Forstberg Ling - House for mother

How to remodel a bathroom

We feel like everybody wants to remodel their bathroom. There are few most common reasons:

  1. Plumbing system is old and needs to be replaced
  2. It’s cluttered and the layout is not really functional
  3. It’s ugly

Whatever the reason, we get it. Bathrooms used to be treated (and sometimes still are, even in new buildings) as utility rooms, there wasn’t really any difference between toilet and bathroom, except in size. It is not unusual to have a basket of dirty laundry, washing machine and dryer as well as all detergent bottles, in the bathroom – the same space where you should be able to take a long relaxing bubble bath while drinking champagne.

Of course, it would be awesome to  keep everything out of the bathroom and place it in a perfectly designed storage space, but that is rarely an option. If there is one thing we learned, is that every apartment seems to be just a bit too small. We are not saying that every problem has a solution, but every interior problem does have its designed solution.

To start planning a bathroom remodel you have to:

  1. Figure out what you need and want in this space
  2. Decide what is a must have and what is optional (something you want can and should be as much ‘a must have’ as something you need)
  3. Try to place something that you usually keep in the bathroom somewhere else and try to imagine if it would work for you (maybe doing your makeup would be more enjoyable in your bedroom, housekeeping supplies could be placed in a hallway and clean towels could be in that empty part of your closet), goal here is to declutter, but don’t push it – you will not change your habits just because your bathroom looks differently.

Planning a plumbing system is starting point of a bathroom remodel and it comes down to two basic facts: you can move bathtub, shower, washing machine and basin wherever you want because those are fixtures that require thin pipes (budget will increase due to displacement of fixtures, and variation in cost can be big), but displacing toilet comes with bigger consequences.

The toilet requires an 11 cm wide pipe with 1% slope. This means that, unlike thinner pipes, it cannot be built in a bathroom wall nor led through the floor. Instead, you’ll have to build a plasterboard mask in front of the wall to cover the pipe. That includes at least 13 cm wide space for the pipe, 5 cm is a thickness of plasterboard substructure, plus 1,25 cm of plasterboard, and probably wall tiles. Approximately 20 cm thick mask, depending on its width, can take up almost 0.5 square meters of your bathroom – something to think about if your bathroom is small as is.

Similar mask, around 80 cm wide and 20 cm deep, is used when you want to have a built-in flusher.

How to remodel a bathroom: PYO arquitectos - Casa MA
PYO arquitectosCasa MA // photo: © Miguel de Guzmán, Imagen Subliminal

Take a look at this gorgeous bathroom and pay attention to two details. Apparently, there is a built-in flusher but we can’t see the unfortunate box, in which the flusher is built-in, sticking out of the wall.

To elaborate why that visible ”box” is unfortunate: the basic idea behind the interior design is the control over the space and over all the details. Anything ‘sticking out’ of the main plains of the space, walls, floor, and ceiling, seems out of control. But remember, everything can be designed and if you look through our Pinterest board, you’ll see that even with those necessary elements visible, bathrooms can be amazing.

Also, there is a niche in the shower area (perfectly dimensioned to match the size of the tiles). Obviously, the architects designed a mask in front of that wall to cover up plumbing fixtures and to get this clean, simple space. They also used it to create a practical storage solution for the shower – it is no secret that we love niches. Two problems solved with one action? That’s always a way to go!

This solution is especially welcomed when fixtures have to be on the load- bearing wall. It is difficult to carve the tracks for pipes in load-bearing walls because they could be made of reinforced concrete, and even if you’re willing to do it, you probably shouldn’t since it could affect the solidity of the walls. Again, it is not a big problem when dealing with thin pipes.

There is so much more to learn from this bathroom. Let’s put aside how great it is to put tiles only high as the upper line of the window, and concentrate on the layout. In a square-like layout, this is exactly what you should do – place the basin next to the entrance and free up space that continues from the door. If the bathroom was more elongated, toilet would probably be between the basin and the shower or a bathtub.

How to remodel a bathroom: Pedro Segurado Quintino Rogado + Sofia Saraiva - Apartment in Bairro das Colónias
Pedro Segurado Quintino Rogado + Sofia Saraiva – Apartment in Bairro das Colónias // photo: © Fernando Guerra / FG+SG

These two bathrooms have one thing in common – the door is in the corner of the room. In this example, that’s really for the best, but in the most cases, it would be great to have door moved away from the side wall, for approximately 60 cm.

How to remodel a bathroom: Forstberg Ling - House for mother
Forstberg LingHouse for mother // photo: © Markus Linderoth *featured photo

Do you see what we mean? It is a great  solution to use the space behind the door to place the basin. Also, can you believe that there is someone out there who gets to use this bathroom every day? Every single thing is done advisedly. Hooks are exactly in the center of the tiles. Door casing is in the line with the tiles as well as the storage element above the basin. And that window! It might surprise you, but there is so much hard work behind this simple bathroom.

That brings us to a project from EO arquitectura. We already wrote about Alan’s apartment renovation, but would like to remind you of some other beautiful bathroom details.How to remodel a bathroom: EO arquitectura - Alan's apartment renovation

How to remodel a bathroom: EO arquitectura - Alan's apartment renovation: bathroom door detail
EO arquitecturaAlan’s Apartment Renovation // photo: © Adrià Goula

Feel free to follow the links from our posts to websites of studios we admire to see other inspiring projects.

And if you want to design every detail of your bathroom properly, don’t forget to choose the tiles on time!

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