No Tub in Master Bath???????

drjoannMay 23, 2008

We are in the planning stages for a custom home to be built in the Greenville, SC area. One of our decisions is whether or not to have a bathtub in the master bathroom. This is not going to be a "McMansion", but it is going to be a higher end home. I guess I should add that we currently live in Houston and are building this house to retire to in about a year's time.

Last month, we were in Greenville interviewing to builders. As we walked through one of the builder's homes, we asked if stand-alone tubs were becoming more popular than Jacuzzi tubs. This led to us remarking that we never, ever use our Jacuzzi in Houston and would be just as happy not to have a tub, at all. This builder does multi-million dollar homes in The Cliffs; he said that some people are doing away with tubs in the master bath since their experiences are similar to ours. We will have a tub available in the guest suite around the corner from the master if either of us needs to have a good soak. Also, we would maintain the size of the master bath to reflect the sort of house we are planning.

What do y'all think? Would not having a bathtub in the master so adversely affect the resale value that it would create a serious problem for us? (OTOH, my joke is that since the is our "forever house" resale is our daughter's problem. ;^D )

If we did do a bathtub what about a freestanding double slipper as opposed to an inset tub with a surround? (Costs are comparable.)

If we don't have a tub, what should we put in its place? Walk in "party" shower (builder's term)? Drying area? sitting area? Built-in hampers? Fireplace?

Thanks for the advice - Jo Ann

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Jo Ann,

It's so hard to say, as what is standard/expected so varies from one region to another!

Having said that, I personally would prefer a separate bath in my Master bath (unfortunately- we nixed the addition that would have given us the room), so instead, we're going for a large walk-in shower. We use a shower every day, and as the boomer generation ages, a shower is easier to get in and out of than a deep tub! We will have a large soaker/air bubble tub in the main/guest bath.

But, if you won't use a tub, I would consider a separate his and her section. In my mind, that screams luxury/high end. Have room for a make-up section in the her vanity, and lots of room to hang robes/towels, etc.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 3:02AM
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Our master bath will have a walk-in shower (48" square and w/c accessible if the need arises) and no tub. DH and I have never used the tub in our current home in the past 20+ years, so we see no reason for one in the new place. In fact, the only bath with a tub will be the upstairs guest bath. Not worried about resale as we do not plan to sell until we go into the nursing home...and by then I won't care. We used the extra space to expand the walk-in closet next door to the bath. For our habits and lifestyle, this was an easy choice.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 8:27AM
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When we remodeled our master bath last year, we did away with the tub (we had a large Jacuzzi with a tile surround). The only people who ever used the tub were my sister's kids (who were toddlers at the time) during their once-a-year visits; they're now too old to "play" in the bath. DH and I had never used it. Instead, we built a large, walk-in shower (with no door). Everyone who has seen or heard about our new shower drools with envy, and asks for our GC's name. Not a hint of problems at re-sale (should that ever happen).

We do have a tub in the guest bath (which has also never seen action, in the 12 years we've been in our house).

We easily consumed the extra space that getting rid of the tub afforded us by installing an extra long double vanity with lots of cabinetry, as well as the larger shower (4'x5', as opposed to the old 3'x3'). My master bath is not huge. But if I had the space, I might do a curving glass block shower wall and make the shower a walk-through (i.e. entrances on both sides) instead of just a walk-in.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 8:36AM
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My sister remodeled her master to be only a shower, no tub. I remodeled my bathroom to include a huge soaking tub (not a jacuzzi or whirlpool). I love baths, but most woman I know don't like baths. The only two other people I know who are big bath fans are guys.

If I was building a home to retire in and I didn't want a bathtub, I would not give it a second thought. Go for the big shower. If it's a high end home, I would think any future owners would simply remodel and add a bath if necessary.

I really believe in making your house yours, and not making choices based on some possible future buyers.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 9:48AM
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I think you should build the house for YOUR needs, and if you don't care about the tub, don't care about the tub. I am a total tub person and LOVE my double slipper clawfoot tub, and I had second thoughts about it from a "getting old don't want to hurt myself" perspective. Now that I have it, I see that it is so sturdy and has such easily gripped rolled edges that it really isn't an access issue. My other two cents would be if you do decide on a jetted tub, investigate air jets rather than water. I think water jacuzzi tubs (at least the old ones, like the one I replaced) are unsanitary to the point of nasty, and anyone who has ever turned one on after a period of not using the jets and witnessed the gunk that collects inside them would agree.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:02AM
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The PO of our home removed the alcove tub and installed a walk-in shower instead. While I would like to have a tub for an occasional soak, realistically, I use the shower every day but did not use the garden tub in our previous house once in the 5 years we lived there. I would not give up my walk-in shower for a tub.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:59AM
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i personally love a good soak even if its only annually lol

i am putting in a 40x40 japenese soaking tub (beverly by americh...30" deep) in our master, both because its the most luxurious soak you'll ever have outside of a hot tub, and because it uses so little space. i'd love to have a wall fireplace next to it :) but the neighbors would probably object to me busting through the drywall...

i'd include a tub frankly...and if you're not going to use it, make it a piece of art like a free standing soaking tub or slipper tub, but if you don't put one about plumbing for one and putting some sort of freestanding piece in so that it won't hurt resale?

or just skip resale worries and what pleases you...thats what i did lol

as to a fireplace....i think you need a tub with that....are ya gonna watch it from the toitty???

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:54PM
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We made the decision not to put in a tub for the same reasons as everybody else above. We have a large shower with 2 shower heads instead. But what all of our friends covet the most in our master bath is 2 completely separate vanities (we actually had to lay it out that way because of the preexisting window). All of my women friends come in and just sigh in envy and remark on how I don't have to share my vanity drawers, the mirror, or even the tube of toothpaste!
The other thing we have in our space is a granite bench outside the shower. I sit there to put on lotion etc, and love having a place to sit in the bath.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 12:44AM
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Given that it is a custom home, put a spa outdoors under a pergola and nix the bathroom tub. I prefer to soak outdoors under the stars rather than a bathtub.
By the time you are ready to sell, who know what will be great for resale...

Love the idea of a 'party shower', sounds like a 70s term :)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 1:38AM
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Thanks, so much, for the replies. Y'all are great.

DH agrees that we can give up the tub since the only time we have to clean it is when too must dust accumulates . He really likes the idea of a built in bench to sit on for putting on socks, etc. Granite, Wow!!! How great is that for slathering on lotion and not making a mess. Good idea.

I just laid out the master bath, again. (For this I am paying an architect, but that is another story ). Eliminating the tub gives me a bench, a nice area to hang towels opposite the shower with sort of a built-in hamper beneath it and something approaching the size of the "party shower" we saw in Greenville. (It really could have held about 4 adults & it had enough nozzles to propel the Space Shuttle.)

Right now we have a very long vanity with two sinks (DH's at guy height) and a kneewell in between. I never use the kneewell for putting on makeup and he wants my stuff out of his way. Luckily, two separate vanities work perfectly for the new layout. Each vanity will be next to our own closet.

When I get it properly drawn up, I'll post it for critique. I know I will have a million questions about configuring the shower, built-ins for the closets, washlets, etc., etc.

Thanks, again - Jo Ann

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 2:49AM
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If you go with the granite bench, put some radiant heat in it. I didn't, and my bare tush often wishes I had!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 12:02AM
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I never really use our tub either, however, if I was purchasing a luxury home, I better see a tub! Build the house for you, yes, but always, always build with the thought that you might have to sell for some reason or another.. you just never know!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 4:24AM
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If you're going to sell the house someday, I'd put in a tub.

Otherwise, I would say do whatever makes you happy!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 8:51AM
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We are building a new home and there will be no tub in the
master bath. We never used a tub in the last 15 years so I
don't know why we would start now. I am building the house
for us and not for someone else down the road. Just my two
cents worth.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:00AM
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We're putting a 4x6 shower in our master bath--and no tub. No second thoughts, either!

But we will have tubs--albeit standard sized--in other bathrooms in the house. I do think that's important. Right now I am renting a house with no tub at all, and I've realized all the situations where I really DO want a tub: guests with small children, bathing pets, post-injury soaks, etc.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 7:50PM
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We will also have a bathtub in our guest bedroom.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 9:22PM
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We are also building a custom home (owner/builder) and decided against a Master tub. As a matter of fact we are not having any tubs in the whole house (much to the dismay of my plumber).

I can't remember the last time I actually took the time for a bath. Neither of my children like to take baths so they are getting a shower only in there bathroom.

For the Master we decided to go with a shower with two shower heads and instead of a built-in bench we will be getting a teak bench.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:02PM
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I come from California where most houses in my area were built in 50's and have tubs either converted to showers or no tubs at all. While I am used to seeing master baths without tubs, in my mind, if the only tub masters can use is in the guest bath, it is a negative. At the same time I know the feeling of having a tub just sitting there and being a pain to maintain!!

IMO, it is not so much about having a tub, but having enough space for future buyers (no matter how much in future) to install one easily without reconfiguring a lot of the existing bath. Make sure your bath layout is flexible enough, and like someone suggested, having plumbing done already -- that would still not be as big a deal as having no tub.

Some viable alternative for luxury homes might be to have a hot tub on a deck or something, or having a big, luxurious shower. I think that might help a potential buyer get over tub pangs quickly.

Tubs, like fireplaces, never get used but seem to be on everyone's wishlist.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:41PM
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We are taking out our only remaining tub to have a completely accessible shower. We too worried about the resale issue of having exclusively showers, but figured that this is our home and it should work for us! The next owners (in thirty years) will likely groan at the tile (which I have not yet selected) and will want to make it their own.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 1:56PM
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When we were looking at houses, I really didn't want to buy one with a big whirlpool tub (often placed so it had the best view in the house). I knew I would never use it and it bugged me that it was hogging so much space. So for me, those big tubs were a disincentive to buy. I think it is necessary to have one tub in the house, in case of injury etc, but the OP has one in another bathroom. And I'm not convinced that a fancy master tub is so necessary for resale.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 5:32PM
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We are in the planning stages of our retirement home, The Clarkson, by Don Gardner. We eliminated the tub in the master bath. In its place, I am going to install base cabinets, 42" tall, countertop to match the vanities. This bank of cabinets is under a large window.

We tweaked the floorplan so that we can exit/enter the master suite without walking through the bedroom. With my clothes in the cabinets in the master bath area, instead of a dresser in the bedroom, I can dress in the morning without disturbing my sleeping spouse.

I like your idea of a bench - I have to find a spot for one in our bath area, especially since it is also a dressing area.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 7:05PM
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In my house I have 3 tubs. One in my master bath-because I like to take baths. We just removed the jacuzzi and got a regular deep tub. The kohler memoirs. In my daughters bath we will remove her tub and have a floor to ceiling shower. That will double as the guest bath. In my other daughters bath we will have a Kohler villager tub and shower. If I could I would take out her tub and only have the tub in the master. It all depends an what you like. When I build my retirement home it will be to my liking-after all you're retired,do what you like.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 10:29AM
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Our previous home had a beautiful master bath with a large walk-in shower (not quite big enough for a party, lol!) and no tub. I really missed not having a tub and we planned to redo that almost new bath (remodeled in an older home) to get one. Instead, we moved to a house with another renovated mstr bath, with a shower and jacuzzi. Well, the tub takes up so much room that now the shower is not big enough, and the tub is big enough for that 70's party.

If I were designing a master bath from the ground up, I would put in a great shower, but would also include a Japanese soaking tub that uses less floor space but is luxurious and wonderful for those who like baths.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 6:57PM
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Dr Joann,
We are building a house in the same area...also retiring from FL next year. Found your post 'cause I'm in a dilemma about choosing tub, as well. I am a bath person, just not sure what type of tub to put in master...regular bathtub or air jet tub, which now seems to be the rage. I have a Jacuzzi jet tub...don't turn on the jets anymore...dirt comes flying out!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 3:06PM
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