What would you do with this bathroom? (X-post)

collins designMarch 26, 2010

I've asked this on forums I frequent (incl Bathrooms) but they suggested I ask you folks over here on Remodeling....

We've invested in a fixer-upper with a fabulous address. We are about 75% through major renovations, the last space we need to figure out is the hall bathroom.

For our use, either a tub/shower combo or shower stall would work fine (more in a sec) but looking ahead to RESALE (in ~4 years).... in this situation which do you think is more desirable???

I'll attach a plan of the house. It has 2 bathrooms, one of which is at the end of the master suite area. We recently remodeled the master bath (pics below) and it has a great walk-in shower and a separate soaking tub. So we do have a tub in the house.

This bath in question is SMALL... just 5 x 8.3 feet. It serves as the company powder room, in addition to being the bathroom our teen daughter uses (she's in the top left bedroom.) She'd prefer a stall shower but not by a huge margin. A stall shower would allow us to add more much-needed storage. BUT my gut tells me that a tub/shower combo is better for resale. I am not sure who the buyer would be. It's a town with a great school system. It's a one-level house. It won't be starter-home priced, more mid/high end.

The house has a master suite, plus a decent sized bedroom, plus a small nursery/kid bedroom/or home office.....

The choice is between a new tub/shower combo and a 36" neo-angle shower stall (we have a nearly-new one we removed from our master bathroom that we would use.)

What would you do???


Master bathroom with tub and shower:

My thought is that for our short-term use the shower might be better, but not drastically better enough to outweigh resale. And that the tub/shower combo might be better for resale. Although the shower would open up the space more, make it less crowded (shower curtains on tubs always visually shorten the room, don't they?) IN either case, we might consider moving the doorway to open up the floor space. Right now it's chopped into a weird tight space as you can see below.

Floor plans would be as shown. The current floor plan, which would remain largely the same in the tub/shower layout, has little useable floor space. it feels crowded in there. I'm not sure whether the shower floorplan works any better or not...

Existing floorplan. If we did a new tub/shower and vanity adn kept this layout the same, it would be the least amount of work. But... crowded?!?

Shower plan. We'd have to move the door AND move the toilet over about 6". Would not have to move the stack, just the trap.

Tub plan with door moved. The toilet would stay in the same place, so plumbing is easier. We'd have to move the door. But is the floor space a lot more useable this way (even if we keep a tub)?

What would you do???

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I would not want the only tub in the house to be in my master bath.

Personally, we use a tub for: bathing young kids, washing the dogs, soaking/cleaning large things (miniblinds...)

If you figure you're moving out in as soon as 5 years, I would leave the tub.

If you think you may be staying longer, make the bathroom work how you want it to and don't worry about the possible impact on resale.

If it were me, and this is a purely personal opinion, I would just leave it as-is. The cost and pain of juggling things around isn't worth the payoff of possibly an extra shelf or a little bit of floorspace

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 4:31PM
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collins design

Thank you-

It does need to be gutted and renovated, though (disgusting very old tub, bad tile, water damaged walls). And we've really brought the level of the rest of the house up a lot, so need to do the same here. So, even if the layout stays exactly the same, it'll still be a project :)

I asked this on other forums and it seems to be about 3-to-one in favor of the tub/shower combo.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 5:18PM
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Definitely keep the tub/shower combo as to changing the location of the door, I'd say go with your gut feeling. Personally I don't see the advantage of moving the door other than the visual appearance of the fixtures all in a row unless stepping in and passing between the toilet and the sink in the present floorplan seems to make the space crowded . You will have to step back from the sink in order to open the door in the alternate floorplan. What about a pocket door since you plan to do some major gutting here anyway ?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:19PM
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Hi Stacey! :)
I think keeping the tub combo is not a bad idea considering that there's only two baths.

I like the door moved, but I think what's more important is seeing if that would affect how the family uses that BA. The entry would swing it to the hall--good in my opinion because you can't see inside the BA from the family room/kitchen. I tend to not like being able to see a bathroom from a kitchen. But, it means you do have to walk around the corner to get inside then. Does that bother you? It also places the entry just a tiny bit further for your daughter's bedroom--but again, I like it better squarely in the hall so when she comes out of the bathroom, she's not directly walked into the family area.

I also think the layout is more "predictable" if the door is moved. Resale sometimes relies on predictable--people expect to see what they want to see. The quirky layouts tend to catch people's eye and lower value. In this case I don't think it would really affect anything too much considering your great taste and updating. But it MIGHT strike someone that the layout is funny and if you have a chance to fix it, maybe you should do it now. Especially since you do have to actually gut the thing. Moving framing when you already have to gut only adds a small bit.

I love your master, just LOVE it. One small thing--if you do the second bath using the mosaic tiles, it will certainly be cheaper to have the tub filling half the wall than tiling the whole wall!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 5:12PM
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collins design

Thank you, firsthouse. Did you see my response to your doorknob post?

I hear you about the door/layout. Since it's not just a powder room, it feels more normal and right to have the door open to a more private space. My DH groaned when I told him but I definitely think it will improve the bathroom to move the door. I don't mind that the BA is a few more steps away from the living area, outdoors, etc.

What's your opinion on the pocket door vs. regular door?
The pocket doors are more of a PITA to install (more studs to remove and header to install) but perhaps it makes the space easier to use?

By the way, this bathroom will be 100% D.I.Y.... and we're so overwhelmed with house projects right now (DH actually just left to go plane some wood at his shop, looking very depressed because the simple project of installing two stair treads has turned into a 4 weekend debacle!) that we won't be starting work on this bath till fall.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 6:28PM
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Circus Peanut

Stacey, I don't know if this would make sense for you, but my bathroom has the same approximate size (mine's 7' x 8.5'). We switched the toilet and sink positions so that the sightline from passing by doesn't land on the toilet. Plus, you keep the toilet further from the bath for hygiene reasons, it provides the toilet user with a modicum of privacy, and it gives you somewhere to put the toilet paper roll. This is our only bath (old house) and it works very well for the 2 of us at once, if need be.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 11:09AM
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collins design


That makes total sense. And I totally agree that it's a better layout.

But---- we're really having renovation burnout now. As you know we started demoing the main living area a year ago.. and we're still installing trim and living with doorless cabinets and plywood counters in the pantry. And that's spending every second of spare time on it! So, I'm trying to find a good compromise between making this cruddy bathroom work and look better, and not making huge amounts of extra work for DH. He's the plumber and electrician. He's already groaning about moving the door.... but I do think that will be a pretty dramatic improvement over the floor plan we have now. We've decided to do a new tub/shower combo, and he was relieved that that meant he didn't need to break into the 1950's drains to move the toilet. :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 9:51AM
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Try getting into a 36" neo-angle shower stall before buying it. Take along a tape measure to be sure it meets the minimum code dimensions (usually 30" in any direction and 900 sq. in. in area). Even at the minimum dimensions it can be difficult to pick up the soap. That's what a prospective buyer will notice.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 2:04PM
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I would use the last plan that you originally posted with 2x6 studs in the plumbing wall. I don't recommend putting the vanity next to the tub/shower if it can be avoided for simpler plumbing, ease of cleaning at the floor level and ease of access to the tub/shower fixtures. The TP holder can be recessed into the vanity cabinet.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 2:15PM
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I favor the tub/shower combo. I really like the pocket door idea but the stack position may prohibit the use because the pocket is in the wall behind the toilet. I like the idea of the guest bath entry being near the public area.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 1:37PM
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I vote for tub/shower combo. If this house is a great school district, your prospective buyers would be families. Need a place to bathe the kids, dogs, etc ... I wouldn't do that in the master bath.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 4:49PM
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I thought this was the bath for your teen daughter. Why should she have to go into the kitchen area to use her bathroom?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 5:55PM
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collins design

Yeah, it's a toss-up for the door location, since the bath has such a polar opposite mix of uses (teen daughter and "powder room"). But I think we have pretty much decided now (thanks to all the GW input) to do the third layout: tub/shower combo but move the door around to the inner hall.

It's only a few steps more from the kitchen/LR area, and I think that the useability of the bathroom is improved substantially by moving the door. Right now, half the floor space is taken up by the door swing so you really have only about 5 sq feet in front of the toilet for ALL your bathroom activities. Moving the door effectively doubles that.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:20AM
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Guests looking for the powder room are usually highly motivated so they'll find it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:10AM
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I don't know what you decided to do with your bathroom remodel, but after watching hundreds of episodes of House Hunters, there aren't many people who like a house to have a bathroom without a tub, even if there is one in the 2nd bathroom. The tub/shower combo is 100% the right way to go for resale value.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 5:04PM
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collins design

Thanks, downsouth! Yup, we decided to do the bath/shower combo. I appreciate everybody's input!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 9:58AM
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