5 Slick, Contemporary Ways to Save Space and Water in a Small Bathroom


Poo with a view - can you even find the toilet? Photo credit: Roca.

Tucking in all the necessary components into a tiny bathroom is a challenge. Even more so when you'd like it to look good.

Because of size constraints, the bathroom in the 420-square-foot New York apartment TreeHugger founder Graham Hill is renovating as part of the LifeEdited project needs to fulfill its purposes in a streamlined manner. But it also needs to be appealing.

In keeping with that mission, Graham has opted to do away with the original plan of having a steam room in the shower -- that saves space and energy. The sink must be slim, the shower super-efficient, and the wall-mounted toilet will get its own room, a much-debated decision.

The five products below -- ranging from a high design gray water sink-toilet system to a toilet that looks like a sculpture -- fit the requirements.

Other ways to edit a bathroom without losing any functionality? If you've got 'em, we want 'em. Leave suggestions in comments.
Graphic credit: EPA.

As around 26 percent of household water usage comes from toilet flushing, choosing the right toilet is a great opportunity for increasing the overall efficiency of the apartment. That's where our quest began.

1.Caroma Profile Smart 305

The Caroma Smart 305. Photo credit: Caroma.

The obvious advantage of the Caroma Profile Smart 305 Round Front Plus is its integrated sink, whose gray (waste) water is used for toilet flushing.

The Caroma is a highly-efficient, dual-flush toilet. It also has a slim, space-saving design. And the price is right at $500.

2. Roca W + W

The Roca W + W. Photo credit: Roca.

The Roca W + W takes the idea of an integrated sink used for flush water to an entirely different level of design.

LifeEdited used the gorgeous and pricey ($6,426) Roca in initial design renderings. However, once the idea of a separate toilet room was decided on, both these worthwhile candidates, the Caroma and the Roca, were off the table. Nevertheless, their multi-purpose design and efficiency make them great for future LifeEdited projects (and hopefully the Roca will come down in price!).

3. Toto Acquia

Toto Acquia. Photo credit: Toto.

The Toto Acquia ($700 with tank) is a straightforward, dual-flush wall mounted unit.

Though it lacks the allure of the W + W, it is compact, efficient -- using .8 gallons for the smaller flush and 1.6 for the larger -- and simple, therefore suiting the LifeEdited design brief. Both the Acquia, and a similar wall-mounted choice, the Duravit Starck 3 ($800), can be fitted with built-in bidets.

4. Kohler Hotel Handheld Shower Kit or Master Shower Ultra Low-Flow

Kohler Master Shower Ultra. Photo credit: Kohler.

Showers constitute more than 15 percent of household water usage, so a Watersense rating for the LifeEdited showerhead is a plus.

Bricor makes some highly efficient models that have flow rates as little as .375 gpm, but aesthetically these are somewhat lacking.

For a minimalist approach, the Kohler Master Shower Ultra Low-Flow ($141) is designed to deliver water 'intensity' though it is low-flow. The Kohler Hotel Handheld Shower Kit ($389.95) is sleek, has a respectable 1.25 gpm, and features a wand to aid shower clean-up.

5. Toto Gooseneck Ecopower

Toto Gooseneck. Photo credit: Toto.

And finally, sinks and faucets. Needless to say, LifeEdited won't be using "waterfall" faucets, which waste an enormous amount of H2O simply for the sound of splashing water. And our tiny apartment's design specifications limit the sink choice to a relatively small (maximum width of 22 inches and depth of 16 inches) unit.

One way to save water is to use an automatic electronic faucet, such as the Toto Helix EcoPower TEL3GC10 ($977) or the Toto Gooseneck EcoPower TEL3GG10 ($843).

The EcoPower series of faucets have a 10-second cycle, with about 1.06 gallons of water discharged in the cycle -- and a web search reveals they are cheaper through suppliers.

Aesthetically, we also like the Kohler Purist (from $516). These wall-mounted units have a sleek look and save space.

Together with a wall-mounted sink, such as the Toto wall-mounted LT 191 Lavoratory, the LifeEdited bathroom can maximize both counter space and minimize water consumption.

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Tags: Bathrooms | LifeEdited

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