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How To Make A Shower Room Leads To A Brand New Studio Apartment

Updated on July 24, 2009

My parents are living in a house that is far too big for them. The children have left home so there are two rooms that are empty and not being used for anything except storage. After deciding that creating a shower room on the ground floor would be a good addition,we came up with the idea of creating a complete studio apartment so that we could rent it out.

The money that would be gained would completely cover the monthly mortgage payments. This meant that my parents could save their pension and really splash out on a holiday adventure. My mother loves going on cruises so this would be a dream come true for her.

We sketched out an idea of how this would work and figured out what we would need. A self contained studio apartment needs:

  • A bedroom / living area
  • A shower room
  • A kitchen / cooking area

One of the empty bedrooms is very large so we knew that we could put a kitchen unit along one side of the wall. The room would also double up (or triple up) as a bedroom / living room area. We had a big double bed that we had to get rid of so that we could put in a more efficient sofa bed or futon sofa bed. The bed was still in great condition so we thought about giving it away. However my budget conscious sister suggested placing it on eBay. She advertised it with a minimum bidding price of £25. It sold for £42. That was great to get some extra money to put in the pot.

How to make a shower room
How to make a shower room

Next we needed to figure out how to make a shower room. We had a large storage cupboard that was situated opposite the bedroom and knew that this would be big enough. It was on an outside wall so all the pipe work for the toilet could easily be arranged by our builder.

After finding out the dimensions of bathroom suites, we found that we needed to extend the room a few more inches to accommodate the shower enclosure, the bathroom sink and the toilet.

The boring part of all this was when the builders came to do their stuff. There was a lot of mess everywhere. You can try to contain it by closing all the doors and putting down dustsheets but the mess and dust gets everywhere. In the end, you just have to wait until the job is done then you can have a really good cleaning session.

The whole process took about 3 weeks. It should have been quicker but the builders were friends of the family so they took their time and of course my mother invited them for home cooked lunches and dinners every day and the evening always ended with a nice glass of Jamaican rum.

A futon sofa bed is a great addition for a studio apartment
A futon sofa bed is a great addition for a studio apartment

Anyway the studio apartment is now complete. We learned how to make a shower room successfully and it has been fitted out in a neutral colour – white. It has a basic shower tray with a plexi glass enclosure. The kitchen units are in place along with the integrated sink and lovely mixer taps. We decided not to buy an integrated cooker and hob in order to keep the cost down.

We were able to pick up a nice and cheap second hand microwave hob combination. It microwaves, grills, bakes and has two electric rings on the top. Perfect for a single person who doesn’t really cook that much. There is also a little fridge with enough space for the frozen pizzas and a couple of bottles of chilled wine.

Our very first tenant has now moved in. She is a friend of my sister’s who was looking to move to London from Liverpool. She is a lovely girl and when she saw the room, she was positively over the moon. It is a very big space, far bigger than she had expected.

We are also charging far less than the going rate would be for this type of living accommodation in London, near a mainline train station. We wanted to keep the rent low for a couple of reasons. One, we wanted enough to cover the mortgage payments, two, we would only be renting to people we know and three, we didn’t want the hassle of having to complete tax returns so were keen to keep the amount below the acceptable threshold set by the government.

So that’s it.  The old bedroom has a new lease of life.  It is now a lovely studio apartment.  There is an extra shower room in my parent’s home and they can look forward to going on their vacation cruise much sooner.

There were a lot of lessons to be learnt while doing this project but it has piqued my interest.  If I had the funds, I would definitely consider doing a house renovation. Maybe it is not the right economic climate to be thinking about this, but this could be an option for the future.


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