Contribution by Antonia Ludden from tidyawaytoday.co.uk | March 2015
Antonia is a wife and mum of three sons who blogs about home improvements on a budget.
You may think you don't have room for a toilet under the stairs, but with compact sanitary ware and creative thinking you'll be surprised with what you can achieve in the smallest of spaces.
As our children increased from one to three, it became apparent that a second toilet in our family home was essential, rather than a luxury. Five people and one toilet meant it was always in demand! The obvious option was to convert the under the stairs area which was accessed from the kitchen through a pantry-style door, with steps leading down to our boiler. We wanted to raise the floor and change the access point to become a normal-sized doorway via the hallway.
We needed to get this work underway quickly and as cheaply as possible so we started to research online prices for budget cloakroom toilets and sinks, plus get a feel for estimated labour costs. We worked out the maximum we could afford and knew it would be tight, since there were a few structural alterations to be incorporated, as well as the plumbing. We got several quotes and even then had to negotiate to achieve the work we wanted on the budget we had.
We were keen to relocate our washer and dryer from the kitchen to under the stairs, where they would be out of the way and less noisy. We worked out the only way we could do this was by borrowing a small square of space from the kitchen, which meant building a new wall and knocking through a new doorway. This enabled us to enlarge the cloakroom space sufficiently enough to add the washer and dryer, stacked one on top of the other. This has worked brilliantly and I would recommend it to other families.
Another thing we did was move a section of the staircase panelling outwards slightly into the hallway, which allowed the understairs space extra width that made it possible to add a slimline sink unit. Our builder also suggested fitting a corner toilet in the space rather than a normal one and this has helped make the layout and floor space workable.
Our downstairs toilet is fortunately located directly underneath the upstairs toilet which meant that plumbing the new loo to the existing soil pipe was straightforward, which is another cost consideration. The more complicated it is, the longer it takes and the more expensive.
The understairs conversion has been well worth the financial outlay, I honestly don’t know what we would have done without it over the past couple of years!