Small bathroom: should I just give up on a separate bath and shower?
June 23, 2017 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Current layout - possible plan. I've removed a couple of old cupboards and now have an empty corner in my small, sloping roofed bathroom. Would love to have a separate shower and bath, but I don't want to end up with the worst of both worlds. Lots of questions, any pointers or stories about your bathroom renovation decisions much appreciated, especially if you were dealing with limited space or sloping ceilings.

Please assume that plumbing of wastes and water supplies are not an issue for any bath or shower installation, though it's not possible to move the toilet or boiler cupboard (upper left cupboard in plan) and I'd prefer not to have to move the sink.

I've been looking at Japanese / Greek style baths - does anyone own one of these? Would you recommend them? Offset corner baths? Are these comfortable? Are small freestanding baths a waste of space / a pain to clean around?

Is a 700mm shower too narrow for comfort or can you get around this with a longer rectangular enclosure?

The existing shower bath on the opposite wall is just 700mm wide due to constraints of positioning next to the toilet and window, so I thought I could replace this with a narrow shower enclosure.

Bath criteria:
>> Max length 1500mm, max width 1100mm
>> Needs to be good for reading
>> Double-ended and big enough to share on occasion
>> Possibility of wallowing?

Shower criteria:
>> 700mm wide max, length TBC
>> Can only go in one position in the room due to sloping ceiling.

Or should I just do the easy thing and replicate the current layout with the narrow shower bath, replacing the gross old sanitary ware for new?
posted by doornoise to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'd suggest doing the easy thing -- those tiny showers are unpleasant (IMHO; I'm tall). Maybe do the "wet room" approach and waterproof everything so that you don't need an enclosed shower?
posted by aramaic at 1:05 PM on June 23, 2017

Best answer: Speaking as someone with a preternaturally tiny bathroom, trying to clean the tiny little floor spaces behind big ol' immovable appliances is ZERO FUN. If you were to get a freestanding tub, I think it'd be important to think carefully about what methods you would have to use to clean behind and around it and if you would have enough space to do so in your present space, particularly with a sloping ceiling.

From what I can tell from your photos, I think if you really wanted to, you'd be okay to do a separate shower and bath, but you're absolutely right in thinking that 700mm is little small for a shower unless you totally eliminated the extra storage and had it all the way up against the wall. But then lack of storage could be an issue.

I don't know what your plans are in the long term, but from a resale perspective, buyers probably won't like the idea of having to choose between taking a full on luxury bath every other day or using the dinky little shower. Typically when a bathroom has a separate freestanding shower AND a big soaking tub, it's because the bathroom is large enough to make either one of them a luxury to use, not to separate the functions.

That said, if both of them had shower heads like what your photo showed, being able to have two people showering at once could be a good selling point. And if eventually selling the house is the LAST thing on your mind, then I think you should do what would make you the happiest. If you've been using the 700mm wide bath and shower up until now with no problems, I don't see why that couldn't continue.

Personally, I like the idea of having a big lovely extra-deep soaking bathtub and shower in the corner like you say and then putting a heck-ton of storage where the old tub and shower used to be. Maybe even a vanity, if that's your jam.

I hope this assorted pile of information helps! :)
posted by helloimjennsco at 1:08 PM on June 23, 2017

Can you move the door to the bottom left corner in that design? That would give you the area where the tub is now and the door opens now for a shower and separate tub.
posted by willnot at 2:37 PM on June 23, 2017

Best answer: A couple of years ago, when I was traveling in Europe, I measured all of the small shower enclosures I used (I had string in my travel kit, so when I used a shower I'd just cut a piece of string the length of the shortest dimension) because I knew that one day I would face design choices like the ones you're making.

I'm a big guy and concluded that 32" is a practical minimum for me to be comfortable, and 30" is do-able but not that enjoyable. 27 1/2" (or 700mm) is going to be pretty teeny. At the very least I'd suggest you mock up a stall with cardboard and try maneuvering in it. And don't forget you'll have protrusions for control hardware and the shower head poking into that space as well..
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:55 PM on June 23, 2017

What's underneath? We have a tiny master bedroom bath, so we set our tub flush into the floor and then built a teak platform over it. You stand on the platform to shower; the water goes through the slats and drains out below via the tub. If you want to take a bath, you stand outside and hoist the platform up against the wall using a pulley system that's permanently installed. It locks there and is safe. You step down into the tub, which has its own controls for the water and a spout that's flush to the wall. There is no shower door but a different wall, which has the shower controls and a tower of nozzles, protects the room from water spray.

This bath is on our second floor over our front hall. The tub is supported by a steel cradle tied into the beams so it can bear the weight of two adults and a tub full of water. It makes the ceiling in the front hall a little low (8 feet vs 10 feet in most of the house), but that's intentional because the front hall leads to the living room, which has 25 foot ceilings and the change creates drama. If your bathroom were over a basement or crawl space, this idea would be much easier to implement.
posted by carmicha at 2:30 AM on June 24, 2017

Best answer: Can you not move the sink to where the bath currently is, and then put a P-shaped shower bath on the 1620mm wall? You'd already have the plumbing in place for the sink, since the bath is currently there. And you could have a really good bath designed for also showering in.
posted by plonkee at 3:20 AM on June 24, 2017

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