Powder room located off kitchen - thoughts?

energieSeptember 20, 2013

I'm planning to build a starter home and was all set on this one. It was brought to my attention that the main floor powder room may (or may not?) be awkwardly placed off the kitchen. The toilet is definitely visible from the kitchen but only when standing at the sink side.

Is this a non-issue or is the placement awkward? Feedback is appreciated

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My powder room is off the kitchen too and we just keep the door shut. We also had insulation installed between the studs on the interior walls to help reduce noise. The insulation and an exhaust fan really help.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:24PM
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Bath in the kitchen is a deal breaker for lots of people looking to purchase a home. It would be for me.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Could you work with the plans and move the exterior door to the left, then shift the powder room back to the bottom right corner, then have what I imagine is a coat closet shifted up so that it could be used as a second pantry? It would give more privacy to the powder room and possibly provide better storage if you don't need that closet for outdoor wear.

This post was edited by sreedesq on Fri, Sep 20, 13 at 21:41

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:39PM
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I've seen many plans like this, it's not really in the kitchen. Other similar plans switch the locations of living room and kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:49PM
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Easy fix: move the fixtures to the wall they now face and rotate them 180 degrees. Then move the door to PR down so it opens from the other end and folds back in front of the wall opposite the sink as it now does, but just from the lower left corner.

The whole thing is in roughly the same place, the access point and door swing is away from being visible in the kitchen.

Now the PR opens off the mudroom corridor, not the edge of the kitchen and view of the fixtures is blocked.



    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 10:22PM
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Agree that it's not really in the kitchen. For me, bigger problem is lack of fridge landing area.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 10:26PM
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What if you 'flip' the powder room? Then, the only time you could see 'into' the bath, would be as you come in the front door. Just be sure to close that door, when you answer your front door :)

From [Kitchen plans](https://picasaweb.google.com/113704953485102437421/KitchenPlans02?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite)
    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Thanks everyone for the replies.

For me it's not so much the proximity of the bathroom as it's a good distance away from the kitchen, but more the visibility.

@liriodendron: that is a great suggestion and solves the unsightliness problem. However, seeing as how this is a cookie cutter home I doubt the builder would be able to accommodate this request.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 10:38PM
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There is a saying "What isn't worth asking for isn't worth getting".
Even if its a cookie cutter house you might as well ask if they can alter it. It can't really cost any more money. The bulder probably has no idea that there is a better way to lay out that bathroom. Maybe no one has ever asked to have it different. He might actually be impressed with your suggestion

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 11:28PM
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I used to have a visible bathroom right off the kitchen. We switched it as it was GROSS. No amount of sound-proofing is enough to... well... 'nuff said. Sights, sounds and *odors* are not appetite stimulating...

I would follow the advice of moving the door down into the closet area and make sure there is a really good fan vented OUT.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 3:41AM
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liriodendron's suggestion is terrific, and I hope the builder is willing to accommodate that small change.

In any case, I'd recommend an automatic door closer. Our powder room is off the foyer, a decent distance from the DR, but we have grand sight lines from one side of the table into the PR. Gross. So I installed the closer below. Best $13 I ever spent.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spring loaded door closer

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 8:23AM
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Can't you just change the way the door opens?

Edited to add:
Have them put insulation in the walls. Have a solid core door put on. Put a door sweep at the bottom of the door. Also a motion sensor fan.

Is this a townhouse?

This post was edited by debrak2008 on Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 9:44

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 8:45AM
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Just adding another thought. I have a pull-out door for PR. That gives room to have sink across from toilet, which offers more privacy.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 8:54AM
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We have a powder room off of the kitchen. It has a solid wood door insulation in the walls and a vent fan that is on sometimes. We have never heard any noises coming from the bathroom. If it is the visual aspects you don't care for keep the door shut or go with liriodendron's suggestion. Some mentioned the bathroom off the kitchen being a deal breaker just to present another pov, to a lot of people simply having another powder room out weighs placement concerns.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 8:56AM
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Flipping the room moves the plumbing stack, that will affect the upstairs bath. It would also put the stack into the bearing wall that supports the stairwell. All doable, just not as simple as it looks at first glance.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:24AM
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My first house was in a planned neighborhood and I was able to rearrange my master bathroom to a more suitable layout and change a closet location. They can accommodate you.

I do second the suggestion by the poster that you consider the lack of landing area for the fridge.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Energie, since there is a fix for this that doesn't involve even so much as shifting bearing walls, I would INSIST on reconfiguring the powder room and make sure it's changed on the initial floor plans. This is a small change. What would be an "oh, well" for many of us in an existing home is very unacceptable in new construction.

Guests entering and leaving that powder room would always cause uncomfortable moments--of varying degrees--as people tried to pretend they didn't notice or were noticed. Just the sight of the toilet when the door was left open would bother some.

I'm easygoing, but it's important to realize that some of us are easily bothered and more strongly affected by even suggestive notions, much less actual sights, sounds, and odors. As a matter of fact, studies show that naturally conservative people tend to be more strongly offended and affected by a wide variety of things, bad manners, flies on a picnic table, vulgar language, sloppy housekeeping, sharing a hairbrush, the level of hygiene at a buffet-style restaurant, and on and on. And roughly half of us trend conservative.

I actually have a couple of friends who, if they could, would choose going home before using that powder room as drawn when others were in the kitchen. They don't want to be over fussy, but they do have to live with the way they're wired. (We've had a couple of chats about this sort of thing, me saying "Really!?" maybe a little too often. :)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:32AM
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If you can make the changes noted above, certainly do so.

We do not have a powder room on the main floor. Unexpectedly, I now have a husband who has difficulty walking let alone climbing stairs. So I would take a powder room anywhere on the 1st floor, sight lines be damned.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 10:24AM
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While I completely empathize with purple pansies husbands' predicament, I 'm one of those who would never consider buying a house that has a bathroom that is off any of the main rooms on the first floor - down a corridor for me. And yes, I'd rather "hold it in". Yours isn't nearly as bad as some I've seen, but given the suggestions above, it seems you can make it better!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Sophie Wheeler

There's a lot of things here that can be made better. Are you locked in with this plan and this builder?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 11:22AM
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Talked to the builder, they won't change the layout of the bathroom (even though she agreed that flipping the layout seems more aesthetically pleasing).
I went to the show home with some friends today to test out 'noise' containment when using the powder room as heard from the kitchen and dining room (No, we did not drop off the kids at the pool ;)) The more I think about it, the less the powder room location / visibility bothers me.

@fouramblues: good suggestion on the auto door closer.

@debrak2008: it's a detached starter home, not a townhouse. If you just change the side the door opens to would it seem weird to keep the toilet/sink on the same side?

@jakuvall: yes I suspect this is the reason the builder will not change the layout. The change could significantly affect their ability to deliver a finished home in time.

@sreedesq - the builder allows much more customization of layout in their move up (garage attached) homes, but not in their laned starter homes. I had considered the lack of landing area at the fridge and i'm personally not concerned with it at all.

@rosie thanks for your insight. I'm trying to recall any gross incidents at friend's houses where they have bathroom/kitchen proximity issues.

@hollysprings - there is no opportunity to change the powder room layout. I'm not locked in with the builder yet, however I am strongly leaning towards them compared with what other builders are offering in my price range.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Okay, so you can't change the plumbing. Can you tweak it somehow so it's a bit less gross (I'm one of the "hold it in" group). Maybe add a short pony wall to the wall opposite the "throne", about in the middle of that wall? Probably couldn't stick out too much, but even a foot or two might help provide a sense of separation. Maybe put a mirror on it or something for people who really do want to powder their noses!

Make sure that the fan is one of the noisy ones so that it provides some white noise.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 4:18PM
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What if you close off the side of the stairway? The purple lines would be view of the door...the red line, view of the toilet if the door is open.

With stairs open...

From Kitchen plans

With stairs closed...

From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 4:37PM
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Swing the door the European way, or the 19th century way into the room, and against the vanity, rather than against the wall, and keep it partly closed.

This post was edited by palimpsest on Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 17:33

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 5:32PM
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Definitely agree with above suggestions for extra insulation. A solid door rather than a hollow core door will make a big difference in sound. Will cost a little more but when guys go to pee when you have guests over you will be happy you did so!!!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Sure. As already said, you can hinge the door on the other side, so it hides the toilet as it opens. Note, though, that for safety the door to a windowless room should open out. My neighbor collapsed in his powder room, and his body held the door closed.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 7:09PM
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Only solution seems to be swinging the door against the vanity as palimsest suggested.

If the rendering is correct, inside is visible from the bar even with an outside swinging door.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 7:16PM
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I think changing the door swing, as DebraK suggests, makes a lot of sense and would function totally fine. The auto door closer plus that little hardware thing that prevents the door from opening too widely (and hitting the sink) would both work.

One of the most beautiful homes I've ever been in is an old Victorian in Lambertvile,NJ. It has a powder room right smack in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 7:42PM
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The house could be gorgeous, and it wouldn't make a bathroom in the kitchen less gross! (BTW, it's against code where I live)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 6:57PM
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I had an almost identical setup in my first condo (even the left-right orientation). The door opened out, hinged on the left, and people were much more likely to close it afterwards. Even partially closed, you couldn't see in. And it was easy to give it a little kick since it was close by, if it were a bit open.

An inward-swinging door hinged on the vanity side will make the bathroom even more difficult to enter and exit than it is now.

This one is a good 7 feet from the sink, and further, not to mention around a corner, from the food prep, at any rate.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 7:19PM
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What I meant was to position the door (opening into the bath) so that when it is partially open you would be looking at the wall not the fixture. The open outward door is a good idea too. So you have ideas you just have to see what your builder will do for you.

Another thought....what type of flooring are you planning for the bathroom? I can tell you that when we changed our main bathroom flooring from vinyl to porcelain tile the noise level increased noticeably.

madeline, thanks for bringing up that victorian. I admit to being a little sensitive about this issue as I have an old house with a bathroom off the kitchen. Often with older homes there is no easy way to change it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 7:51PM
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Right. Plus, it's not IN the kitchen, anyway, and will do fine. I like your kitchen, Energie, including that window. It's going to be a very nice place to work. What finishes have you chosen?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 7:54PM
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. There will be ceramic tile in the powder room. The builder has a standard hardwood flooring / granite countertop promotion, bonus!

@sena01 holy crap how did you make that graphic?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 11:32PM
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I have Home Designer Suite that I started using when I renovated my kitchen a few years ago--before I found this site -(( and long before I learned that a thing called prep sink existed lol.

As I'm no expert, I'm not sure if the position of the camera is correct in the rendering. That's with a 90 degree open door, but if a door closer is used, I believe visibility will not be a problem, since the body of the person entering the bath would block the view anyway (mine would for sure!).

Here is a different way of installing the door closer.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 7:27AM
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I would definitely have the door swing in against the vanity....might feel awkward at first but you will get used to it and not even think about. Will also force your kids to shut the door as kids will sometimes forget! And any guest is going to close the door all the way anyway.

Would definitely NOT have it swing out into the hallway...it will always be in the way coming in and out of the entrance if swung out on the vanitey side and may protrude beyond your stairway on the other side.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Fori is not pleased

SJ--yes, I think it would against code in more than one place.

Energie, just for fun, investigate if it's against code to have the potty so close to the kitchen with so few doors between. Maybe you can present some obscure code to inspire your builder to move the door.

That said, I don't think it'll be too bad. Just let guests know to use the bathroom upstairs.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Talk about first world problems in this thread. "I would NEVER use such a bathroom. I'd hold it in."

I can tell you I had a 1/2 bath DIRECTLY off the kitchen in my old house not around the corner like this one and it certainly wasn't used as much as the full bath down the hall, but it did get used. And no one had any issues or complaints. And we were the 6th? owners of the house, so no issues with resale either. I can't imagine how this could possibly be against code. I'd be interested to see how that's worded.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:50PM
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There's really nothing about Gardenweb that isn't "first world". We're not discussing solving the world's economic or hunger crisis, we're discussing what tile to use for our backsplashes :-)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 5:45PM
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True. I do feel that some have gone overboard in expressing their feelings, to the point of perhaps being inconsiderate of the the feelings of others.

I'm the one who initially pointed out that some people are "wired" to be easily perturbed by this sort of thing, but I never read that they had no choice but to get overemphatic at a rare opportunity to express their feelings.

(This subject must some psychological connection with the taking-off-shoes-in-the-homes-of-others issue, another one that leads some to get a little carried away.)

Note, please, also that that bathroom door is on the other side of the home's central hall--and has its own door. It's very highly unlikely to be a code violation.

Energie, I think your initial question was answered, right? :) IMO, the answers on this thread definitely overstate the negatives--to you. As others who've lived with bathroom doors right in the kitchen have said, they don't feel they're a problem worth getting excited over. I agree. If I had one, I'd paper it with red and white flying pigs so people would smile when they saw it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 7:24PM
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@fori it's definitely not against code. The builder has built like over 100 of this model in my city.

I have decided that I will be building this house! The builder can flip the way the door opens, I will probably have it open the opposite way than is shown on the pic.

Thanks everyone for your feedback

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Energie, so exciting to be building your own starter home! Have fun! As I said, I had an almost identical layout in a 2-story condo and really liked it; I'm sure you will, too. My kitchen was a u-shape open to the dining room; you, on the other hand, will get to see the living room (tv, guests, whatever) from the kitchen counter. Nice!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 8:58PM
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