Shared (kids) bathroom layout help requested

mrsmortarmixerMay 13, 2014

I hope this is an okay place to post this. Figured it was best to go straight to the bath pros.

We are getting ready to start an addition on our home. Yay for more than 2 bedrooms and one bathroom for 5 people! If someone would be willing to help me figure out a floor plan, I'd be grateful. But I'd be just as happy with some great ideas to work with.

I would like the second floor of the addition to end up a bathroom shared by 3 girls and a playroom/den. Ideally, the bathroom would be in the top left corner over the plumbing downstairs, and because I'd prefer the playroom/den to have the better view.

The girls are young now (4,6,7), but I'm planning for a future of curling irons and make-up and many showers. I'm not sure what the best plan would be. Separate room for toilet and sink/shower or one bigger room or maybe a vanity area outside of the actual bathroom or any other great ideas anyone might have? I'd really like to sneak in an area for a washer and dryer if there is room, but I'd sacrifice the w/d to get a more efficient bath.

I'm not too worried about the size of the playroom/den. Enough room for a couch or couple chairs and a small table would be plenty.

Here's the area I need help with.

Anyone with several daughters sharing a bathroom? How do you make it work?

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MrsMM!!! You're back! I don't know how you manage so many projects in a row, I'm at the point where I just need to be done, and I haven't tackled half as much as you. But you will probably have the most awesome house in the area when you are done :-)

I'm all for more ideas is always better, so here's a non-expert thought to start the conversation. Just noticed I forgot to draw in the main door, it would go somewhere on the wall next to the vanity.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 12:41AM
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To maximize usability, you're definitely thinking right to compartmentalize. Separate rooms for vanities and tub/toilet areas. I'd recommend each kid get their own sink. Also, I'd go with pocket doors to eliminate swing issues. A long shelf in W/D closet could do double duty for storing towels, linens, and toiletries. Perhaps I'd also make the long wall between the bath and the rec room 2x6 and insulate as much as possible to reduce sound transmission. Either that or back up a couple large long storage closets to it. Can't have enough toy storage, right?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 6:34AM
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I would make sure you have counter space. Girls need space to layout makeup, hair stuff, etc. The counter will get more use than the actual sink so I think 2 sinks are fine. Keep in mind these girls will have friends. Think several girls come over and they are all doing makeup/hair stuff. I would consider a vanity area outside of the actual bathroom in the den area. I only have 1 girl but often her and a friend(s) will move into the master bathroom to do makeup/hair because it is bigger than the kids bath.

I passed on 2 sinks in the master bath just to have some counter space. I remember being friends with two sisters in high school. They had a large powder room with a long counter. I remember times a bunch of us crowding in there. We loved that counter space.

Also if you can separate the toilet and the shower that would be good.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 8:07AM
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williamsem- We've been super busy around here. It's planting season, baby animal season, and recovering from winter season. was so busy this past year that I was forced out of semi-retirement to help him with a house build and a few remodeling projects. I was supposed to be just helping out, but now I'm getting just as many calls as he is from people wanting things painted, tile work, new lighting installs, etc. I've been debating on whether to start back to working full-time when my youngest starts school this year or just doing an odd-job or two a month to stay sane. Admittedly, we are project starters, not project finishers. The kitchen still looks the same as it did a year ago. I'm too indecisive about lights and backsplash. I have backsplash tiles I'm not in love with, but I'm also not in love with grease sparkles behind the range or any of the other tile I've seen that would cost less than a new car.

I really like the idea of toilet and shower in separate rooms in your plan. I'm sure eventually privacy will be an issue. Do you think the laundry in the playroom will cause a huge disaster area? I guess it doesn't bother me a ton either way, but I know I'm terrible about putting away laundry and our current laundry is on display as soon as you walk in the back door. Conveniently, the only entrance anyone uses...sigh... I can't wait to fix that problem.

oicu812- Great idea on the insulation and pocket doors! Not sure how thrilled dh will be about pocket doors, but they really would help out a ton in this case, I think. I think we'll end up doing a built-in along that wall if it won't make things too cramped. I've never heard anyone complain about too much storage!

debrak2008- The girls' rooms will all end up pretty big, averaging a bit over 200 sq. ft each, so they will have plenty of room for a vanity in their rooms, so I'm hoping we can at least minimize some of the bathroom congestion that way. It's sounding like the majority are saying two sinks and separate shower and toilet from vanity area.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 3:14PM
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Just wanted to check in to say I'll be back with some more thoughts, but I'm headed to bed so I can be at work very early tomorrow, then I have to stop at the hospital to see my mom. Might not get back here until late Friday...

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 11:01PM
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When I was planning my new bathroom remodel to include my W/D, I really had some limitations. But I got it in there and love it. I got a Miele set because they are 24" deep and wide, or there abouts. I stacked mine and that might be an option, but I like side by side better myself. I incorporated a cabinet surround that included storage, open shelving, and a pull out ironing board. I love it. All very efficient for the most part. The stacking kit has a shelf that pulls out and is great for folding clothes. I use the vanity on the other side of the room to hold more folded clothes. I have a small valet rod that pulls out, mounted inside the middle cupboard and use it to hang a few shirts for ironing.

If you go with a top loader and side by side installation go with a Speed Queen. SIMPLE to use for the girls and built like a tank, I hear. Over on the laundry forum they love their Speed Queens. Built like all machines used to be built. No nonsense cycles. No bells and whistles. If my 26 year old Maytag top loader that I have in the basement ever quits, I will replace it with a Speed Queen if I still need 2 washers.

Another thing about washers on the second story. There could be a bouncy problem in the spin cycle. My Miele instructions said to place the set on a load bearing wall. You don't want the set in the middle of a joist span because it will act like a trampoline I hear. Front loaders have tremendous force when in the spin cycle something like 1100 or more RPM, whereas a top loader might be around 700 RPM. Don't quote those numbers please :)

Outlets in my laundry cabinets allow me to store and use my iron above my ironing board pull out. I also have a false back to the cabinet, where I can pull apart all the shelving and have full access to the w/d shut off valves, electric plug ins, and the dryer venting for cleaning. Because my Miele dryer has side venting option, that is why I could fit it in a 24" depth space.

Outlets in the medicine cabinet that I had made, and an outlet under my vanity to store my hair dryer for daily use. It is a little bit awkward, as the cord can hang up when I pull out the pullout that houses the dryer. They have systems that retract the cord I believe and might be tidier.

I put LED strips in 2 cabinets with infrared on/off switches and I LOVE this feature. I have them in my vanity under the sink, and in my laundry cabinet. I also have a strip in my Medicine cabinet. On my go-to LED online source their infrared switches are expensive so I got them on sale for $16 each, still expensive but I knew I needed them for my plans. I ended up doing an extra LED install, with a plug in power, instead of hard wired by electrician, so I needed another switch. I did a search and there is an small auto LED light shop that sells the same switch for around $8.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 12:45PM
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I'm curious about how much laundry space are you thinking? Are you just looking to add an additional compact laundry space for the girls? Or, do you want to take more of the load off the downstairs laundry area? Are you short on utility storage? Do you want enough space for laundry baskets to contain the clothes that need to be put away? Or are you trying to minimize hauling laundry downstairs all of the time? I really think you have plenty of room to do either, and there are so many ways to make it work, but it helps to know what you want to accomplish.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 1:24PM
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enduring- I love that laundry setup! I would like to do something similar in the upstairs bath, but would likely do a side by side installation and likely put our current washer and dryer up there for now. When they quit, we'll replace with SQ. I looked at the Miele set when trying to figure out a way to fit a w/d into the master walk-in closet, but dh immediately said no to the price tag.

I'm hoping if I can get some floorplans figured out, we can plan to reinforce the floor where the washer and dryer will be located.

elizabetheva- I'm thinking full-size w/d with room for at least one basket or maybe two (one clean, one dirty). The kids are in varying stages of learning how to do laundry, but we're using a two basket system now and it seems to be the most efficient for everyone.

I'm hoping to avoid the stairs as much as possible. In the plans, I have a laundry room drawn in downstairs, but if I could do laundry upstairs, I'd probably try a bit harder to find a way to fit a w/d in the master walk-in and use the laundry room downstairs as a walk-in coat closet/ out of season storage area. I'm hoping eventually the girls can do their own laundry, so my trips upstairs to do laundry will be limited.

I'm trying to keep re-sale in mind as we make changes. We are undecided on whether we will stay here forever or if we'll sell in the near-ish future. We are already over-improved for the area, but because we've got so little invested, there is no chance of getting hurt if we were to sell. I'm just trying to find a good compromise between what I want, what I need, and what will help/hurt if we decide to sell. Of course, I'm also keeping in mind what makes the most sense if we stay here forever, which is likely what we'll end up doing.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 5:40PM
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I grew up in an all girl family sharing a bathroom, and my advice is to plan for storage and counter space. I really think 3 sinks is overkill, even 2 may be much if it means you would be giving up counter space. My bathroom growing up had two sinks with a counter space between them and in the morning when more than one person was trying to do their hair the cords were constantly tangled and the only place to set a hot curling iron was in a wet sink. Keep in mind girls spend way more time with makeup and hair and brushing teeth/washing hands takes just a minute.

To jump off the plan by oicu812, I like the idea of a galley style bathroom. I would do one or two sinks on one side, along with tower storage, and then on the opposite wall install a long counter with extra outlets and mirror so each girl has a section of counter. You could do more storage cabinets below, or keep it open for stools if you really want more of a 'vanity' feel.

If I was looking at buying your house and you had a mudroom/entry and an upstairs laundry room, close to the kids bedrooms, as a mom of young kids, I'd be sold. I would much rather haul my own clothes and a load of sheets and towels upstairs than haul the laundry of three kids downstairs, but then my kids somehow go through twice the clothes I do in a week :) And you can always add the master w/d at some point if down the road you decide it would help.

If you back up your w/d to the bathtub in the plan from oicu812, you could add a laundry room in that corner and the bathroom and laundry would form an L, still leaving a lot of open room for your playroom in the middle. You don't need a really large laundry room for it to be really efficient - just a door to hide the mess:) i'm just kidding, but really, a counter across the w/d (if they aren't too high or top loading) would give you plenty of space for three laundry baskets for clean clothes, and you can fit 3 vertical hampers under a bit of counter. If you can't do a counter across the w/d, you could run a counter perpendicular to the w/d for your basket storage and cabinets, and you'd end up with more of a square laundry room, but either way you you still have a good portion of bonus room for a sofa and a table.

If you plan out your cabinetry knowing what you want, like enduring's dream laundry storage, you can build a fantastic laundry room in as little or as much of the area as you want to devote to it.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 8:43PM
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I forgot you mentioned providing a vanity for the girls in their bedrooms - if you go that way you may want to plan your flooring with that in mind. I realize for me it was the years of 90's ultra plush, ridiculously impractical white carpet, but my mom did that to help clear out the bathroom and it was impossible to keep makeup off of the carpet. She replaced it with more ultra plush, slightly darker beige carpet when I was around 15, but it's just the kind of location that attracts stains, so in the end after everyone finally moved out she replaced the carpet in that end of the house one more time. She told me just a little while ago when she extended their original hardwood floors into the family room that if she knew she'd replace the carpet twice in less than 10 years she would've extended the wood floor from the main area of the house into the kids rooms way back then.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 8:52PM
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I'm wondering if I could extend the toilet room of the bathroom out a foot or two from oicu812's plan and add a sink in there with a cabinet above and then just add one sink in the vanity room. Is it just me or does "vanity room" sound luxurious?! Someone could wash hands/brush teeth in the toilet room (toilet room doesn't sound so luxurious) without getting in the way of the hair styling and makeovers. It also seems a bit more hygienic than using the bathroom and then opening the door. Maybe it's not necessary and a bad waste of space.

The current w/d are front loads and I'm not sure I could be convinced to buy anything else at this point in time. I didn't do a lot of research when we bought them. The old washer broke and the dryer was about 100 years old and you can't go very many days without a washer with a house of 5. They are both red (ugh), but at 25% off for the red, I couldn't pass up the deal. I definitely need doors to hide them, because they don't match one single thing in our house! I'll need doors to hide the mess too. I'm terrible about putting away clean clothes and I've been known to let dirty clothes pile up from time to time. Luckily, the girls are getting more efficient at helping, so I can make them put shirts on hangers and match socks and I can fold pants. I think I'd do better at keeping up if putting away laundry didn't involve 25 trips up and down the stairs every time. You're right, 3 kids go through at least twice as many clothes per week as we do! I'm pretty sure half of their laundry is clean clothes that never made it to dressers or got pulled out when looking for the pants with jewels. And here I thought forcing them to do their own laundry would slow that down...

I don't want to devote a ton of room to laundry upstairs, but I'd like enough storage to make doing laundry convenient and to keep it contained to the laundry area.

Our house has no carpet. Hardwood everywhere but the bathroom and laundry. We have two small rugs inside the front and back door and an area rug in the laundry room to hide the junk laminate that was here when we moved in. It's not plush, but it's prety hard to ruin hardwood. We will definitely not be putting carpet in the girls' rooms either. We'll do tile in the bathroom and laundry area and hardwood in the bedrooms and playroom if I had to guess. Dh LOVES wood. I'm trying really hard to convince him that I require carpet in the master, but he's not sold on the idea.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 3:17AM
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If I was looking at buying your house and you had a mudroom/entry and an upstairs laundry room, close to the kids bedrooms, as a mom of young kids, I'd be sold. I would much rather haul my own clothes and a load of sheets and towels upstairs than haul the laundry of three kids downstairs, but then my kids somehow go through twice the clothes I do in a week :) And you can always add the master w/d at some point if down the road you decide it would help.

I really hope it works with a lot of potential home buyers! We are hoping to accomplish a home that we can live in forever with minor changes, but not limiting potential buyers. I don't think it will end up so big that a couple of retirees wouldn't be interested, but big enough that a growing family could raise a few kids here. The upstairs bedrooms are certainly big enough to fit multiple beds. I jokingly mentioned to dh that the youngest going to school might spark a sudden case of baby fever, so I wanted at least enough room for 4, possibly up to 6. He wasn't amused.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 4:32AM
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About to send the 2nd of two girls off to college who shared a bath. Can't imagine the fun you will have with 3 girls sharing a bath! When we built our house we designed the shared bath (which is next to the playroom) with the door opening into the main vanity area (2 sinks). Behind the vanity we put a separate room for the toilet and shower. The ability to shut the door while someone is showering or going to the bathroom was essential.

My girls are probably typical teenagers--meaning that they can spend hours staring in the mirror using flat irons, curling irons, make up, etc. Countertop real estate is a premium, but having separate sinks really did help. I don't know exactly what they do, but make up gets everywhere. Countertop, sink, floor (so I never let them put on make up in their rooms since we have almost white carpet up there (or we did at one point). Oh, and the hair they shed! Put a shower drain that takes that into consideration!!

While the layout of our bath worked fine, I wouldn't do small format tiles again. I was tired of decisions when I did their bath, and just used 4" square while tiles on the floor. I'd do anything to minimize grout lines if I were doing it again.

Also put a big honking shower fan to keep the steam down. And put it on a sensor that it goes on anytime someone is in the shower/toilet room. The cute wallpaper I chose when they were young was peeling off 5 years later because they seem to be incapable of remembering to turn the fan on.

We planned so that their vanity stacked over the downstairs laundry room, so we put a laundry shoot in the vanity. Best decision ever.

Oh, and make sure that whatever countertop you pick can handle a 400 degree flat iron that princess leaves on!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 12:04PM
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