Cottage Talk: Bathroom Layout and Inspiration

I made a big decision last week.  I’m gutting the bathroom.  There were several electrical and plumbing issues, plus the layout was really bad, so we decided to fix it up nice before I move in.  (With only 1 bathroom in the house, renovating it once I lived there would be a real pain.)  Today I’m going over the new layout and some inspiration.  I’ll share my product ideas in another post.

Here is my current bathroom.  The tub/shower is length-wise in the room and across from it is the vanity and toilet.  A 69″ wide room is really too narrow for this set-up.

In the new layout I will be turning the tub horizontal and positioning it on the back wall.  Now the window will be in the tub.  The toilet will be closest to the door and the sink will be in the middle.  Since I have to build-out the right wall the house the plumbing fixtures, I am going to extend that wall the create a mini-linen closet for myself.

It’s going to be so much more open and functional!  

I plan to do a sink console instead of your typical vanity cabinet.  I only have 24” and I feel I will get more functional storage out of a drawer and a basket in the open section.  Plus since it’s a small space, I really want it to feel uncrowded as possible.

This is the same layout as mine.  I also plan to do a shower curtain, though I think I’ll tuck it to the left instead of the right.  
I love metal vanity console like this bathroom, but sadly I don’t think it’s in the budget.

(Note- I flipped the image to look more similar to my layout)

My tub will be under the window and I’m actually pretty excited about this!  I love the look plus having some daylight in the shower will be nice.  This faces my backyard, which is pretty private, but I will need to address privacy on the lower portion of the window.  Possibly a window film?  I would love water resistant shutters.  I need to dig into it more.

This is the number 1 inspiration for me.  I love the subway tile, colorful rug and tile front to the tub.  I’m still debating whether I’ll tile the front of the tub or not.  It looks great here with the dark floor for contrast, but I’m planning on a white floor. 

I love this bath too.  Note they have white subway tile on the tub front and a white floor.  This works for me, though I’d prefer a more colorful rug.  Ultimately it will depend on how many design elements I have going on in the room.  If the room is getting busy, I will skip the tile front tub because that’s another graphic element.

I still haven’t worked out the details of the linen closet.  I know that I do not want the door to go to the floor.  I’m hoping to make it look like a framed piece of art, or something else interesting.  Again, I don’t want a big door to overwhelm a small room.

I’ve always loved how Brooke Giannetti used a framed art sketch as the door to her medicine cabinet.  Obviously my linen cabinet is bigger than this, but I want to do a similar concept.  Like I said, I’m still flushing this idea out.

And that is my cottage bath plan plus inspiration.  Stay tuned for products, colors and styling ideas.

  1. What an awesome redesign! Love your ideas for the bathroom, and there really is so much more space. Not to mention, I’d die to have a window in my shower. The good kind of die. 🙂

  2. So happy you decided to gut this! It’ll make life a lot easier and I think will add a lot of value considering it is your only bathroom. You’ve really made a sensible and well thought out floor plan. I really like the look of the tiled tub front, excited to see what you choose!

  3. I don’t even get how they got the current floor plan bc yours is like, duh!

    Super excited about this, especially the rug! And I love the black window pane too!

  4. Oh how I love elevations. New floor plan makes way more sense. The art used as front of medicine cabinet is such a smart move.

  5. Naomi – great post, thanks for sharing the technical drawings, so much more interesting than just inspirational photos (which of course are good too, but just saying that I like your technical drawings, it shows you are a real professional!). I have an identical layout in our main bathroom and can vouch that it’s totally functional. My only complaint is lack of counter space with a console sink. We keep all our toiletries, make-up, etc. in wire baskets in the linen closet right outside the bathroom. You’ll probably want to consider doing something similar, so make sure account for decent shelving space in your linen closet. Can wait to see the end product. Good luck!

  6. Jessica

    Hi Naomi, your bathroom redesigns for clients are amongst my favorites on your blog. The new layout looks great with a lot of opportunity for you to add all your gorgeous signature details! Good luck!

  7. Debbie

    This is exactly how my bathroom is laid out and I love it. It’s a small space, but completely workable.

    I also have a window in my tub, though it’s high enough that I don’t need to cover it with anything. You’ll probably want the shower curtain to go to the right as in your inspiration picture because then you’ll get natural light on your mirror.

  8. @Sara, I use Chief Architect for all of our plans.
    I’ve heard Google Sketch Up is pretty good, but I haven’t taken the time to re-learn a new program.

  9. Hey guys. Thanks for the comments.
    RE- the window
    Kim- the window is vinyl so there are no wood rotting issues. We plan to tile right up to the frame and water-proof it. We will probably need to replace the current one with a tempered glass unit. I’m sure people have showers with wood windows and non-tempered glass, but that is where rotting would eventually become an issue.

    Erin- Adding a window in a shower is no more difficult framing-wise then adding it elsewhere. What is your exterior wall? Stucco right? Much easier than say, stone. Just make sure you consider the above elements.

  10. Karena

    Naomi, your ideas are perfect for this space. I am excited to see the progress!

    Art by Karena

  11. You’re still “flushing this out”! LOL. I love you.
    I love the redesign so far, Nay! The investment is well worth it. 🙂

  12. Rebecca

    I also bought an older home with one bathroom and it has a nearly identical layout to your new remodeled one. I have a lot of similar plans for mine, console sink and a framed art medicine cabinet. I also have a window in my shower and I love it! The only time I don’t love it is when I want to shower at night,I feel like I’m the opening credits for a horror movie. One I idea I was considering for my built in linen cabinet is this: I am going to do a chair-rail with the frame looking molding on the wall coming up about 4 ft high. So opposite the sink/toilet, the doors to the cabinet would actually be the raised molding. I think it would be a great way to disguise it and then there wouldn’t be the issue of opening a full length door.
    I love you reading your blog, and now it’s even more fun watching you do your own house as I’m doing mine! Keep up the good work!

  13. SO, so, so, so, so much better. What on earth were they thinking? The original layout made it look like people shaped like pipe cleaners lived there. You’ll be so much happier with it this way! And having a window in the shower is awesome.

  14. Yes!!! This layout seems so obvious, so much better! what were those people thinking before….It will be fab!

  15. I would have the door open the other way – so if someone accidentally walks in on you – they dont get an eyeful immediately.

  16. I had fun redoing our bathroom. My house was built in the 20s and the old bathroom looked as if it was from the 60s. We opted for the subway tile, marble floors and simple panelling on the lower half of the walls. A big window was the main feature which gave the bathroom a lot of character to work with. I am proud to say that we brought the classic feel of that bathroom back to where it belonged ……. 1927. Love the bathroom with the big window in the shower!!!! Good luck.

  17. Sara

    Love the new layout by the way!! It will be SO much better!

  18. Sara

    Naomi what program do you make your drawings in?

  19. This is a much better space plan! And I love your inspiration photos…can’t wait to see how the space turns out. In my old house, I renovated our single bathroom, which is laid out exactly how yours is going to be. I even recessed a tall cabinet into the wall by the door for additional shallow storage (good thinking:)). There was a window in our shower, which I covered with a frosted film. It was inexpensive, but I will say that at night you could definitely see the “figure” of whoever was showering 🙂 Here’s the link if you’re interested in seeing the bathroom:

  20. This is going to be absolutely fabulous!! Can’t wait to see the plan start to come together… love the subway tile for the shower/tub and you’re definitely right it will be nice to have daylight while showering. So excited for you!!

  21. Ashley

    I could squeal with excitement. This is going to be good. You are a real-problem solver, because you are really figuring out how to make the bathroom actually work for you. Love the new layout–so much smarter.

  22. Nancy

    This sounds like it is absolutely the smartest choice and I love the new layout! The tub under the window will be fabulous! What fun! Enjoy the process.

  23. Ooooh, really hope the tile front tub works out, especially if it’s super flat subway like that! Also, kilim in the bathroom = win.

  24. What a great decision, and your plan looks perfect. Why not have the linen closet door mirrored? It’s great having a long mirror in the bathroom, especially across from the one above the sink, and would really open up the room even more.

  25. Erin

    I love your inspiration pics!

    Question: how hard is it to put a window in the shower if there’s not one already there? Eventually I want to gut the master bath and there is no natural light in there. Gross.

  26. Love the white subway with dark grout – so chic and fresh!
    xoxo -e (

  27. Great call. Gutting it to get the bathroom of your dreams is the way to go especially since it’s the only bathroom in da house. Way cool too to have some natural directly by the tub. Looking forward to the transformation.

  28. I love what you’ve come up with. Our bathroom is exactly the same size as yours and the bathtub against the wall makes a huge difference. I also did subway tile all the way to the ceiling and I think it helped to make a small space just slightly larger. I also think it is genius were you put the outlet by the sink. Makes perfect sense and makes me want to move mine!

  29. great plan. we have a small master bath that we recently renovated and i found a reasonably priced (read: not thousand of dollars) Porcher metal console that we love. it is 28 inches though, so not sure it would fit your space, but very happy with the way it turned out.

  30. I think gutting the existing bathroom is a good call. You’ll have a much better layout and I love the finishes you’re putting together. Question: is there a concern about moisture from the shower rotting out the wood frame of the window?

Leave a Comment