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A Surprise Window in a Small Bath

Fitting the required amenities into a small bathroom can be a big design challenge. With limited wall space, windows and the valuable daylight and views they provide can easily find their way out of a design in favor of more functionally valuable items such as linen closets, showers, and vanity mirrors. In this small bathroom, reinterpreting the latter provided the bathroom with the utility it needs without having to sacrifice ventilation, access to daylight, or valuable views to the trees and water beyond.

A double-sided mirror is set into a Douglas fir frame that sits inside the window jambs much like a storm window. The door unit is made operable with a piano hinge installed along one of its stiles.

When the mirror is folded against the sidewall, you can see out the window. Daylight can pour in, but you still have a mirror on the back side of the door. Close the hinged door, and you have a more traditional mirror. I especially like the fact that when the door is closed over the window, it looks like a simple but attractive medicine cabinet. The window behind it can be a surprise to guests.

  Design by Richard Manzo of Knight Associates, Architects.
Enjoy the utility. With the door closed, the unit appears to be a traditional medicine cabinet—albeit one with simple yet elegant Douglas-fir trim. Enjoy the utility. With the door closed, the unit appears to be a traditional medicine cabinet—albeit one with simple yet elegant Douglas-fir trim.

Photo by: Robert Knight.
Enjoy the view. Open the door, and a crank-out casement window offers an outdoor view, daylight, and ventilation.Enjoy the view. Open the door, and a crank-out casement window offers an outdoor view, daylight, and ventilation. Photo by: Robert Knight.
From Fine Homebuilding231, Kitchens & Baths, Winter 2012 , pp. 22