Sylvia refrig after

Dreams for a Basement Guest Bathroom

Before After

This week’s short story is a continuation from last week’s “Ottoman” story. Enjoy! …

About seventeen years ago, a dear friend of mine, longed to have a nice bathroom in a room of her unfinished basement. This existing room was like a typical unfinished basement. It had bare, poured concrete walls with exposed UPC pipes. For years Sylvia used this room as a storage area for cast off, unused items.

My friend asked me to design a guest bathroom that would be comfortable for her out-of-town guests. The existing small room was dreary and cold, with its concrete floor and exposed joists. But it did have a functioning, flushable toilet, and a working pedestal sink. The small room also had an exposed sump crock, a hot water heater, a furnace, a refrigerator, and recessed shelving for dry goods wedged in-between the 2 x 4 studs. The unfinished ceiling came complete with exposed rafters, water lines, heating ducts, and numerous of other unpleasant, but necessary exposed pipes. The room had very few electrical outlets and just a couple of naked bulb fixtures mounted in the ceiling.

Sylvia wanted a finished ceiling with tiles and adequate lighting. She wanted to conceal the areas around the hot water heater, the sump crock, and the furnace by adding walls. However, these important items had to be accessible when needed. Her most desired wish was to have a shower installed in the room. She wanted linoleum installed on the floor so her guests would no longer have to walk on the bare concrete floor. She also requested to have a closet constructed where the back of the existing stairwell was exposed. Her out-of-town guests often had clothing and jackets or coats that needed to be hung. My friend wanted to replace the pedestal sink with a vanity cabinet for additional storage. Last but not least, the homeowner wanted the room to be painted in a warm and welcoming color.

Before After

Sylvia hired me to design an adequate floorplan for her. Once we figured out the floorplan, one of the first things we did was hire Bolger Design + Remodeling.  Right away Brian Bolger, co-founder, constructed a few walls. The basement walls of poured concrete were transformed pretty quickly with drywall and paint. The hot water heater, furnace, and sump crock are now enclosed in a room of their own. However, they are readily accessible if/whenever needed.

Because of the limited space within the bathroom, Brian used bi-folding doors. The new ceiling was lowered, and Brian installed acoustic ceiling tiles. A shower with an exhaust fan and a ceiling light was installed. He also installed linoleum on the concrete floors. 

The water line and drain was relocated to the opposite side of the small room to accommodate a 24-inch wide Thermofoil vanity cabinet and a Corian vanity top with an integral sink. The existing recessed open shelves were removed, and new drywall was installed. A knockdown texture was applied to the drywall. Electrical wiring was installed to provide proper adequate overhead lighting. We also added outlets with GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) adjacent to the water source and removed the refrigerator from the room. Stainless steel towel bars were installed, along with a beautiful stainless steel Moen faucet. The stainless steel light fixture and hardware created unity and an updated look for this wonderful small bathroom transformation.

The back of the existing stairwell was used as a catchall by the homeowner because it was basically a useless space. Brian created a guest closet by adding wood shelves and a clothing rod to hang garments. He enclosed the closet with a bi-folding door.

Over the years I’m sure Sylvia’s guests enjoyed this warm and fully functioning basement bathroom.

Next week will be the final of three posts (stories cannot go on forever) of my dear late friend, Sylvia. See you in a week. 


Before After


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