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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been pretty effective at squeezing every inch out of my build so far, but I'm caught between a couple of design options with respect to the bathroom and looking for some input:

Option 1 leaves me very little extra space but the dimensions of the 24x27" shower pan if I build to the edge of the passenger window. This would bump me out a little further in the space I want to conserve near the rear bench and waste some space near the back passenger seat. However, I have up to 36" lengthwise if I'm willing to build the bathroom overlapping the rear window (I suppose this could serve as some ventilation for the bathroom).

Option 2 is sort of a triangular build that maximizes literally every inch of space, but maybe it'll be too large once its framed out. The front wall line in the diagram is a little off as the closest shower pan match that I can currently find comes out about 18 5/16" on that edge (or about 2" more than the edge of the 16.25" bench). It would make getting in and out of that side of the bench much more accessible than option 1 since there will be a table on a boat stand back there. It's kind of a square-u booth shaped seating area and the table will drop down converting it into a full-sized bed.

All ideas/thoughts appreciated!

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmm, are to say. I'm going to have a very similar design layout, so curious what you end up going with. From the looks of it, that corner shower unit looks like it may be cramped if your kitch is on the other side. You may want a wider walk way back to the rear beds.
The kitchen is on the other side, but I don't see it interfering either way. As things are right now, anyone working in the kitchen will have to move out of the way if someone wants to get by, and I wouldn't be building out any wider than the width of that back seat at 38.5".

I guess the other variable are where the shower drains end up lining up with either pan. I saw a video of a guy making his own custom shower pan which would be ideal since then I could angle it down to the width of that that 16.25" bench, but I'm not sure how that would hold up over time in a van vs a stationary house.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's what I did. I used my boatbuliding experience to fabricate a pan-surround unit from plywood, fiberglass and epoxy. Overlapping fiberglass and epoxy ties it all together into one continuous water-proof structure, just like a boat. No worries. But I already had the skills, tools, and confidence. I wouldn't recommend it as a first-time project, but it's not out of the question. There are tons of YouTubes on fiberglassing by experienced boatbuilders. Avoid the self-proclaimed van-life "experts" doing it for the first time.
I found another "neo angle" 36" x 36" shower pan at Home Depot that only sticks out 17.3" on the short edge which means it only juts out 1" from the edge of the rear bench, so I'm starting to think that option 2 may be the winning design. It'll certainly be a lot easier to return the pan if the fitment isn't going to work. The footprint should be about perfect except for that 36" edge along the van wall which is going to be reeeeeally tight if I want to keep that straight vertical wall going up the back passenger seat.

On the other hand, I guess I shouldn't obsess over that wall being a perfect 90 degrees. It's not like I haven't had a bunch of other weird angles to work around with this project. If I have to slope that wall back in a little bit around the contours of that rear passenger seat, who cares, right? Otherwise, maybe I could also build that wall directly onto the lip of the shower pan instead of on the outside of it which should give me just enough clearance.

I guess this is part of the reason why I embarked upon this project - to solve a million small math problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
hmm, how deep is your kitchen cabinet? Looks like a decent amount of space.
It's 15" wide to match the sink. I decided to only make it as wide as the sink since the extra couple of inches didn't make much difference on the countertop but made a big difference in the walkway between the countertop and the rear passenger seat.

The butcher block countertop I had was from an Ikea rolling island that I bought on craigslist for $40 and hacked up. It came with a couple of drawers which I reused in that kitchen counter. I highly recommend going that route as you usually get a lot more countertop than you need when you buy it from the big box stores.

Have you looked at how the Winnebago Rialta used slide out walls for the shower? View attachment 81675 View attachment 81676 There is a door that closes to hide the toilet and is attached to the sliding walls. The drain is recessed with a cover over it for walking in the aisle. Look up the Rialta brochure.
Thanks for the suggestion. As of right now, I think I'm pretty set on design option #2 and becoming increasingly confident that I can make it work, even if I have to slope the wall a little around the contours of that rear passenger seat.

I kind of agree with Minnievan in that the angled wall will make the space more fluid to move around, both inside and outside of the bathroom. It'll also visually partition the van a little more between the two "rooms" which I think will look cool.

I'll post pictures here as I complete the buildout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Maybe consider not using a door to make it easier to move around.

I used a retractable screen like this


Highly recommend. Light, convenient, easy to operate.
I haven't ruled that option out, but I have some holdups:

1) I thought they were kind of expensive compared to real doors
2) I didn't think that a door would be that intrusive and would remain closed all the time anyway.
3) I could leave the door open at night to help wall off any lights/TV etc from the front galley.
4) Those screens struck me as kind of meh as far as privacy. Seems like if you're going to do some dirty business with an RV toilet, you'd at least like to have a room that's a little more soundproofed than a thin screen.

Happy to have my mind changed about any of these things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If you can otherwise manage the door, or use it to wall off lights from the front a door might be better.

Its certainly not soundproof, but a door probably isn't either. Generally I am alone in my van. I have a second screen at the cab partition and the few times I have been traveling with someone one of us waited in the cab or outside while suing the restroom. That way if you showered you can step out to dry off, since the bathroom is very tight. But mostly its just me and I get the whole place to myself.

My design didn't allow for a door that could open out when the second bed (Smartbed Evolution R) is deployed and the screen at least allows access to the bathroom while the bed is out. Admittedly 90%+ of the time I try to use other restrooms and showers.
Yeah, I'll probably stick with the door design. I think it'll make for a cleaner look once it's all painted and closed up. I've already camped in it once and going in/out of the loud van door kind of disturbs the wife, so I imagine that our bathroom will be used quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The triangle one is nice! I would finish it off with the idea that it will always be open, leaving the diagonal sides as open as possible. I love van bathrooms where the "shower is built like a fancy nook in the space. It feels so much more spacious than a closed box. get a curved shower curtain rod and shower curtain.

Another option: a 21" x 35" pan. That's what I used and the narrow width would work well with your other reduced dimensions. I especially like the raised toilet area. it brings my squat portapotty to normal toilet height and it's never sitting in water.

View attachment 81698
hey thanks. That’s a solid idea. My triangular “neo angle” pan arrives at my local HD tomorrow, so I’m going to lay it out and see how it looks. If I’m not in love with it, that pan would probably be my next best option.

That 21” depth vs the 24” pan I had been looking at would make a huge difference, and your other points about the elevated shelf for the toilet are well taken. Where did you buy that one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Hmmmmm... I think you might like the 21x35" more. There's not much foot space when cooking, and when the bed is made up things might feel tight. The shower will grow out a bit once you have the wall construction in, depending on how you do that. Gaining 15" behind the kitchen/walkway is a lot.
I see your point, but if I build the walls back onto the edge of the pan, the only additional interior space loss will be the 1/2” plywood that covers the edge of the pan down to the floor. I still haven’t really worked through how I would do the framing and interior walls, but I’m sure I can figure something out.

The thing about your pan is that it would jut out 5” from the edge of the rear bench as opposed to this which slopes back until it’s almost flush. So, I would gain more space near the countertop but lose it as you approach the rear galley.

Othe other hand, that shower pan that you have is only 100 bucks or so if I buy one that was returned to Amazon. It might be worth at least laying it on the floor and seeing what it would look like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
The other thing I almost forgot is that that rear galley is going to have a table on a boat stand that will drop down flush to the edge of the bench at night to form a full bed. With that 21” shower pan, there definitely won’t be enough room to get in that side of the bench during the day.

I wouldn’t call that a dealbreaker, but it will probably be more inconvenient than the space reduction working around the kitchen with this shower pan.

Either way I go, I think I’m going to make that bathroom exterior wall as thin as possible and build up the wall rigidity from the interior of the bathroom since I have more space to sacrifice there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Where will the shower plumbing run? which wall will house the regulators and shower head? I had to put 2x4's against the driver's wall so there was a channel for the plumbing to run through.

If I read it right, you're turning that back area into a dining area? That's a big table, and very narrow benches. Generally, when people do that, they have bank cushions to fill in the table area. You won't have room for that with 16" deep seats. It looked like you had one of those up and down beds so I wan't sure how you intended to use the back area. Are you putting the table on a pedestal or lagun mount?

I could be very wrong about this, not fully understanding what you've got going. But here's my big concern. Your table might be too big for the kind of mount that will allow you to convert it into a bed.

I personally wouldn't mind the shower enclosure extending 5-6" beyond the bench. I like when there's little turns like that.
I was going to put the showerhead and fixture on the short wall facing the rear bench. The water tank is over the other wheel hump and the pump and hot water heater is housed in the bench closest to the back doors. So, the plumbing would run through those benches and straight up into that shower wall. Or, at least that’s the plan.

Yes, the table is going to be very big for that area. Then again, this bench will seat six people around the table easily, so maybe it’s not so big after all. I sort of just built the bench around the water tank and then just used the same width all around. If I had to do it again I would’ve made those benches wider.

They’re actually not that uncomfortable to sit on now though, but once you start putting cushions along the back the seat might feel a little short I suppose. Those back cushions are going to be what fills in the table area for the bed at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Thanks for all the tips and suggestions.

The water tank is over the passenger side wheel hump, so there’s plenty of room to run the plumbing around to the shower. And, I did leave room on top of it to get to the kitchen sink anyway. 😀

How much gap between the bench seat and the shower head wall do you think is the minimum? You said 4” or 2x4’s on the long side, which would push the pan more toward the front of the van than I was hoping. That means I’m going to have to slope that wall around that rear passenger seat even more. It’s not a huge deal, but the further I keep it toward the rear of the van the less I have to slope that wall and give myself more usable space inside the bathroom.

Thanks for your photos, but I’m a little confused as to why you did it the way you did. Did you slope out the wall toward the van sliding door? What problem did that solve for you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
I just went out and looked at mine. I used 2x3" studs for the shower, not 2x4. 2x3 is closer to 2x2.5. Will that work? Maybe you can get away with 2x2's. Maybe buy your regulators and shower arm, the pex and the elbow and see is you can angle it to work.

I didn't slope the wall. That will look odd. I built straight up from the floor, and where the seat started to break the plane, I built out a few inches, then continued up. Does that make sense? Tomorrow when there's light I can take pics for you.
Oh, I think it was an optical illusion. You have a black towel hanging from a hook which made it look like the wall was sloping back in. Definitely interested to see some more of your pictures when you get the chance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
rjcarter3 do you mind posting a photo of the space between the drivers seat and the rear dinette seats? Trying to gauge space for my next build out as I already have a similar seat and seeing if I can fit a storage space between the shower and rear bed. Also, how wide are the rear beds? I assume a standard 159?
Can you be more specific? You want me to show you a picture from say outside the sider facing in to show the cab seats and rear passenger seats? My build will have dinettes in both the bow and stern, so it gets confusing. 😛🤙
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Here’s an earlier photo for what I think you’re asking. At some point I’m going have a narrow removable table that’ll go in that front dinette area.

I’ll have 2 full size beds in the rear. One is on sliders that retracts to the ceiling during the day. That one I had to make a little short since the van narrows a little bit toward the ceiling.

The other is the square-U lounge that’ll have a table that drops down into the middle at night to convert into another full bed. That one is full size in both directions.

This is a standard 159 high roof.

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Here’s a shot from the front so you can see the beds in the rear.

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Thanks for those pictures. You don't have to apologize. I think you did a great job. You could always redo the sealant if it ever bothers you that much.

I went ahead and looked at the shower pan again this morning, and I'm starting to think that you may right. This pan is just huge, and I'm not sure how accessible that rear bench is going to be from that side once I build out all the walls even if I build them in toward the shower as much as possible.

The extra space along the back wall facing the rear passenger seat doesn't really get me anything other than just the appearance of efficient use of space. If the pan were slightly smaller this design would be better, but I don't really have the time or patience to get a custom shower pan made.

I think I could solve dinette entry issue with the 21" rectangular shower pan just by cutting a slant out of that corner of the table on that side. It's not like anyone is going to fall through a 1' angled gap once it's converted into a bed and covered with cushions.

I also love your sliding door idea, which would be cheap and easy to make and install. We did them in our tiny house Airbnb rental where we just didn't have room for traditional doors. I assume that you lined the inside of that with FRP board also?
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Oooooh. I see what you're saying about the table and that corner! If the table is on a lagun mount, you will be able to move the table to get into the seating area, no big deal. It moves forward, back, left, right... I have the same issue with my kitchen counter. If you go with a raising and lowering pedestal you won't be able to do that. You could also extent the seat on the shower side to align with the shower. That would give you a slightly smaller table and more room for the cushions. A big table on the small base could detach from the base if someone leans on it too hard. I don't know if that will happen, but maybe take the table measurement and google or ask people here if they think it will work.

I did face the door with FRP. But I put a spring rod and shower curtain in. I don't trust the seam where the door meets the short wall to not leak water somewhere.

One thing about the sliding door. The opening to enter the shower is small, I think 18" maybe a little less, and there's no way around it. It's perfect for me but I tried to make it bigger and there's just no way around it. So if you have a small family, it's great, but if anyone is big, getting into the bathroom will be a squeeze. (the hardware is not barn door hardware, but a barn door for a cabinet. so it's smaller. the hard part was getting the 35" bar. I ended up with a 36" bar and made it work. )
You have a lot of good ideas. Thanks for all the input.

Did you do most or all of that work yourself? I'm super impressed. My wife is pretty handy with woodworking, but she's not the all-around craftsman that you are.

I think I'm going to go with a pedestal for the table. I think the lagun mounts are kind of expensive? And I'm not sure how well it'll work with a table that big. Also, I'd like for people to slide around which the Lagun mounts can make kind of challenging.

Once I get the bathroom built, I'll see exactly how much space I need for maneuvering in and out on that side of the table and am confident that once I see what I'm working with I'll either cut out a slant on that table and/or extend the bench out on that side as you suggested.

I already ordered the new pan from Amazon. They had one "used" for $106 which is about $200 cheaper than this current pan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
So, I picked up the Lolaeliz shower pan, and it's definitely a lot more compact and lighter than the residential style one that was just too big. Naturally, I started watching youtube to see how others have framed in their showers, and I stumbled onto a video which I almost wish I hadn't watched:

This guy made a custom shower pan out of wood and a couple of layers of white flex seal. It looks really good and passed his water test. Whether it stands the test of time and how hard it is to clean, I have no idea, but this would be ideal for my odd shaped space.

Is this a bad idea? I saw @jbourne48 in another thread toss around that possibility, but has anyone tried it? I don't really feel like finding a fabricator or learning how to make my own fiberglass pan, but maybe this isn't something worth trying to find the easy way out.

CAMPER VAN SHOWER BUILD with FLEX SEAL #flexseal #vanlife - YouTube
 
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