Designing a tiny bathroom: Part 1

Those of you who know me personally, or who follow my stories on Instagram, will know that Mr Industriale and I bought a 'renovator's delight' three years ago. Last month, it became time to deal with the bathroom. 

Here's the brief:

Restore a badly-renovated tiny bathroom to suit the 1930s construction of the home. Include period features in a classic colour scheme. Make the room bright, warm, and easy to maintain. Choose quality fixtures and materials, Australian made or otherwise ethically made where such choices exist. 

And what we were dealing with:

 A real estate listing photo from when we bought the house. We painted over the wall stencils straight away, but the rest of the reno had to wait.

A real estate listing photo from when we bought the house. We painted over the wall stencils straight away, but the rest of the reno had to wait.

A tiny, 2.2 x 1.8m bathroom, originally 1930s but renovated in the '60s and in the '90s. The '90s tiles were laid directly over the '60s ones on both floor and walls, covering the floor waste and creating a trap for water to pool and coagulate. 

Where did the water come from? The resin shower base, installed by amateurs, leaked from every conceivable place. We had water damaged floors, walls, and the leak had even made our jarrah door frame start rotting - quite an achievement! 

At the base of the shower, gaps between tile and shower base were covered in timber quad, which had rotted through. An assortment of incorrectly applied timber architraves covered 'oopses', and were all wet and rotting too. The towel rail was simultaneously the entire length of the room, and only able to hold one towel, thanks to the 'interesting' use of timber to supports holding it (barely) to the double-tiled wall. The existing vanity was also poorly installed, and you can see in this photo, an uncleanable gap between it and the wall on the left. 

The orientation of the fixtures made little sense for usability. The toilet faced the shower screen, and the gap to get in there was narrow. The shower was in a narrow enclosure, with no way to move out of the running water - or to pick up the soap without one's bottom making contact with the wall or shower screen! 

Here's a photo, post-demolition and after the installation of the new floor. Both floor and ceiling had to come out.

Above: Work in progress by Brady Plumbing Group. 

The exposed brick at right backed on to the toilet, and was apparently the location of a bath in years past. 

In this photo, the new plumbing is in place, as is the new floor base. 


If you'd like to see videos, head over to Brady Plumbing Group on Facebook or check out the stories on Instagram. Ben (the plumber, not Mr Industriale) took detailed videos before and during the demolition, knowing how amazing the after would be! 

The new layout

The key factors in the design of our new bathroom was enlarging the shower and making better use of floor space.

By moving the shower head from the right-hand wall to the wall next to the door, we were able to add valuable length to the shower bay. To give the loo enough space, we rotated it so that it backed on to the right hand wall. A 1m high nib wall gives the toilet privacy from the shower (and indeed, from folks opening the door to the hallway), as well as providing a space for storage of shampoo bottles. 

Finally, we said farewell to the idea of a vanity, and chose a pedestal sink. Again, we moved it 90 degrees, to the left hand wall. A mirror hangs above it, and essentials are stored in open shelving (shown hidden by a mirror in the original bathroom shots). 

In lieu of the giant chunky towel rail, we installed a slender chromed brass model on the same wall.

And the pictures!

Here's the new view from the doorway. Head over to Part 2 to see the details and read about the design rationale.