Friday, January 3, 2014

Some initial ideas

Over the years, I came up with and collected a number of ideas of how this bathroom should look and be laid out. I've never had a great deal of major renovation or construction experience, let alone building a whole room. Everything I'd done before was small DIY stuff, so I had no experience hiring other people to do work.

Evidently, the shape of the room is quite unique, so it requires a unique layout. How to take advantage of all the vertical space and not waste any space? I'm very much against dead space and like to find creative and smart ways to make use of it. That meant using the spaces that are currently accessible but would become blocked off by a traditional box room construction. Here are some ideas over time:

  • Ensuring that the storage spaces remain accessible somehow
  • Tucking the toilet tank into the wall -- this is an idea my uncle who is an architect gave to me
  • Creating an access door from another room to space that can only really be used for storage (you can't stand up in it)
  • Ensuring that the window is visible and the view can be enjoyed. I also wanted to grow the window because I love looking outside and having natural light. When I'm indoors, if I'm near a window, I feel much more energised.
  • I've always liked baths so a bath tub is a must, as opposed to a shower stall. But I usually take showers and have almost always had shower/tub combinations so that was not negotiable. I've seen setups where there is a tub separated from a shower, but I just can't understand how you get from the tub to the shower without dripping soapy or dirty water all over the floor. Recently, I saw a layout where the tub is "inside" the shower area so you can remain in the "wet" area when you move, but that requires a rather large space.
  • Using the diagonal interior roof in a good way. One side would likely have to be blocked with a vertical wall, but the other can be used potentially to build a "staircase" of shelves.
I decided to get rid of the loft to open up the ceiling and was left with two basic layouts:
1. Put the tub by the window so you can enjoy the view from the tub.
2. Put the sink(s) by the window so you can enjoy it while you wash your hands.

This brought up the question of a single or double sink. Honestly, I've never understood the purpose of a double sink. For me, the bathroom is a sanctuary. It is somewhere that you can be alone and shut the door if you want. Being on the toilet with someone else in the bathroom disgusts me. Fortunately, +Liana feels the same way so there was no discussion of a double sink. I thought briefly about resale value but then decided that our own pleasure trumped resale value as I'm not doing this construction to flip the house. If someone in the future wants a double sink then they can install the kind that they like and not the one we chose for them. Also, it's cheaper to buy one sink than two.

All of these come with their own challenges. How to maintain privacy if you have a window facing the street? I've never been one to feel too shy about being seen through windows. So I decided the view and the light is the most important. We might put some kind of blind on the window though, depending on how the window ends up looking.

What about the roof? It's tall and it looks cool, but it also means a great distance to get to whatever lighting fixture we hang there (will we need a ladder to change the light bulb?). But that means the weird loft has to go. The weird loft had to go anyway. It's barely tall enough to let a person underneath it. Also, the bathroom won't be a typical box room with a flat ceiling. We'll see how that works out.

More practically, the room has nothing but a number of electrical outlets and a floor and some patchy drywall. No sewage or plumbing. Over time, I found that either the sewer line (really the main difficulty since it has to flow with gravity as opposed to pressure, like a water line) can go next to the furnace chimney stack or out of the exterior wall and down the side of the house. The chimney stack is the way to go. It happens to run next to a wardrobe downstairs so we'll lose a little space in the wardrobe but that's a better solution than having something on the exterior of the house.

One final thing, how to get to that storage space to the right when you look at the door from inside the bathroom?

Once the wall is constructed, there's no access. One of the walls is adjacent to the wardrobe in the master bathroom. That's the wall where I decided to install a small door to be able to store rarely needed things, like moving boxes.
You can also see the chimney from the furnace next to which the sewer line can go.

Over the years, I had a decent high-level plan, but never gave myself the time to refine the plan or execute it. NB: there's no such thing as "I don't have time" -- it's all a matter of what you choose to spend your time on.
Also, for me, starting big things, like big projects or thick books is daunting, so this was always on the procrastination list.
Then, finally this summer, I made the time and got going...