Ideas needed please! Space above shower - what to do with it

5 Feb 2010
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United Kingdom
Hi folks!

I need some ideas for what to do, and hope people can make suggestions.

[Sorry for mixing imperial with metric.]

I am having a shower (760 x 1200 tray) fitted in the corner of my bedroom. Now, because it is a bedroom I don't want a glass cubicle as I find them rather cold and clinical and not the right look for a cosy bedroom. So I am going to enclose the cubicle with stud walls. So far so good!

I am buying a Coram 800mm wide bifold shower door. This is 1850 high (6 feet)

My problem is that the ceiling is over 9ft high. What shall I do with the 3ft plus space above the shower?

I've scoured the web looking for images of showers and they all show nothing at all above the cubicle (but then there is only about a foot of spare space above most of them!)

My initial plan was to build a cupboard right up to the ceiling, about 2ft high, then leave an open space beneath it, about a foot high, for ventilation. This works well as an idea, especially as I have bought a zone 1 light to light the showering area and this could be fitted to the underside of the cupboard.

However, the problem with a cupboard is that I don't need it. I already have one at that height in the bedroom and it's not even half full. Because I cannot reach it or access it (cannot climb ladders owing to disability) the last thing I need is another cupboard at that height, that will simply lay empty.

My builder is booked in to start on 22nd Feb and I still don't have any plans ready for him, so I am having a good long search for an alternative idea.

My idea number 1 is to have floor to ceiling stud walls which entirely enclose the shower, but I wonder if it won't feel odd inside, having such a high ceiling? Also, that won't deal with the need for ventilation. My builder says we have to have an electric fan if it's completely enclosed floor to ceiling. I don't fancy that -- noisy!

Idea 2 is a variation on that idea -- but to insert several windows into the studs above 6ft for ventilation.

Idea 3 is another variation on that idea --- omit the stud wall above the 800mm wide shower door and either leave it as a window/hole or run white-painted dowelling bars horizontally from top to bottom, giving a "finished" look yet still allowing plenty of ventilation.

My builder suggests (idea 4) ending the stud walls at a height of 6 feet, the height of the Coram door, and leave the cubicle open at the top. I worry that it will look odd and "unfinished", and that the flat tops of the wall will just look ugly and collect dust.

Can anyone come up with a better plan?

Thanking you in advance, and grateful for this forum!

Sussex Woman
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personally I'd would put a cupboard above it.
Whether you use it or not, would not be a factor.
It will finish the look off and a will be useful storage area if not for you, the next occupiers in the future, when you decide to move on.
Personally I'd be inclined to leave it open, but there again I like to see lots of ventilation.
If thats not acceptable then I'd be inclined to continue with glass up to the top, maybe incorporating a short false ceiling within the studs to accommodate lighting and the very important extractor fan.
Moisture will be a problem here, hence you can maybe expect mould growth around silicone seals and the tile grout if the ventilation isn't good.
I'm about to start a similar project and to minimise grout and sealant I'm going to use a board called 'Aquapanel' - which means that there will only be joins in the two corners of the shower.
Time to get the sketch pad out!
Good luck with your project.
John :)
Thanks for replies so far.

Burner -- you mean glass all round from 6ft to 9ft 6? Wow that would look amazing, but would not allow for ventilation.

More fresh ideas warmly welcomed!

Also, has anyone got any example of what other people do in these circumstances?
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Yes, a fully glazed partition is what I mean - with minimal studwork to keep things neat. The glass would have to be toughened, and there are attractive frosted designs if you prefer.
Ventilation and lighting would be taken care of by a false ceiling within the shower - only 9" or so would be fine, and you could glaze up to this. So, an extractor fan (horizontal) and lights could be within this false panel, and the ventilator ducted outside.
Leaving the shower door ajar after use for a while, and having a timed fan would keep moisture minimal.
Appropriate lights are availaable for this shower zone, but because of the way they are sealed tend to diffuse the light - so allow for that on your planning....nothing worse than a gloomy shower! LED lamps can also be let into the shower walls if you want.
Personally I find a sliding door stronger than a bifold and easier to clean with a squeegee but thats incidental!
John :)
Thank you for your reply Burner. I'm not keen on too much glass for reasons given in first post. Also want to avoid having a fan as it's not on an outside wall. I've already bought a zone 1 light, and I'm not having a sliding door because on the long side of the shower is a stud wall (also to keep the glass down to a minimum) and I need a wide opening.

Should explain, on the 1200 side, 400 is the stud wall and 800 is the bifold door.
Thats fair enough, but I do think that the need for steam extraction has to be addressed really - either by ducting that goes through the ceiling and away to an external wall or whatever.
The only things you have to think about (but naturally only my opinion) is that the shower needs to be light and airy - which a 1200mm shower would be. I'm not sure how a 800mm bifold door would look, with the extra 400mm becoming solid.
John :)
If light and airy is the only thing, then that would lead inevitably to just stopping both walls at 6ft and having nothing above.

This is a perfect solution vis a vis light, air, ventilation, cheapness and simplicity, but I am really worried that it might look really odd just having those walls ending abruptly halfway up....
I've had another idea: build the cupboard on the ceiling, build the walls up to only 6ft then put something along the top of the walls, such as

~ three banisters or some kind of pole, perhaps barley twist or something, one at each end and one on the outside corner, helping support the cupboard above.

~ don't build the cupboard, put something along the top of the walls to finish them off.
Rather than find a way to fill the 'gap at the top'....... Id go the other way.

Raise the shower unit UP.....Build it on a semi-circular plinth ...With 2 or 3 semi circular steps. (When i say semi circular I obviously mean from wall to wall) ........

LOL there is only 24cm clearance between the shower cubicle and the bed! And no, the bed cannot go anywhere else :)
LOL there is only 24cm clearance between the shower cubicle and the bed! And no, the bed cannot go anywhere else :)

Divorce the husband and get a single bed.............

The nights will be colder......but you'll have a damn fine shower.... ;)
An extractor fan is absolute must, or the room will be moldy [along with the shower enclosure] and condensation will ruin decoration not to mention your health.
you havent given this enough thought :D ;)

shower tray supported 6 inches above floor x6ft off glass = 6ft6" PLUS head room to the shower head approximatly 1ft to give you an invigorating spray overhead for anyone that may wish to use you shower

so unless the shower is at your side spraying below head height your on around 7 ft 6 inches ;)

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