Closet vs bathroom

Planning for the bathroom remodel is giving me fits. I'm almost seriously considering taking over the hall closet just to be able to make the bathroom bigger. And then I think about the lost storage, and resale value of a home with only small-ish closets in the bedrooms, and how much I hate the PPOs for screwing up the house to begin with. And then there's the fact that someday (soon, hopefully!), we're going to have a baby. I know that closet space will come in handy So I go back to my home design software and try yet again to find a way to make the bathroom work.

The least expensive way would be to leave the fixtures pretty much where they are. Since the bathroom is so awkward as-is, I could borrow a little space from the closet to make an alcove for the sink. It would open up the floor plan quite a bit, but then the closet would be slightly awkward instead of the bathroom. Would it really matter if we had a weird closet? Would future owners hate me?

We could always make a deep toilet alcove, instead. That saves the closet from awkwardness, but involves moving more plumbing...

The original plan called for moving all the fixtures, which our plumber said he could do for less than $800. But then there's the issue of waterproofing the window. And finding a 5.5' tub that doesn't cost $1500.
Or, I could just leave well-enough alone. We're pretty used to the layout now, and it's probably how it was originally. It's only awkward when one of us wants to get past the other person in front of the sink, and that doen't happen too often. It would leave the hall closet intact, plus we'd still have room in the bathroom for storage.

Another option is to lay it out like SactoDiane over at the OldHouseWeb forums: we could just cram it all in there. Somehow it looks nice in her bathroom, but I worry that mine would be cramped.

And then I think again about taking over the closet. It would add 24 square feet to the 60 square foot bathroom. Since the PPO's messed up the closets, we're getting by without the extracloset space now. We could have a separate shower and bath. And, I could have a clawfoot tub, as long as it's a 6' model (did I mention there's one on craigslist for sale nearby??). Hubby refuses to take a shower in one, since he says the curtain gets sucked in and sticks to you, but he doesn't mind them for soaking. Homes with larger bathrooms (74 square feet is hardly large by modern standards, but still!) have higher resale values, too. We'll have more storage anyways when we expand the back "porch" across the entire length of the house. And there's always the basement. And what really needs to be stored up here besides the linens and our clothes? Maybe most importantly, to us, the bathroom would be our little oasis from the chaos of remodeling; the one luxurious space in our utilitarian, efficient little house.

Or perhaps like this one...

Am I nuts for considering this? Help!


Design Diva of Closets Extraordinaire said...

I design custom storage for a living. I was born and raised in South Bend (but now call Chicago home).
What you lose if you do the first option where you made an alcove for the sink is that you won't be able to put hanging on both walls in the back part (you need 6 feet of width do hang clothing on both sides of a closet). Since it sounds like you're using it for mostly shelving - that shouldn't be a problem. If you want it for your oasis, then that's important and should drive your decision. But storage is a huge factor for people in their homes because we all have sooooo much "stuff" - so I wouldn't cut the size in half to allow for a toilet alcove - but I might funk up the straight walls for a sink alcove. I, of course, have a bias for as much storage as possible!!!!
Denise Butchko
closet guru

Ben Biddle said...

I assume the yellow square in the lower right is a chimney or some other immovable structure. How about moving the door to a 45 degree angle from the chimney to the lower wall? It would make the hall angles less awkward. And if you included the storage space IN the bathroom (think cabinets) you really might not lose too much storage, just re-purpose it.

Loves Jesus said...

You've been very thorough in your planning. We're currently doing a very similar thing, utilizing closet space for the bathroom. We're then having a new closet built in a new location on another wall altogether. That way the bathroom has plenty of room for whatever. You can currently find a great clawfoot tub at Vintage Bath on the manager's special. If you need a shower, you can add on those fixtures. (www.vintagetub.com.) As for the closet, we're also considering Ikea PAX or HOPEN wardrobes. Also, what home design software are you using. The one I have you practically need to be an engineer to use it. Please let me know if possible.

Anonymous said...

I would take a little space from the back of the closet and move the sink there. Then you still retain the closet space, gain some space in the bathroom and don't have to spend $$$ to fix it up. I agree with closet guro. Your favorite fan!

Anonymous said...

Or you could shift your closet completely to the left. Making it parellel to the stairwell. So the new opening to the bathroom would be the old closet door.

Then you could place the toilet under the window and the sink to the left of it (left if facing the toilet right if sitting on it).

Place the tub in front of the toilet.

Install the shower to the right of the door.

Create a pocket door for the opening so that you don't have to worry about it swinging in and hitting something.

Di said...

re: shifting the closet to be parallel to the stairs... We considered that, but the chimney will only allow for the doorway to be 2' wide. If we did much more shifting around, the upstairs hall would be awkwardly shaped. I'm still waiting for the ideal solution to manifest itself...!

The design software is Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer 6.0. I'm sure there are more versatile programs out there, but you can't beat $20 on ebay!