Framing the bathroom

Having finally completed the layers of plumbing, electric, insulation, and shower stall, it was exciting to frame the bathroom wall and ceiling today.

Vertical space being generally at a premium in tiny houses you see a lot of clever strategies for minimizing the height above bathrooms to make room for a loft. We are not going to have a loft, but making space for our relatively large water heater has been a challenge. Our water heater is a 28 gallon tank that will be fed by a hybrid solar and wood-fired thermosiphon system with an optional electric input. I lived with exactly this setup for 10 years and it worked brilliantly so I’m excited to try it in a tiny house context. The only challenge is that simple passive thermosiphon systems need a tank higher than the heat source to work and our house can’t be taller than 12 feet and still fit out of the driveway.

These considerations necessitated a stepped ceiling in our bathroom. 6’6” tiny house bathrooms feel cramped to us so the shower and doorway are a luxurious 7 feet tall but the space immediately above the toilet is only 6 feet. After an extensive series of hilarious simulations with the toilet in place, we decided this would work fine even for a tall person.

To keep roof thickness to an absolute minimum I’m using three-quarter inch Baltic Birch plywood sitting on top of the wall and mounted to cleats on the opposite walls. To carry the load of the water heater a 2 x 3″ piece of angle iron bridges between the front and the back wall.

The pocket door adjacent to the shower has been the most challenging part of building this. We went with a split stud kit that had good reviews but also has literally the worst instructions I have ever tried to read. Now that I’ve put it together it makes sense to me but I doubt it’s something that I could have done as a beginner. There are much easier and more intuitive ways to set up a pocket door.

There’s actually quite a bit of space above the bathroom which will be useful for storage, house plants, and wiring the bathroom fan. I’m sure the cat will be thrilled as well!

  • Brian

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