Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

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tenkuky
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Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by tenkuky »

We are considering converting a walk in closet space in an upstairs bedroom into an in-suite bathroom.
It is 50" X 108" dimensions, let's call it 4'X9'.
Adding width to say 5 or more feet will mean demo of a couple of walls :oops:. Right now, the door opens inward, but changing that to open into the room (away from the bathroom) shouldn't be hard.
Advantage of the location is it abuts onto another bathroom 9'X10' (which is shared between 3 rooms currently) so plumbing will not be as challenging.
But the small space has me worried unless we can make it work.
Want to have rough idea of the layout before reaching out to plumbers/bathroom folks.
Part of the reason is functionality, part is improving value (goes from 4 bd 2.5 ba to 4 bd 3.5 ba or 3.25 ba if we can only fit a shower).

I looked at Houzz and other websites, but interested in this board's opinions and anyone who has made this work (appreciate pics too!) And skewer me if warranted, I can take it :wink:

Thanks in advance!
adamthesmythe
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by adamthesmythe »

Start by doing a layout with a minimum size shower. Go to the home store to measure.
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MrBobcat
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by MrBobcat »

Does it really improve the functionality and value though? 4' just seems too narrow. We had a shower "closet" in our basement left over from the previous owners and it was fine for what it was but I would never put one in in place of a walk in closet. It's since been combined into one bathroom with the adjoining toilet/sink "closet".

Keep in mind you're talking to a plebe who's never had an in-suite bathroom or a walk in closet.
Last edited by MrBobcat on Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Shackleton
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by Shackleton »

It probably depends where the door is… if on the long wall, I could see a shower on one side on the short wall, toilet on the other short wall and pedestal sink or small vanity/sink on the wall opposite the door, especially (or maybe only) if the door opens outwards. I can’t imagine a regular tub fitting in there.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by sailaway »

You could do a custom shower - might allow you to get most of the 4' across while taking up less room than typical of the 9'.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

I would go with just a toilet and a sink. Forget the shower.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by Silverado »

At least that space will prevent you from considering a garden tub…..worthless waste of space in my opinion.

I see someone mentioned lav and toilet only. That seems like something that needs consideration. Half bath. Maybe a bit weird or unconventional, but should go on the list.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by CAsage »

If the in between wall isn't load bearing, AND you want to remodel the other bathroom also, then you have decent options. Interior walls are actually easy to fiddle with. Otherwise look for a very small footprint shower (one of the curved wall ones that fit in the corner) or custom along one short "end", and the tiniest pedestal sink = possibly in the corner near the door, with a toilet in between.
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tenkuky
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by tenkuky »

These are all great thoughts, keep 'em coming.
Now that it is mentioned, I think the 1/2 bath is least appealing as it would make little sense for value or convenience.
So either very slimmed down version with curved shower, single vanity and toilet or open up the space (more $) and then have a regular.
There is some "dead space" in the corner of the upstairs landing that can be opened up between the bathrooms (need to check on load bearing or not).
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by 123 »

I've had bathrooms in European hotel rooms where the sink and toilet were in the shower, just tile everything. You can make it work. They do it in RVs with far less space than 4'x9'.

Or you could adopt a "split bath" model where the sink and tub/shower are in room and the toilet is elsewhere. Not often seen in contemporary houses but a lot of houses built in the early 1900's in cities had them.
Last edited by 123 on Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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familythriftmd
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by familythriftmd »

tenkuky wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:06 pm ...
Have you considered a wet room? Find a contractor who can seal the entire space and then you don't really need a lip for the shower. can make it feel more spacious.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by Nyc10036 »

It can be done.

My next door neighbor hired a handyman and converted a traditional half bath to one with a shower in it.

I never saw it with my own eyes, but my mother saw it.

Whether it was legal or not I don't know, because the neighbor did not get a permit from the township for it.
So, it is an illegal conversion.

.
WapelloHawk
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by WapelloHawk »

We have a 4x9 half bath in our current house. Toilet on one end, sink on the other, door in the middle. Very spacious and looks good.

I could easily see swapping out our current sink with a shower (no tub). That would work fine.

But where do you put the sink so that there is room to walk? Seems darn tight to me.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:52 pm I would go with just a toilet and a sink. Forget the shower.
This!

Put in a pocket door. Our home had a 1/2 bath downstairs when we first bought it, about your size. Later we did blow it out, adding a shower downstairs when I became unable to get upstairs.

Toilet and a sink, plenty of room. Many two-story homes have 1/2 baths for convenience. They work just fine.

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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by surfstar »

Stop thinking in terms of "value" or "resale".

Home remodels are for functionality you desire TO USE. Do you need a 1/2 or 3/4 additional bathroom? If no, stop.

If yes, then continue. Maybe a pocket door could be used? Don't install a bathtub - not needed. Remember, you're going for functional use. As a guest room, etc, a shower and toilet are very useful.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Question: Does your master bedroom have a full sized bathroom?

If it does I definitely wouldn't expand to a full bath for another bedroom.

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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by lthenderson »

IImage

Both of these fall within your dimensions and shows the two possible door locations depending on your layout. A full size tub is probably impossible but a nice walk in shower is definitely doable.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

I measured my 1947 bathroom - and there's exactly 4 feet from the outer edge of the tub to the wall. The toilet backs to that wall and there is 18 inches from the edge of the oval toilet seat to the tub. The vanity backs on the same wall as the toilet. imagine the edge of the tub being a wall (if you are trying to picture your space). I don't see why you can;t do a "custom" 4 foot wide walk in shower stall. My "tub" space is 4 feet 10 inches from front of the tub (with the faucet) to the rear of the tub). I'm guessing it's all going to depend on where the door is (or where you can move it) for your bathroom remodel.

If you have the wall space - perhaps a pocket door would work if the main bedroom can't take a regular door. Please resist the urge to do a Barn Door.

With such a small space that probably has no window - I'd spend time, effort, and money to make sure the room has enough ventilation to remove the steam from the shower. I'd spend the time, effort and money to make sure that the walls and floor and drain for the shower are more than sufficient to handle the water/moisture and the weight of someone using it without it springing a leak. Water is the enemy here.
Last edited by LittleMaggieMae on Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
rich126
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by rich126 »

I once looked at a house where it was obvious a closet was turned into a bathroom. I'm guessing it was necessary due to someone's health. In that case it looked really bad and I had no interest in purchasing the house. I'm trying to remember the details but it seemed like the ceiling was also lower than normal.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

Will you have a bedroom without closet space if you convert the closet to a bath? Is the bedroom big enough to have some sort of free standing closet space added? (something from Ikea or an old fashion wardrobe) I'm guessing most people would rather have a bedroom with a closet rather than a bedroom with no closet and a bathroom.

Does the position of the bedroom (which may no long have a closet) in the house - lend itself to being an "office" or perhaps a "craft room" or "guest room"? none of those uses require a closet (although they do require storage areas) and the addition of a bath can be helpful - especially if other bedrooms can make use of the bath (when the bedroom isn't being used for something else).

OK, what that really means - is will someone have to walk into or thru the bedroom to get to the new bathroom? That kind of makes the bathroom dedicated to that bedroom. If the new bathroom opens on a hall way - then the other bedrooms can use it.

(I live in the land of older homes - 1/2 baths are added in all sorts of places - under the stairs to the second floor...or repurpose the coat closet at the front of the house, or convert a back porch into a room and use part of it for a bathroom. Georgians typically have all sorts of odd 1/2 bathroom placements on the first floor - because they were built with only one bathroom and it's upstairs with the bedrooms (and perhaps a bathroom was added downstairs in the basement at a later date). Tudors sometimes have a 1/2 bath added (that front hall closet!) on the first floor because the main bathroom opens into the kitchen... )
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tenkuky
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by tenkuky »

OP here.
This has been so helpful, all your comments in this thread.
This is what we are thinking now...
Expand 2-3 ft into the landing (will need 1 wall moved only) to allow for a closet as well (so no need to add closet space in the bedroom).
This will make the space 4' X 11' or so with the door bisecting, so turn left for bathroom, right for walk-in (ish) closet.
Will likely have the shower at the far end of the space and find a way to do single vanity (with longer counter) on one wall and toilet at other end.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by BrightEyes »

I recently looked at a house where a toilet and sink were installed in the corner of one bedroom, free-standing on the hardwood floor :shock: We figured there was a story behind that, but no idea what it was. I didn't buy that house. :wink:

Actionably, have you considered a toilet-tank-top sink? That way the lavatory has no footprint, but a person can wash hands. These are very common in Japan. I found a couple versions available online at at Home Depot, and one of those seemed to be on Amazon as well. They were not very expensive, $75-$135 or such.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/SinkPositiv ... /205088518
https://www.homedepot.com/p/SINKTWICE-T ... /301276506
This only provides cold water, but it does let you wash your hands with the perfectly clean water that then refills the tank. Would let you use one end for a shower, other end for toilet/sink, plenty of room for that. I envision these fixtures facing one another, but actual placement depends where the door is, of course.

Second or third the pocket door, or some variety of sliding door-- even a bi-fold is stylistically preferable (to me) to most of the barn doors I've seen-- but if you simply used that sort of mechanism, without the heavy "this belongs in a barn" styling, that might look OK--of course, if your house has a barn or "rustic" esthetic, the barn styling might fit and be really cute, to those who like that look.

I also second the cautions about ventilation to get the moisture out, and to make sure the weight will be sufficiently supported, even if you have to add support first. Also, the point about only moving forward on this if YOU need a bathroom there, while you are living in the house, NOT with just the idea that it will help you sell for more someday. It might well not pay for itself, without the use factor.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by ResearchMed »

tenkuky wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:47 pm This will make the space 4' X 11' or so with the door bisecting, so turn left for bathroom, right for walk-in (ish) closet.
I can't quite picture this unless you are having the closet withIN the bathroom, on one end.
That's probably a non-starter, given the moisture and clothing.
But I may have not understood.

Another possibility, one that I personally dislike, but I do see it occasionally, is to have the sink in a corner or along the wall leading to the "bathroom" (with toilet and shower/tub).
Yes, some motel rooms also have this, and I don't much care for them, either.
But for home or motel, it does have the advantage of allowing someone access to the sink while someone else uses the toilet or shower/tub.

Is this going to be for the primary bedroom, or is there already an ensuite primary?

RM
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by Watty »

A couple of random points.

1) Just for brainstorming I have seen toilets that had a small sink built into the top of the toilet tank to save space.

2) I don't think it is a legal requirement but some people will expect a bedroom to have a closet and if that room does not have some other closet then that may turn some buyers off. They may consider that room to be more of an office or bonus room instead of a bedroom and that could hurt the resale value of your house.
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tenkuky
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by tenkuky »

ResearchMed wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:12 pm
tenkuky wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:47 pm This will make the space 4' X 11' or so with the door bisecting, so turn left for bathroom, right for walk-in (ish) closet.
I can't quite picture this unless you are having the closet withIN the bathroom, on one end.
That's probably a non-starter, given the moisture and clothing.
But I may have not understood.

Another possibility, one that I personally dislike, but I do see it occasionally, is to have the sink in a corner or along the wall leading to the "bathroom" (with toilet and shower/tub).
Yes, some motel rooms also have this, and I don't much care for them, either.
But for home or motel, it does have the advantage of allowing someone access to the sink while someone else uses the toilet or shower/tub.

Is this going to be for the primary bedroom, or is there already an ensuite primary?

RM
These are EXCELLENT points and thank you.
There is another ensuite primary, this will be an ensuite on the 2nd floor.
And I did not think of moisture, so will have a separate entrance for the closet (no door) not connected to bathroom.
For a previous poster, yes, we need functionality now with 3 people and only 2 full baths and likely lots of overnight guests visiting frequently with COVID less a concern we need the additional bath.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by ResearchMed »

tenkuky wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:24 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:12 pm
tenkuky wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:47 pm This will make the space 4' X 11' or so with the door bisecting, so turn left for bathroom, right for walk-in (ish) closet.
I can't quite picture this unless you are having the closet withIN the bathroom, on one end.
That's probably a non-starter, given the moisture and clothing.
But I may have not understood.

Another possibility, one that I personally dislike, but I do see it occasionally, is to have the sink in a corner or along the wall leading to the "bathroom" (with toilet and shower/tub).
Yes, some motel rooms also have this, and I don't much care for them, either.
But for home or motel, it does have the advantage of allowing someone access to the sink while someone else uses the toilet or shower/tub.

Is this going to be for the primary bedroom, or is there already an ensuite primary?

RM
These are EXCELLENT points and thank you.
There is another ensuite primary, this will be an ensuite on the 2nd floor.
And I did not think of moisture, so will have a separate entrance for the closet (no door) not connected to bathroom.
For a previous poster, yes, we need functionality now with 3 people and only 2 full baths and likely lots of overnight guests visiting frequently with COVID less a concern we need the additional bath.
If you end up with that "closet without a door", would that be because there's no space for a door to open into? Or? If it's space, then perhaps a flexible (or more rigid) accordion type door, but with very narrow panels so it wouldn't jut out too much into the closet or into the exterior space?

I just remembered what may have been the smallest bathroom (3/4, shower, no tub) we ever saw.
It was in a "quaint" B&B, in what was probably previously an attic. Terrific place, great location, just... an odd room. This will sound ridiculous, but it "worked": when sitting on the toilet, one's knees sort of protruded into the space under the sink. Yes, really. It worked, and that was what mattered. We MUCH preferred that to what might otherwise have been necessary, which would have been a shared bathroom. We'll take the tiny, private one please. :wink:

Now, if there were any larger people staying there... I'm not so sure how much space there really was; it's been quite a while.

RM
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by rascott »

I think there is easily room for a 3/4 bath here with shower.

"Standard" size full baths are 5x9.... in many post- war homes. 4' will be tight, but still doable
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by WhyNotUs »

Yes to 3/4 bath. A pocket door could be a helpful idea. There are spacing requirements for toilet, sink, and shower that need to be accounted for in your layout. A round toilet will fit a little better than elongated but that is not a big deal, to me. There are lots of vanity and toilet choices as people remodel or design smaller baths.

You can look them up or hire a designer. The nice thing about small baths is that you can spend more on quality tile, shower pan, decor since you do not need as much of it.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by sureshoe »

I give up trying to share a picture... maybe I'm not as smart as I think. This is a link to a picture of one of my bathrooms.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/89pWVF5TEm7tjREH8

It is 4'10" wide and 9'6" long. This gives you an idea of the size. If your room is a full 4'x9', it's tight but doable depending on where the door is. My bathroom has a sliding door that goes into the wall.

Your width is a watchout, 4' is narrow, so I'd look at compact toilets, but I think you have room.

I will say that a 4 bedroom house with 3 full baths is more attractive than one with just 2. This was one of the main reasons we left our previous home. when you have multiple kids, it's hard to share. Particularly as they get older, you just don't want teenagers in the master bathroom.

Of course, this house has 5 full and 1 half bath, which is ridiculous overkill. I wish they had just left this one as a closet.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by golf101 »

We have a 4’x11’ bathroom and I feel like that is plenty of space for a 3/4 bath. Ours also includes 2 doors (it’s a jack and Jill bath) that both open outwards. The shower is at one end, the 36” vanity opposite the shower. And then toilet near the shower. We get so many compliments on that bathroom. We had the shower fully tiled with a clear shower door that make it feel bigger.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by p14175 »

We have a 4' x 8' master bath with a fiberglass shower unit. The bathroom door opens outward. To make more room, we mounted the towel rods on the door instead of the wall.

The area for the vanity is about 15 inches deep to the edge of the door jam. The previous owner found a vanity with a curved edge that is approximately 22" x 16.5" that fits well. It's kind of like this one, but a bit smaller.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Runfine-24- ... /206460829

It's a tight room, but what's nice about it is it heats up fast which is nice in the winter.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by ResearchMed »

p14175 wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:41 pm We have a 4' x 8' master bath with a fiberglass shower unit. The bathroom door opens outward. To make more room, we mounted the towel rods on the door instead of the wall.

The area for the vanity is about 15 inches deep to the edge of the door jam. The previous owner found a vanity with a curved edge that is approximately 22" x 16.5" that fits well. It's kind of like this one, but a bit smaller.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Runfine-24- ... /206460829

It's a tight room, but what's nice about it is it heats up fast which is nice in the winter.
This reminds me, further, of our second main full bathroom, one of the two we totally gutted and updated.
The smaller one (the "family bathroom") is siightly narrower that the primary ensuite bathroom. The door opens inward, but the opening is such that on the left side, full length, is the tub. On the right, the sink and then the toilet, next to a radiator and window.
[We removed the big steam radiator, and put in one of those little ones that goes into the wall and the outer face is flush (er, no pun intended!) with the wall. This helped avoid having the old big radiator get partly in the way of a knee...]

We didn't need to change the door, because we had the quite small marble countertop cut to fit the smallest size-but-still-nice sink, and have the faucet and handles come out from the wall above the sink. There would not have been space IN the counter top to make the holes for even a single piece fixture. (And IF we had changed the door to open out, and had a counter top that protruded into the door "width" space, that would be asking for frequent hip bruises, etc.)
It looks and works very well, and I now wish we had done that in the primary bathroom. It looks neater, and it is a lot easier to keep clean with almost no effort.

That can save perhaps 2 inches that would otherwise have been needed for sink/counter top.
We were able to get the same model/design sink as in the primiary, but just the smallest that they made, and it doesn't look like a "mini sink that was squeezed in", etc.

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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

I used to live in a small home, and we had a small bathroom that was probably around this size.

The key is to think about every single element and how you can be creative to save space.

For instance, with the toilet, something like this will save you about 6-8 inches. Doesn't sound like much but that is a huge space savings. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Swiss-Madison- ... 1001465408

(I would personally try to look for something similar but with a less modern aesthetic).

For the sink, I would probably get a pedestal sink with a small medicine cabinet above it.

For the shower, I would try to make the lip as narrow as possible.

For all of these elements, use your wall for shelves. Use hooks on the door.

It's certainly doable.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by Californiastate »

I would suggest the OP make life size templates for the fixtures they would want. You can put them on the floor and move them around to see what fits best. I would do this when I had to move an unseen piece of equipment around numerous obstacles. They make small wall hung lavatories. I would also suggest a round front right height water closet. It's shorter than the elongated version. The shower shouldn't be a problem unless you can't install the drain without structural relocations.

I've installed Geberit in wall tank flush water closets. They were for a high end doctors office. They were shorter from wall to front of bowl. You still are required to have the 30" stall. A Geberit WC, a nice wall hung lavatory and a tile shower would cost some money but would look sharp.

An AS cadet round front water closet, a Home Depot wall hung lavy and a fiberglass shower with walls would be a good budget system. There are your two extremes. Again all of this stuff drains down. Where is the future drain connection and do your floor joists jive with the layout?
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by 123 »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:25 pm ...Put in a pocket door...
+1 Pocket doors can solve a lot of space problems and conflicts with opening doors. The main issue with installing them is avoiding conflicts with pipes and wiring in the wall that holds the door when its open. They are great if they will work in your layout.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by LilyFleur »

123 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:09 pm I've had bathrooms in European hotel rooms where the sink and toilet were in the shower, just tile everything. You can make it work. They do it in RVs with far less space than 4'x9'.

Or you could adopt a "split bath" model where the sink and tub/shower are in room and the toilet is elsewhere. Not often seen in contemporary houses but a lot of houses built in the early 1900's in cities had them.
The split bath model is very common in Paris apartments, and it works just fine. I'm not sure how it would work for resale value in the U.S., though.

Ikea sells a very tiny bathroom sink which works well in very small bathrooms.
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Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

We have a pocket door in our downstairs bathroom and in the guest bathroom upstairs.

The one in the guest bathroom has been off the track for years, the rollers weren't even on the door anymore. My drywall and paint crew started our project today and fixed the door for us.

Awesome crew. Expensive, but quality work. Same crew worked on our kitchen remodel a couple of years ago. Meanwhile a DD is waiting for her paint crew to get started. It is nice to use trades people who you have history with.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
michaeljc70
Posts: 7837
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Small (4'X9') space for bathroom?

Post by michaeljc70 »

tenkuky wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:59 pm We are considering converting a walk in closet space in an upstairs bedroom into an in-suite bathroom.
It is 50" X 108" dimensions, let's call it 4'X9'.
Adding width to say 5 or more feet will mean demo of a couple of walls :oops:. Right now, the door opens inward, but changing that to open into the room (away from the bathroom) shouldn't be hard.
Advantage of the location is it abuts onto another bathroom 9'X10' (which is shared between 3 rooms currently) so plumbing will not be as challenging.
But the small space has me worried unless we can make it work.
Want to have rough idea of the layout before reaching out to plumbers/bathroom folks.
Part of the reason is functionality, part is improving value (goes from 4 bd 2.5 ba to 4 bd 3.5 ba or 3.25 ba if we can only fit a shower).

I looked at Houzz and other websites, but interested in this board's opinions and anyone who has made this work (appreciate pics too!) And skewer me if warranted, I can take it :wink:

Thanks in advance!
If it doesn't have a closet, it isn't a legal bedroom. A legal bedroom has a closet and a window. At least where I live. So, if you go from a 4 bd 2.5 ba to a 3bd 3.25 ba I don't think that necessarily helps the value. You'll have 3 bd plus a den/office. I wouldn't do this unless you can expand and keep/add a closet. Rather than change the swing of the door when remodeling my master bath, we did a barn door.
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