Things I’d change in Mom’s bathroom: Only 2! Okay, only 4.

height of a recessed medicine cabinetI can hardly believe it, but there are only two “mistakes” that I think I made in the quickie remodel of Mom’s bathroom. Above, we set the recessed medicine cabinet above the vanity too low. As I’ve tried to show with the arrows, when you open the doors, a typical bottle or the electric toothbrush are in the way. Oops. I am sure there must be a “standard” for this. Which I did not know about. #2….

low flow toilet

#2 is the golldarn toilet. It is a comfort-height, low-flow American Standard model. The complete “kit” from Lowe’s, a budget $98 for everything. But you must get what you pay for, because after the install, I could see that the water only flushes “up” — and in a “low flow” volume — from the hole thingie below. No flushing of water “down” from underneath the rim. That means… ummmm, solid waste may sit higher up in the bowl and not be flushed clean from above. Ick. So sorry to have to over-share. Please learn from my error, do more research, pay the price, and get a toilet that flushes every which way humanly possible. Sorry, Mom.

height of a recessed medicine cabinet

#3 Okay, I can’t stop myself at two. I don’t consider this “my” mistake, but that trim piece around the medicine cabinet (you see it in white here, it has now been painted grey to blend into the wall) only had to be put in because the “rough in” was too big. We added the molding to cover the extra space. The molding was “around somewhere”. I do not like it. In the future, I may swap it out for something flatter (even more “receding”).

Okay and #4: The towel ring can go higher. Not that anyone’s using it. We’re too in love the with bling draped over. Pritty.

But that’s it, not too bad at all in terms of “design regrets”!

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

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Comments

  1. Gabbie says

    Yes, there are some sorry low-flow toilets out there but there are also some good ones. At our last house, my husband and I used a toilet review site when we remodeled the bathroom. This guy apparently rated them to include…ahem…the amount of solid waste one flush could remove. (I think they came up with the ratings using some kind of simulated waste) Anyway, I’m not sure if this is the original site that we used but it’s the same guy. We ended purchasing a really good low flow toilet! http://www.terrylove.com/crtoilet.htm

    Still impressed by your bathroom remodel though!!!

    • Elizabeth Mary says

      Gabbie,

      Great site and it lead me to the Toto Drake I bought about a year and a half ago.

      Several years ago American Standard came out with a toilet (I think called Cadet) advertised with the tag line “throw away the plunger”. That was something I was eager to do. So, after a year or so passed, I decided to look into that toilet and see what people thought of it. The reviews I found were not very good. So, I needed to expand my search and In the process I came upon the Terry Love site. The tall, ADA height, was important to me and I ended up being sold on the Toto Drake based on what I read from Terry Love. It is great! Have not needed the plunger since it was installed. And, I like the simple lines. It does not have dual flow, but does have some sort of little decal that I think means water conservation properties (sorry, it is in a place I can’t easily see.)

      • Gabbie says

        I wish I could remember what model we ended up getting-it might have been “low flow” but it had quite the powerful flush.

  2. says

    Ah, yes. The low-flow toilet. I have a Toto Drake with G-max flush. The water does not swirl in the bowl, leaving, um, stuff. I have to clean the toilet twice a week.

    I would however, recommend the Toto toilets with the new Double Cyclone flush. Almost all the toilets are 1.28 GPF (instead of standard 1.6 GPF).

    I don’t work for Toto, I swear! I’m an interior designer at an architecture firm, so I specify a lot of toilets.

    Also- as an aside, I’ve received feedback from clients that the Toto toilet seats make you feel like you are sitting on a bucket. Try a Church brand seat.

    • CindyD says

      How funny. I never paid much attention to toilets until we bought our current home. I have to say I love this toilet, and I don’t usually get so fussy about such things, but I don’t think I’d ever buy anything but a Toto! I can’t speak to Toto toilet seats because ours has a – wait for it – Church brand seat – again, love it!

  3. dcgrl says

    We’re pretty happy with our $98 american standard low-flow. haven’t had a problem with “solid waste.” I watched the youtube video where they flushed something like 3 pounds of chicken nuggets down our model. It must be fun to be in marketing for a toilet company.

  4. Olivia says

    I’m pretty sure out low-flow toilet is American Standard, but it’s not comfort height. We paid less than $100 for it and it flushes better than the old toilet we had before, but we still have to give it two flushes or a plunge sometimes. I just don’t think residential toilets can handle everything. At least not the less expensive ones, anyway.

    I agree with the mirror and hand towel heights. In addition to not having bottles in the way of the mirror, I think installing it higher would reduces splashing on it leaving spots which I hate. Our mirror goes all the way down to the counter and it is always dirty.

  5. Elizabeth Mary says

    Pam,

    Here is a little suggestion to maybe solve the “mirror is too low” problem. Can you put a small shelf on the wall to the left — between the window and wall the cabinet is on? That would give your mom a place to put the bottles now on the sink so they would not be in the way when opening the cabinet.

  6. says

    I think Mom’s bathroom turned out great and I consider only 4 regrets to be a victory! But, it’s helpful hearing what you would have done differently so we keep these things in mind as we do our own renos. Isn’t that what they call “learning from other’s mistakes?” 🙂

  7. Yvette Williams says

    I get the concept of low flow commodes, but I HATE them 🙂 Maybe there could be an exclusion for 2 adult households who don’t stay home flushing the pot all day 😉 (like being able to have non-childproof caps if you want them, heh heh) “I promise not to flush my toilet more than four times a day if you’ll just please let me have a gush flush” 🙂
    And on an even less serious note…and this is embarrassing…(stop writing! no I can’t!) I learned some valuable design lessons building my pet’s house in the Pet Society game. Totally had the same problem with the bottles in front of the mirror! Go figure! 🙂

    • Judi B says

      Unfortunately, at my 2 adult only home, the other adult has had a stroke and finds that flushing the toilet all day his favorite pasttime.. so I am happy for my lowflow toilet in his bathroom.

  8. dale says

    A 1.6 gallon flush for liquids has to be a huge strain off septic systems and municipal treatment facilities. I find that 1.6 gallon toilets usually require two flushes to clean the bowl for the other business though, but I still think it’s a step in the right direction. If mom really hates the toilet get rid of it. You’re not out much money and life is too short to live with a nasty toilet.

    I agree – 4 ‘shoulda’s’ is not bad for a remodel. And you could move that cabinet up a few inches – there’s probably no two by member above it. With a bit of drywall work no one would ever know.

  9. GB500 says

    Toto’s Aquia Dual Flush is a splendid toilet. While a bit of a splurge, completely worth the money. I especially like the clean lines — no where for gunky bits to accumulate on the outside. Comfy too!

  10. TappanTrailerTami says

    Not bad Pam! Only four is pretty good. Most of which could be remedied at some point 🙂

    I also will put in my plug for Toto toilets – no plunger, and no flushing twice. Mine has their Sanagloss finish inside the bowl, so it is easy to clean too and stays clean in the bowl longer – or at least it looks like it.

    On a side note / pet peeve – what is with commercial restroom designers? ie, in restaurants, gas stations, and the like. I’m tired of ADA height toilets, and then they put grab bars in and mount those giganticus toilet paper roll holders *rolls are like twenty times the size of standard rolls*, and then mount them underneath the grab bars. Jeez- you practically have to bend in half to reach under the roll holder because it is so low on the wall. Feel bad for anyone who is pregnant and has to deal with that! Guess they would have to drip dry!

  11. says

    Pam, in my experience only four remodeling “regrets” is spectacularly successful – great job!

    Re: choosing a replacement toilet (or any other fixture or appliance, for that matter) we have had excellent results using Consumer Reports and now their online website. Yes, you have to pay a little (less than $6 if you just want to subscribe for a month) but their unbiased research is worth much, much more, and has saved us from a number of potentially bad decisions over the years. Among other decisions, we replaced two different toilets (7 years apart) using their recommendations, and no regrets!

  12. Amy in Sacramento, CA says

    Suggestions: 1) find a shorter dispenser into which the tall bottle’s contents can be transferred (can be something retro, repurposed…) 2) move the toothbrush into the mirrored cabinet (yes, the cord will stick out.) Not only will it no longer be in the way of the mirrored door, but this will keep the toothbrush from being out in the open in the same “air space” as a flushing toilet.

  13. Connie says

    Three years ago we needed to replace the original (1920s!) toilet in our house. We ended up going with a Kohler Bancroft. Its a 1.6 gallon, low-flow, comfort height toilet. I just looked it up online and it definitely pricier than I remember but we bought it through the guys who were doing a bunch of plumbing for us (had to replace all our galvanized pipes with copper) and so they got a contractor’s discount.

    What you’re saying about getting what you pay for though is definitely true. We’ve had almost zero flushing problems with ours and would happily pay extra for another if we had to.

  14. Handyandy says

    I rarely comment, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share that we found our perfect 1940’s toilet…….along side the road at a demolition site. When my husband asked how much, the workers couldn’t answer for laughing. It was free. I have no idea what brand it is, but has worked beautifully for 10 years. We are purists to the max.

  15. Linda says

    Was the opening for the mirror too big at the top as well as the sides? Take the mirror out and reinstall it with wedges underneath. Fill in the gaps with refuse wood strips. Install a width of bull nose tile on both sides and the top, or run the tile up beyond the light to match the height of the window. Install additional tile under the mirror down to the sink insert. From the picture it looks raising the mirror a little might give you enough clearance for the bottles.

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