Master Bath Remodel: Planning the Space

[Since its been awhile since I started this series on the re-design of my parents’ Master Bath, you can catch up on Part 1 and Part 2]

So, where were we?

After we knew the general concept of the design, we started to think about how the space should function to best meet my parents’ needs.

I knew right away that the center wall dividing the space had to come out. It didn’t really serve much of a function except to encroach on the bathing area, and we knew this was the side that needed to grow. [Special Note: Always make sure a wall isn’t load bearing before you decide to remove it. Because of the plan below and the layout of the roof, I was reasonably sure we would be fine before proceeding with the design].

We decided to leave the master closet intact, so once we decided to move the wall we were left with a 9’-4″ x 19′-7″ rectangular space to plan within.

Demolition Plan

As I mentioned in the original post about this project, one of the goals was to create more separation from the bedroom so the bath could feel like a spa retreat. The arched opening between the two spaces was really just too large, so I suggested adding a pair of 2’ French doors to the far right of the opening and framing in the rest. This not only centered the opening on the wall from the bedroom side, but also gave more wall surface within the bath area to work with.

We played around with moving the exterior window, but ultimately decided that for cost reasons it would stay in the same location. Altering exterior framing didn’t seem like something we should tackle especially since our opportunity to move it was minimal.

The main discussion at the beginning of the design was tub or no tub. I think this is something that a lot of homeowners go through these days. It used to be that you thought you had to have a tub in a master suite for families. But really, how many couples are really bathing their kiddos in the master when there is usually another full bath closer to kids’ rooms? A lot of couples are opting to forego baths in the master in lieu of a large and spacious shower. At the beginning, this is where our design was headed, too. My parents rarely used the tub that was there – a shallow enameled built in model from the 80s. Just for kicks, though, we did some research on tubs and found that the tubs today are nothing like those shallow cold stock models from two decades ago. They are generally deeper and wider allowing for more of a soak experience. Plus, we used to have a hot tub and my parents missed that, so there were moments of re-consideration of including a tub.

Ultimately we did decide to include a tub in the design because they decided if they were going to make an investment in upgrading the whole bathroom they wanted to still have all the options available. Plus, when we sketched out a “large and luxurious” shower without a tub, it was HUGE and probably unneccesary. We wanted to make sure space was still being used efficiently.

The goal was to keep plumbing in much the same location as previously, so the location of the toilet and shower head did not change. We lengthened and widened the shower, re-plumbed the tub for a center drain, and planned the sinks in the same spot.

For the vanity, they have always enjoyed a long double vanity with plenty of space, at the detriment of shower and tub space. So, we wanted to strike a balance by giving some space back to the bathing area while still having two sinks and a decent vanity. We opted to go with a freestanding furniture type vanity to give some visual room* to the overall space, and shift the sinks just slightly from their original location which didn’t require re-plumbing.

Similar to where we started, but with enough change to make a big difference

In the end, the overall configuration is much the same as the “before”, but with more consideration given to space around individual elements and the relationship to the bedroom. At first I was imagining some super drastic makeover with everything totally reinvented, and coming up with such a simple plan felt a little disappointing. But then I thought, hey ! The less money you spend on infrastructure the more you can spend on fun pretty stuff! And, if it aint broke, don’t fix it. Their bathroom hadn’t had an issue with the location of each piece, it just required some space be redistributed, and I think we achieved that goal.

To give my parents a better idea of where we were heading, I threw together a quick sketch up model of the space so they could see the layout. Check it out!

*If your eye can see the floor finish extending to all the walls beneath a freestanding component, your mind will perceive that the space stretches that far instead of stopping at a built in vanity toe-kick. A little trick for small spaces. Plus, freestanding components are more easily swapped out later.

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