Revamp master bathroom layout to create usable closets: Lose the tub?
August 13, 2013
We are just starting the planning stage of a new home and are working from a floorplan that we like for the most part. The major exception is part of the closet space for the master bedroom. The "hers" closet that shares a wall with the laundry room is fine, but the original plan has a funny "master hall" between the bedroom and bathroom which is flanked by two small closets.

We'd rather have one usable "his" closet than two small ones that can't really fit much hanging space. Maybe it is as simple as shifting the "hall" to make one closet bigger and turn the other into a linen closet. My wife also feels strongly that the bathtub is a complete waste of space for us and would rather use that square footage for other things. I know that may not be best for resale but she hates that our current master bathtub has never been filled and is just something to keep clean and take up space.

I know there must be a better way to arrange things in the 11.5 x 15.5 rectangle that currently holds the bathroom and "master hall/closet" complex. How would you fit a closet, two sinks, a shower, and a small room for the toilet into that space? Should we be worried about so much plumbing sharing a wall with the most obvious place to put a bed in the bedroom below? Thanks so much for your advice.
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If you don't mind walking through the Ensuite to get to the closet you can switch the current walk through closets with the shower and toilet area in order to maximize the enitre back wall for the walk-in closet.
    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:55PM
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My first attempt would be to have door to bathroom only 28-30" deep from mirror (in front of vanity) wall. Then the 'master hall' could be only 36-42" wide. Does that give you a deep enough his closet with a linen closet?

oops - just read your post again. My plan is your 'shifting' the hall idea.
    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 5:57PM
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Plumbing on wall shared with other bedroom?

Make the closet for that room a wall closet and put it against your bathroom. Then the walk-in closet gets added to your closet and you will now have a long wall closet for 'his' closet.
    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 6:05PM
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Amy Canary
You may want to think about how the closets as planned would be used. Do you want to store all clothing in your closets? This space as planned is commonly seen. You could reduce the closet to the left and make the right closet larger. You could eliminate the left closet and create shallow space for a linen cabinet. The wall to the left of the vanity would be eliminated as well. now the hallway space is reduced in size and added to his closet. The bathroom entry would be shifted to the left in your bedroom.
    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 6:59PM
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I agree that having to pass closet space to get to a bathroom is a bad concept.....that will get annoying for you husband. It is best to have a closet off of the bathroom or separate all together. I would sketch out the rough footprint of the master suite you are working with and come up with a couple of options. Try a design with the closet where the toilet and shower space is. Window would be nicer in a closet than a water closet. Just from experience it is always nice to have a closet near your shower space so you can walk right in there afterwards and not deal with waking up your spouse if you have to get up extra early sometimes.

Couple thoughts on the plan itself. I am in the same stages on a new build and just met with an architect to go over my plans I designed myself. Of course I thought everything was perfect and he started marking all kinds of suggestions for improvement. So here a couple thoughts on it. Overall I think its an effective way to use space.

What I like: good use of hall space to access all rooms (eliminates long narrow halls). Jack and Jill Bath with separate toilet/shower area so kids don't get into arguments over locking the others bath door. Good footprint to minimize construction costs assuming the same below. Lighted U-stairwell that has a landing right where you go up or down especially if a basement is an option.

Some possible issues and suggestions: Main one I see is that plumbing will cost much more b/c there are bathrooms on all parts of the house (each end and in the middle w/o common walls). Do sound insulate the bath wall on the lower left corner bedroom b/c that is the DWV and supply wall for plumbing and the bath is not used by the bedroom. We have all been sleeping and hear water running in a wall from something showering or a toilet flushing.

You should make the bedroom on the lower right corner a complete ensuite b/c I don't see a need to access the bath from the hall b/c there is not any common space up there and the other bedrooms will use a different bathroom. I wish there was a way to make that closet built in so the room was a clean rectangle shape b/c closet within the room feel like an afterthought or an ooops. The closet space for the bedrooms are rather small but you can only do so much within a footprint.

Exciting time of the phase is making the decisions without all of the stress when the actual building has started. You can never go wrong over planning b/c once structure is in there is no going back unless you have a fat wallet. GL and hopefully you will streamline the design to meet your needs. Everyone has different needs but I thought I would at least give you some things to think about. Post a redesign of the master if you get that and GL
    Bookmark   Thanked by 99mkw    August 26, 2013 at 10:16AM
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I'm with your wife on this one. Get rid of the tub, make the shower just a little bigger (maybe a foot) and put in more closet space. You'll probably need to reposition the large window over the current tub location. I'll try to sketch up some ideas for you later today. I'm going thru a similar situation right now, and everyone I checked with said lose the tub.

FYI, I sold a 2 bed/2 bath condo last year where I'd removed both tubs and put in larger showers (so no bathtubs anywhere). Had no problem selling it.
    Bookmark   Thanked by 99mkw    August 26, 2013 at 10:36AM
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Thanks for the advice. Over the past week my wife and I made some big changes to the layout. I tried to post the updated floorplan last night but my computer got hung up. Not sure how to address the scattered plumbing issue but we did rework things to get some master bath plumbing off that bedroom wall. In terms of that front hall bath it originally had two doors (to hall and bedroom) but we didn't like the lack of a good wall to place a bed in that room. The funny thing is that the more things we changed the more the plan began to resemble another home the builder showed us. That one has some master bath issues of its own and I will try to post later.
    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:24PM
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Carrie Abfall, Realtor
I would put the shower where the tub is and move the toilet to where the closet is on the same wall as the vanity. Make the end of the bath a huge walk in closet. On the outside wall where closet 2 is, currently, have a built in dresser done here. It will give you huge storage. Having the toilet at the rear of the bath makes for a long walk in the middle of the night. For typical building code, you only need 30 inches but 36 is a more standard size. So, a 5 x 3 space is huge for a toilet room. Also, I'd do at least a five foot x 3.5 foot walk in shower. Anything less is disappointing with no tub
    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:38PM
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I rather like your changes. But 2 points:

the 'jack and jill' bath is now a hall bath? You seem to have removed entrances from bedrooms? I'm ok with that - I don't really see the need for separate baths for the kids. But I would try to take some space from each bedroom to to get a wider bathroom and therefore a window in the bathroom that's not in the tub. I like natural light in bathroom.

Your grand master closet: why keep it as 2 rooms? Open it up to be 1 large closet with entrances from both bed and bath. And you could also make it a little wider than 6' - maybe up to 7' by making the distance between shower wall and vanity 36". That's enough considering you have left a frying space in front of the shower.
    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 3:29PM
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oops - drying space - one hopes you aren't frying in there-lol.
    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 3:30PM
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We have another design dilemma thread about the jack and jill. Our kids are 3.5 years apart and will likely have different bed times for quite a while. Switching to a hall entrance will cut down on light and noise leaking into the baby's room but others pointed out that it leaves a big space that requires some planning. Why the objection to the window over the tub? Our current house has glass block above the tub and we definitely enjoy the natural light.

In terms of the master closets, my wife has a strong preference to keep our stuff separate (in part because I am not quite as neat and she'd rather not look at my less organized stuff everyday. In the other plan we are considering we again eliminated a tub and added a second closet. There's still an awkward amount of extra space there. We may make the room smaller or rearrange things and welcome advice on this one.
    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Oh - I definitely want the natural light in the bathroom. But I guess it depends on how high the window is in relation to the shower spray and visibility from the neighbours. Even if it's tiled I still picture water getting into the frame eventually or mould on caulking etc. It sounds like your children are small now, but they will get to be teenagers and take showers until you yell at them, so there will eventually be lots of steam in the bathroom! And which way do the windows face? I've never had glass block windows, but I really don't want to advertise to the neighbours whenever am in the bath! Facing the back or side, I would have less of a concern.

The bedrooms in both plans are large enough to lose a little space to have roomier bathrooms. Picture yourself and wife in the bathroom, 1 kid in tub, the other being helped to dry off, brush teeth, etc. You might not do this now with a baby and 4 year old. But you will with a 3 year old and 6 or 7 year old. In the above plan (in the bathroom with double sink), you don't have a ton of room to reach around toilet to child in tub, then you lift child out of tub, dry him or her off in small area in front of toilet, then send him out to vanity area - where you do have tons of room.


this layout is my favourite bathroom. Long vanity, toilet at the end. On opposite wall, is tub/shower and small storage - you can see them in the mirror. In fact, I would reverse toilet and storage, so that toilet is at end of shower, partially screened from door. The window is on the end wall - lots of light, but no one needs to stand in front of it while showering. And that room doesn't have to be big - 8' wide x 8' long will do it. You've got that and more if you re-jig the walls a little.
    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 6:58PM
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