Need reality check for proposed main bath layout

kmcgJuly 3, 2012

We moved into an old house in which the only full bath has a tub, toilet, and a wall hung corner sink. We get to renovate and expand the room a little bit; I'd love to get input on this proposed layout.

The interior dimensions are about 7'9" on the vertical and 8'3" on the horizontal. At the top is a stained glass window that will end up being a focal point of the room. The doorway to the right leads out to the very end of the master bedroom - this is new and optional. The doorway at the bottom of the drawing is to the main hall.

The doorway to the master is my biggest question. Because this is the only bathroom upstairs, I thought it might make sense to create an entry point from the master. My husband and I live here alone most of the time; kids sometimes grace us with their presence. So having access from the master is not a huge issue for us in terms of privacy. But I'm thinking for future users, it would be good. I know it won't pass as a true ensuite master, but it's the best we could do short of cannabilizing an entire bedroom in order to create a second bath. Does anyone out there think it's a crazy idea? A good idea? Better alternatives for that space?

There's a notable lack of storage in the room, which is why I'm proposing a large vanity with lots of drawers. I will also have two recessed medicine cabinets above the sink, for more storage. Do you see any opportunities I'm missing to better use the space?

(Oh, and please ignore the lack of a bathtub. Hubby says no, and we compromised by putting one in the new bath we just added in the basement. Not ideal, but the walk-in shower was just way more important to us.)

Finally, I need help laying out the shower. It will be on a 3'x4' Kohler cast iron shower base. It will be all glass across the 4' front - facing the vanity. I'm thinking a 28" door on the right, and a 20" panel on the left. Does that sound about right?

As for where to put the fixtures in the shower, major confusion here! I'll have a wall-mount showerhead plus a bar with a handheld, and just a single control. Where do I put them? At first I was thinking I'd do a half wall plus glass on the end of the shower that faces the window. But then I realized it would be lots cheaper to take that wall all the way up, saving on the frameless glass fabrication. This full wall also would allow me to run the plumbing there. Alternatively, plumbing could go on the wall at the bottom of the drawing, but only if I have the main door swing out into the hall. I'd like to do a pocket door instead, which means a no-go on the plumbing. That leaves the wide wall at the back of the shower. I'm having a hard time envisioning how it would work to put the shower fixtures on that wider wall. Is there any way I can do that without all the spray being directed right at the gap between the door and the fixed glass panel? Can anyone suggest the most logical, useful way to arrange the fixtures? For example, if I wanted the shower control within easy reach of the door, where would I put it? And should the handshower bar be close to the showerhead, or is it better to put them on walls that are at right angles to each other.

Okay, I realize I just asked a million questions, and I beg your pardon! But I'd certainly appreciate feedback.

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Here's what the bath looks like now. You enter the room and walk right into the tub; after you turn the corner, you reach the toilet and sink. About 50" wide in this section, so anything will be an improvement!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:49PM
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If the vall next to the vanity is only 22" deep, (vanities are usually 21"), you may want to cheat the toilet over slightly toward the vanity to get 18" on the full wall side. The area where you really need the clearance of 18" on each side minimum is at the front half of the bowl (knee/leg space), and since most toilets are about 28" inches deep, if I am not mistaken, you will clear the wall next to the vanity toward the front of the toilet.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Thanks, good point. I'm planning to do a 24" deep vanity, so the 28" toilet will stick out only about 3" past that wall. I can probably make the toilet area 34" wide without causing any problems, so I hope clearance will be okay. (I should mention that the only reason I'm including a wall between the vanity and toilet is that we are bumping out that left wall; we need the support for when the contractor puts in a beam to replace a wall that is presently load-bearing.)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 7:58PM
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Sophie Wheeler

You want to be able to open the door, reach in, and turn on the shower. That means the controls need to go on one of the shorter walls. And the door swing may need to reverse based on which of the short walls you choose to place the controls on.

I would personally rather have a step in pantry type closet storage between the shower and wall than an entry to the master bedroom if this is the only bath upstairs.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Thanks for that input, hollysprings. Unfortunately, the window get in the way of doing much in that space by the proposed door to the master bedroom.

I showed my son the design today and he wasn't keen on the extra doorway. He said "It looks like a hallway that happens to have bathroom fixtures on either side." Hmmm...

Another thread on this forum linked to a bathroom by Brooke Gianetti, which gave me an idea. I could run a shower all the way along the top wall, where the toilet and extra doorway are. Move the toilet to where the shower is now. If you're interested in how the window would fit into all this, click the link below and see Brooke's clever remodel. Her shower is really neat, with a glass panel instead of door. That would allow my stained glass window to be the centerpiece, as long as I can point the spray away from the glass.

Any more input on the value of the extra door to the master?

Here is a link that might be useful: Velvet and Linen blog

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 6:08PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I think you'd get more value from the space by eliminating the door to the MBR and putting the pot in there. Then you could expand the vanity the full width of the left wall or start the left wall with a small linen closet and then put the vanity.

If you do the linen closet that way, you won't get hit in the butt with the bathroom door when you're at the sink (a bugbear for DH).

If you do the full wall vanity you would have room for 2 sinks and some central storage.

The half wall at the end of the shower would provide privacy for the pot and the glass above will allow for a view of the stained glass window.

This arrangement would be similar to our MBR. We also opted to put the tub downstairs as we had more room for it and seldomly use it.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 9:18AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Our bath is somewhat larger than yours, but the basic layout can still work. Here are some pics that might help you.

Standing in the middle of the bath looking at the vanity wall, you can see the pot over my left shoulder, by the window, and the shower over might right shoulder. As I'm standing there, the entry door is to my right.

On the shower wall, (the doorway is the entry door to the room) we left a little bit of wall space and then started the glass door. Door swings both in and out so when you want to reach the controls, you swing it out. After the shower when you want the space to dry out, swing the door in out of the way. Ours is also a steam shower thus the tiled ceiling and the transom door. On the inside of the shower, along that knee wall is a built in seat that runs the full width of the shower. Attached to the outside of that wall is a heated towel bar and then the pot.

(Picture taken from entry door) On the other wall, we have a linen closet first and then the vanity with the central stack for storage.

Your layout would be the reverse with the shower and pot on the right wall as you enter and the vanity on the left.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 9:39AM
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I like Annie's layout. I don't think there's a big added value of a door from the master bedroom if it's still a shared bathroom.

Consider french doors on your shower: two 2' wide doors that swing both ways. That's what we did on a 3x4 shower we put in. That way the doors take up less floor space when they're swinging.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 10:37AM
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Place the shower in the upper left and have it end just before the window. The toilet goes across from it, where you currently indicate the door to the bedroom. The vanity goes on the toilet wall, and the rest of the shower wall becomes a sorely needed linen closet.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Thanks so much! This really helps loosen up my thinking. The door-to-master idea came from my contractor, and it's not something I'm particularly attached to. Omitting it would leave better wall space in the master, too, which would allow for a little sofa nook. So....

The common thread in the ideas above is to put the toilet in the upper right corner. I like the arrangement, but was worried about having a toilet right by a window. The toilet would be on a wall that's only 12" back from the edge of the window; the bottom edge of the glass on that window is only 30" off the floor. The glass is obscured, and I wouldn't have any problem with this personally, but do you think future owners/buyers would be having a "what were they thinking?" moment? (I'm not overly concerned with resale, but I don't expect to ever re-do this bathroom again, so I don't want to completely ignore resale.)

weedyacres: I've got 40" in front of the shower for door-swing, but I do like the idea of French doors. I was thinking a fixed/sealed panel of glass would help contain the water better. Do you feel like your shower is more prone to water escaping when you have 2 swinging doors?

annie: love your whole room, and the vanity arrangement is great. I can see how that would work really well in my space, so thanks a bunch for taking the time to post pictures. I was going to change our hallway door to swing out or be a pocket door in order to avoid the challenge you describe of the door hitting the person at the vanity. But maybe with a buffer zone I wouldn't have to.

livewire: on moving the shower - that is where I had it originally, so I'm partial to that idea. Just wondering, how deep does a linen closet need to be? If I do a fairly shallow one (about 12" deep), I can preserve an extra foot of space in the adjacent bedroom, which would be lovely.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 12:50PM
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Blinds, or a curtain (or a half curtain) would take care of any privacy concerns.

The french doors are on a guest bath, not our master, so I don't have a lot of first-hand knowledge, but we've got sweeps on the bottom of the doors, which is where the bulk of any water escaping would be most likely to come from.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 8:28PM
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