Main Level Project – already a “change order” or two…

As promised, I started a little demo for our Main Level Project.  The demo was pretty easy and non messy.  Though, it was more of a dismantling than a demolition.


It was all done in under an hour.  My issue now is what to do with the parts of the old closet.


I initially thought I might Craigslist it, but I am not sure anyone would pay money for these parts – I am pretty sure I wouldn’t.  Tad suggested that it could be donated to Habitat for Humanity, but I honestly don’t think it is in good enough shape.  So, now I am debating between Freecycle or donating to some organization that does pick up.

Anyway, it’s good to have an open space – even though it is tiny.



Our initial bathroom layout was drawn up to meet our preferences/priorities (of course) while also overcoming some challenges we anticipated with the actual space:

  1. The space is pretty small.  Even though we are converting a closet into a bathroom, I don’t want it to feel like it used to be a closet.  I want to still be able to meet all the recommended/required dimensions and clearances for a comfortable/functional bathroom.  Interestingly, This Old House magazine just came out with recommended numbers for a comfortable and functional bathroom.  It’s like the universe is telling us to get this project moving :) Scan 22
  2. We would like to  include a normal sized tub.  We don’t have a tub in our master bath – we aren’t really tub people.   Our other bathroom (the one we are eliminating) does have a tub, but it is a Greek tub (or is it Roman?) – short and deep.  I like the short and deep tub for space saver purposes, but it is hard to get in and out.  It is awkward as a tub/shower combination.  DSCN4111We do feel like we want a tub somewhere in the house.  The guest bathroom seems like the obvious place.  So, here we are – wanting to fit in a tub.  It takes up a lot of space at 5′-6″ long X 34″ wide. Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 8.41.38 AM
  3. I was hoping to have a layout where the toilet was tucked behind a wall or in an open alcove – out of sight from adjacent spaces.  We don’t want to recreate what we already have – just in a different area of the house.DSCN3371
  4. We are wanting 2 access points for convenience – one from our public space (the entryway) and one from our guest room (a private space). We both agree that we don’t want to walk through the guest room to get to the guest bathroom.  Optimally, I would also like to utilize pocket doors if at all possible – for good flow and utility in this small space – similar to the Douglas Fir one we have between our sunroom and laundry room.   Douglas Fir is fast becoming one of my favorite natural woods – soft, pretty, a little bit of grain but not overwhelming.DSCN4112
  5. Finally, the plumbing locations do have to work out with our basement restrictions.  We don’t want plumbing hanging down in front of the basement window –  DSCN4095and there isn’t any room for plumbing in the boiler area.DSCN4097

Ok – so – I laid out our initial plan for the new bathroom with masking tape. This first piece of tape (at the bottom of the photo) is where the wall will be moved out to – and is the doorway into the new bathroom.  The second piece of masking tape – right inside the existing doorway – (try to ignore all the yellowed adhesive tape that kept the old carpet stuck down) is where the end of the tub (and proposed plumbing wall) would be.


I am not completely convinced that this layout works for me. This is why I like to see the actual space – get in the space – be in the space.  Things always look a lot better on paper than in person.  The issue I have with our proposed plan is that when you walk into the new bathroom from the guest room you are immediately met with a wall. There is only about 31-ish inches from doorway to wall.  Then, you have to make a sharp right turn to get into the rest of the room. I think that this might be a bit odd and likely not good design.

Scan 14

As any curious DIY-er would do, I moved my tape around to see if there were other/better options. There is really only one option when we have the guest room access/door in the corner.  However, if we move the door over 34 inches (same width as the tub – so you don’t stub your toe on the edge of the tub as you walk into the room), it opens up a few more layouts for us to think about.

I’ve narrowed it down to just the feasible options (considering the above mentioned preferences and restrictions). Here are our 3 feasible options based on the basics.

Option #1 – keep the original proposed layout.


  • The clearances and dimensions are comfortable.
  • We get a normal sized tub.
  • The toilet is out of site from both adjacent spaces.
  • 2 access points are viable and pocket doors are possible.
  • The plumbing works out just fine in the basement.


  • The entry from the guest room is a little like an obstacle course – you immediately walk into a wall and have to turn directly right to get into the rest of the space.

Scan 20

Tad still likes this plan the best – you can see his smiling face above.  I might be convinced to keep this plan if we can do a half wall or a glass wall instead of a solid ceiling to floor wall.

Option #2 – move the door, but keep our proposed basic layout.


  • No wall to walk directly into.
  • The clearances/dimensions are comfortable.
  • Still get a normal sized tub.
  •  2 access points are maintained – pocket doors are possible.
  • The plumbing works out just fine in the basement.


  • The view from the guest bedroom – is – of – the – toilet.
  • We’ve now got a 30-31 inch alcove at the end of the tub. We could use it as storage. That would be a lot of storage! This might be an advantage?

Scan 18Tad is still thinking about this as an option – as you can see by his thinking face above.  He suggested we possibly only move the door over 20-24 inches rather than 34 inches – so you don’t see the entire toilet.  I am thinking about this suggestion as this option is probably my first choice at this time.  Will everyone stub their toe or hit their shoulder on the tub wall when they enter from the guest room?  That’s my question about Tad’s suggestion.

Option #3 – move the door, move the tub, move the toilet.


  • No wall to walk directly into.
  • The clearances/dimensions are comfortable.
  • Still get a normal sized tub.
  • 2 access points are maintained.
  • The plumbing works out just fine in the basement.


  • The view from the entryway –  is – of  – the – toilet.
  • We’ve got a variable sized alcove next to the toilet that now could be utilized for storage.  Again, this might be an advantage?
  • The window ends up in the shower – I was hoping to avoid this.
  • A pocket door is possible on the guest room side, but not on the entryway side.

Scan 19

Tad has already crossed this option off the list – as you can see by his sad Tad face above.  This is my least favorite option as well.

Still to do:

We still have to think about stuff like TP holder and towel hook locations.

We also have to work out plumbing vent locations/exits – and the exhaust fan exit.  I won’t accept an exhaust fan and vent pipes exiting the roof on the front part of the roof (because the bathroom is at the front of the house now – see that small window next to the front door).  We’ve got a hip roof so it will take some thought to get the pipes and vents and such exiting somewhere other than the front part of that hip roof…