The Smallest Room in the Van – Our New Updated Bathroom
The “bathroom” was also circa 1972 in looks and smell and needed completely gutted. The old walls were the usual waterproof wallboard in a sickly cream colour. The plastic corner sink was also cream, cracked around the edges, the taps and all down the pedestal. The taps and shower fittings were all 1980’s fading gold finish! It was a complete mess.
Luckily the original shower tray is ceramic and in excellent condition and will be much more durable than the thin plastic trays that are so often used in motorhomes.
I was tasked with painting the walls and ceiling while Alan removed the shower unit, taps, sink and vanity unit. He found a ceramic corner sink with base cupboard on eBay as well as new shower fittings and chrome mixer taps to replace the old cracked plastic sink/shelf and gold taps and shower.
The ceramic corner sink and shower tray will add weight to the payload but with a 7.5 tonne gross axle weight on the vehicle, these couple of little luxuries are worth it.
Having a bit of vinyl wrap left we decided to make a feature wall – you can see the pics above and below – personally I think its spa quality.
The cassette toilet was a revelation – never having spent a night in a tent or a caravan with a toilet – the intricacies of a cassette toilet have evaded me. BUT at this point I would like to say a huge thank you to the previous owners who very thoughtfully left the contents of their toilet cassette in-situ for us to dispose of. I’m not sure how long it had been since it was last emptied but suffice to say disposing of someone else’s (very old) crap is a sobering experience. Enough said.
Most motorhomers we know (i.e. my parents!) don’t actually use their shower as everything has a tendency to get wet but we intend living in the van most of the time so we need to use the shower daily. In an attempt to keep the water from spraying all over the bathroom we have installed a curved shower rail with shower curtain. This protects the toilet, sink and also covers the entrance door.
Originally the shower riser rail had been located on the right hand wall so was pointing directly at the toilet. We have moved the riser rail to the back wall above the plinth so that it now sprays down the length of the shower tray. This seems like the obvious place! Whether this along with the shower curtain will remedy the soaked bathroom or not remains to be seen – watch this space.
Alan also made a bespoke duckboard for the shower so that even if one of us has just had a shower and there’s some residual water in the shower base, the other can step onto the duckboard and use the loo without getting their feet wet – up there for thinking – down there for dancing.
The plinth top for the shower fitting was custom made by the boat builders who converted the van. It was made from heavy grade fibreglass. Unfortunately the original shower mixer was a double tap set up and the new shower mixer was a mono-bloc. There was no way we were going to be able to replicate the original plinth top for its custom fit.
So Alan came up with the genius idea of filling the 2 original holes with isopon using a metal meshed backing for strength. After sanding down the surplus filler and rubbing it completely smooth using wet & dry paper, it was just a matter of drilling the new centre hole for the mono-block mixer, then re-spraying the top white with multiple coats of car paint. He could then simply re-fit the original top to the plinth and the result is fantastic. New chrome capped screws add the final stylish touch.
We needed some additional bathroom storage and a mirror and found both (no, strangely not on eBay) at IKEA. Under the cupboards we have put a 1m LED strip light for extra illumination.
Alan was able to use his trusty rivet gun to attach everything to the wall – we had the usual “is it straight” conversation followed by the usual “You said it was straight” argument, but the end result looks pretty spectacular I think.
Let us know what you think in the comments and we would love to hear if you have any tips for motorhome bathroom usage!