One of our most recent projects has been to expand the dimensions of a bathroom for one of our clients. When we arrived on the job the first day we immediately recognized that the tile, the glass encased shower stall and the wall fixtures (his and hers medicine cabinets) were from the 70’s and in need of updating. The shower stall was about six feet by three feet, with an adjacent closet space taking up and additional two feet by three feet (altogether: eight feet long). The homeowner’s desire was to modernize the bathroom by updating the style, but more importantly, they wanted a brand new bathtub (over five feet long) to replace the glass encased shower stall, and a new smaller separate shower stall to go where the closet is located.
The architect drew up plans, and passed them on to us. While things sometimes look simple to do on paper, as demolition begins and walls are opened up, we often find challenges that were not taken into account before the interior of the wall became visible. For example, it was not clear from the drawn up plans that the wall we were moving was a load-bearing wall. Once we saw that it was we took the proper steps to ensure our demolition would not compromise the integrity of the house. Other things might look good on paper too, but by San Francisco’s building codes, however, those things might not be legal. A shower stall, for example, cannot be two feet by three feet; it must have a minimum 30 inch diameter and 1024 square inches of room. So in order to make this idea work, we had to move the load-bearing wall (adjacent to the closet) back into the next room about eight inches in order to make space for the new tub, custom built shower pan, plumbing, new tile, etc.