Space is, to quote Gollum, ‘precious…’ and it is one of the conundrums of modern life that as the population (on average) gets bigger, we install smaller and smaller bathrooms, shower rooms and en-suites into our homes.
Designers squeeze in cloakrooms that are barely big enough for a cloak, let alone a toilet. If you are pondering how to get the essential kit into a space that would be frowned on even in the bijou houses of Middle Earth, then here are some useful tips.
Well ‘tiny’ may be overstating the case because unless you opt for a squatting toilet (said to be very good for the health but currently unpopular in the UK) you do have to install something that anyone could sit on. So all units tend to share a width of 365 – 375 mm, but the dimension that can be altered, with canny design, is the depth, or distance from the back wall.
You need a close-coupled toilet that is advertised as having a short projection. These shorter bowls mean they have non-standard toilet seats, so makers tend to supply these as original equipment. It does mean you do not have much choice if you want to jazz up your look with a wacky seat at a later date.
Models that offer short projection include Ceramica’s Genoa 705mm-deep model: Ideal Standard’s Concept (665 mm): Ivo (630mm and very attractively priced): and one of the shortest on the market, yet said to be comfier than most, the Tavistock Micra at only 610mm deep.
Finally on the subject of accommodating toilets, there is another way. It’s not cheap because these items are not produced in huge numbers: but Ideal Standard, for one, do produce a corner toilet that may seem long at 730mm: but because it fits into the corner it only measures 575mm from each side wall: this could be a clincher if nothing else will fit.
Of all bathroom equipment, the washbasin has probably had the most design input of all. There is a dizzying choice, including at the micro end of the market. If you don’t mind water splashing outside the basin when you overdo it, you can go as small as you dare.
One basin that combines practicality, compactness and style is the narrow and squared-off Ceramica Sail, 325 x 280 deep. Funky as a roadgoing Mini, it sells at a mini price.
If you prefer curvier design, there is Ideal Standard’s Concept Arc (450 x 360) or Space (350 x 495).
The ideal of course is to stretch out in a bath but here we’re talking space-saving so it’s all about ‘how short can you go?’ The answer is probably Ideal Standard’s 1200mm-long Space acrylic model: as a shower bath it is more shower base than bath, but you can take a bathe in it with knees bent (and the kids may appreciate it most).
More in the mainstream are the 1500mm-long types, of which there are many.
And if you have any space left, try to make room for some furniture. You have to store your toiletries somewhere. Consider a wall-hung unit like the Casino (400 x 200) or for a floor-standing item with an ultra-narrow footprint look at the Bella, complete with its tiny Bella basin, measuring a puny 370 x 370 including the basin.
Casino vanity unit