Bathroom storage is a biggie. In all of the infomercials of people in dramatic black and white reenactments spilling their toiletries all over the bathroom floor or in House Hunters when a couple is tripping over each other trying to both get ready in the morning, they all exasperatedly exclaim how they need more storage in their bathroom. We've all been there, amiright?
I try my hardest to live minimally and own as few makeup products as possible, but we all have stuff to store. Without a vanity to hide all of our things in, we carved out a nice spot in the corner of the room to store all of our goodies.
To revisit, here's the layout we played with during the design stage (the finished dimensions changed a bit).
See that chunk of space at the end of the tub in the upper right corner? That pocket is the answer to all of our storage woes. The 6.5" deep space became what I call "wet storage" and is accessed from the shower/tub. The 12" wide section is our "dry storage" that opens into the main part of the bathroom. The goal was to create as much hidden storage as possible so things didn't sit on the sink or the edge of the tub. Also, I'm one of those people that decants my shampoo into an unbranded bottle aiming to see as few product labels as possible - sorry toiletry brand graphic designers.
With these terrible photos, you can see how the whole thing came together.
Before the storage unit construction began, the window was sized, the subfloor was rebuilt and prepped for tile, electrical was put in, rough plumbing was installed, walls got cement board, and the floor was tiled.
When we were interviewing contractors for this project, 85% of them said that adding this storage unit was a bad idea. They said that the weight of the tile would pull on the cabinet and the only way to prevent it was to make the unit super strong by building a wall between the tub and the shelves, which would only leave 5” of usable storage space. I refused to accept that, and the contractor we ultimately hired agreed that my cabinet dreams could indeed come true.
Well, the bathroom remodel wrapped up two years ago and the storage unit is in perfect condition!
Kim and Scott of Yellow Brick Home did a similar cabinet at the foot of their tub awhile after we installed ours. They used the wall and pre-made cabinet method - but did so much better a job than any of those doubtful contractors could have done. Either route works!
A big part of what made this cabinet strong is we opted to permanently install the shelves, rather than adjustable boards that we can move up and down along pegs. The permanently affixed shelves hold the whole piece together from top to bottom. I don't have the luxury of resizing the cubbies, but that's perfectly fine for our needs.
We also took the cabinet all the way to the ceiling. Which is storage heaven, and gives it extra rigidity being tied into the floor, ceiling, and wall.
The wet storage earned marble shelves to create three cubbies to rest shampoo bottles. The marble sits on top of the row of tile and gets wedged in on all three sides by the second row atop the slab.
Here she is - two years later and still going strong.
The original plan was for the shower niches to be 6.5" deep, but I found a remnant slab at a local stone yard that was 8" deep, so why not! Each shelf varies in height from 8" to 14" tall to allow for different sized bottles. The whole recessed niche is 19" above the edge of the tub so its low enough that the bottom shelf can be reached while soaking in the tub, yet not so low that we're bending down to grab things while showering.
I talked about the tile in this post, but I just have to point out this detail at the bottom of the cabinet with the base tile wrapping underneath the door. Love.
The bottom shelf is 23" tall to allow for the toilet brush, plunger, and cleaning supplies. The rest of the shelves are 13" tall. It's the perfect size for these baskets and this modular acrylic storage. With 17" of depth, I can fit 24 rolls of toilet paper easily within reach. Any deeper and it would be hard to reach anything in the back of the shelves.
The concealed storage and the tucked away shower niches give all of our toiletries some privacy. Yet, whenever guests ask "Where are all of your things?!" I proudly open up the cabinet and pull back the shower curtain to reveal the shampoo bottles. Which kinda defeats the purpose of designing a hidden niche and a concealed cabinet. oops!
You can read about all the rest of the bathroom elements by clicking the button below. Then, subscribe so you can follow along when we add another bathroom to the house in 2019!