In another life, before getting married or becoming a mom, I went to school for interior design. One of the things that has stuck with me from those classes is the importance of form and function in design. That it should look good and meet the needs of the people using it. The challenge of marrying beautiful design and great function is invigorating to me. It's one of the things that drew me to a 50-year-old, 960-square-foot, 3 bedroom, 1 bath house. After a year, I am still thriving on planning out and decorating our space.
Fortunately, our one bathroom is a decent size. It has an 8' wall across from the shower/tub that, when we bought it, only had a very small toilet and a 24" vanity on it. There was also some weird open shelving, which seemed like a climbing hazard for toddlers. Also, I don't know about you, but there are very few things I want on display in my bathroom. I didn't take any pictures of it, but the shower had an old sliding door that, aside from being rather dirty, was semi frosted glass on one side and mirror on the other side. Right across from the toilet. No thanks. If we were going to go from three bathrooms to just one, I knew we would need a few things. First, lots of storage. Lots. Second, a space that was easy to keep organized and clean up. A place for everything. Third, an open door, closed curtain policy. We decided to replace the vanity and mirror, the toilet, and the shower doors.
Less than a week after moving in, we set off to Lowes and Ikea to gather our supplies. For the vanity and mirror we went with the Ikea Hemnes 39" set. This was one of the only vanities I found that had just drawers. I vastly prefer drawers to cabinets in the bathroom because you can pull them out and see everything without having to get down on hands and knees in the bathroom. They also make clean up a breeze. I can't say enough about the mirror. One of the best purchases we've ever made. It has two sides, four shelves on each side. And thanks to the Scandinavian geniuses at Ikea, it has mirrors on the inside of the doors too. This medicine cabinet fits almost as much as most vanities would. One thing I didn't fully think through was the faucet. We really like the lines of the one we chose, but it is tall. I didn't think about the mirror needing to be above the faucet, and the open shelf below the mirror. In the end, the mirror was higher than I would have liked, but after a full weekend of plumbing and Ikea assembly we just went with it. And then put a full length mirror on the door, so the kids use that when they need.
I had never installed or removed a shower door before, but after perusing a few DIYer blog posts on the subject it seemed fairly straightforward. Remove screws, score caulking, remove frame. As I was about to discover, and as has been confirmed in every project since, the former owners of our house didn't do anything conventionally. I removed the screws, sliced through the caulking and...nothing. The frame wouldn't budge. Every square inch of that frame was glued down. After hours of prying and pulling and then scraping off glue, the doors were removed. Truth be told, we still haven't completely finished cleaning up the residue of that glue. Nothing a shower curtain can't hide! My husband introduced me to curved shower curtain rods. Do you use those? They make the shower feel so much more spacious. The shower curtain makes bath time a much more simple, if not a less soggy affair. And having a curtain means the kids can still use the toilet during showers and we have at lease a semblance of privacy.
We replaced the old toilet with a bigger, dual-flush toilet. It's supposed to save money and water, although I'm not really sure how well that works for us. I'm pretty certain the kids just push both buttons half the time. Next to the sink we have a large hamper that makes clean up from baths super easy. It also doubles as a seat/stool for the kids. They say if you have a small home, every piece should be multipurpose. So, check. There are two doors into our bathroom, one from the hall and one from our room. The back of the first door houses the full length mirror, and the the second is home to a set of hooks for robes and extra towels.
We've been using this bathroom for a year now, and it works very well for us. There is plenty of space for the things we need in here and it's easy to straighten up. There are still things we'd love to update, but I think it's a great improvement over where we started.
// ikea mirror
// toothbrush holders - target, similar
// hand towel - nate berkus for target, similar
// bathmat - target, similar
// shower curtain - target, similar
// curtain rod