Small Bathrooms, Big Ideas

By Dan Gregory

One end of this long narrow bathroom becomes the shower.

Architect Jonathan Feldman is particularly adept at coaxing an airy functional elegance out of small bathing spaces. This shower occupies one end of the long narrow room. The idea of using the width of the space as a “shower room” is compelling. Another even more compact ensemble also appeals to me. The deep window shelf, minimalist materials and fixtures, and natural light coming from two directions give this tiny bathroom a measure of serenity. On the other hand if one must have a bathtub then the Feldman approach seems right.

Again, he cleverly uses the width of the space; this time turning a tub into a liquid bay window (photos by Paul Dyer, courtesy Feldman Architects). Architect Sarah Susanka used a novel window/mirror combination to make her narrow bathroom seem larger in her Not So Big Prototype 454-3 Plan. The mirror and the window draw the eye to the end of the bathroom, blurring the edges of the space beside the steps up to the tub. Where there’s a little more space take a look at this example, with a platform tub and  shower, that’s in our Flexahouse Plan 445-3 by architect Nick Noyes.
Though the drawing is schematic you can see the orderly simplicity of the arrangement — there is no wasted space. Or look at a platform tub and shower design by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects.The skillful use of small mosaic tile to delineate the room-within-the-room makes a fairly generous space feel even more open and bright and the skylight above the shower floods both the shower and the tub with light. This idea — of a wet corner — could easily be applied to smaller spaces.

Originally Published in Eye On Design