When you are working with a small bathroom, try focusing on design ideas. Small double sink vanities for instance can make a world of difference. Upgrading a small bathroom by adding a double vanity can be accomplished in one, of two ways. The first is reconfiguring the basic floor plan in order to provide ample floor space at the vanity area, and the second would be modifying the cabinets to accomplish the same result.
Since the idea is to add convenience, rather than making the bathroom more confining, the overall square footage of floor space will most likely dictate which approach is best. With either solution it will be necessary to plumb the hot and cold water lines, and the drain line for a second vanity sink.
1. Water and Drain Lines
Again, there is more than one solution to stubbing out for an additional vanity sink. The least complicated would be replacing the existing angle stop valves with dual port valves, and connecting the flexible supply lines from these, to each of the vanity fixtures. The 1-1/2” stub out at the wall can be fitted with a tee to connect the drain from the additional sink. The existing vent riser in the wall will be adequate ventilation for dual sinks.
In order to change the drain fitting and angle stop valves, close the valve for the main water service, and drain the lines by opening a garden spigot. Be sure to use a one-gallon bucket to capture residual water when changing the angle stops and drain stub out in the bathroom.
Another option would be to stub out for new hot and cold water lines at the second sink, and add a second 1-1/2” drain line. In an existing bathroom this would require removing sections of the drywall or plaster, and incorporating tees for the water line and drain connections. These connections could be made in the under-floor area or in the bathroom wall.
2. Reconfigure the Floor Plan
Ideally, there should be 28 to 30 inches of clear floor space in front of a vanity cabinet, and a double vanity should be no less that 48 inches in length. Depending on the total floor space of the bathroom, one configuration could be an adjacent tub and toilet at a long wall, and the vanity situated along the opposite wall. In terms of footage, the bathroom would have to be approximately 84 inches wide in order to accomplish this configuration with a standard vanity cabinet.
This reconfiguration may require moving the toilet, since many small bathrooms place a stool at the short wall. By positioning the toilet adjacent to the tub, a double vanity could be installed along the opposite wall. In the event this configuration doesn’t allow ample floor space in front of the vanity, or costs constraints might be a factor, a modified vanity cabinet may be the solution.
3. Modified Vanity Cabinet
The typical vanity cabinet is 24 inches deep, from the face of the cabinet to the mirror wall. In addition, most under counter and vessel sinks are manufactured to standard sizes for installation in typical vanity cabinets. Fortunately, some manufacturers offer a line of scaled down vanity sinks that can be installed in smaller vanity cabinets.
Scaled down sinks have ports for standard faucet fixtures and drain lines, and they are available in many of the colors and styles that one finds with standard sinks. Granite and laminate countertops can be sized to fit a smaller vanity cabinet, and ceramic tile can be selected for any size countertop surface.
Modifying a standard 24 inch vanity cabinet is not a complicated procedure, and it is best done by cutting the back of the cabinet to achieve the desired depth. The depth of the drawers can be modified to fit the smaller cabinet, and drawer guides are available in shorter lengths as well.