The Itsy-Bitsy Bathroom

March 13, 2014

As I mentioned before, the home I am living in now is small. Figuring out how to organize and decorate is a challenge, but I am determined to make it work and give it my personality.

First up…the bathroom.
Yep, there is only one in this house. Making that work with four people isn’t the challenge I am addressing today though.

The bathroom is the size of a closet. Yes, I am standing outside the door for this shot. The bathtub/shower takes up half of the room…,

…while the sink and the toilet take up a quarter of the room. I am standing in the bathtub.

That leaves a quarter of the room for standing. Uh huh. Count the tiles and do the math. There is no ventilation and no electrical outlets in the room.

The sink is a pedestal sink. If the bathroom was larger I would love that, but it eliminates needed storage space and prevents storage space from being added. The medicine cabinet is the only storage space available…unless you count the little shelf above the toilet.

Finding ways to add storage was a true test of my skills. I found lots of ideas on Pinterest, but several issues blocked the ones I liked from becoming reality.

The dream of a long, shallow cupboard on the wall next to the tub was my first disappointment. The (non-functional) wall heater protrudes from the wall…

…and the top edge of the tiles sticks out 3/4 inch from the wall.

I finally decided on over-the-toilet storage as my beginning for building the room. I had first envisioned an enclosed cupboard, but short of building one myself, the only reasonably priced ones I found were made with particle board. With no ventilation in the room I knew that kind of material wouldn’t last long. I settled on a metal one with open shelving.

I ordered it and some canvas bins from

They didn’t arrive at the same time, but this was my first delivery. I was kinda worried when I saw the size of the box. To put it in perspective, that is my foot on the edge of the box.

This was what was inside. A bath-in-a-box. Yep, assembly required.

The reviews online about ease of assembly were not encouraging, but I am a tutorial reader as well as a tutorial writer…so I put on my big girl panties and got busy.

There were only a few minor issues. Nothing I couldn’t handle. 🙂 The most difficult was the brace bar that connects the side legs together in the back. That bar has to be attached once the rack is in place because it goes under the tank. The problem with our toilet was the pipe for the water supply that comes out of the wall. It just so happened to be lined up exactly where the brace bar was to go. Hubby to the rescue. He drilled two new holes for the brace bar a few inches above the original ones. Easy peasy!

The bath-in-a-box that I ordered also came with a tp holder that stands on the floor and a rack that hangs over the back of the door. The hook that hung over the door was too wide and caused loud clanging whenever the door was opened or closed. Hubby to the rescue again. He cut off the hooks and drilled small holes into the top of the arms. We attached the rack with small screws through the holes.

When all these pieces were in place, it was time for the personality.

I had used this ladder in the living room of our old house for hanging quilts. It doesn’t work in our new living room, so I repurposed it into a towel rack. Funny how things around me just continue to get repurposed. I think it started out life as a backyard playground ladder.

I love, love, love the curtains…but as the only female in the household I had to insist on them. 😉 I already had a white liner, so technically the curtains didn’t need to be waterproof. The curtains I found are basic lace panels with an attached valance.

A little art work, the added canvas bins and a matching rug have finished it off so far. I still want to add a little more decor, but I feel better about where it’s going now.


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  1. It’s amazing what one can do with a little imagination. Looks great! But if you would still like more shelf space for bottles, jars, toilet paper, etc., look inside the wall. I think you said in a previous post that you are renting but landlords are often receptive to structural alterations if you show where they will be done properly and enhance a home’s value. The “inside the wall” I’m talking about could be done inexpensively and without much difficulty if someone has basic carpentry skills such as your husband seems to have. Locate a couple of upright studs in a suitable location above the tile with the help of a cheap studfinder. and remove the wallboard or plaster (and insulation) between them, up to the height you prefer, with an appropriate utility knife. You’ll find there is a depth of around 4 inches to the wall of the adjoining room (probably 3 and 1/2 inches in width of the stud and 1/2 inch of wallboard removed). Since vertical studs are normally set every 16 inches (center to center) this should give you about 14 and 1/2 inches of space between studs. Then simply install 1×4 crosspieces at the top and bottom of the opening and additional 1×4 shelves at random distances from top to bottom. Install mitered door/window mould on the outside of your opening. If a wider opening is desired, locate 3 studs and remove the portion of the middle stud where you want your opening. This won’t compromise the structure of the wall, especially if you use the removed piece as crosspieces at the top and bottom of the opening. In using the wider opening you would have room to spare, allowing you to box in (preferably with screws) all the way around the inside of your opening with a 1×4 framework. This eliminates the cut edge of the wallboard from showing. To allow for maximum depth, use a one-eighth inch Masonite (maybe white) wallboard on the back of your 1×4 framework prior to installing it. The wall covering in the adjoining room would have to serve as your backboard if you choose to limit yourself to the 14 and 1/2 inch opening. Also, the neatest way to install your shelves would be to use the type shelf brackets you might see under the shelves in an entertainment center cabinet. Drill the appropriate-size holes in your 1×4 framework and push the brackets in them. Paint or paper the inside of your new cabinet as you see fit.

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