The smaller the bath the bigger the challenge. That may sound like a clichéd mantra, but it’s true–just ask Neil Kelly Design Consultant Michael Mahoney. Michael used some small bathroom ideas in a Bend, Oregon bath that was so small “if you dropped the soap in the shower you had to step out to pick it back up.”
Seriously,” says Michael, “the walls were 28″ by 28” (Just for fun, find a tape measure and see just how much room you have in a 28-inch space!).
Homeowner Kathryn Olney and her husband knew that this tight arrangement just wasn’t going to work in their new vacation home, but they had little wiggle room: The bathroom was shoe-horned against foundation walls in a daylight basement.
Michael knew he had to move the shower wall at least a couple inches, but he still had the challenge of making this small space look large. That’s when he had one of a series of small bathroom ideas. He extended the vanity countertop into the shower area. “Extending the countertop not only creates a shelf in the shower but it also gives the illusion of space by continuing that countertop line into the shower,” Michael says.
The second plan in this series of small bathroom ideas was adding a panel of glass between the shower and the rest of the bathroom. “Having the glass there really opened up the shower,” he says. “As you can see by the ‘before’ pictures they used to have natural wood in there, so it looked like you were walking into a shower. Now, it’s much more open,” says Michael. “What do I love about it?” homeowner Kathryn asks. “Even though it is still in that little footprint, it is light and open feeling.”
Jumping for Juniper
Kathryn made it clear right off the bat that she wanted to use Neil Kelly juniper cabinets, for two reasons: “We were going for a pretty ‘natural’ look, with natural edged stone and the colors of the desert, so the imperfections that might have showed up in the juniper were an added bonus,” she says.
And there is another added bonus for using juniper: Saving the Central Oregon ecosystem. That’s right, juniper is a native but invasive species that is robbing the high desert of precious groundwater and crowding out the habitat of the sage grouse. Several years ago Neil Kelly started a program by which invasive juniper trees were selectively harvested and used to make some of the most gorgeous cabinets you’ve ever seen.
Our expert cabinet makers also use low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) glues and finishes to make the cabinets safe as well as beautiful. “I liked the idea of finding a use for a weed-tree that needs to be cut down anyway,” Kathryn says. “And the juniper wood has such a beautiful red glow to it.”
“Getting to Know You”
This wasn’t Michael’s first trip to this particular house. “In 1984 I remodeled the kitchen of this same house but for a different owner,” says Michael. “Even though it is nearly 30 years old now they absolutely love the kitchen and didn’t want to change anything.”
Now this “twice-Neil Kelly-remodeled” home has a new owner who’s excited about her new small bathroom project. Says Kathryn: “It is like a mini-spa I get to visit every day!”