Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Make it Modern: Add Space to Your Old, Small Bathroom

Does your bathroom feel like an afterthought? In many older homes, this is precisely the case. Until the 1980s, at least, homeowners wanted spacious bedrooms--often at the expense of the bathroom.

For most of the 20th century, in fact, the bathroom was viewed as a utility room, a minimalist space to do your duty and leave. Many bathrooms were added to home designs only after all other rooms, seemingly crammed into the leftover space.

Today, homeowners favor larger bathrooms with luxurious amenities--and older, smaller bathrooms seem all the more outdated. As this Old House notes: "While new home baths have nearly doubled in size over the past 30 years, old home bathrooms average about 5- by 8-feet."

If you live in an older home, you might be feeling the crunch, so to speak. Of course, you do have options.

A remodeling company like MKBD can work wonders with a smaller space. A smart design can maximize the efficiency of your space; a few simple tweaks can often change the feeling of a bathroom's size--if not the actual square footage.

Another option, of course, is to borrow space from another room. Unfortunately, many homeowners balk at the idea of a bathroom expansion. The thought of knocking down walls, or sacrificing space from another room, stops many homeowners in their tracks.

In reality, demolition and expansion is a relatively straight-forward remodeling project. Just take a look at the MKBD projects below. Each presented unique challenges, yet each fulfilled the client's dreams of a modern, spacious bathroom.

Borrow Room From Your Bedroom

For many homes, the best option for bathroom expansion is to simply borrow room from an adjacent bedroom--often the master or guest bedroom. In many homes, the guest bedroom is rarely used, so borrowing a little space is often an easy choice. The decision to borrow space from a master bedroom, however, can inspire anxiety. After all, you've likely grown accustomed to the way your master bedroom makes you feel.

Would a smaller space decrease your relaxation? Would you suddenly feel cramped?

These are legitimate questions. In our experience, however, many master bedrooms would not appreciably suffer from a space downsize. Instead of focusing on what you will lose, think about what you will gain: a new, modern bathroom with space for amenities.

In this Ambler area MKBD project, the homeowners sacrificed space from the master bedroom to transform the 3x3 shower into a custom 6x3 shower with beautiful tiles imported from Italy. In our experience, most homeowners do not miss their former bedroom space. A new, spacious bathroom design is well worth the sacrifice. 

Prepare for Surprises (With a Reputable Remodeling Company)

Older homes are often full of surprises; you just never know what you'll uncover once you start demoing walls. This is why it is so crucial to work with an experienced remodeling company, like MKBD. We've seen it all--and we've fixed it all, with efficiency and timeliness.

We are especially proud of the project below, which required the demolition of old walls and leaking pipes to create a new bathroom with modern amenities.

In this Philadelphia area MKBD project, we jettisoned an old, leaking tub to make room for a new shower with a custom bench. Tiled in multi-colored natural stone, the eye-popping design also includes a shower pan of river rock pebbles.  

The key to dealing with surprises is proper planning. What turns a surprise into a mistake is not accounting for potential surprises in your budget. Many projects--like the one above--only yield problems after demolition beings. Behind your walls, you might discover mold or water damage. These problems are often only discovered after the work begins.

What was old is new: these walls presented a few "surprises," but MKBD's astute demolition team identified--and fixed--the problems quickly and efficiently. Happily, the client had planned on the potential surprises, so the budget was not exceeded. 

Borrow Space From a Closet, or Utility Room, or...

Not all remodeling expansions borrow space from the master or guest bedroom. If you get a little creative, you can borrow from other, smaller spaces to add square footage to the bathroom. Closets, especially, offer a great opportunity for bathroom expansion--especially if the closet is in a guest room or otherwise hardly used. In the MKBD project below, we borrowed space from a utility room to create a new master bedroom.

Borrowing space from an adjacent utility room, we added space to a tiny bathroom that had formerly stopped at the sink.
The picture above illustrates how even a little additional space can dramatically change the perception of a bathroom's size. Formerly a vanity, the addition of the shower makes this bathroom a master bedroom with a beautifully-appointed shower. Best of all, even though we downsized the utility room, we actually increased its functionality. The client let us know that the utility room had become a a mere storage place. In demoing the walls, we transformed the utility room into a laundry room. The lesson here is to get creative with space--and borrow, when necessary, where you can!

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

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