You don’t need to move walls to cre­ate larger bath­room

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Western Palm Beach County - Chris­tine Brun

How can you cre­ate more space in your bath­room with­out mov­ing walls? It can be done — with care­ful plan­ning and re­search. And, yes, you will have to spend some real money in or­der to achieve sig­nif­i­cant change.

I love the idea that you can cul­ti­vate more space within your own “foot­print,” and this is a job where the as­sis­tance of an ar­chi­tect or trained in­te­rior de­signer can help im­mensely.

We walk into a space and see it dif­fer­ently than you do, with­out the hin­drance of what is there al­ready. A pro­fes­sional brings years of ex­pe­ri­ence to the task, both in terms of ideas and in terms of what they’ve done for other clients.

If you are com­mit­ted to stay­ing in the house you now own, this is a prac­ti­cal way to look at all of your space and to re­ex­am­ine how to make it work harder for your fam­ily.

Ac­cord­ing to ar­chi­tect Duo Dickinson, “Spend­ing more than $500 with­out a plan just guar­an­tees re­gret.” He’s the au­thor of my fa­vorite re­mod­el­ing guide, Stay­ing Put: Re­model Your House to Get the Home You Want.

If you “wing it” too much on home-im­prove­ment projects, you will find your­self wast­ing pre­cious re­sources and not lik­ing the way you spent the avail­able funds. Then you re­ally will be stuck for­ever with an un­suit­able mess that you can­not af­ford to change again. It is not worth it.

My res­i­dence is a 40- year- old tract house that fea­tured two bath­rooms with long van­i­ties of 6 feet each, hold­ing two sinks. This was typ­i­cal in the 1970s — to have a long coun­ter­top and a full mir­ror above it.

If you too have such a bath­room, con­sider short­en­ing the coun­ter­top to about 48 to 54 inches. Se­lect smaller basins or un­der-mount sinks. Then, with the re­main­ing 24 inches to 18 inches of space, you can cre­ate a linen closet or open shelv­ing (as you see here).

An­other visual trick is to lift the cab­i­net up off the floor and cre­ate a grander toe-kick of eight to nine inches (also as you see here), or to hang cab­i­nets off the wall in or­der to run the floor­ing in a fluid ac­tion un­der the cab­i­netry.

Other visual tricks in­clude the large, ex­pan­sive mir­ror that meets the back­splash and rises to the ceil­ing and ad­e­quate lighting.

In my own pow­der room, I de­cided to in­stall a much smaller van­ity in or­der to in­crease the il­lu­sion of more space in the room. Be­cause the room doesn’t of­ten have to func­tion as a full bath­room, the need for stor­age is min­i­mal.

I opted for an an­tique Ja­panese con­sole ta­ble with a 2 ½-inch-thick wood slab top and a ves­sel sink. An­other way to make more floor space could be to re­move a stan­dard 5-foot tub and cre­ate a smaller shower stall in­stead. Saved space might be used for linen stor­age or open shelves (again, like you see in the ex­am­ple).

The room could also be de­voted to nu­mer­ous robe hooks for pool tow­els, kids’ pa­ja­mas or robes. If you are re­ally space-starved in your home, a nar­row util­ity closet could be in­cor­po­rated to hold brooms, a dust pan, clean­ing prod­ucts and pa­per goods.

There are no “de­sign po­lice” who will come to your home and in­spect how you have cho­sen to use space. The end use should be the only thing that de­ter­mines how you de­sign your rooms. Ask your­self how you ac­tu­ally do live, and be at peace with that re­al­ity.

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