Master bath help

onewomanarmyFebruary 7, 2012

Hi -

I've been soaking up the info on this forum for a while now while I've been trying to figure out what we're going to do about our master bath when it occurred to me that there are a lot of people here with good ideas and experiences. We're just in the pre-planning stages right now, trying to come up with some ideas and possibilities.

Attached is the current layout. The total length of the room is 152" and approx 96" wide (I've forgotten the exact number but this is close). The only exterior wall is the one with the windows (somewhat of a bay window). The bay window is supported all the way to the foundation (ie it's not an overhang without exterior support). There is a full basement below. The door to the sunroom will be removed and filled in. Currrently has a jetted tub which we never use. Toilet between the tub and the shower (fiberglass). Double vanity on the other wall.

Current Plan/Thinking:

We'll do away with the tub altogether. We don't use it and plan on being here a while so don't care about resale. We'd also tear out the "stumps" at either end of the tub. We'd like to put the shower here but aren't completely sure what to do with the windows. I'm thinking we'll raise the bottoms of the windows and use some sort of frosted glass or blocks. Any suggestions are welcome though.

We're thinking about putting some sort of floor to ceiling cabinets where the tub "stumps" are right now in order to square up the shower and give us additional storage. We'd also, if possible, move the toilet over some (towards where the shower is currently) so we can make the shower deeper. We'd move the vanity to the same side of the room as the toilet.

One thing we're trying to keep in mind is keeping the space so it's easily modified or usable with a wheelchair. My partner has Multiple Sclerosis and so there is a really good chance that a wheelchair will be needed at some point. We've gone back and forth as to whether we make it completely wheelchair accessible right now or just make it so that it's easily adapted when necessary. This thinking is partially why I'm leaning towards the vanity on the toilet side of the wall even though that means moving plumbing.

Sorry for the long discussion - just trying to figure out what our options are. If anyone has any suggestions or examples of how you've incorporated a bay window type of situation into a shower, I'd love to see it. I see them all the time with tubs - not so much with showers. Finish-wise, we really like stones/rocks/etc - bringing nature inside - so I'm also looking for ideas there too.

Sorry for the poor drawing - I had mainly just jotted it down to think over some ideas. Not sure it will translate well to board viewing.

Thanks for any suggestions! :)

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Love the idea of putting the shower where the tub is now. Frost the windows. You can purchase "etching cream" & various films and decals but not sure how these will hold up to bathroom humidity over time. If you can spend the extra money you can have the windows professionally etched/ sand blasted or even stained (this last option very costly). If you are interested try to find professionals in your area who can show you samples of their work. The results can be stunning. They will probably recommend you allow them to work on the shower door as well (when I had professionals of this sort working in my house they had exciting suggestions to cover every window in my house!). I feel that in this case less is more. Go with a clear wall of glass with a wide floor to ceiling door in the middle for easy access. This will let in light and give the room an airy feel. I do like the vanity and toilet on the same wall. If you will be using a wheelchair you want to maximize space and minimize clutter. There are some lovely river rock applications available now. You can really get creative with them. Instead of evenly covering one surface with them, you can do a river/swirl/ spiral in between the tiling on one wall. Maybe the shower wall between the 2 windows? Personally I prefer the idea of placing them on the wall where the double vanity used to be that will now be empty. That will give you the most space to come up with an interesting design and give interest and texture to the bathroom. Of course I don't know your budget- you can do both, and mirror the shapes, design of the river rock wall application in the window etching. Great idea to have the bathroom functional for wheel chair accessibility but no reason it can't be beautiful as well. When shopping for tile be aware the river rock does not come in a great variety of colors so maybe buy that first. There are some lovely soft grays that will blend beautifully with the grays and blues that are in now.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 12:03PM
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hi arik!

Thanks for the feedback - I'm glad the idea of putting the shower on that end doesn't sound crazy to someone else! :)

As for the windows - we'll be replacing them completely. We've already replaced all the windows in the rest of the house but didn't do these because we knew we'd be remodeling this room. It hadn't really clicked with me at first but if we do cabinets on the ends of the shower (doesn't seem like that space would add much usable space to the shower) then we'll be doing away with the two side windows and only have the one larger one. I'm hoping there is enough room and it will look ok to have a cabinet at either end of the shower without making the shower too small. Guess I need to figure out some general shower sizes that will fit a chair of some type to be safe.

I hadn't thought about the limitations in color probably being greater with any river rock accent - very good point and good advice to pick that first. I can see being very frustrating thinking we are going to do somethink like you mention as an accent and not being able to find the color to match everything else.

I need to figure out how deep we can make the shower along with how to go about the whole cabinet part. We'd have to have the cabinets at either end of the shower custom made to fit those angles. Have no idea how expensive that sort of thing is. Wonder what the likelihood of being able to match or coordinate those cabinets with a vanity... I've got so many questions and so many ideas running around my head right now! :)

Thanks for the suggestions and ideas - still trying to figure out if this whole layout will work!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 11:33AM
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You need to investigate and fully understand waterproofing systems and how to create a barrier free shower. Google Kerdi systems. The window itself will need to be fully waterproof, such as glass block, vinyl, or fiberglass. To do a curbless shower will involve alterations to the structural members below the floor. Google Universal Design.

I would probably attempt to create a "wet room" within the bathroom that would hold the toilet and shower and be barrier free for the whole portion. Then you can have some separation from the vanity area with wing walls and be able to use non wet location type floating vanities there. Remember you will need a 60" turning circle for a wheelchair, plus the door and hallway leading to the bath will need to be a minimum of 36" in width.

Call around to a few cabinet shops and find a designer that is well versed in Universal Design baths to help you to plan this all out correctly.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Seems like you could make a really great shower that is easily accessible and incorporates seating if you move one of the shower edges into one of the stumps to make a trapezoid. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets are not going to be accessible to your partner and will also block light--you could instead do a cabinet that ends at the window. If you move the vanity to the tub wall, you might be able to squeeze in a bit more storage--perhaps something shallow that will not take up too much floor space--on the opposite wall.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:54PM
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The waterproofing issues with windows in a shower would be enough to deter me from putting it there. I'd probably stick with your basic layout, but expand the shower to the LH wall after you close up the door. If you want to rip out the tub, put a nice seating area there or a makeup vanity with some plants or something.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer. :-(

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 8:45AM
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green.homeowner - that's exactly what I'm starting to think re the space. The more I look at the space, the more I wonder what it will gain us storage wise vs cost (to make something custom to fit that space) and shower space. I think at least the space on what is now the vanity end may be more valuable in the shower. The other end, I think we'll have to put some sort of wall there to run plumbing through given that's an exterior wall.

live_wire_oak - we're hoping to do some of the work ourselves but the shower and windows we'll be hiring out most likely. However, I like to know as much as I can about how things are supposed to be done, what our options are, etc - so thanks for the info on the Kerdi system. I hadn't made it that far in my thinking/googling so didn't have any idea what that was. I also appreciate knowing the terminology - Universal Design - should help me better communicate (and google :) ) what I'm thinking.

I'm assuming a barrier free shower with the alterations to the joists and supports would be a sizeable increase in cost and so we need to figure out how far we want to go towards making this room completely wheelchair accessible. I'm more inclined to go for it so this would be the least of our issues if a wheelchair were to be needed, she's thinking more along the lines that she won't be so immobile that she can't transfer herself and/or stand for a short period and therefore we don't need to worry about curb-less and such. I was going to look into something I saw on TV a long time ago - was basically like a speed bump - a barrier to prevent water from leaving the shower area - but could be rolled over (or stepped on?) vs a less accomodating curb. Does anyone have any experience with this type of containment?

weedyacres - I understand your concern - I'm really not too keen having a window in the shower but it feels like the best way to lay out the room to give us the maximum manueverability space. I'm hoping since we are totally replacing the windows that are there, we'll better be able to control the possibility of leaking. I'm most concerned with finding someone who knows what they are doing and does good work. I'm hoping a waterproof shower window isn't as much a fairy tale as uncracked concrete. :)

Another option we've tossed around but aren't really convinced would help us much is bumping out the wall that currently has the toilet and shower on it - going into what we call the sunroom. I do believe this is a load bearing wall though - so I'm afraid it would increase cost quite a bit. Another benefit of this would be giving us more closet space, which we could definitely use.

Thanks for all the info and thoughts, it's really helpful to pinpoint some of the issues and help me think outside my box.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 11:04AM
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About that 60" turning radius for a wheelchair:
You aren't building this room for public access, but for your personal use. Therefore, if you need access for a wheelchair, you can plan for a wheelchair with a zero turn radius. As long as you have adequate clearance to get into the bathroom with a wheelchair, that's the clearance you'll need to access the toilet and shower.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 4:20PM
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