bathroom layout feedback

amberm145_gwFebruary 20, 2014

This is what I'm thinking for my ensuite layout.

-The architect has not drawn in door swings.

-We'd rather not have a pocket door on the toilet. DH hates the handle mechanism on pocket doors. I want open wall space for hanging towels. The GC hates hanging pocket doors, and it's not a battle field I want to die on.

-I need a door on the bathroom in order to keep steam in and the dog out. I suppose it can swing out, but we'll probably have cabinetry in the closet, and I don't want to be trapped in the BR when DH leaves a drawer open in the closet.

-We had planned to enclose the shower in glass, so the plumbing would need to be on the wall next to the door. How do I swing the door so I can turn the shower on from outside, but not risk it slamming the outer door.

-I'm not married to the idea of double sinks, I'd much rather have open vanity space. It looks really close together, so I'm thinking that only works if we go with smaller than average sinks.

-I had the window put in above the vanity for natural light for
beauty rituals.

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You can do much better in 10x11!

- Flip the closet and the bathroom. This will allow natural light from two sides for the bathroom.
- The shower is going to be too narrow for comfort. At a glance, I'd look at placing it at the end of the bath, so it can spread out a bit.
- I'd try to move the tub to the outer wall so you can add windows.
- A bath this size is really pushed to include a toilet closet and double sinks.
- I'd want a linen closet.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:37AM
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You need to show more, so we can see if the window can be moved.
I would not buy a house with the "master" bathroom off the closet.
Is the tub on the left a whirlpool or just a tub?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:37AM
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[quote]You need to show more, so we can see if the window can be moved.
I would not buy a house with the "master" bathroom off the closet.
Is the tub on the left a whirlpool or just a tub?

Why would you want to move the window? At this point, due to our city's cumbersome permit process, moving a window is as complicated as if it were a real window and not just a piece of paper. It's possible, but I need a reason.

Due to costs, we'll probably just go with a regular tub. We don't use our whirlpool now, and that adds more than double to the cost of a nice basic tub. Not worth it for something we don't use, and may even gross out future buyers.

[quote]- Flip the closet and the bathroom. This will allow natural light from two sides for the bathroom.
- The shower is going to be too narrow for comfort. At a glance, I'd look at placing it at the end of the bath, so it can spread out a bit.
- I'd try to move the tub to the outer wall so you can add windows.
- A bath this size is really pushed to include a toilet closet and double sinks.
- I'd want a linen closet.[/quote]

Flipping the closet and bathroom means both a smaller bathroom, and having to walk through the bathroom to get to the closet, which is infinitely worse than walking through a closet to get to the bathroom, IMO. Plus, given that window changes are hugely cumbersome, it would actually mean less light.

I considered swapping the shower and tub. However, the way it's drawn, the shower can be as wide as 4'. The bath tub won't be any more than 3'. So swapping them means a bigger shower = less counter space. Plus, the shower wall will make the counter area feel cramped. I'd rather have less space in the walk way from the door.

I actually moved the bath AWAY from the window for 2 reasons. 1) I want natural light on my face for beauty stuff. 2) The 1 or 2 times a year I use the tub, I don't want to be standing naked RIGHT in front of a window. This is an inner city lot, with neighbours houses less than 200' away.

You may be right that it's too small for double sinks, which is something I commented on in my OP. I'm looking for smaller sinks, or I will make it a single.

Saying you want a linen closet isn't helpful unless you can suggest a place to put it. I had intended to store towel either in cabinetry in the bathroom, or in the WIC. Do you have a better suggestion?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 12:14PM
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I would think through walking through the closet versus walking through the bathroom - personally i'd rather walk through the bathroom to get to the closet than vice versa. Then you can always have your closet door closed unless using it in morning. I am in my ensuite bathroom more times a day than my closet.

Also do you really need the space between the wall and the dotted line for your master bedroom? I would just dedicate that to the bathroom (if switched) or closet. You can carve out some of that space for a linen closet maybe?

Sorry changing windows at this point is so difficult. But if you switch closet/bath - I think you have to redo the windows. To me it would be worth it, since it supposed to be my long term dream house - but again, you are ok with the layout now so this might be moot.

Finally - do you have a tub elsewhere in the house? Because this is just a regular tub and not a whirlpool bath, if you have a tub elsewhere, I'd get rid of it in the mbath altogether and give yourself a bigger shower (maybe with some spa jets or a bench seat) and more room for your double sinks. Personally I think a future buyer (and me!) would rather have double sinks in a master bath than a plain old bathtub.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 1:48PM
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Hi Amber,
It is pointless to give you reasons. What is important is that you prefer to go to the bathroom thru the closet and not the other way around. As I said I would not buy a house with that setup.

I only asked you because I was sketching something to give you a different idea. I happen to be with MrsPete. Too bad your architect was not able to get a bathroom that works in a narrower area, and with a vanity that have the right size.
Door at toilet is optional, I would not install one in this case (No reasons, just my preference).
I would check the dimensions, the bathroom does not appear to be 10', it showed as about 9'5 when I scaled it.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 2:47PM
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Once again naf, you have gone above and beyond. I like your idea SO much better. I would much rather walk through the bathroom to the closet. I've had that set up and was very fond of it.

OP, I do question though when space is so limited, why you would give precious real estate to a tub you use 1-2 times a year.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 5:30PM
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I agree that naf's design is much improved and less claustrophobic.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 5:52PM
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I would really dislike walking through a closet to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Master baths are so pretty these is almost like you are hiding yours away. If resale is at all a concern, I would rethink this configuration. Naf naf, your solution looks much less claustrophobic.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 7:42PM
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I think it would be worth going to the city for naf's design. Look at all that space and all the extra space in the closet.

I'm another in the camp of not wanting to walk through the closet to get to the bath. only way I would like that setup would be if the clothes where in reach in closets and there was a hallway. I don't want to see the mess of a closet. Even though ours is never messy it still seems messy due to me liking clean lines and no clutter. Btw our closet is accessed from our master bath.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 8:39PM
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Naf-Naf, you've done it again! Your plan is better than what was in my mind. The only thing I'd change is the double sinks. Even if you go for them, this area appears to be about 5' (I say that because it looks about the length of the tub), which isn't enough to support two sinks comfortably. I think a bit of closet was lost, but the trade-off is well worth it. I love that you got in a linen closet.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 9:06PM
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Does it make people feel better to think of it this way? We're probably not even putting on the door the architect has drawn. We rarely have our current closet door closed. But if you think of the closet as a series of cabinets rather than a disorderly collection of stuff, it's not as scary. And it's not walking "through" so much as it's walking "past".

I also changed the vanity. Originally, the architect had it opposite the tub rather than perpendicular. I prefer it perpendicular in order to get more counter space. DH just commented that he thought the "L" looked goofy. I may keep a shallow shelf here for storage rather than a full 2' deep vanity.

Mentioning going into the bathroom at night has reconfirmed that I prefer it this way. DH goes to bed before I do most nights. The light from the bathroom when I am brushing my teeth, etc, disturbs him. Having the option to hide the bathroom away is better for us.

No, there is no other tub in the house. I can't stand tub/shower combos. I am not a fan of stepping over the edge of the tub and rubbing up against the curtain to have a shower. And the tubs are never very nice, either. And since the ensuite is the only BA big enough to have both separate tub and shower, that's where the tub is going. It might seem like a waste of real estate, but if I don't have a nice shower in the hall bathroom, I won't use it. We currently use the hall bathroom as storage. That's a much bigger waste of real estate.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 9:14PM
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And naf, I do appreciate the effort you have put into showing me what's possible. Thank-you.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 9:22PM
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I'm sorry, but I still don't like it. It's not even the walking past or through the closet. I just don't like bathroom layout. If you like it, that's all that matters. I wouldn't buy a house with a layout like that. But, I would definitely buy it with naf's bathroom.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 9:26PM
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I don't understand the turn this thread has made. amberm has stated that she prefers to walk through the closet to get to the bathroom rather than vice versa. Isn't that why we build a custom home - to meet our needs and not the needs of others?

Her architect placed the rooms where he did because he was following the direction of his client. amberm simply asked for assistance in laying out the bathroom in it's current location. I asked the same question when we were building and received wonderful help.

amberm, I wish I could help, but I am not good at floor plan design.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 8:24AM
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Sophie Wheeler

That's better, but I'd explore stacking those stairs you now show in order to gain more space to allot to the bath. And then do a different version combining yours and naf naf's ideas. Wasted space under a stair is perfect to add to a closet for additional storage.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 11:12AM
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Won't you actually need a part of the red horizontal line in order to be able to hang the rod? Having that 'small wall' will go along way to making it more 'passed the closed' vs. 'through the closet'.

Have you considered popping out the closet further into the bedroom- closer to the dotted line? If you did, you would have more space in the closet, and could steal the space in the 'red box' you've outlined for the toilet room. That frees up where you have the toilet now for a single vanity with a large counter... DH could have his own single vanity where you show the double now? Just an idea. We are having 'his and hers' vanities- can't wait!

Like this, Maybe? (Edited to add- I like the second design pictured below even better- with the L shaped counter. More space for stuff).

I think this is better (and it includes a door to keep steam in and dogs out):

This post was edited by nepool on Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 17:09

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Thanks, dekeoboe and nepool.

Hollysprings, the stairs are stacked. They go halfway up to a landing, then continue up on the other side. There is no wasted space under the stairs, it's all head room for the lower set of stairs. There's a 3rd floor, so if we had straight stairs, we'd need more hallway to get around to the next flight of stairs.

Making the closet wider isn't an option. Not only would it make the master bedroom too small (only 2 feet on either side of a king size bed?), it would create a whole lot of wasted space in the closet. I went snooping around some show homes today, and found a closet the exact dimensions as what's suggested. It didn't create much extra storage, because the corners aren't easily accessed. And it just felt massive and yet, unusable. A great place to display a pretty rug.

On this tour of multi-million $ showhomes, about a 3rd had layouts similar to mine, going through the closet to get to the bathroom. Maybe it's a regional thing? A few also had it reversed as many here prefer. But it made me uncomfortable when there was a clear view of the sink from the middle of the bedroom. Someone mentioned that ensuite bathrooms are so pretty now that they should be displayed rather than hidden. It's my opinion that they should be pretty for the person using them. But the things done in bathrooms are meant to be done in privacy. There's nothing wrong with a little separation between the bed and the toilet.

nepool, I like your suggestion, I'll run it past DH. I'm a little concerned that we now have the potential for 13 linear feet of counter space (if we take it right to the tub). That seems a little excessive, no?

Keep in mind that this is an inner city property. It's a lot more important to me that it feels comfortable, but efficient and well used. One of the reasons we decided to build was that so many houses had wasted spaces. Extra little nooks, sitting areas and cubbies that looked impressive in a show home, but would never be used. It means the house is 10-20% bigger than it needed to be. When you're paying a premium for a small lot so you can be walking distance to work, you can't afford to waste that space.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:25PM
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Where ever you do not put a door, you have to have a VENT in place that can handle all of the square footage... so, if you don't put a door on the closet, you are looking to need a vent for the bathroom that also vents the closet space, see?

Although a toilet room is often smaller than a shower these days, and toilet rooms aren't yet required to have a non-inswing door, showers ARE required to have a non-inswing door (or at least a door that swings both ways). So, your first drawing with shower door swinging in is usually not up to snuff for code in most municipalities in the USA, as I understand it. The reasoning is the same as for toilet rooms--safety--with the important addition that shower floors are slippery and the walls are hard (generally). So, if you fall/collapse in a shower you are likely to have a good head knock which is dangerous enough (more than a toilet room, apparently) that it has made it into the codes.

For such a large space, you have a small bathroom for function... If you look at the difference in your designs and Naf's, you'll see that a BIG one is in the space in front of the sinks. In your designs, the sinks are all the way at the back of the bathroom, and you have to wind through some fairly narrow "halls"/floor space to get there. Once there, if someone is standing at the sink nearest the tub, that is it. You have to get them to scoot their bum to let you into to sink 2. Or, out of sink 2 if they are at sink 1.

If you look at naf's design, you don't have that problem. There is plenty of circulation room around the sinks. Anyone can go anywhere in that space without blocking anyone else's way.

If you want efficiency, you need to look closer at HOW the spaces work for you, not just how much you can cram into them.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:43PM
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I can see where you'd not want to lose the space in the bedroom, and make that closet 10 feet deep. That would be wasted space.

The alternative would be to add back the stolen closet space I took above, and shrink it back to 7 1/2 feet. and loose the closet room- the toilet would fit in that spot just fine with the walls. The toilet area wall would line up in a straight line with shower wall, door could swing in or out (pocket would be better). It depends on how important that toilet room is to you. I personally would not want to spend time in a small windowless room..would rather just shut the bathroom door for privacy. Again, personal preference.

The vanity would be very large- giving you storage for linens below since you have no closet. Alternatively, you could put in 2 small vanities- 42 or 48" as his and hers. That is what I'm doing. I don't want to share the toothpaste anymore :).

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:51AM
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amberm, I've been following this post with interest, since it took me a long time to get my master bathroom the way I wanted it. I allocated about the same amount of space for ours, because it seems to me that so many bathrooms that I've seen waste a lot of space. Also, I decided to let the configuration of our garage and MBR determine the final space for the MBath. (I'm not an architect, but I designed our house.) Now that we've been living with it for several years, I can still say that I love ours.

I had measured dozens of closets seen during various Parade of Homes in our tri-county area for several years, and decided the perfect width was the same as yours--7'6". The shape and length (4" longer) are almost the same, except that we go through the corner of the bath to get to the closet. I debated about whether to put the closet window where you have it, but instead put it opposite the door, since we have a beautiful view that can be seen out back every time we enter the closet. DH and I also go to bed and get up at different times, so I can totally understand why you'd want your bathroom further back and more private.

Also, I definitely did NOT want the tub under the window, since we live in a cold climate and under the window is cold air from the window pane (which has an R-value of only about 3) sliding down the wall, (whereas our wall has an R-value of at least 20+, I think) is the coldest spot in the room! Looking at your 21:14 post on my birthday ;o), I'd make one suggestion that I think would visually improve the bathroom greatly. If you switch the toilet room with the tub, as you enter the bathroom, everything will feel so much more open when you are looking across the tub to the window instead of at the toilet room wall. And wouldn't you rather look at a tub than a toilet? The light from the window will fill the space above the tub and into the glassed shower, and will also go in the toilet room door.

I can't tell exactly what your measurements are for everything, but something to consider would be to get a 5'6" long 36" wide alcove tub that is comfortable to soak in. You'd need to allow about 5" for a short wall at the short end of the tub opposite the vanities.We went to Kohler, WI and I sat in every tub they had there. Ended up getting the 5'6" Mariposa, because it used the least amount of water for the depth I wanted, and the way they did the inside rim made it easier to get out of it. Also, DH (5'11") and I (5'4") each thought it was a good fit and comfortable. I use it primarily when I'm tired after extensive gardening or cross-country skiing. He has never used it.

If there's not enough space between the tub and the vanities to suit you (although it would feel quite open with the tub instead of a high wall there--we have an upstairs bath that has an 18" deep vanity, in a 4'6" deep space that has a door opening to the toilet/tub behind it, so it feels spacious enough), then you could move the bath/closet wall to the right up to about a foot. That would work better with the MBR door from the hall opening up against the wall, but would take some space from your closet. Maybe a tough decision.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 2:49PM
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Here's a rough sketch of Anne's idea. I think this will be more pleasant to be in as the light from the window will reach more of the room.

Also makes sense to have the sink close to the toilet to wash your hands. I'm assuming a 5' tub though.

I know people keep saying where will you hang the towels. We have ours in the closet and bring them out and hang over the enclosure each time we take a shower - wish we had a bar on the glass enclosure, but I like not having the bath towels visible in the bath.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:36AM
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I'm a little late to the game, but what about something like one of these rough sketches? I noticed that every scenario seemed to place the "deep" items on the narrow sides of the room. This is a deep space that would have more efficient use of space by placing the "deep" items on the shorter wall. This also makes the space feel less tunnel-like. See what you think:

Simple lines, 48" single sink, 4' x 6.5' shower, toilet has some privacy & adds additional closet space on the left as you enter the bath/closet area. Optional pocket door as seen in the next image could be utilized in this layout as well (I just didn't write it in on this version).

Very similar to the 1st layout. Allows for 5' vanity w/ double sinks & shower is now 3.5' x 6.5'.

This last one really moved some things around. Its a take off a bathroom layout I saw in a Southern Living Idea House. It makes very efficient use of the space allowing large 4.5' x 6' shower, separate toilet room with door, bathtub alcove, 2 15" linen towers, 5.5' vanity with double sinks.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:42AM
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One more for you:

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:50AM
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Thanks, everyone.

I'm leaning towards Anne's suggestion. It actually means ~6" less counter space. We need 3.5' for the toilet room (interior space plus 6" for wall thickness) whereas the tubs I'm looking at are ~30" wide. If you account for ~6" of space around the tub, the tub is still narrower than the toilet room.

But I see how it would feel bigger because of sight lines.

I also considered swapping the tub and vanity in lyfia's drawing. However, that puts a lot of plumbing in the exterior wall. I'm in Canada, so that just means frozen pipes and/or reduced insulation.

The water closet is not negotiable. We are not a couple that does our toilet business in front of each other. So without a separate water closet, if someone needs the toilet, the other person has to wait or use the bathroom down the hall. It makes a second sink a little ridiculous when we can't use either of them while someone is peeing.

Vanity space is WAY more important to me than a second sink. I want space to lay out my makeup and hair products. I want drawers underneath for storage (without holes for plumbing). The second sink is the first thing I am willing to drop from the plan.

I personally think double sinks are highly over rated. Sure, they are super important to some people, but even those who don't care seem to believe they are the only people in the world who feel that way. There's a belief that *everyone* wants them. If you ask people if they want 2 sinks, everyone would say yes. But if you ask people if, given that money and space are not infinite, what's the most important feature in your bathroom, the double sink actually falls in priority. Real estate agents love them, because it's a lot easier to point out 2 sinks than the size of the shower. But it doesn't mean they are really that high in demand.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 1:45AM
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Ann's idea is very workable, imo, since it meets your needs presently, and yet you could easily add walls to build a "proper" closet should you want to sell. (I'm also of the opinion that walking through the closet would be horrible for resale.) As for as the area straight ahead when you walk in from the bedroom, you could make that a "dressing area" with mirror, a shelf with a jewelry box, perfumes, and accessories, thereby turning a negative (a smaller closet) into something with a more luxurious feel.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 9:16AM
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No feedback to offer, but I read through the comments and they made me chuckle a little. My dad and I had much the same argument, because you have to walk through my laundryroom to get to the main floor bathroom (essentially the guest/visitors bathroom).

He thought it was CRAZY to have someone go through your laundry. Like every visitor? To see your dirty clothes?! Yikes! They hid their laundry away in the basement ;)

Me? I LOVE it. Why?? Because I worked in a science lab for years, and you always remove your dirty clothes and then walk into the shower. So that the shower stays clean. So since the only shower in the house was on the main floor (the visitor bath), you came in, threw your dirty clothes in the laundry, hopped in the shower and came out to clean clothes on the other side.

He still hated it. I still love it. Even having lived with this house that you have to walk through the laundry to get to the bath, it's never bothered me. I love it. Because THAT is my way of doing things. So the notion of passing through the closet to get to the toilet makes more sense to the poster, power to her. That's what makes her life easier. Which I'm TOTALLY behind when you think about those long poo-routines the men take, where A) I don't want to walk through the STINKY toilet room to get dressed, and B) If someone's in the bathroom, I lose access to the closet C) It moves the noise of the bathroom (flushing, sink, shower running, blowdryer, screams from waxing) further away from your sleeping space. Again, I don't want to listen to that when I'm trying to sleep but you have to leave for work. Oh, and D) It's a shorter walk to put the laundry away. I hate carrying laundry around.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:41PM
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