the 28" doors that were there. I tried to plan both baths for aging in place.

The mesh curtain link is below. One thing I wonder about is if it is too modern for your space? But it is so simple, so it may not make any difference. On the link, it really looks very neutral, "timeless" :) This is a very intriguing element.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cacade Coil.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 7:15AM
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Hi everyone,
I had written to Enduring to see what she thought about using a metal mesh shower curtain I had run across - probably over at Houzz. It is expensive! $449 for the 72x72 standard size. I kind of just fell in love with the novelty of it and the idea of using another of the basic elements - metal - in this new way. It is like having a chain mail shower curtain. The one I like is the Aluminum in Brite Pearl Gray finish. It is there, but it is not there. Enduring had been involved in a discussion at Baths about drafty showers, so that is why I asked her opinion. She has a bathroom the same size as mine. She is also very friendly and I knew she would think about it and give an opinion.
Of course, spending that much on a shower curtain is a dream scenario. The only way I was justifying it in my mind was using this calculation:
"A glass shower door might cost $1500. This is only a third of that and is and upgrade from cloth. It breathes and we can leave it hanging in the closed position and it will let the shower dry out. We won't have to launder it like we do the shower curtain liner. The shower will dry out better with less fussing with the curtain on our part."
I never mention it to him, but DH leaves the shower curtain "sealed" after a shower, like he is trying to promote mold growth. I keep shaking the water off of it, then adjusting its position for maximum air circulation while I get ready for the day.

I even went on the company's blog and asked a couple of questions about draftiness and how much spray gets through. The answer was that it is surprisingly not drafty. As the chain mail is aluminum, the shower steam heats it up, and it acts as a heat-shield or as a radiator, warming air that might pass through. That did make sense to me, as I have a winter face mask that uses aluminum sheets to take the heat out of your exhaled breath and transfer the heat to the incoming air when you breathe in. It works very well. He also said that unless you spray at it directly, it does catch most splashy water. It does depend on how tightly or loosely you have it hanging, too.

That is when I learned that it is not 72" with a 50% extra hanging fullness, but it is meant for a 48" shower, which gives it a 50% extra hanging fullness at 72". Since I was using it on a 61" shower with a rod that curves out, I might need more like 105" or 110". The person replying to me did not mention this option. He just mentioned ordering two shower curtains. That leads me to wonder if it is cheaper to get two shower curtains (already made) than to special order a 110" one! No way am I spending $1000 on a chain mail shower curtain. DH probably won't go for $449

But doesn't it look different?

Here is a link that might be useful: Brite Pearl Gray Shower Curtain

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:23AM
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Is your water soft? I can't imagine trying to get hard water stains out of it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:50PM
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Dekeoboe, that was a very good observation. No, my water is not soft! We do get some calcium build up. I am wondering if I should put a water softener into the reno plans, as I know that neither of us is going to be scrubbing the new shower walls. That is why we are going solid surface and not tile and grout. No grout! No mold. But will we need to scrub the swanstone due to mineral buildup? Hummm. Not likely to happen. Maybe I need a squegee.

Well, I have rearranged things in the bathroom plan a little and have learned how to make a Sketch-Up picture without the whole page showing up.

I moved the vanity closer to the door. The reason I had it close to the toilet in the first place was that I was getting a bidet wand (a spray handle on a hose for washing your underside when sitting on the toilet). Originally, I was going to have the water for the wand come off of the vanity water supply using a mixer valve set to a certain temperature, so one would have a warm water wash! So the vanity would need to be nearby. I also wanted to be able to sit on a stool on the other side of the vanity and dry or curl my hair. I was going to have a mirror on the door of the cabinet that was going to be inset into the wall next to the vanity there. Instead, I got the idea of having a much bigger (and likely less expensive) storage cabinet made on the opposite wall. Once that mirror was gone, there was really no reason to sit there to do my hair. If I am ever in a wheelchair, though, it does make sense to have more space next to the toilet. So I moved the vanity closer to the door.

The door of the bathroom needs to be widened. I figured it was 30". It is not. It is 28." It looks like we might be able to get 4" more, maybe 5" on the "shower" side of the bathroom door. The "sink" side has little room to spare. There is an electrical outlet just 4.5" inside the existing door frame. Yes, it can be moved further in easily enough, but the 22.25" deep counter that is there now, already made the installer gnaw off part of the door molding to fit it in. My vanity will be a furniture piece, and not against the wall or door molding, but I don't want someone entering with a wide walker (like my sister has now) or a wheelchair, to immediately hit a vanity counter sticking out into the aisle as they enter. When the vanity was further into the room, and across from the level-entry shower, it did not matter as much if it stuck out a little bit. So moving it right by the entrance means I will probably not have room enough to have the sink pulled forward to have the "belly" exposed. That feature made it easier to use while sitting on my walker or on a stool. To use in from a wheelchair, I really would have to remove the vanity and hang the sink on the wall, though.

So here is a picture of the bathroom with the vanity moved down closer to the door.

It also has our new medicine cabinets! I will do another post so I can put their photo up, too.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 11:59PM
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I have been watching for metal-banded medicine cabinets online. There are the standard "Federal" model from Nutone and maybe other makers, probably meeting some HUD standard for inclusion in federal housing. They have the metal banding around the glass, but are mostly other wise bare-bones metal cabinets. I wanted the look, but a little extra luxury. I want an electrical outlet inside. We have an electric toothbrush that I no longer want to have sitting on the counter. I may get a water pic for my teeth and gums. I may want to use a hot curling iron and leave it somewhere safe when hot. I also was seduced by the idea of the mirror on the inside of the door. I could sit on my walker (the seat is quite high) and do my hair sitting beside the vanity, or someone standing in front of the two med cabinets could have side views of their hair with the two doors open!

Then I ran across a strange interview with Sarah Jessica Parker, in her own home. It showed her bathroom, and she had the medicine cabinet of my dreams. All shiny metal around the edge of the door - plus a shiny metal case on the part that was in the wall, so that it made a metal frame around the metal door edge. So retro!

I went looking. Where would SJP's designers shop? I found one at Restoration Hardware. The day that we learned that I was receiving my SSD, I stopped by there to visit, and they had a sale! If I did not mind getting satin nickel, when my lights and train rack towel holders are polished nickel, I could get two huge med cabs with 5 shelves inside, lights that turn on when you open, an outlet in each, and mirrors inside and out (plus on the back wall, which I don't really care about) at a huge discount. For some reason, the left opening one was $90 cheaper than the right. I was going for two lefts, but DH said to get the left and right. So now we have our medicine cabinets. For some reason, these were the most anxiety-producing part of the remodel. Probably because I wanted expensive ones and DH could not see the use. But I caught him on the right day!

Ours are like these, except ours are 22 wide x 34 high and have 5 shelves inside. This is a lot wider than the original med cabs, but once I got rid of the cabinet in the wall next to the vanity, I did have the room. I could consider extending the counter top material a bit to the sides to make sure the vanity is not too narrow in comparison.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:29AM
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that is a beautiful medicine cabinet!!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 1:54AM
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What a great opportunity. They are beautiful. With the opposite site hinged doors, maybe you can angle them, when open, so you can see the back of your hair. So glad you found the sale :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:00AM
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Read your first description and have yet to absorb the discussion which follows.

My first thought is about the 6x6 wall tile and the basketweave floor. Love the basketweave. However, I'm wondering if with your great farm sink if subway tile 4 x 6 or thereabouts would be a better style. I think of a square tile format as being MCM (Mid Century Modern).

What do you think about that?
Love the entire plan, it is going to be so very useful and attractive.

I could not imagine how the shower floor drains with the sample picture being vertical. I'd like to see an installation photo in somebody's shower.

For the size of the space, bathrooms seem to require the most intense planning of any room in the house. Besides KITCHENS, that is. Once things are in place, there is no easy way to move anything around.

Hmmmm, how about adding heated flooring to your bath? It won't be so big a space that the cost is outrageous. The kind of winter you had this year makes a warm floor sound real practical!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 1:04PM
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ML, I have had no experience whatsoever with subways. I read about them being traditional, but have never seen them in anything but a modern setting in person, unless they were in an actual subway. That may be because I have only ever been in 1950s and newer houses with tile!

To me they feel modern and very "in" and overused. I figured they have to go "out" sooner or later! However, I do respect your opinion. I thank you for your insight. I had not thought of whether the 6x6 effect looked MCM or not. The sink definitely has a pre-MCM vibe, as do the med cabinets. I suppose the lights do, too. And the dresser is definitely older. So square tiles came along in the MCM era, huh? Bummer. I avoided 4x4 tiles because that is what my 1978 home already has, I thought that by going bigger, I would avoid the era. Phooey.

So I need to do subways to be in a 1940s and earlier vibe? Okay. Is the 4 x 6 you suggested more period than the 3 x 6 that are so easy to find everywhere now?

BTW, as time passes, I am more and more inclined to go with the Carrara-looking trim, rather than the black. Then there is a part of me that says that I like color too much and that it is just hanging out on-line that has gotten me loving the Carrara look (because it is so loved on the kitchen forum and bath forum). I also am drooling over a mother-of-pearl tile to use as a listello between two rows of Carrara. Then again, if a beauteous tile becomes available for a great price on Craigslist, all bets are off on color!

I am considering heating the floor. It will also help it to dry if it gets wet splash-over from the shower. Things like Carrara-looking tile and heated floors became more of an option when my SSDI came through.

The Swanstone ADA floor with the trench drain is so new that I have not found a picture of a real consumer using it. The link below will take you to a PDF that shows the new shower floor and wall system. The shower floor is on the cover, but it does not show the whole shower. I will be getting the New Construction floor because we have to pull up the subfloor due to rot. I will get the 96" walls seen on the right on page 8/9, but in the color "Ice" or "Glacier". "Ice" is shown below, it is the closest they have to Carrara. "Glacier" is just white, but the surface looks like snowflakes, sort of. The shower looks way too skinny, but I keep telling myself that the shower looks skinny because of the drain taking some of the floorspace. It will be the same size as the bathtub, without the bathtub sides getting in the way of my feet. I keep saying that, but it sure looks skinny! That is why the floor outside the shower will be as water-proof as a shower would be.

Here is a link that might be useful: Swan Shower PDF see Page 8/9

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:38PM
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I can't wait to see your shower installed and hear how you like it. I want a walk in shower with no door or curtain soooo bad.

I considered redoing our hall bath and putting in carrara. But then I decided that it wouldn't make that much difference in selling the house, and if we stay, I would rather have a counter with a recessed area around a molded sink. It was reading about the wonders of carrara and the blight of cultured marble that took me temporarily off course. So if you love carrara, do it. But if you love something else, do that.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:52AM
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Nancy, any of the subway style tiles would work vintage. I just mentioned 4 x 6, but 3 x 6 is appropriate as well. They work very well with the basketweave floor tiles.

If you have HOUZZ, do a search on traditional bathroom tiles for the walls, and see what you find. You might like the 6 x 6 just as well, in which case that is what you should use.

Like Ricky Nelson says in his Garden Party song, "can't please every body, so gotta please myself."

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 4:34PM
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Hmmm, well, I plan to use subway tiles in my kitchen as backsplash. White ones. Not tiny, probably the common size you mention easy to get, 3 x 6 would work for me.

It really doesn't matter to me if they are popular now or not. Or if they are "out" in a year or so. They've come back more than once, and they are classic. That trumps stylish every time.
In our new wall spaces, I'll have narrow beadboard, painted my soft yellow like the plaster walls will be. If the rest of your bathroom is vintage style, except for the shower, the subway tiles would be appropriate forever. I looked up Bath Tile on Houzz and give a link below. But, these are just tiles as raw products and not pictures of bathrooms.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bathroom tiles seen on HOUZZ

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Nancy, don't know how to share my Houzz Ideabook on Bathrooms. So I link you to something on Houzz about curbless showers in bathrooms. Might be useful to you?

Here is a link that might be useful: Curbless shower in wetroom contemporary bath

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 1:09AM
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Thanks ML. I have spent a lot of time on Houzz. That is where I got most of my pictures of the Brockway sink. I looked through thousands of their black and white tile bathrooms. They have one art deco bathroom in black and white that is to die for! John Whipple and I have written on several ideabooks. He is good to a point, then stops talking and tells you to call and give him a "donation" for a 1 hour consultation about your bathroom and he will answer your questions. Not like the guys on THS at all! I won't have tile, due to mold and grout. DH won't clean and I can't clean, so it is solid surface for us. That is why I am so stuck on that Swanstone shower base. It is the only one I have found so far with the trench drain. Of course, I will keep looking right up until I buy the fixtures!

Marti, ours will have a shower curtain. It will not be big enough to be walk-in without a curtain.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 1:30AM
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