Worst bathroom layout in history
nattyk
December 22, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We are really debating on buying a home that needs some cosmetic updates. However, the master bathroom is more then cosmetic. The garage entry door into the House, is through the master bathroom. The door opens next to the toilet! I'm at a complete loss on my options of how to "fix" this...;/ any suggestions.
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Eagledzines
Can you post a drawing with measurements?
December 22, 2013 at 5:24PM   
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nattyk
Yes, I will have my husband do that!
December 22, 2013 at 5:27PM   
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mcbriec
This could be part of a Saturday Night Live skit!! I think I would plan on eliminating that form of ingress and would wall it off. Just pretend like it never existed.

I don't know where you live but plenty of people have detached garages that don't enter directly into the house so if other things about the house are what you're looking for then proceed ahead and use this oddity as a negotiating tool to lower the price.
December 22, 2013 at 5:39PM     
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sunnydrew
that is the craziest thing I have ever seen. Also you may want to remove your address from the photo for privacy.
December 22, 2013 at 6:26PM     
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Your Space Furniture - Custom Upholstered Sofas
wow! who is the architect?
December 22, 2013 at 6:32PM     
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Eagledzines
That's a new one. Do I understand correctly that the entrance goes through the master bedroom too? I guess I would seal off that door and make a walkway on the exterior to the garage.
December 22, 2013 at 6:34PM     
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sstarr
Could lead to some interesting situations, for sure.
December 22, 2013 at 6:42PM     
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maggiemaxwell
Well, you could always upholster the john and call it a foyer. This would be enough to make me pass on the house.
December 22, 2013 at 7:02PM     
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saratogaswizzlestick
This should help you negotiate the price down as this will obviously turn off buyers. Can you simply wall it off and relocate the door?
December 22, 2013 at 7:15PM     
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mfwolfe
I would have to wonder if a builder strange enough to do this might have done some other weird things that might be less obvious.
December 22, 2013 at 7:25PM     
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TMK Remodeling
Need layout to understand the issue. Hire local architect to work out the issue and possible solutions.
December 22, 2013 at 7:26PM     
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karemore55
On the bright side, you could come in from work, have a nice, long hot bath and maybe a little nap before you face the rambunctious kids or grumpy teenagers:D
December 22, 2013 at 7:35PM     
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sissy49
If an architect created that s/he needs to back to school. And no builder should have done that either.
December 22, 2013 at 7:55PM     
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TMK Remodeling
The garage could have been added or master bath remodeled from the original design and construction. Look for signs of construction from different eras. If possible restore the original layout. If not then work out a new solution.
December 23, 2013 at 3:34AM   
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sstarr
Less than 5% of houses are designed by architects. Houses are mostly designed by builders, contractors, carpenters.
December 23, 2013 at 7:25AM     
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Eagledzines
And homeowners.
December 23, 2013 at 7:25AM     
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nattyk
I tried to remove it and can't ;( I emailed support
December 23, 2013 at 8:20AM   
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nattyk
When I uploaded It last night I realized it wasn't the cropped picture. When I click on it there is no "edit" option to remove.
December 23, 2013 at 8:24AM   
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TMK Remodeling
@sstar
Where did you get that data?
All new home construction needs a stamped set of plans in order to get a building permit. Most crimes are committed after the dwelling is built.
December 23, 2013 at 2:34PM     
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countbla
I'm guessing this was added after original construction, maybe to provide a suite with separate entrance (nanny, live-in relative) without making it visible from outside? Does the bedroom door have a lock as well? Maybe you can get a copy of the original plan from the Building Permit Dept and figure out how it was originally set up ? Either way factor some work in your offer if it looks otherwise like a good house/area etc...
December 23, 2013 at 3:04PM   
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sstarr
@TMK, just Google it. There is a citation in a New York Times article, an article in an architecture industry website, and much more. The caveat is, that many "mass market" homes (houses) are based upon an original plan from an architecture firm. However, direct involvement with an architect and a specific site was estimated to be about 2%.
December 23, 2013 at 3:39PM   
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TMK Remodeling
@sstar
With all due respect, just reading it on the internet does not make it so. Construction is a highly regulated industry. Try walking into your local building department without a stamped set of plans and see how far you get. In my neck of the woods you need 6 sign offs from local authorities before you get a building permit.

Now if you said 5% of remodels are done with architectural oversight then I would agree. Most remodeling jobs are done by home owners with no permits and that is where we see big problems with illegal building. I hate to say it but houzz is a big contributor to that since most of the users of the site are home owners looking for free advice to do work on their own. I would guess that a majority of this work is not permitted. Hence the cycle continues.
December 23, 2013 at 4:45PM   
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mfwolfe
Based on my experiences out here in the hinterlands I would say Starr is real close. Builders designing homes happens more often than not. I was considered an outlier for using an architect, and had to put up with a lot of baloney from the builder because I had an architect.
December 23, 2013 at 8:27PM     
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Fred S
Stamps on single family residential plans are only required if you don't know what you are doing.
http://azcad.com/architectural-stamp-requirements-per-state
http://architecturalstamp.com/massachusetts-architect-and-engineer-stamp

The homeowner OR a person with a (CSL) is allowed to obtain a house building permit in Andover

Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) Construction Supervisor License (CSL)
http://andoverma.gov/permits/
December 23, 2013 at 11:25PM     
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okdokegal
TMK remodeling, here there is only need for permit for original new construction or if you have a professional come in to do work (wiring, plumbing, etc). If you remodel and DIY and do not hire a pro, then you do not need a permit.

I will agree, that I have seen a lot of 'under the radar' remodeling long before I moved here. I am guessing someone stuck that mess together as something they wanted and/or possibly something they thought would sell the place... but found out during the work that stuff wasn't going to plan.

I'd still go down to the planning and permission and see if I could pull the original blueprints as filed, and see what may have been done to the place since then... and if what you have there now was permit-ed if that is what the law requires. I bet it's a bunch of gloss-n-floss that was done without permit.
December 24, 2013 at 12:01AM   
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TMK Remodeling
@freds

I agree that building permit applications and stamped drawing requirements vary from state to state in US as does code enforcement. Your link to town of Andover building permit application did not site their application checklist that is 2 pages long. Stamped drawings is item 10 of 12. http://andoverma.gov/building/publish/permcheck.pdf

Andover is one if the strictest towns I work in.

My larger point is that construction is a highly regulated industry governed by laws and codes. Many home owners are unaware or choose not to follow them. Licensed builders who ignore them are breaking the law. Unlicensed builders are just like unlicensed doctors. Maybe they know what they are doing but who wants that risk.

I am constantly amazed at the contractor horror stories told by home owners. When you get down to the facts not many of these are licensed builders following a set of plans with a contract in place. Requirements of the trade for most of us.
December 24, 2013 at 6:51AM   
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suzanne_m
nattyk, if you look at the upper right corner of your comment where you have posted the pictures, do you see a pencil image and a X? Click on the X, it will delete the comment with the picture.
December 24, 2013 at 8:26AM   
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Fred S
@TMK

That doesn't say it has to be stamped by an "architect", but an "engineering design when applicable". And that "ALL" drawings must be stamped "when applicable" as opposed to just one set.
An architect works for the homeowner, and if the homeowner wants something strange, and the building department allows it, then an architect really isn't much defense against "strange".

9) Engineering Design: When applicable
10) Two Sets of Plans - All Drawings Stamped and Signed – (original signature) NOTE: All plans/drawings submitted are NOT to be larger than 2’ x 3'

If an architect was actually necessary for the building plan, there would be no reason for this;
NOTE: All structural Steel Framing Members (Beams & Columns) must be engineered by an Architect or Structural Engineer licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The only certified plan necessary is in;
1) Certified Plot Plan IS REQUIRED (excluding interior remodel, siding, or roofing permits.)

Permits requiring a licence are listed as such;
5) Specialties:
5.1 Electrical permit must be filed by a contractor with a current valid license within 5 days of the start of the work.
5.2 Plumbing and Gas permits must be filed by a contractor with a current valid license prior to the start of the work
NOTE: Building Permits will be issued to the property owner and his authorized agent who, if a contractor, must be licensed by The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

I am not really sure what we are looking at here without a floor plan, but here is the IRC code according to what we are being told.
R302.5.1 Opening protection.
Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted. Other openings between the garage and residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 13/8 inches (35 mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb-core steel doors not less than 13/8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors, equipped with a self-closing device.
December 24, 2013 at 12:44PM     
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reba120
Nattyk - sorry, but that is hysterical!
December 24, 2013 at 12:57PM   
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Sustainable Dwellings
It is funny. I know some people (Andover, Kansas) who put their stool and bathtub on a stage in their master suite.... whut???? I guess the buyers could have it removed, or enclosed....
December 24, 2013 at 1:14PM   
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TMK Remodeling
@Freds
Not sure what you're getting at and don't know how many permits you have pulled in Andover for new construction without stamped drawings but they do require them from every one else.

@Natyk
Sorry if we hijacked the thread over construction administration. Greater point was either the bathroom or garage could have been added after original construction.
December 24, 2013 at 1:19PM   
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sstarr
The house in question here is in Louisiana.
The numbers I quoted were not my idea. I read articles and confirmed numbers from several sources. Not my problem if people take issue with that. They're free to check it out.

However, all you really need to do is drive across America and see for yourself.
December 24, 2013 at 1:19PM   
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FORESIGHT Design-Remodel Inc
Well, regardless of looking at the floor plan, the solutions will go like this:

Solution A - Can you move the door to another common room or hallway to the home? My bet is no, since it currently opens into the master bath. UNLESS- they wanted that system. I see what looks like the main wardrobe in the master bath. Their life system in the home may have appreciated a private entry/exit directly to their "ready room". Clean up, dressed, and out the door folks - long day return, lose the work clothes, cleaned and home. Possible. Maybe the door can be simply moved.

Solution B - Can you move/reconfigure the bathroom? Right. Who wants to do that? See solutions A, C, D.

Solution C - Ignore or permanently seal the garage door and use alternate route to home entry.

Solution D - Keep looking at other houses.

Happy Holidays!
December 24, 2013 at 1:22PM     
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sunnydrew
I think you just need to have a qualified professional of some sort come look at it to figure out the best way to fix it. It would be ideal if you wanted to turn your garage into a big walk-in closet. I dream about blowing out the wall in my closet and hijacking half of the garage directly behind it. That involves too many regulations I am sure, so I won't ever really do it.
December 24, 2013 at 1:27PM   
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FORESIGHT Design-Remodel Inc
P.S. round here, single family stick frames, < 2 story; the only mandatory stamps Plan Check will require is a Structural Engineer and Soil Engineer if Grading Permit dictates so.
December 24, 2013 at 1:28PM     
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grobby
Please get a designer/ architect in to help solve this problem. It will be worth it.
December 24, 2013 at 1:36PM   
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Fred S
@TMK, are you telling me that you have your Construction Supervisor License (CSL), but don't know what it represents?

Your #10 reference is about the stamp and signing of the plan by the reviewer at the building department before the actual permit is issued. There is no mention of needing an architect anywhere in the language.
Here is an official statement by the authority having jurisdiction in your area, and it clearly states that an architect is NOT required.
http://northandoverma.vt-s.net/pages/NAndoverMA_Building/FrequentlyAskedQuestions-SafetyTips?textPage=1

The Unrestricted CSL (UCSL) allows a license-holder to supervise construction on any building that is less than 35,000 cubic feet of aggregate interior volume (length x width x height) or any single or two-family home regardless of size. Buildings 35,000 cubic feet and over (excluding 1 & 2 Family homes) require the design services of a Massachusetts registered architect and\or engineer as applicable. Engineering services may also be required for the design of a single family home depending on project size and complexity. The state building code affords the municipal and\or state building official the right to determine when engineering services are required for single and two-family homes.
The Restricted CSL (RCSL) allows a license-holder to supervise construction only of single and\or two-family home buildings and their accessory structures (such as garages, sheds, etc.). There is no size limit for these types of buildings. Although a home owner may choose to engage their services, architectural design services are not required for single and two-family homes. However, as stated above engineering services may be required depending on project size and complexity.
December 24, 2013 at 4:33PM   
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inpdx
Let's stick to the question at issue. This house is in Louisiana. It was built in 1981. The poster doesn't give a rip about who knows what in Mass.
Options include:
1. Walk away now, as this could be a sign of other questionable work-arounds.
2. Bring in a top-flight inspector to go over all the systems and every inch of the construction.
3. Check the parish building dept to see if any permits are on file, either for the original home or subsequent remodels/attached structures.
4. Be prepared to walk away at any stage of the process.
Also check the resale history.
Personally, even after an inspection, I'd do some serious price negotiating, be prepared to rip out the whole hot mess and walk away at any time. This can't be the only home in New Iberia.
December 24, 2013 at 5:39PM     
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Keri C
If it makes you feel any better, I once saw an apartment in New York City in which the bathroom had a tub and sink, but the toilet was in a closet in the bedroom!
December 25, 2013 at 2:59AM   
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soberg
Agree strongly with inpdx that walking away needs to be on the table with respect to this house you are considering purchasing. And if you do go ahead, make sure you have a firm plan and firm bid on fixing the severe layout issue and factor that into your negotiations.

Nattyk, can you provide a sketch of the floor plan and show relation to lot? Hand drawn is is fine! This will help us see if there are any obvious/easy workarounds.
December 25, 2013 at 3:19AM   
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