Sometimes, big things do come in small packages. Designers like thinking that outstanding design has nothing to do with size or cost; and thankfully, comfort and style do not need to take a backseat when it comes to the design of a small bathroom. With a little research, you can find wonderfully appropriate fixtures that fulfill a function without eating up valuable floor space. Some are affordable, and some have Mercedes price tags. The choices are always up to you.
Small tubs are perfect for new construction and remodeling clients who are willing to sacrifice square footage, but not lifestyle comforts. Soaking tubs are available in slim sizes like the petite Japanese-style soaking tub from Sonia. The stainless steel freestanding tub is only 55.125 inches by 55.125 inches.
If you have a traditional or historic home, there is a cast-iron tub only 4 feet long that will fit nearly anywhere, brought to you by Sign of the Crab.
This sun-drenched retro bathroom hosts a tiny contemporary freestanding tub. Part of the "mimo" series of fixtures by LAUFEN, the tub has been called the "MINI Cooper of the bathroom." The entire series won a prestigious red dot design award in 2009. Perhaps not well-known in the U.S., red dot is a large and coveted international product design prize awarded by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany. The aim of the prize is to honor outstanding design quality and trendsetters; since 1955, the international red dot design award has become the most renowned competition in the world.
The sleek tub is both fun and inspired by tubs used in Japanese hot springs. The 4 1/2-feet-by-2 1/2-feet bathtub is luxuriously deep for bathing yet has a flat surface that makes it ideal for showering.
Wall-mounted furniture, toilets and sinks save space and are easy to clean. A lively wall-hung lavatory uses scratch-resistant recycled materials with a high-gloss surface finish that doesn't hold onto dirt.
To stretch limited bathroom space, hang off the walls traditional items such as clothing hooks, sinks, toilets and even lavatories; use corners for storage, tubs and sinks; select smaller fixture sizes; and use shallow storage units. Remember that allowing the floor to be seen is a visual trick that makes the bathroom seem larger.
While the mimo series is big on personality, it is also a bit large on price. But if you have the budget for a luxury tub that starts at around $4,252, this is the suite for you. Often the perfectly sized fixtures or appliances are much more costly. There are situations when the investment makes the function work, and therefore the high price tag is worthwhile. This has been the case with dishwasher drawers or narrow dishwashers for kitchen use.
Specialty corner sinks or tubs can be more expensive too. But there are dozens of less costly — albeit perhaps not cutting-edge — designs, that you can purchase at friendlier price points. The American Standard Corner Minette Wall-Mount Sink, just 11 inches wide by 16 3/4 inches across at the widest point, retails for $287. The Porcher Angle Corner Mount can be found on-line for $159, The Elfe Wall Mount is only 5 inches high by 19.5 inches long and 9.25 inches deep, and sells for just under $200 new.
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