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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Help! I hate my bathroom!

ginaballerinaFebruary 4, 2013
I want to re-do my little bathroom (5ft wide x 7ft deep with 83inch ceiling height) My house is a dutch colonial with a cottage feel so those big grand bathrooms with 12x12 tiles would look out of place. I also am wondering about the tub. I currently have a tub enclosure (30"x60") in blue (blech!). My issues are many: the doorway opening into this bathroom is only 24" wide, the medicine cabinet is recessed into the wall and it's a tiny room! Can I get a regular tub? I have no talent for design style at all. I do love vessel sinks and was also thinking of a clawfoot tub that is deep enough so I can take a bath and not have my knees bent! Is it possible?? Also please note that little octagonal window (the glass is cracked and will be replaced!)
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Judy M
For a combo tub/shower you'll have to consider the height of the tub not only relating to taking a bath but also the ease of swinging legs in to take a shower. (not a problem if you're tall).

Most new tubs are deeper these days. I had to search hard to find one that wasn't too deep ( as I am short and it was tough to get into them)

We bought a cast iron tub ( and will tile above it) but be forwarned, if your bath is on second floor, we are incurring a large fee to get the heavy tub up to the second floor.

If you plan on going with a tub surround type like you have now, I suggest you check out the Accord model by Sterling. The accord comes in four pieces. The tub and then three interlocking walls for the surround. It offers a lot of great storage. I would aslo suggest you add a ceiling light i the shower.

We have beach rental homes that we have remodel the bathrooms and used the Accord in all three.

I don;t think of a vessel sink as the right choice with a claw foot tub.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:15PM
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Is your tub cast iron and the surround a matching formed plastique? or all a "formed" material? The sink and toilet would be "priced" possessions for someone ...http://retrorenovation.com/2009/06/25/scenes-from-22-blue-midcentury-bathrooms/
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:21PM
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Judy M
The remodel we are doing now in our home will have a Kohler cast iron tub (Memoirs style) with white subway tile above the tub on walls and ceiling.

The Sterling Accord is made with a material called Vikrell. That is the one we put in the beach houses.
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:25PM
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I think the tub surround is fiberglass? It's all one piece. Bathroom is on the first floor. (I have the same enclosure in beige in a full bath on the second floor which I also hate but I hate it less than this room!)
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:28PM
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Judy M
One piece is put in during construction, as they place them before doors etc are installed. If you replace one of those they saw it in pieces to remove. If you want to replace with similiar unit, they would use something similiar to the Accord I mentioned. Or you can just install a tub and tile above it, as we are doing. A large one piece like you have now will not fit.

Your blue one I am guessing is either fiberglass or acrylic.

Your budget for the remodel will determine which you end up with.
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Wow thanks for the link lessismoore! Now I'm thinking about keeping the sink and toilet and replacing the tub with a blue one and tiling up the walls! That would save money for sure and look more in keeping with my house which is from the 1950's. You can see I have tile on the floor that I picked out and had my artist sister paint sea creatures on and fire in her kiln. But the tiles were wall tiles and not thick enough for a floor and a few of them cracked so the floor needs to be replaced.
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:38PM
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Judy M
Here's a bathroom that appears to be similiar in size to yours. Type "small bathroom" in the search under bath photos and you'll get lots of ideas.

Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:43PM
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small bathroom
1 Like    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:47PM
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Another thing to consider with a clawfoot tub if you ever plan to take a shower, those risers and circular shower rings are expensive.
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:59PM
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So if I entertain keeping all the fixtures as retro....what do you recommend I do to the walls and floor? Should I keep the tub enclosure? If I keep it can I tile the walls? Is there a store where I can get a replacement tub in that retro blue? Should I keep everything, change the shower curtain and just paint??
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:19PM
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Judy M
You can tile the walls above the tub surround ( and include the ceiling if you like). You could also tile the remaining walls half way up. I would then look for a retro tile for the floor, like hex shape tiles.
Use the search option to look up hex tile ideas
1 Like    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:31PM
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azadeh d
some idea for u
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:56AM
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arlys baker
Get a cupboard built around the sink. If you hate the blue, get your bathroom sprayed either white or gray with white toilet and bath etc.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:08AM
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arlys baker
PS. Love your window!
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:10AM
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    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:17AM
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Some ideas I made for your bathroom. I'm not a design champion, but you might get ideas from it. I could only attach 4 images here. Uploaded the rest on imgur. Did my best... http://imgur.com/N0C8W7n
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:58AM
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Beneke Interiors
have you considered a pocket door into the bathroom. I have a very small house and I changed almost all my doors to sliding pocket doors. What a space saver. Just a thought, good luck :)
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:06AM
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Is a tub required in that bathroom? Or can the room be used as more of a powder room with sink and toilet only? If so, that whole bathtub are can be rebuilt as a giant storage closet.

Also, since you are replacing the octagonal window anyway, if budget allows stained glass would look really great there.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:33AM
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Drop insert type, bathtubs are available at different price points. You could not hassle trying to match the color of your sink, toilet, by getting a white tub, and inserting it into a surround covered with tile that matches. Tiling the ceiling would be hard, perhaps skylight of sorts to bring more light into the room, and a vent or upgrading the electricity since it is an older home, maybe what you may also want to consider. I love your window, and would consider what it may take to change it, budget wise on the outside of the house.
Drop in tubs are simple to do, by making a wood frame, appropriately tiling it, and simply dropping it in. Well, at little more to it, but lets say, easy enough for me, a novice, to understand. Then tile either to above the shower fixture, or to the ceiling.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:11AM
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Judy M
Be careful about the value of your home, if you change that bath to a half bath instead of a full bath.
Also, at some point if you want to remodel your second full bath, you won't have a bathtub or shower during the remodel.
If you have the $$$, I would change the tub to a large shower or a smaller shower with the remaining portion of that wall into a small linen closet.

If you use that bathroom for bathing children, then you would want to keep a tub there.
11 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:11AM
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Good points by Judy M!
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:35AM
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Nancy Hehmann
In such a small BR, I would not do a claw footy because it does not give great shower options so you would be downgrading the BR. It actually not recommended that women take tub baths medically speaking.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:43AM
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Carolina, claw footy? Cute!! Actually I think taking a bath is like soaking in your own dirt, sorry if that's gross but It's just how I feel.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:57AM
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Olldbobbi - but when I add epsom salts and bubbles to my shower ... they go right down the drain!
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:49AM
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Coming in with a cheaper suggestion…have you considered keeping the blue and doing wallpaper? There are spectacular papers with matching fabric. You could have a shower curtain made to match the paper. Hang a yummy ceiling fixture, etc…

This paper is a Thibaut.
Eclectic Wallpaper · More Info
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:09AM
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I too am remodeling a small downstairs bathroom. I really wanted a soaking tub but finally realized it just took up too much precious space. I went with a 45" Sterling step in shower made of Vikrell. Sterling is made by Kohler and is much sturdier than most acrylic showers. You can also get frame less glass doors that make the room seem bigger than using a curtain. I found a small vessel sink cabinet {19 inches) and put a 14" glass vessel sink and chrome fixtures on it. Over the sink I hung a mirror the same width as the cabinet and almost to the ceiling. The light is mounted on the mirror. The mirror draws your eye up and seems to make the ceiling look higher than it is and the light reflects off the mirror increasing the brightness. The wall that my shower is on is 60 inches so I had a 15" cabinet built in and mounted a mirror on the door. I am thinking of mounting a mirror on the upper half of the blank wall across from the shower to make the room look bigger but don't know if I want to see that much of myself every time I shower. Anyway, I am pleased with the results.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Judy M
That's 2 votes for Sterling!
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:04AM
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I almost feel this is not on topic anymore, but have you thought of saving the top part of the sink and doing the "vintage" dresser into a vanity vessel sink thing?
7 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:26AM
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I love your blue vintage fixtures! I would look at tile and paint to make the space more inviting. The one piece tub surround is not fantastic, but some bright modern tile on a single wall behind the sink like this: http://www.kitchenremodeling-bayarea.com/bath-remodeling/img-bath/alameda-4.jpg
or this: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3601/3290470973_1dac19214b.jpg
would go a long way to bringing in some stylish light, color, and texture.
I would probably stick with analagous colors on the color wheel (so things in the blue family), but I would move in the direction of green (turquoise, teal, chartreuse) to brighten it up, and use some glossy finishes. An example would be like the mosaics on this mirror (come to think of it, instead of tiling and entire wall something like this mirror on a soft white or pale teal wall might be a way to try things out and save some cash): http://www.etsy.com/listing/98100015/mosaic-wall-mirror-teal-aqua-blue-pale
I think I would choose a light colored floor, and a shower curtain and rug that reads as bold, even if it's not a solid color: http://cdn.decoist.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Green-Blue-Bathroom1.jpg

Anyway, I think getting clever with the existing unique fixtures that no one else has can make your bathroom lovely, while keeping in style with your home. Pick up some tile samples and paint chips and play around a bit!
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Lessismore, that is a fabulous idea! I can picture it in a boys bathroom with wallpaper cars all around it and rear view mirrors mounted on the wall! I can go on for hours someone stop me. Anyway, what a great idea!
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:46PM
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Thx Bobbi - The black and white, with rear views mirrors is a GREAT idea. I've seen a couple of these around, all using "antique" sink basins on various cabinet bases. Makes me sad I tossed out our "original" gas station styled wall sink,. Ginaballerina said she liked vessel sinks so ... I thought her blue top would look stunning in a white or whatever dresser, whatever else she decides on.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Based on the "porthole" window, and your description of the house as having a cottage feel, I think that bathroom is screaming for some subtle nautical touches!

Depending on your budget, you could leave the tub and surround. If you hang a great shower curtain and keep it closed, you can't see the tub anyway! I'd add white beadboard 3/4 high around the whole room, replace the sink and toilet with crisp white fixtures, and paint the walls navy. You could even do a teak floor if you were really into it.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Thanks everyone!! Some really great ideas here! I like the idea of the beadboard 3/4 up and maybe with new tile on the floor and fresh paint I can make it a nice room on a budget. I have to investigate replacing the tub, sink and toilet with all new white vs keeping the blue or spraying them all white (I think they can do that right?)
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:33PM
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I had almost the exact bathroom with the blue sink and toilet this is an actual pic of my bathroom and what I did: Small master bath remodel
Small master bath remodel · More Info
6 Likes    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:52PM
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The pocket door was my first thought too. We just renovated the same-sized bathroom. We went with 6X6 marble tile on the floor, white wainscoting & vinyl-covered fabric wallpaper that looks like grasscloth. The color scheme is gray, white & beige...very bright and crisp. We bought a sink & vanity from Ikea. It's attached to the wall and is raised almost a foot off the floor, which makes it feel more spacious. The vanity has two generous drawers for storage. We also added a cubby to one of the walls, which allowed us to remove medicine cabinet and do a mirror that is almost as big as the wall above the toilet and sink. It really helps to open up the room. Futhermore, we included a marble shelf (same length as mirror) just below the mirror for more surface area. Hope that helps!
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:51AM
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We reversed the door, it now opens out , freeing up some space in our tiny bath. A pedestal sink looks more spacious, I think your room could look too crowded with most vanities, although sfarinas's tiny one looks cute. Also think about making the tub surround the same color as the walls for the sense of more space and leaving the shower curtain open.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:01AM
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For a small room paint colors can make a big impact on how big the room looks and feels. You for sure want to paint the ceiling white to visually lift it since it has a low ceiling. Also on the tub....a shower with a bench seat can be more piratical verses a claw tub. Although a shower can get expensive depending on how you finish it out. On the sink....for a small bathroom I recommend if you want a vanity with a vessel sink buy on or have one custom made that is not an enclosed cabinet. Any item in the bathroom that you can have open will make the room feel larger than it is. ....the shower have a glass front....vanity with open front.....linen shelves instead of a cabinet. These are just some piratical ways to think about....hope that helps. Wish you the best....most of all have fun and don't let it stress you out. God bless!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 5:46AM
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I like the decorator idea that small bathrooms can be treated like jewel boxes. You can go all out on luxe treatments because the amounts to purchase are smaller. Maybe a venetian plaster or gilded metallic paint finish in ivory, gold or silver and keep the blue fixtures.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:51AM
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I keep seeing a pattern here. Why would you not work with what you have? Replace a tub, have you ever done that- It is a MESS old one going out and new one coming in. I do not see any mention of a damaged tub? Have it resurfaced (in the color of your choice) for a fraction of the cost. I have also had this done. Only draw back to this is- can not use for 48 hours and must wipe out after bath/shower for 30 days. (less time than total redo unless paying for help)-You will also have wall and floor issues to patch and match, before paint and tile in replacing- Storage problem, have you been to any store or looked on line? Awesome cabnets and shelves out there to be had for a song. Don't forget you can add to medicine cabnet with a cabnet over the stool or shelves over the door. Another good storage tip is a ledge at the top of tile around the tub, for all those shampoo, lotions, soaps, salts, etc. Yep little bathrooms are looked down upon, but in all honesty they have the best character and possiblilites.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:46AM
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I haven't read all the comments, sorry. Can you take space from an adjoining area? For example if this bath is at the end of a hallway, can you incorporate that space?
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:04AM
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Julia Chase
I will be remodeling my tiny bath this fall. I am removing the tub and replacing it with a tiled shower with seamless glass doors. I am also going with a wall hung toilet and probably a wall hung sink with a towel rack. Keeping these two pieces off of the floor makes it easier to clean and gives the illusion of space, as does the shower, rather than tub, which breaks up the flow of the room. I will also have a recessed medicine cabinet, but oval, rather than rectangular, as this will soften the look. I think that those choices, along with light colors will make for a brighter, more spacious bathroom.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:01AM
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If you are on a limited and small budget and nothing is broken, don't "fix" it. Leave the sink, tub and toilet as they are and use your budget to "pretty" the room - shower curtain, towels and rods or hooks, paint, shelving, mirror.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:09AM
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What I do hear you saying is that you want to keep the cost down. Here’s my suggestion, replace the pedestal sink with a vanity for storage, this allows you to remove the shelf which seems necessary for storage but is also visual clutter. Some of the big box hardware stores have vanities (and other bathroom fixtures) on sale right now. For a couple of hundred dollars you could replace the sink with a white vanity with marble top. This provides you with storage and gives the opportunity to stay with blue or swap out the toilet for white (also on sale). I agree the tub should/could be resurfaced and the surround replaced with tile. Getting the dark wall out will brighten and open up the space. Finally, in terms of “jewel boxing” it, I would suggest your decorative element is made up of greater use of trim. With a 25 dollar miter box and some trim you can do a lot to give appealing detail to the room. I would definitely take the idea of wainscoting; you could simply paint out below in a different colour, use paintable wallpaper to fake bead board (also at the big box store) or go with real wood bead board. (I just did wainscoting in our tiny, boring bathroom and it is an amazing transformation)Finally chose a light shade and wrap the room in that colour. Paint the trim, including mirror trim a coordinating white or tinted white shade. Keep it as light and simple as possible.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:11AM
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Once you change out one blue thing you have to do them all, so keep them and make deliberate choices that make them look good and appropriately in their period. I've inherited an epoxy painted sink before and I don't recommend this fix - it won't last and becomes impossible to keep sanitary. Here's my prescription for a cottage feel that will make the blue seem deliberate and classic / expensive but without spending too much.

I echo the beadboard to 6' comment, painted glossy white. Trim it at the top with a flat chamfered 2 x 6 across the top and install brushed nickel hooks in a horizontal row. Above that, find a pale sky blue tone that works with your fixtures that is so soft and pretty that you take it up up over the ceiling too. Splurge on carrera marble mosaic flooring in a hexagonal style to match the window - period appropriate, veining will pick up on the blue-gray, and the many grout lines make it slip free. Add a monogrammed white and blue linen shower curtain like PB sells with a rubber liner. Hang more hooks on either side of your mirror for hand towels. Add a beadboard trimmed white cabinet over the toilet if you need more storage but take out the skinny open shelving.

If you have more $, change out the bath control & spout to an updated yet classic style assuming they can work with the existing shower wall valve. It will feel new when you shower to get a new head and control. Your lighting and mirror are perfect for this
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:49AM
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another storage idea, build or have a carpenter build a cabinet in between the wall studs on the wall opposite the sink. The current Family Handyman magazine has a set of instructions ot you can look up another version on their website: http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Home-Organization/Bathroom-Storage/three-bathroom-storage-ideas/View-All
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:50AM
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I, too, have a bath the same size as yours and a similar layout except the sink and toilet are reversed. We chose to replace our very bright yellow tub with a shower. The glass doors make the room seem larger. We purchased a vanity from the Home Decorators catalog, but there are a lot of vanities available online. Don't be afraid to use large tile in a small bath. The tile on our shower walls is 12x24 and on the floor are12x12s. Fewer grout lines have a less cluttered look. Attached are before and after pictures. Hope this helps.
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Connie Nikiforoff Designs
What you can do is limited only by your budget really...well and space ;-) Honestly I have done many redo's for clients as well as our own home with very small bathrooms 'working with what ya got" and the end product has been very nice. The issue, more often than not, is a very small budget but still wanting a new updated look. (I do a lot of very small budget redesigns.)

Your redesign can be done very inexpensively, at least in my opinion, with paint, accessories and a little fabric (shower curtain). If the fixtures (sink, tub, toilet) are all in good working order (and yes, I know the tub's small) I would recommend working with them. With a cottagey feel to your home, go with white walls, a textured white fabric shower curtain, some other color for a few accessories (maybe a beach glass green sort of color) and you're whole room will look new! :-) You might even consider just a few pretty white/off-white accent pieces that'll lend texture rather than introducing a another new color.

Keep pattern to a minimum in such a small space. Too much pattern will be a bit jarring to the eye in this small space. Use fewer, but larger, accessories. Keep as many toiletries put away as possible. Use small baskets on that little shelving unit you have to contain things like toothpaste, shampoo, etc. that you need daily but don't want to keep out in plain sight. Or find a different small storage unit that has enclosed spaces built in (i.e. drawers, etc.)

If you keep the black shelving unit, paint it white too. It'll blend into the wall better and not visually stick out. Paint the mirror's frame white too. The thing is, anything that's a different color will be another thing that 'stops the eye' and in this small room, you don't want to do that. :-)

As for the floor.....you might be able to use heavier weight 12" x 12" peel and stick floor tiles over you're existing tiles. A rather easy DIY and inexpensive project for this small area. Install them so their edges are not in line with existing grout lines now. Keep the color very neutral (even white) if possible.

The more you can keep to all one color, the bigger the room will appear. Let the blue fixtures be the 'accent color" in the otherwise all-white room. :-)

I'd love to see pics of your room when done! In this small room (and one of my bathrooms at our former house was smaller than this!) use the "keep it simple" method and not only will you save a ton of money, but you'll have a whole new, clean-lined look to your bath.

Best of luck. Contact me if you'd like more ideas :-)
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 2:08PM
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if i had this very small bathroom i would do wainscottting in white beadboard about 3/4s of the way up with charcoal above (blue,white and charcoal look great together) a white stick down tile floor, use all white trim including shelving,mirror and ceiling change out the light fixture in silver to match sink fixture and use charcoal towels with blue washcloths to add a pop of color. very inexpensive ,very up to date and easy to maintain.. best of luck, also a small charcoal bath matt in front of tub
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:17PM
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Terri Symington, ASID
Gina... the best part of the room is the window!

A couple of observations... you said your house is Dutch Colonial with a cottage feel... well, these fixtures do not relate to that style at all... and adding beadboard to the existing room and fixtures will only further confuse the room as to what it wants to be.

Have you considered turning the tub alcove into a shower alcove? The greatest expense in the remodel would be in the drain and floating the floor pan. Sink and toilet fixtures can be found at inexpensive costs.

I would consider doing the floor in a small octagonal tile to relate back to the window. You could have the shower alcove tiled in subway tiles.

Here is an unfinished shower alcove that I am currently doing. Notice the different sizes in tiles used.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:50PM
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ginaballerina I don't know if you have talked to a contractor, but just in case you haven't I looked on-line at what a bathroom contractor said about what it generally costs to remodel a bathroom and the price is $12,000 to $30,000. If this is an old house and it looks as if it is, the real problem can be messing with the plumbing.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:19PM
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I actually like the color. Maybe it looks different in person. Good luck though. I'm a renter and my bathroom is just like this one. Pedistal sinks are great but no space for anything. Any ideas for renters? Good luck with your redo!
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:24PM
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I believe you DO have the standard tub size. If you were used to a cast iron tub the shape is different and I believe you sit more erect in them, therefore can stretch out better. The fiberglass tubs are smaller inside due to a slant at the back.

Also You could replace the surround with a white one to brighten up the tub area. A white shower curtain with a calico ruffle tripled at the top or bottom would give the cottage look. If you sew you could do this relatively easily. You can also get a storage shelf that fits around your sink, adding a white skirt to hide the storage would also be cottage style. Using the back of the door for storage would also add more flexibility.

Lastly, getting a frameless medicine cabinet would add the illusion of space. Good luck.
    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:08PM
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I would say go completely outside the box! Of course, this idea works best if you 1. live alone or with a significant other or 2. have another bathroom. Rather than trying to make everything fit in the 5x7 space you have, let the space determine what you will include. I'm thinking tropical hotel room. Have the toilet, bidet and pedestal sink in the 5x7 space. I'm not a fan of pedestal sinks because of the loss of storage, but you love them, the Istanbul washbasin by Ross Lovegrove is fabulous, and you could have recessed cabinets behind/over the bidet & toilet. A sliding door (Japanese, light wood with translucent rice paper) would eliminate the door/space problem and take advantage of the light you get from the bathroom window. I don't know the configuration of your space, but let's say the toilet and bidet would go against a 5' wall. A cabinet recessed and behind them would give you storage. The pedestal sink would go across from them on the other 5" wall with a tall, narrow sheet of mirror (unframed) attached to the wall (a professional just glues it directly onto the wall), and a recessed mirrored medicine cabinet to the left or right. Recessed light or sconces. A big, beautiful basket full of towels would fit in a corner. You're so lucky to have a window in the bath. The bathtub would then go in your bedroom. It may sound crazy but your bedroom should be a place of tranquility. A bed, a bureau and a closet , two nightstands and lamps - everything else should go - leaving room for your bathtub. I'd keep everything white; let the towels be your color statement. Maybe an interesting floor tile pattern (all white). The fixtures I mention are expensive but they are only examples - pedestal sinks and freestanding bathtubs come in a variety of prices. Yes, I know the cost of plumbing will be significant, but this is your home, go for it! Mary Louise I'm curious to know what you decide - feel free to email me drmlmesquita@gmail.com
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:58AM
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I too had a mid century blue bathroom that I hated. Add blue tile three quarters up your walls, and ours would look close to the same.

Mine is on the 2nd floor of 4 bedroom house. We absolutely needed to keep a tub for resell value. (this house is meant for a family with children.) I was on a budget, not minuscule, but fairly tight. My original tub is cast iron, with perfect glaze, just blue. Budget tub replacements are all fiberglass.... yuck! And doing the work myself, I couldn't fathom how we'd get the tub out. We decided to replace everything except the tub.

We looked at reglazing, for a new color, but the costs were fairly high, the warranties ranged from 2-10 years and their are a lot of bad stories of people trying this. Sigh, so blue it would be.

Here are a few pictures at the 90-95% complete. Cottage like feel, was what I was going for.
Total cost was around $5,000. Everything except the tub was gutted - drywall, floors, etc. we also found we had no insulation in the exterior wall, so we had to add that too.

All plumbing coming into the room was kept in same location.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:46AM
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I would be tempted to change the floor before I changed the fixtures. I like the idea of wallpaper with just a touch of blue so that the tub etc are more of an accent color.

In a previous house I had a horrible avocado green that by adding wall paper with just a touch of green in the leaves made it look quite nice.

I would only change the fixtures if something is wrong with them.

I don't think a claw footed tub would be shown off very well in the space.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 5:59AM
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I totally agree with marthafish. Leave the fixtures, change the floor, either paint or wallpaper and add items that pick up the blue and tone it down (such as wallpaper or a shower curtain). Get rid of the rack and add closed storage over the toilet.

I'm attaching photos of my guest bath which is about the size of your bathroom. I removed the medicine cabinet, large mirror over the sink and ceramic towel racks and toilet paper holder. Instead of white walls I painted the walls a bright blue, put up hooks for towels, a new framed mirror and oversized shower curtain. Since there is very little storage room, I bought 4 baskets that I keep in the hall closet. Each basket is a different color and each visitors is assigned that color basket and towels. The baskets provides plenty of space for their toiletries. If you don't have a hall closet you could do the same basket routine, but have them stored in bedrooms.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:49AM
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I might mention the taking your toiletries to the bathroom is not a new idea. I'm not sure what students living in dorms do now, but back in the day you kept your bath gear in a plastic bucket and took it back and forth between your room and the bathroom. It's not that difficult and everyone knows where the "stuff" is.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:55AM
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I recently came across a bathroom that had a grey sink and toilet that was surrounded by marble tiles on the floor and up the walls to a chair railing height. It looked pretty cool. I think a veiny bluish marble might work in the same fashion here.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:46AM
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We recently redid a 5 by 7 bathroom. Do not disregard large floor tiles. Less grout lines enlarge the look. We used shiny white porcelain tiles with a faint pale gray marble effect that are 16 by 16 . On the walls we used shiny 6 by 6 white wall tiles with small glass agua iridescent here and there for a decorative affect. Our tub, vanity and toilet are white also. The counter top is a pale gray solid surface material that narrows to extend over a lower toilet. It enlarges the counter space. There is a clear glass bumpy surface watery colored vessel sink. It is 16 by 16. The tub is on one of the 5 ft walls and is a little less than 5 ft. It has a rain shower and a trackless, clear glass, partially framed, by fold shower door. There is a wide stream faucet. One long wall has the toilet, vanity and one end of the tub. The other short wall has the side of the toilet and the doorway. The other long has the white open door a chest high window a d the other end of the tub. Under the window is a ceramic towel bar a small white stool and a basket for extra towels. The heat vent is there also. The wall over the counter is a white embedded in the wall medicine cabinet with curved door that fits into a curved mirror fitted to the wall. Over it are lights in the ceiling. The handles on the med cabinet and 2 doors on the vanity are long vertical wavy chrome ones. We did have a skylight installed earlier. The shaft widens into the room and makes it look much bigger. The white on white has an enlarging look. The wall above the tile is light aqua to match the master bedroom. The mat and towels are aqua also. The shade on the window is a white pleated one. We are very pleased and were helped by a bathroom planner. He incorporated my ideas and pictures. The mirror and med cabinet had to be made as we could not find any ready made.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:24PM
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The floor tile in the above comment are 14 by 14.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Okay the blues cute but it has to go! It's too over powering for such a little room. So get rid of the bath the sink and the toilet. I would get a single cabinet with you desired vessel sink. for the bathtub I would get a free standing bath. And for the toilet get something that matches the color of your bath. And for the walls and floor, stick with a light color because dark makes a room look smaller. Maybe a light beige? What you can do is tile one wall the same as your floor, just kind of tie things together.
    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:11AM
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Here's your bath in white.

alamo square bath · More Info
    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 4:56AM
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Everyone has such great input here! Rachel: you said you left the blue tub while changing out the sink and toilet to white? I'm curious how it looks. Your pics don't show the tub- at.least not on the mobile app. I haven't spoken to a contractor yet but I already know that a complete overhaul can be very pricey $12-20k. I def don't want to go that way. I'm already paying off a HELOC for updating my kitchen with granite, new ss appliances and additional cabinets. Plus a new roof, oil burner and well pump! I'm going try and DIY as much as I can and hire for the big things like tiling the floor, adding a light over the tub/shower and changing out the fixtures in the tub. I like the beadboard up the wall 3/4 and if it is white I think it will brighten up the room. I do have another full bath upstairs. This blue bath is downstairsin the entry way by the front door and so the door needs to open in to not interfere witg the front door. The house has several pocket doors (laundry room, parlor) and I do like them just not sure the extra expense to install one would be worth it. Maybe it could be an optional item at the end. The current door doesn't interfere with the room as it opens in and meets the wall with the window and baseboard heat. I'm going to start with changing out the curtain, light fixture, med cabinet, paint the wire shelving white mant maybe cit its legs down so it is not interrupting the window frame. Then the tile and beadboard and paint! I'll post pics as I make progress! Now to get some overtime at work to pay for it all...
1 Like    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:57AM
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Sorry for the typos. My phone won't let me go back to correct errors mid line! It is so aggravating!
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 6:02AM
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Hi Gina,

I didn't realize that Houzz cropped the bottom of my photos. I tried to crop out the top of the tub photo, so hopefully the tub will show.(attached)

We did a white wall insert to the studs in the shower. The blue tub is not ideal, but with the curtain, it's not really noticeable, till you get a shower. (a side note, the insert top, is really for a taller tub, dint realize in the box store, but it worked out fine, and I'm the only one that notices.

My layout is a bit differnt then most, the tub is opposite the sink and toilet. So with the new white floor, it's really fine mixing the white sink and toilet.

I'm a bit stuck now, with accenting with blue, but much toned down. Rug, towels, old blue mason jars... But it is a million times better with the primary colors being white and cream, and fixtures being brushed nickel instead of chrome.

As a side note, installing the new floor was fairly easy (I did small octagons to keep with a "dated" feel.) but taking out the old floor was awful. The 1" tiles were in +4" of set and mesh. It was a lot of sledge hammering and ripping. Not to mention popping a lot of ceiling drywall nails in the kitchen, directly below. Luckily, I had planned wal and ceiling repairs and repainting for the kitchen after the bathroom. :-)
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 7:07PM
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Definitely keep the original fixtures. Instead of a shower curtain, get glass sliding doors-it will open up the space significantly. Use tiles for the tub to replace the surround (when they are installing the tiles, you can have them make shleves between the studs to hold shampoo, etc. and have them make at least two shelves high and low). Check into what types of tiles were used on the floors and walls in 50's houses and go with a modern take on them. Make the room more luxurious with faucets that are a cut above (and the glass shower doors). You can go more high end since you are not replacing the tub, sink and toilet. The pocket door idea is great. Go with a more dramatic wall colour and even though the space is small a dark shade of, say, grey would give the room real punch.

While I have beadbord in one of my bathrooms, I am not keen on the idea for yours mainly because of the age of your house. The look should be a retro sophisticated look and beadboard takes you in another direction.
    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:33PM
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