Bathrooms are used 15-45 min a day out of 24 hours, yet in a small space can occupy more than than 20% of the floorspace of a small house or apartment. Here are is a summary of the micro-bath options:
- Wet bath: The most space efficient bathrooms typically are ‘wet baths’ where both shower and sink live in the same floor footprint. The Minim House at the showcase displays this design. Walls and shower pan can be custom stainless (about $2K in 2013 for the Minim), or one can use a standard shower pan with galvanized or varnished plywood walls. There are also stock single piece, full shower enclosures available, though check to make sure it is possible to mount and fit a sink in one of these for a wet bath.
- Folding shower: Supiot in France had a ‘folding shower’, but this is no longer available.
Sinks: There are a variety of high end, narrow bath sinks, some of which are so small as to be unusable for anything other than washing (small) hands. There are several different sources:
- Standard home: The most affordable, practical and aesthetically pleasing residential sink available appears to be Ikea’s wide, ceramic Lllangen 6” deep sink ($80), available with matching base cabinet. It may also be wall mounted, as it is in the Minim House.
- Marine: Scandvik and Ambassador are the main marine sink manufacturers, and produce a wide range of compact stainless models, with the typical marine-grade price premium. Check defender.com or iboats.com for models.
- Restaurant supply/medical: Katom.com, FoodServiceWarehouse.com, WebstaurantStore.com, and others stock a wide range of stainless models. Search ‘hand sinks’.
Baths: Most micro-dwellings forgo a bathtub, which at 6’+ long, single function appliance seems a luxury compared to a compact upright shower. Yet it is possible to sneak an upright bath into a relatively small space.
- Walk-in tub: Some manufacturers (West Shore Bath in PA, American Standard, Ariel, Finestra) offer ‘walk in tub’ models. Though they are typically only made for one, the advantage is they allow a deeper soak than a standard tub (and are also ideal for handicapped folks). The West Shore RA2 is 48” wide, 26” deep model with a side door. One could easily construct a hinged countertop to cover it for additional functionality. Unfortunately this comfort currently comes at a price- the American Standard walk-in tub starts at $5K (which could easily buy a full size outdoor hot tub for 6), while the cheapest models start at $2K.
- Soak tubs: Furo makes a traditional Japanese soaking tub. Many other manufacturers have small soak tubs available. [update needed].
- Half-size tubs: There are a few half length tubs available on line, as well as smaller old cast iron tubs.
- Stock tanks: though less refined, galvanized livestock feeders or ‘utility stock tanks’ are easily converted into a low cost shower pan and/or bathtub, indoor or out. TractorSupply.com, SouthernStates.com, and other farm supply outlets have these at very low cost, in sizes 4′ and less long.