Sep 10, 2014

Blowing Toilets

Waiting for a gray rug to boat in from India, then Pigtails' room is a wrap.

Updated her walls from meconium orange to light lavender.
Removed poorly designed wooden closet compartments and replaced with movable wire racks.
Ripped the carpet and whitewashed the creaky oak floor, added a dresser, mirror and nightstand.
The dresser was Curls' idea, if up to me we'd shove all that crap in the closet.

Before shot, carpet and closet shelves removed...note the prior owner painted half the floor white to cover Cuddles the cat stain:

After, with 200% more pajamas and naked American Girl dolls:

Also been busy on the landscaping project.

Front stoop fix-up, before was crusty:

After, looks younger than 60 years old, cougar.  The hunk of metal hides bad brick, and will rust to match mailbox and landscaping edging:

 Wired in a pair of landscaping lights to shine the front:

Hammer drilled mortar and bolted up a rusty steel mailbox:

Spent 90 minutes on Great Gardens Online trying to figure out what plants won't croak in my yard.  Zone five -20F winter, drought summer 100 degree heat, mix of sun and shade and a lazy green thumb.  Settled on empress wu hostas, blue boulder festuca, silver ferns, dwarf pampas grass, blue star creeper, woolly thyme and weeds.  Will post some pics once I finish planting and watering.  Likely not much growth this fall, should take off in the spring.

I'll also replace the front door.  What do you think about yellow or blue?

My home has two tiny water closets.  The bathrooms are beside each other, one full with shower and bath, the other a sink and toilet and connected to master. They are not bad, I've updated them within the last five years.  But there's room for improvement.

I've got a crazy idea...what about nuking the wall between the bathrooms and redesigning into one mega poop box?  I would take cues from public bathrooms, European toilets, and creative reconfiguration to come up with a better use of space.

Here's the current full bathroom:

And the master:

Sketched out six ideas on paper, then settled on one that maximizes shower space and maintains privacy between shower and toilets.  

I could do without a tub, but Curls recommend including one for better resale and allows to easily bath possible future future mini-me.

The idea with the redesign is 3 or 4 people could be in the b-room simultaneously, while maintaining complete privacy.  One in the shower, another at the sink and two making toilet chili.  Total area is roughly 10 x 10, 100 sq ft.  Tiny, but would not feel that way.

I downloaded a free design app on the iPad, it handles the basics but doesn't allow me to build out exactly what I want.  Here's a bird view of my plan:

Starting from the top, you have a 10 foot long shower and changing area. 
Glass tiled walls, large shower head poking overhead from the ceiling.
Teak bench in shower area for changing, towel rack over the bench.  
Moving down is a privacy glass block wall separating shower and sink.
Five foot long x 12" deep sink with one large rectangular basin, duel facets.
Floating wall mount toilets to save space and allow for EZ clean floor.  
Tiny 44" claw foot tub.  
Sliding pocket doors to save space.
Floor will be clean monocoque and without grout, perhaps poured concrete or no-gap limestone.

Note:  Software doesn't allow me to add no-see glass wall separating shower and sink, so imagine that here:

Wall toilets would look similar to this, no tank saves 6" and easier to clean:

Contractor Dave that redid my kitchen is going to stop by later this week to talk about my bathroom idea.  He'll be able to bring clarity, check for load bearing walls and bring a dose of reality to my plan.

What do you think?  How can I make the b-room redesign better?  Is one large room with multiple toilets a disaster?



  1. Anonymous9/10/2014

    That is interesting. I would keep two things in mind:
    1. The summer camp feel. (Especially with an almost teenaged GIRL.)
    2. Resale. Even with the tub, you'd have to get potential future buyers to wrap their heads around something so unique.
    Also - the new girly room looks awesome!! Paint her bed white! You'll thank me later!
    P.S. I have to thank you, as well.. you gave me some weight loss tips a few months back and I'm happy to report I've lost 30 pounds since then! I followed what you said to the letter at first, and then modified a little bit after awhile. I'm so close to where I want to be, which is very exciting. So.. thank you!

    1. I've been here 15 years, so screw the next buyers/resale. ;-) When designing the kitchen, my mom said my cabinets are too high and hard to reach the top shelf. I said "well, it fits us perfectly." I've learned to make a home exactly the way you want it, rather putting in something you like less in order to entice potential future buyers. Me thinks the house will sell in a week or two if ever listed.

      The two into one bathroom is risky but has potential, allowing for privacy yet even more space than two separates. A front coat closet would be converted into bathroom space, so would two existing b-room closets, so it would add roughly a 25% size boost. I'll have to think on it some more and see what Dave says. Will require a bunch of plumbing rerouting and more, could be too much $$.

      Great on the 30 lbs, woot! Glad you got in the groove and determined modifiers to make it work for you. That's the best way to stick with it. Well done!

    2. Anonymous9/11/2014

      This is true. It is also important to live your life. Good luck on whatever you decide. If it's anything like your kitchen, I'm sure it'll be beautiful.

  2. As nice and well thought out as your design is, l don't see it as being very practical. If you intend to live in your home for many years, then by all means do what works for you and Pigtails. If your intention is to sell at some point l think losing the second bathroom will really hurt your resale value. I also think as Pigtails gets older you will be very happy you have a second bathroom. Anyway, just my opinion.
    Pigtails room looks great..I can't wait to see the pictures of your yard, after your plantings are in.

    1. If designed right, a single b-room will add 25% size boost, and allows more than two people in there at a time while still maintaining privacy. It's a radical design, not seen this before, so I think a lot of people go what the hades on first glance. Thinking through how the room is used, we really only need to partition off the shower and toilets for privacy. Tub won't be used, just there for possible future kid baths, so it can be in the open. Glass block instead of drywall for shower privacy, takes up less room and lets sunlight into shower. Doors on toilets, long trough sink with multiple faucets.

      Who knows, maybe I'll do nothing but slap on a new coat of paint, we shall see.

  3. if you do combine the bathrooms, go for a double sink and not the double toilet. double toilet is pointless, while a double sink would let you both have a permanent space for your bathroom stuff. points if the toilet is in it's own separate room with door, so the bathroom sink can be used at the same time. think about pigtails as a teen and wanting her own space to get ready..

    1. Correct, toilets in mini rooms with doors for privacy. We poop a lot (runner thing), so duel toilets a must-have. One sketch I drew up had a shower and toilet | partition| shower and toilet | partition | then duel sinks. Could nearly squeeze it in, but not quite enough room in there for all that. If I take out the tub, that opens up some space and options.

      T-minus 7 months until Pigtails is a teen. I'm scared.

  4. Shannon9/10/2014

    I would under no circumstances give up having a separate bathroom for Pigtails, this is key. Seriously, she will desperately want her own space and you will desire your own space away from her as well. The dueling toilets thing is not even close to the same as two separate bathrooms.

    I cannot get behind the tiny tub. If you are going to include a tub for resale purposes, include a tub that people would actually want. I am in general of the opinion you should design your home for your own purposes, and if you don't need or desire a tub, then forego one. Curls has a point about bathing a little bitty person though. A tub is close to a necessity for that. Don't know how much that is on your radar.

    Contractor may have some great ideas as well. Love seeing these ideas & hearing about your thought process, it makes for interesting reading. The other updates you've done are looking really sharp, nice work!

    1. Agree on no tub! I suggested to Curls instead of a tub, have a shower head on hose thingy and just hose the kids off like little pets. She didn't like that idea. A full size tub takes up so much room, we are looking at a total of 10 x 10' space, a tub takes up 6 ft, so I'd like to skip it.

      Will post some photos of the yard soon, the stump grinder hasn't been able to come with the rain, no planting until he's done, so hoping it dries soon.

  5. Anonymous9/11/2014

    Oh goodness no. My 2 cents as both a mom with little kids and a not so long ago teen.. You will need a tub if kids are in the future. Do a beautiful upgraded tub/shower combo. More than that though, two toilets separated by a partition does NOT in any way equal privacy. Pooping in a stall next to dad or step mom or younger sibling (but ESPECIALLY dad) = ew. Seriously, for a teen girl, that's just a nightmare. 1 full and 1 half bath, even if neither is particularly spacious or luxe, is a million times better than having a public bathroom in your house.

    1. Partition = drywall, fans to suck the fecal air, totally private dude/dudette.

  6. I'm going to vote for a jack and jill situation at the very least, out of respect for Pigtails.I'm not feeling the double toilet sitch and thing THAT could hurt re-sale more than no tub. Also, your pocket doors seem to have no where to slide. Ask the contractor what I'm talking about...they're also hella expensive.

  7. Pigtails should have a fully private bathroom. My vote is ixnay on the schoolhouse toilet stall idea, although it is kind of rockin' as an idea overall.

    If you aren't worried about resale, you can forego the tub, but just leave room for one to be installed later on since you won't live forever and even if it's a long way off, you don't want to saddle Pigtails with an estate that includes a house she can't sell. Or her kids can't sell. Etc.

    I love her room. The white floor is divine!

  8. Oh - my vote for a private Pigtails bathroom is because poop aside, there is a LOT more going on in the bathroom for women than for men. And we like more than a stall to manage all of it. Stalls are tolerated when we're out - no girl's going to want one at home.

  9. The only thing that I would recommend is sound proof walls. The last thing you want to be hearing is Curls or Pigtails do their business while you do your business. Or more accurately, they don't want to be hearing you do your business while they do their business. Ha!

  10. Anonymous9/11/2014

    Neat idea but it doesn't seem that long ago that I was a teenager (I'm 27) and remember the bathroom situations. I didn't like sharing a bathroom with my little brother never mind sharing with my Dad. No thanks!! Please give Pigtails her own bathroom. With a tub! Us girls like a good bubble bath once in a while as well as for resale value and for future babies. I would be traumatized to use that bathroom. Especially beside someone else. PLEASE reconsider :)


  11. Anonymous9/11/2014

    I love pigtails bedroom, but I'd go for nope on the bathroom. I can see the attraction of something different, but a teen girl will possibly need more privacy depending on how things… flow and I wouldn't want people wandering in while I was trying to get cleaned up.

    Also if I can smell somebody taking a dump while I'm in the shower, it's not private enough.

  12. Anonymous9/11/2014

    Blue. Door. Bright please!! And ... just go buy yourself a bigger house :-). But please get a fixer-upper so we can watch you make improvements!

  13. You may be getting more feedback than you want here, but I'll jump in, too. I'd say your bathroom design is great for you (but not even really for Pigtails) IF you plan on dying in that house. Otherwise, and I'm putting on my real estate hat here (I'm a licensed Realtor), you're decreasing the value of your home, not increasing it. The majority of buyers would prefer having two [smaller] [separate] bathrooms, not one larger/divided one. Also, I agree wholeheartedly with other readers that there's not enough privacy for Pigtails. Even assuming you all only pee, I'd say she won't want to go into the stall right next to you at the same time you're in there. Throw in consideration of other activities, I'd say no way. Let her have the privacy of a separate bathroom with sink & mirror. She'll thank you. (And privacy glass isn't enough, no matter what!!) Finally, on the bathtub issue: if you really don't want one, and will never use it, then don't put it in. You may lose some buyers when you sell down the road, but not everyone would rule you out. I think the bathroom set-up you have designed would be well-suited for male roommates, but not a family, and not YOUR family!

  14. I remember being a teenage girl and I would have HATED not having privacy (at the sink, etc). I would have been even more obnoxious than I was . :) Definitely would need to keep 2 separate bathrooms.
    I do like Pigtails bedroom a lot! Great job.

  15. I agree with everyone that the two spaces should be kept separate but I definitely think you should make it work for you! Is moving the vanity in the full bath closer to the toilet and removing the storage in the 1/2 bath to make way for a pocket door between the two spaces an option? Then you could have separate areas but still have access to the shower from the master? You could then have more $ to upgrade the floors and possibly remove the shower door and install a nice beveled subway tile and shower curtain to the tub? Another option, cant quite tell if there is enough room, in the 1/2 bath could you remove the storage and shift the sink and toilet toward where the storage currently is and install a small stand up shower in front of the window? I don't know how realistic either option is, but just wanted to throw them out there!

  16. Anonymous9/11/2014

    Is the double stall idea a joke? This has to be a joke. If not, I'm hoping that your daughter or girlfriend or mother or sister or some woman in your life can change your mind on this.

  17. Anonymous9/11/2014

    Awesome job on Pigtail's room - love it!

    First, I think you should do whatever would work best for your family w/ the bathroom. Part of the joy of owning a home is customizing it to whatever you want.

    BUT since you asked for opinions.... I wish I could get behind your idea because it's obviously a well thought out plan and although it sounds practical that "...3 or 4 people could be in the b-room simultaneously", who in the world wants to be in the bathroom with 3-4 other people ? My family is pretty close and we have lived in some tiny houses but this would even push our limits of personal space. Plus, throw in an out of town visitor or two that suddenly gets to do their personal business/hygiene with a few other people looking on and it really ups the weirdness factor. To me, this sounds like an idea that is great in theory but not so great in reality. I think you owe it to yourself to focus your creativity and design skills on reworking the space to keep two different bathrooms just to be sure you're making the best decision.

    With that said, the great thing is you can ignore this and every other opinion and do just want you want! I'll look forward to seeing the remodel whatever you decide :-)

  18. Anonymous9/11/2014

    Putting in my thoughts to see if they will help.

    People often get hung up on making changes to a house because of the whole “resale” thing. To me I want a house to suit our families personality and if that means painting a room 3 different colors or changing a bathroom configuration then so be it. I would rather have a house that I like rather than a house for potential future owners. We’re not planning on moving any time soon and if we do ever move I can always change things then.

    However the stall idea I think is a nice though but probably impractical. My suggestion is to take the 10 x 10 space and have a shower area on the left then a toilet in the back left corner fully enclosed. And then instead of the two stalls you could make this area into a powder room with a door into what I presume is the hall way ( just to the right of the current main bathroom door). This could then be as small as 4 feet 6” depending on how you design it. This leaves the space behind it for sink and a slider into what I am presuming is the master bedroom. Off course the limitation is going to be the plumbing etc. I love the “floating” toilets concept but remember you would need to widen the wall they are on to include the tank etc. which are basically hidden in the wall. With such a small space it’s going to be tight but this way at least you have 2 separate spaces.

    Good luck with the remodel, were planning a bathroom remodel in the next few years also and haven’t figured out how were going to manage it yet space wise.

    1. I will model out your idea in the design software and post up pics. Thx!

  19. Noooooooooo. That's my vote for the two toilets in one room. I don't care how high and thick the walls are. I cannot imagine anything more horrifying - as a female. ESPECIALLY a teenage one. I'm pushin' 40 and it still sounds horrifying.

  20. I realize that most folks are focusing on the two toilet aspect of this, but I'm put off by the lack of privacy in the bathroom as a whole. There is a perception issue here - "your Dad comes in the bathroom with you?" - is not what you want your daughter's friends saying after they come to visit.
    I really like the powder room / master layout that was suggested above. It seems to be a good alternative.


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!