Change of plans...what would you use in a bathroom?

enigmaquandryAugust 10, 2010

As some of you may remember, our original plan in this cape cod was to do an addition upstairs by just "bumping out" the A-frame roof. The reason for this was so when we have kids they wouldn't have to sleep downstairs while we were upstairs (two main floor bedrooms, whole upstairs currently master bedroom) and we would be able to have a second bathroom upstairs. However the quotes for this are so expensive we've decided to try to work with what we have.

Our "new" plan:

When kids arrive, move downstairs into largest bedroom, kid nextdoor in smaller bedroom. Upstairs becomes new den/workroom/guest room/playroom. When guests come we can use the livingroom to talk and downstairs for TV (currently everyone hangs out in largest bedroom which we're using as a den).

The point:

Since we've gotten rid of the possible upstairs bathroom our tiny 5'X6' main floor bath will remain the only bathroom in the house. We are planning our reno (tub is rusting, fixtures are broken and plastic surround is causing mildew behind) and I have two plans, the high and low...

High: $3,320

Kohler sink - $150

Kohler faucet - $150

Moen showerheads - $150

Mosaic marble tile floor- $300

Marble subway tile tub surround- $350

Clawfoot tub - $900

Mirror cabinet - $80

White chandelier - $140

Sconces - $300

Electrician - $500

Plumber - $200

Accesories, Paint, Moulding & shelving - $100

Low: $1,095

Pedestal Sink - $100

Cheap faucet - $30

Moen showerheads - $150

Mosaic marble tile floor- $175

White subway tile tub surround- $100

Standard tub - $300

Mirror - $40

Light Fixture - $100

Accesories, Paint, Moulding & shelving - $100

The BIGGEST question is: Do we get a clawfoot tub or not? I've always wanted one and think it would look adorable! But being our ONLY bathroom is it a practical choice? It makes the price for the tub surround and floor more expensive because you have to tile underneath and behind it, also it is more expensive itself, then there's issues like splashing and cleaning behind it and showering etc. So while I REALLY want one I just need to know how practical they are.

Sorry this was crazy long :)

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Oh yes, the words that make dh grind his teeth "bump out" as if it were so easy. lol

Where did you find your tub prices? I think that's an excellent price on a claw footed tub, but I still wouldn't put one in. My grandmother had one and it was fun, but it was a royal pain in the patootie to clean under. I don't remember too much splashing over, but we probably did and since we were kids, just didn't notice.

It was not fun to shower in. There was an oval curtain rod around the top and the heat/steam made the curtain billow inward and it was always touching me somewhere. Gross. That was years ago though so maybe someone has figured out a solution to that. I know there are weighted shower curtains.

How large is your current space upstairs now? Could you do anything during this construction that will make it easier to add space later?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 2:01PM
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Let me see if I can keep this organized so you will not get lost in my convoluted thinking.

First, the faucets. Stay with the good ones. They will last, and the cheaper ones won't.

Second, the clawfoot tub is marvelous, but it will require special plumbing which gets pricey, unless you get the tub with NO HOLES DRILLED, just the drain. And then you could have the faucet setup come out of the wall to be a cheaper option. This would probably fit nicely with your limited space, because the tub would need to be very close to the wall. Clawfoot tubs are hard to have a standup shower in, so the Moen showerheads would not fit very well, although a handheld wand for a sitdown shower would be easily found. Take a look at what is available for clawfoot tubs at Vintage Tub and Bath to get an idea.

Now the sconces and other lighting. I think you can really save a bunch of money with those, because a cheap set now would last and serve you well until they wore out and you had money to replace them. Just pick the proper location.

A chandelier is an iffy thing in the bathroom. It has to be up pretty high if you plan to have it over a tub because power and water don't mix very well. I've been trying to figure out how to install a Moravian star light above my new tub in the bumpout space. Otherwise, I might have to put it in the closet bumpout right between the two pair of doors.

I get the message that you want the marble tiles. However, might I suggest that you compare the look and the price of the Italian porcelain which has a tumbled marble LOOK, unglazed, and the kind we are getting for our tub area is the white--which is not really white, but it is lighter. The ones we are using are the 2x2 mosaics mounted on mesh in 12 x 12 sheets. That is in Alabama. In Massachusetts, we may just go with the same stuff for the floor and then the glazed subway tiles on the walls of the entire small bath, including the shower.

I also note that you mention in the first option a Kohler sink...and a pedestal sink in the second option. Would the Kohler sink NOT be a pedestal? Would it have a vanity? I think the one with a vanity would be pretty nice in both options. I have wall mounted sinks here in AL, but then I will have a lot of room for storage in the new master bath. So a place for the t-paper and soap has another home. If storage is an issue in your bath, don't overlook the advantages of a vanity, and make it as large or long as you can squeeze in.

If you plan on having kids, I've observed that many folks on the House Hunters show of HGTV are always wanting a good safe TUB in which to comfortably bathe their little kids. A regular tub would be easier for that, as it would for standup showers. But of course, I love my clawfoot tub and would not give it up. We have a separate shower in a second bath.

Hope you can use some of my input as you evaluate what is best for your family, both now and in the future. It sounds like you are thinking outside the box, which can always give fresh ideas. One of these days, you might yet have that upstairs bath, you know. Think of locating it straight up from where your current plumbing is, and it won't cost as much to do.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 2:40PM
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I have a claw-foot tub, which is original to our home, in the downstairs bath. I use it daily; my husband uses the regular shower in our master bath. The pros are it is great for baths and for charm. The cons are hard to use as a shower for some people because it lacks a shelf for shampoo etc., some feel claustrophobic in it because the curtains tend to cling to them and the width is small, and the shower head is too low. I did find a wire hanging thing for my shampoo and soap, the curtains don't bother me and I am short enough for the shower head to work right. I don't have any problem cleaning under it. Would I recommend it for those with only one bathroom ? No, probably not, especially if your husband is tall or big. My husband is 6'4" and just too tall for it. But I love it!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 2:45PM
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ML brought up a good point - bathing your children. When they are small, the easiest way is to sit on the edge of the tub and bathe them. Can't do that with a claw tub with rolled edge.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 5:01PM
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How large is the renovated bathroom going to be?

I vote for the clawfoot tub, but only if you have a separate shower. It's nice to have one of those fancy faucets, for washing your hair...but not every day showers. If it's just the tub, cleaning underneath is not too bad, just don't install it too close to the wall. Did you see the bathroom in Sarah's house...the farmhouse? I love that bathroom :)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Let me address all the questions :)

marti8a, the showering and cleaning underneath are probably my main concerns. The upstairs could possibly hold a very small 1/2 bath right above the current one eventually, I really doubt there would be room for a shower up there. I have definitely been thinking about how easy it would be to bathe does seem harder in the clawfoot...

moccasin, I am with you about the Kohler faucet, we went cheap in the kitchen and it's already broken! Both sinks would be pedestal, one is just a slightly less attractive off-brand. I would love to not have a pedestal, but the bathroom is SO small that the bowl of the sink actually is over the lip of the tub, so there's NO way to get a cabinet beneath it...big pain. Whatever tub we get we will not get special clawfoot shower fixtures for it, it will just replace the current tub. The chandelier would not be in the retrospect our ceilings are only 8' so I guess we can't fit one. We just have an existing bare bulb fixture on the wall that I guess we can try to use. The marble is actually not the tumbled kind, it's more the polished, white and grey mosaic kind, I looked at porcelain in the same pattern but I did not care for it much...I'm not sure the practicality of the marble though.

powermuffin, you make a good point, my husband is only 6'2" but he DOES get claustrophobic with shower curtains...

lavender_lass, The "renovated" bathroom has to stay in the same footprint of 5'X6'. There's just no way to expand it anywhere. This would be our only shower and only tub in one. I do LOVE the bathroom in Sarah's house, it's that same tile I'm looking at for the floor.

I'll post a picture tonight, hubby needs the computer right now. Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 7:36PM
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This is what the bathroom looks like right now. From Stonegate Cottage

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:48PM
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Enigma, you are the same way I was last year. I had so many different projects swirling around in my head and did not have the money for all of them. It was so hard trying to figure out which project to start with and how much I could spend on it. So good luck on your project.

Now, back to the bathroom - is it possible to bump out the rear bathroom wall about 4 feet? Similiar to what ML is doing.

You would end up with a 5x10 foot room. You could recess the tub in the bump and still have room for a vanity.
Is this a DIY project?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 1:28PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I love the look of a clawfoot tub (have one in my front yard, LOL), but I agree that having a built-in tub and shower would be better for a family with small children and one bathroom. Same thing for the marble--porcelain or ceramic make more sense to me.

Now, just to 'throw in a monkey wrench':
Are you sure that you can't have a second bathroom upstairs--even if you can find a way to stack plumbing, use some of the less expensive materials in the main bath, and DIY as much as possible? I think a second bath would be such a benefit, especially if your guest room is upstairs. We have a half bath upstairs, and over the years, raising our 3 kids, it's been well worth the initial cost and 'head-scratching' that it took to fit it in. I'd give up vacations for years if that's what took!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 1:54PM
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I just finished a bathroom reno in my small house. I think your "high" prices are too low and you may be in for a surprise when you got to purchase items.

Perhaps skip the marble tile and go for something more moderately priced. Also, a chandelier is a pain to clean. A clawfoot tub is very impractical with kids. It's nice to be able to sit on the edge of the tub or kneel on the floor and bend over the side to wash them. They are slippery little things!

If I have learned one thing in reno-ing my house , it's that you shouldn't skimp on quality and never give up practicality just because something else looks good. Ooops-- that two things.

Have fun with your remodel.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 4:02PM
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Oh yes, definitely don't skimp on the plumbing fixtures. 15 years ago we put in Moen fixtures in our master bath and then later in another bath figured the lifetime guarantee thing was one of those things that really wouldn't be honored through some fine print thing or another. But when we have had a problem, dh called and they shipped the parts right out, no questions asked. We have horrible water here, nothing lasts, except these fixtures.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 5:19PM
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Thanks everyone :) I have to admit I really am a "build Rome in a day" kind of girl, though this house is really old and the previous owners did not take good care of it so some projects absolutely cannot be put allergy with mold is requiring the basement and bathroom to be done ASAP while the exterior may just have to be duct taped until next year :)

idie, The cost to bump out our bathroom is prohibitive, this is completely DIY with the exception of possible electric work (or plumbing if we get a clawfoot)...I have looked into every possibility and we just can't get around it.

mamagoose, you may have a point there...I've been thinking recently, since we can't afford the whole shed dormer addition in the back, we did get a quote almost a year ago for two doghouse dormers for only $7K, SO I was thinking maybe we could put them on the back of the house instead of the front (we decided against them for the front because I like the simple roof and they wouldn't help us much) and use one of them to fit a small bathroom upstairs and the other one in my husbands current closet to make a tiny's possible we could pull this off, of course depending on plumbing quotes...Hmmmm Cause the issue with the upstairs bath was space more than $, I'm sure we'd do everything possible ourselves.

dedtired, I appreciate the warning, those prices are the actual items that we're considering so hopefully there shouldn't be many surprises! I definitely agree with the skimping and practicality...some of our decisions in our kitchen are a LITTLE too cheap and will need to be redone in the upcoming years.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 5:30PM
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Enigma, I think the two doghouse dormers are a good option.
Especially if the plumbing "stacks" up from the first floor below.

I also think your current bath looks nice as it is for now. Maybe add that Moen showerhead setup to boost your enjoyment of the showering experience. And as you can do so, perhaps change out the flooring.

But to put in a toilet and sink upstairs, and look for a spot for a small shower too. The tiny bath we added was not at all standard. It was a "stick built" shower, which can fit into a nonstandard space. And the toilet we chose was the American Standard Cadet 3 one piece compact model, which is Water Sense certified and I think ADA compliant too. It sure is a good buy from Lowes. I think you can find them on sale. Then the tiny sinks we have in BOTH our baths are wall mount. No vanity at all, and no pedestals either. I do like the pedestal look. And for your bath, as it is now, I do not see a vanity will be possible. So just think about some shelves above the toilet.

I found a very interesting photo of a bedroom using IKEA cabinets horizontally mounted at the ceiling with lift up door hinges. They were about 5 of them in a row above the bed, and they were very plain white. If you have the head room in the tub/shower setup, you might find those useful there. It looks like a soffit, to be truthful. Very simple, unobtrusive, out of the way. If I find the picture again, I'll post it here. It was the Akurum cabinets combined with Applad doors ($53/ea at that time). The cat numbers shown then were 798.536.28 if that helps. I'm thinking they'd look good in the end of my master bath, which does not have a standup shower planned.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 6:51PM
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Ok everyone, decisions have been made! We have decided FOR SURE to proceed with a bathroom upstairs with a toilet, sink and tub/shower by using a dormer. Hence in the downstairs we decided to put the clawfoot tub (so now we can have beautiful main bathroom and upstairs practical bathroom). Besides I love taking my baths in that bathroom and don't think I would use one upstairs anyway.

We actually found on Craigslist an antique clawfoot complete with its fixtures and curtain rod for only 200$! It is painted blue on the outside so I will have some cleaning and sanding and painting to do but on the whole it's in really good shape with no rust evident inside (it has been refinished, so I will keep good tabs on the finish). The hardware is almost pristine with chrome and porcelain knobs. This has saved a bunch of money on the main bath so it will help a little with putting in the additional one upstairs. However we're going to have to get a plumber to reconfigure out plumbing for it.

Moccasin, I like the idea of the cabinets, I'll have to look into those.

Most of these bathroom renos are going to be auction, craigslist and habitat for humanity finds so I'm sure there will be a zillion questions coming up as we proceed! From online From online

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 7:14PM
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If that is the actual tub, you do have a charming one!

When we put in our clawfoot, soon I hope, I am making sure to give it some breathing space behind it, between the tub and the wall. I want to be able to clean behind it while I am sitting in the tub. Standing on my head is not my forte.

How will the faucet be mounted? Does it go through the front of the tub and down, into the floor? Or does it go straight back and into the adjacent wall?

If through the floor or the wall, I'd be thinking of the 2x2 porcelain tiles, or even smaller mosaics, mounted on mesh 12 x 12 squares. That way, you could just pop out a tile to allow the plumbing to go through. And not worry about cutting holes in the middle of big tiles. It would make life easier for you when paying a plumber to do the job. Or if you are doing the tilework, easier on you too.

I am very pleased that you have reached a decision for an upstairs bath. You cannot imagine what a difference it makes to have TWO crappers in the house! A real blessing. :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Moccasin, I believe you! Even with two of us it is a real frustration sometimes only to have this one tiny bathroom! I'm looking forward to having the second one! We've had to make a lot of compromises from our original grandiose plans but that's the way things go when you don't have any money :)

That IS the tub we bought, this is the craigslist ad picture, now it is safely ensconced in our garage for the time being until the carnage begins. The challenge is going to be demo-ing, plumbing and rebuilding with it being our only bathroom...yeesh.

Unfortunately there's not enough room for us to "float" the tub out from the walls, it is going to be tight just to barely squeak it in and still be able to use the sink, but that's the way it goes!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 9:17PM
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Oh it's pretty! What color are you going to repaint the sides?

Can you do the upstairs bath first so you have a working bathroom at all times?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 10:31PM
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marti8a, I'm not quite sure yet, I'm thinking either a pale blue or yellow...I'll have to look for some pictures! You know, I hadn't really considered doing the upstairs first but I guess it wouldn't be a bad idea... the plumber would probably have to come twice though, to plumb the upstairs and then to replumb the downstairs...I wonder if that makes it more expensive?

I have NO idea what to expect cost-wise from the plumber, PLEASE let it not be too much! Anyone have any extremely vague guess? Our ideal location is not stacked right above but very close (sharing a wall cavity).

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 2:15PM
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it occurred to me to post on the plumbing forum to see if there were any plumbers with some insights into cost, to make it easier I made this mach up of what we're thinking of, thought it might be helpful From house

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 3:18PM
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Enigma, you did not give any sizes for your bathroom furnishings. I bet the old toilet is at least several inches wider than the new one I have. Since you will need to buy at least ONE new toilet, if that old one is still good, move it upstairs and use the smaller new one in the main floor bath.

My American Standard Cadet 3 Compact one piece toilet, is 16" wide at its widest, 29" from the wall to the curve of the front, and is still 16" high at the seat. It flushes with 1.2 gallons of water, and it works like a charm. I think we paid $248 at Lowes, delivered to the store. We added a soft close seat/lid later, it does ship with a very basic seat and lid.

I mention it, because EVERY INCH MATTERS. Even if you keep the hole in the floor in the same spot, by being narrower you MIGHT be able to move the wall mount sink over a couple of inches to gain that space by the tub.

Also, really consider a simple WALL MOUNTED SINK, instead of adding a pedestal beneath it. It makes a difference YES.
There is a lot more toe room below the sink, and it is much easier to keep the floor cleaner. When you do have small kids, the little stepstool for them to use will slide easily beneath the sink.

I might suggest you think about replacing your current medicine cab also. Look for one which is really tall. And maybe put in two of them, wherever the wall space is not cluttered up with pipes or wires in the wall. They could be very flat fronted with plain molding surrounding some of the beadboard wallpaper stuff.

Think outside the box to get more out of your small space. BTW, do you have a window inside the shower enclosure? Think about a garden window there. Nice place for an ornamental waterproof container for your bath supplies, and even a huge glass brandy snifter for your extra soaps and sponges so they stay dry.Such a window box can be homemade yourself.

Oh yes. About the chandelier. If you have a ceiling fixture now, is it in the center of the bathroom? The chandelier can be IN the bath, but not over the tub, and still look great. I would suggest a DIMMER switch for it. Which can be changed out later when you have the funds to do so.

Do you have a vent fan already? Will you be replacing it, and will you also be buying one for the upstairs bath? There is a remote vent fan which can serve TWO LOCATIONS, and that might be economical to consider. With the motor located remotely, it is very quiet. And there is only ONE hole in your roof.

Guess that is all I can think of now. Just ideas thrown out there for your brainstorming session.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 4:16PM
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Moccasin, that is FABULOUS brainstorming! I had not thought about several of your points.

Your point about the toilet is genius, our present toilet is definitely worth keeping, it's a kohler with a lid that closes slowly but I bet we could get a smaller one for downstairs where we are definitely going to be a little tighter than upstairs. I would LOVE to get just a few more inches to move the sink a little further from the tub. I had actually started with the idea of a wall-mounted sink but I couldn't find a reasonable one that I liked (Ikea has one but it has to have one of their faucets and I don't like it, too modern for me). I would be totally open to one though, I love them with ruffled curtains around the bottom too because then you can keep things under it (like the stool, have to say I think that would be too charming for words!). My ultimate would be a wall-mount sink with wall-mount hot and cold faucets...ahhhh.

We are definitely going to replace our medicine cabinet, it is too shallow to keep anything in, and so huge it takes up quite a bit of room. I had not considered two though, I really like that because then it wouldn't be quite to oddly located above the sink (shoved next to the shower surround). I want to try to find a shallow cabinet with a mirror and a little chrome clasp/latch.

Our shower does have a window in it, it has obscured glass and a clear plastic liner hung over it to protect the wood framing. I think the idea of a "window box" is really cute! I don't know what I would make it out of, but there are so many shower storage things out there..I don't know what a brandy snifter is, do you have a picture?

Our only current light fixture is the bulb one on the wall, I think for budget reasons we are NOT going to have an electrician move that junction box and will either replace it with the a similar fixture (I don't prefer this kind of bathroom lighting but there is a pretty one that just came in at Lowes that is very pretty chrome and glass and vintage looking) or electrify some fixture into that box and swag it to the ceiling (ummmm, sloppy?).

The vent fan is another good point, we don't have one...I'm not sure how important it is but considering my sensitivity to mold it might be worth looking into...I bet we could get one put in that could tie to the upstairs too...hmm, wonder what that would cost.

I'm working through all the details, there's a lot to think about with bathrooms!
Thanks thank thanks thanks!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 5:03PM
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I expect it would be two plumber visits. I don't know what they might charge as dh does most of our plumbing.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 5:18PM
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Oh my goodness, sooooo I bought this beautiful tub and made sure it was 5ft when we bought it, which it is, but I just re-measured the bathroom and it is not 6.5X5 ft, it is 6.5'X ONE INCH LESS THAN FIVE FEET! Oh my goodness, I knew it would be close but I really thought it was an even five feet. There is NO way the tub will fit in there right now, in my mind I have three options.

Option 1: Put the clawfoot upstairs...Don't really want to because no one would ever see it, plus I have been told by a builder not to put a cast iron tub upstairs because it will not be as strong as the main floor to support all the weight

Option 2: Cut out the plaster wall (which we probably will have to anyway in order to tile on it) and see if there is any way in the world I can squeek a whole inch out of the walls (though with backer board and tile on top I have no idea how that would be possible.

Option 3: Put the tub at a slight angle, I'm not sure how much of an angle it would need, it almost seems that the angle would make it fit worse, hmmm.

I can't believe this happened, does anyone have magic option number 4 that I haven't thought of?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 3:55PM
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Oh no! I have no advice that wouldn't cost a lot more money, unless you can rearrange all the fixtures and put the tub where the toilet and sink are now (if you aren't on a slab and can move plumbing) if you have enough room that way.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 6:19PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I'm assuming the plumbing is on the right-side wall, adjacent to the kitchen. Is the left-hand wall exterior? If not, would it be possible to remove a stud at the end of the bath tub area, add a header, similar to a door frame, the width of the tub? That would make room for a recess that could be tiled, and if you made the recess as tall as a door or window, you could add several shallow shelves for cosmetics, above the rim of the tub. If it's an exterior wall, there would have to be insulation, and probably no room for a recess. Hope you can find a way to get the lovely clawfoot tub installed.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 11:41PM
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Does the new tub have a lip on it? You could remove an inch at one end or 1/2" at both. Framing the tub would support anything removed. Otherwise, just removing plaster or drywall may surprise you and give the extra 1/2" on both sides. My tile is slightly over the edge of the tub, there is a small lip there the size of the tile depth. Water running down goes directly into tub and not find it's way behind the wall.

I also don't see a problem with the tub at an angle. Although it may not give you any more space for the tub, sometimes an angle takes up more room. Might be intersting and you could add shelves in the corners as part of the support surround, tile the same color as tub would make it look larger. Lots of interesting uses. Obviously it would bump out into the room, not sure where your door is. A corner bench could be used there. All would give it a built in look.

The other would be to turn the tub around, fill in the area where it bumps out with a towel storage and move the toilet by a smaller sink. Again, I don't know where the door is. You would have 3 ft to get into the tub.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 9:05AM
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mama_goose, you might have the answer right there! I was thinking of cutting notches out of the studs but your idea would be much better, and I REALLY like the idea of shelves in a nook like that. You are right the plumbing is on the right and the left hand wall is not exterior, the smallest bedroom is on the other side.

emagineer, I had considered cutting some off the lip but I have no idea how to cut through the cast iron! It's possible the tub at an angle could work but I'm not sure we could give up that much floorspace since it's just such a small area...whew, I'm feeling better about it though, at least there are some good options. That tub WILL end up in that spot!!!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 10:00AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Oh, I hope that works for you! Since you have a bedroom on the other side of the wall, you might want to check into inexpensive sound-proofing foam for the recess.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 10:48AM
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mama_goose, another good point, I hadn't thought of that.

Two plumbers were here today, hopefully I'll have their quotes by the end of the week. One acted like this was an everyday project, the other acted like this was a really big deal. Apparently they need to get into our walls in our current bathroom so we have to have the upstairs bathroom completely plumbed before we can do the bottom one. And before we can plumb the upstairs we have to have the dormer built...

Hmmm, our siding is breaking, our back fence is falling down, our current bathroom is disintegrating, our basement is a stripped wreck, our stove leaks gas and our refrigerator broke today...I've finally decided to plant my money tree, hopefully next year it will be in full bloom with $50s and $100s.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 5:05PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

LOL, enigma, welcome to the 'old house' club. Our motto :

It's ALWAYS something!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 7:18PM
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I like what Mama Goose suggests. An alcove of sorts. You said your smallest bedroom is on the opposite side of the wall. Could it by any chance be in the CLOSET?

If there is a space in that bedroom for shelving, it could be hidden very easily to take in several more inches down low. Shallow shelves at the bottom, and deeper shelves at the top above the bathroom alcove. A contractor could do it easily, I'm sure.

I would be very cautious sawing on the cast iron tub. You know that the baked on enamel finish is sort of glassy, and it will tend to shatter. Then there goes all your bargain deal, paying up to $350 or more for refinishing the tub. Or, if it is small, you could get one of those appliance paint patches they used to sell for dinged appliances. But do the altering of the tub only as a last resort.

By the time you put down the mortar and the tile, it will be close to 3/4" thick with the tile job. That would be at each end. Especially since you must have room for the shower curtain to surround the tub completely, you'll need some room for it to go down around the tub rim.

Since we are not having a standup shower in our clawfoot tub, I can get away with total beadboard walls. But even then, I could get that synthetic stuff they are making...I cannot remember who mfgs it, but the name starts with an "A?" However, I am blessed with even a few more inches depth of the bumpout than I anticipated. Oh lovely for that. I've had SO many projects where even a half inch kept me from getting the plan I wanted. And DH keeps eating up ceiling height in his house up north by adding more levels of flooring to rooms with already low ceilings. That house is "vertically challenged", and your bathroom is "horizontally challenged," enigma!

I'll take some pics of the brandy snifter I have, not meant for drinking. It is huge and I use it as a plant terrarium.It has a lid which keeps in the humidity/moisture to water my plants. I really recommend a non-glass container in a bathroom, due to safety factors.

You will find a way to get that tub installed, and it will be a very creative way when you do. It isn't a PROBLEM, it is a SITUATION TO BE HANDLED.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 10:40PM
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We have the same tub as your current one and just saved it in our reno. (If only we were done!) I love option one, but then again I love clawfoots with mosaic floors. Your plan sounds lovely. My one reservation (because we too considered that tub type) is how easy/not easy are they for bathing children who've outgrown the sink?? It seems like it would be hard on your back, but maybe not. I haven't actually used one in that way.

Meanwhile, I find the quotes most impressive. I'm envious, in fact. Your higher priced option is what they charged us to do the labor for tile only (tub surround and a 5x7 floor). We did all the demo ourselves. They just set the tile and the backerboard. We didn't go high end: cheap subways and white oct and dots. Maybe I need to move to your area. ;) I'd LOOOOVE to get your option one...especially for that price!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 11:56PM
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Apologies, I missed that the clawfoot was the one 1" too long. No way to cut that one. So just ignore me. Your plumber/contractor will know more than I ever can on how to work with all. And no one suggested I was stupid....thank you group.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 9:28AM
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Emagineer, Who knew? They can do so many things these days, I thought they might do that too. But I know what you mean.....don't sweat the small stuff.

What I'm wondering now is: Will 4 inches be all that enigma needs to have plenty of room for her tub? Should it go into the bathroom while the sink and the toilet are removed? Can that small amount of space, really the thickness of the wall, be taken away from the small bedroom and not hurt anything?

I'm hoping it can be done. Maybe the entire height of the wall from ceiling to floor given to the tub.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 4:04PM
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mama_goose, how true! I feel like lately it should be changed to "it's always EVERYTHING!!!" But that's partially my fault as I just love to start projects.

moccasin, i love that attitude, it IS a situation and it WILL be handled (note to self, repeat indefinitely). We won't know until we get in the wall but hopefully we can wiggle out enough room to make it not look weird...the shelves are a really good idea if we have to take out from the other room. Unfortunately it is not near the closet.

young-gardener, we had ruled out a clawfoot tub as well for the exact same reason (the kids at some point will have to get clean!). However we thought it would be ok in the main bath since we decided to add a bathroom upstairs. As for the quotes, those are for a complete DIY job :) The ONLY thing we're paying professionals for is any electric and plumbing, as annoying as it can be I love to do stuff like this myself!

emagineer, don't worry about it! Trust me, I have been considering EVERY option!

Thanks so much everyone, this is just becoming more and more complicated as we go (shoulda known :) so in a million years when it's all over you will have several feet of relieved dialogue warning against ever trying something like this :)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 6:18PM
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Enigma, the idea to recess the tub is probably not as expensive as it sounds. I had an open ing in a wall that I decided to close back up. Instead of replacing the wall flush, I had them close it off BEHIND the opening. This means I have a recess the depth of the wall which is 4". I hope my description is not confusing. This is the recess

this is the other side - it sticks out about 6" (studs plus drywall thickness)

And one last point: putting the new tub in, means they would probably have to turn it sideways to get it through the door. Then they need extra room to flip it down on its feet.
If you go with the idea of the recess, then you can put the tub in through the bedroom wall where the recess would go since the studs would have to be set back anyway! Easy -peasy!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 12:35AM
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Yeah, YEAAAAAAA for Loretta!
You told the whole story, and I think what you present is a way for Enigma to really get what she wants.

Yes, even if the tub can go into the bathroom door--which is usually 30 or 28 inches, the bathroom dimension will have to be enough to allow the tub to pivot or rotate back to its upright position.

Sometimes the cast iron legs are screwed on, but with an old tub I would not attempt to remove them after all these years. Cast iron can develop cracks that will render the tub useless for bathing.

If at all possible, the tub could be turned on edge, so only one stud in the wall HAS to come out, and when the tub is inside the bath, it can be rotated 90 degrees UP, so that there is no twisting and pivoting required. Straight into the room through the stud wall, and then drop it into place over the plumbing pipes.

Hope I haven't confused things which Loretta made so clear.
I think she showed you the way to do it though.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 4:35PM
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Idie, that's genius, that's exactly what I've been thinking of, it's so helpful to see it though! I think it's an inspired solution, in a small bathroom why not get more storage space out of the walls! Plus we'll need somewhere to put shampoo and stuff. The muscling of the tub in the bathroom will be a pretty big project, I almost hope I'm not there for it :)

My one question, around the tub we'll have tile, including in the 4" nook. I love the shelves, Idie, in your picture, but I'm wondering how to make them waterproof? Just so when we put shampoo and soap on it it won't get all gross. I considered using the same kind of marble that we're using for the subway tile (only as a "threshold", so it could be like a shelf) but stone cracks so easily I don't think they would last, ceramic tile would be weird. I guess I could use wood but I don't know how well that would work...anyone have a waterproof solution?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:37PM
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Idie, that's genius, that's exactly what I've been thinking of, it's so helpful to see it though! I think it's an inspired solution, in a small bathroom why not get more storage space out of the walls! Plus we'll need somewhere to put shampoo and stuff. The muscling of the tub in the bathroom will be a pretty big project, I almost hope I'm not there for it :)

My one question, around the tub we'll have tile, including in the 4" nook. I love the shelves, Idie, in your picture, but I'm wondering how to make them waterproof? Just so when we put shampoo and soap on it it won't get all gross. I considered using the same kind of marble that we're using for the subway tile (only the ones they sell as "thresholds", so it could be like a shelf) but stone cracks so easily I don't think they would last, ceramic tile would be weird. I guess I could use wood but I don't know how well that would work...anyone have a waterproof solution?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:40PM
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Glass shelves would work best and are not that expensive. Easy cleaning. Even stainless steel is offering many solutions for storage options. Have fun with this idea, lots of them out there.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 6:54AM
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Enigma sez: "My one question, around the tub we'll have tile, including in the 4" nook. I love the shelves, Idie, in your picture, but I'm wondering how to make them waterproof? "

Oh yes. Think about getting the thicker Lexan so it will not flex as much, and then reinforce it along the front edge, and use it for your shelves. I'm sure there could be little prongs or whatchamacallits inserted between the tiles on the ends to just lay the shelves on, or maybe slide them into metal channels at either end to really secure them.

Also, you might consider glass. But I don't like glass around a tub where small kids might bathe.

Where there is a will there is always a way.
DH is currently making a tiny curio cabinet in a corner of the Mass. living room, beside the fireplace, and I'm taking up a scrap of our .24" thick Lexan left over from the porch windows job. Lexan is bulletproof, and imminently unbreakable.

Although I have not taken a long piece and bent it double and stood on it yet. I guess that would be a suitable test of breadability? :)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 1:09PM
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Enigma, it is almost a week now and I'm curious about what is going on in your head about the bathroom.

Have you found a way to change that bath width and gain about the 4 inches you'll need? Six inches would be better, but if 4 will do it, that should suffice.

I'm in bath mode too, and just want to hear how things are going up your way.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 10:00PM
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moccasin, this week has been insane! We thought we hit a HUGE financial roadblock only to find out a few days later that we were still fine (I don't want to go into any debt for renovations or anything) so I had almost given up on the scheme entirely...but now we're back in planning, I've had three plumbers come by and one more contractor for the dormer...I'm guessing when all is said and done we'll come in at around $11,000 for both bathroom total renos, fixtures + plumbing + electrical + dormer construction + finishes. The plumbers are coming in at around $3,000 just to rough in right above, which does seem high to me, but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do :) It has prompted me to cut as many costs as possible with fixtures (which is more fun than buying expensive ones anyway :) and since we're necessarily probably 3 months or more away from getting the work done, I've just been brainstorming creative ways to get the looks without the moneys :)

But that's how the kitchen started and I'm very pleased with it so I guess it's worth all the time and thought :)

Moccasin, I did find a wall-hung sink yesterday for only $30! I think with a cute cloth skirt it could be SUPER cute and when you add a good faucet it's less expensive than the off-brand pedestal I was thinking about. The hubby's not sold on losing the pedestal but I think it could be a nice change. Do you have pictures of yours?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 1:30PM
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eNIGMA, i JUST visited This Old House link to best reader baths. I put the link below. At picture number 7, I think it was, they show a tub like yours installed on the diagonal. It will how you what that option does for your bath. Just for your information, not suggesting you do that.

After all, where would you put the sink? Into a little bumpout into that bedroom (again?)??? Leaving the toilet where it is? Of course, you might have room for a really really tiny sink. But I think you are on the right track already.

I have two wall hung sinks here in Mobile. I will put the link in here before I lose it, and you can follow it. Then I'll put in the pictures of my wall hung sinks, no pedestals. The first one is so tiny, there is no room for anything but your feet in front of it. The second, I could put a wicker chest or storage box beneath it if I wanted. For sure a waste basket or a place for rolled up towels.

Here is a link that might be useful: This Old House reader designed baths.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 2:04PM
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Enigma, I found something else on THIS OLDHOUSE.
It includes a distillation of the design issues for creating or redoing a small bathroom. Care to look? Maybe something will pop out at you.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to design small baths so they feel roomier

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 3:00PM
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fyi on the claw foot tub and bathing little ones. I had no problem with it - and I have a bad back. I didn't think it any worse than a regular tub. we had that tub when the 2 youngest were born.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 11:26PM
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I mentioned this before. But have the same sink faucet in first pic. Sure wish they had this for the bath and kitchen. Yes, I have looked for 2 years, but nothing comes up at this point. Love this thing, it was worth every penny.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 9:31AM
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Emagineer, you have that same faucet? Is yours the oil rubbed bronze too? I really like that one, made by Price Pfister. It is also available in chrome, I had a hard time finding it but THINK I got it at Lowes.

The other bathroom faucet is also by Price Pfister, and I absolutely LOVE it. It has the very geometric look that goes with the sink style. With the open pump spigot style, there is no spraying or overspray, you get a good supply of water to wash your hands or brush your teeth. And it is quiet also.

The tiny sink might have benefitted from a gooseneck fixture up higher, so I'd have more room to insert my dirty hands beneath the faucet's spigot. But the lower profile is less in the way in our really very tiny space. It works.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 11:21AM
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I love those faucets, so does the DH. I have definitely seen one super similar at Lowes. Unfortunately all the sinks I've found have three holes in them...

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 4:49PM
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The faucet is 3 holes. A standard placement. Mine is from HD, but same as Lowes and is brushed stainless. Sink must be deep as I have no problem washing hands or anything else. The sink is a square pedestal. Am not terribly fond of the sink, no place to hang a wet washcloth and feel the space underneath is wasted. I've considered building a cupboard for this, just a surround with the sink as the top. The bath is so small that I know this would make things feel cramped. Hmm, just thought, a curtain around it would give me some storage. I'm fairly simple in decorating, so a curtain needs some thinking. Still have the wet washcloth problem though.

Love the sound of the water flowing from the faucet, even seeing it...silly things we attach ourselves to.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 8:21AM
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We had yet another construction company out to the house today to give us a quote for a dormer in the back so we can fit the planned bathroom in there. Previous quotes (granted for slightly bigger dormers) were between $25,000 and 40,000! Todays quote came in at. . . $4,000!!!!!!!! Which is exactly what I hoped for from this company (they had quoted us for the doghouse dormers we were originally considering for the front of the house).

This could have been a real fly in the ointment if the quote had been much higher, I'm so glad, it's exactly what I had planned for in my mind :)

Now if only the plumbing wasn't so obscene :)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 1:13AM
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Enigma says, "I love those faucets, so does the DH. I have definitely seen one super similar at Lowes. Unfortunately all the sinks I've found have three holes in them..."

But Enigma, those faucet sets come with an escutcheon to cover holes. It is also possible to have Lowes order the sink you like with ONE hole. Or take a look at and see what you like there. I ordered both my sinks from them.
And check have some good deals and only $2.97 for shipping on your entire order. I got my kitchen undermount sink from them.

Enigma, your quote for the dormer sounds like a dream come true. The plumbing will always be costly, but it will LAST.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:48AM
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I double checked the faucet and it is a 3 hole installation. There is a well made plate covering those and matches very well, as if it belongs there. Not the thin plates seen in some cheaper faucets.

I still want one that is fit for the kitchen and bath tub. Wonder if there is a water pressure issue with the design should it be larger.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 7:38AM
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ooooooooh, I hadn't figured out that the plate would cover the holes! I know my DH REALLY likes that fixture, I do too...I'll have to rethink and see if we can sneak it in there :)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 9:38PM
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