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Pros and cons of jack and Jill bath?

April 7, 2017

I know this is probably a matter of preference, but I can't seem to make up my mind. Should the kids have doors from bedrooms to conpartmentalized bath or just one door in the hallway? Two kids- a first grade boy and a teenager girl. In a few years the boy will have the bath all to himself but what about as they grow and come back with their family for a visit? I would love to hear others experiences!

Comments (71)

  • providencesparrow

    Wow thanks everyone. You've given me a lot of great reasons on why we should just do a door leading from the hallway. I appreciate the input! And the cool gadget Pampliset!

  • Lindsy

    I grew up with a jack and jill bathroom. It's a little different than what you normally see today. We didn't have an issue with locked doors. The only door that locked was to the shower and toilet. If you were at the sink area you made sure you were covered. I did this with my brother that was 5 years older than me... The drawing isn't great, the openings were doors..

  • Architectrunnerguy

    I like them but that's doesn't mean it's the preferred solution EVERY time. I have one (below) in my own house and really like it. BTW, I'm working on Providence's house so it'll be interesting to see how this goes!

  • Najeebah
    with a separate shower and toilet compartment, as ARG has, they're fine. With two separate compartments for the shower and toilet each, their work quite efficiently, though risk too many doors and a locker-room feel.
    non-lockable doors to the basin area, as lindsy mentions, solve the locked-unlocked door issues.
    If there is no powder room though, the hallway bath can serve the function of one for guests
  • sabrinatx

    Our planned J&J for our kids (girl 16 & boy 13) will be different than what is usually shown here. Each child will get a sink and private toilet. They only part of the bathroom that they will share is the shower.

  • worthy

    The closest I've come to a J&J were two bathrooms accessed from adjacent bedrooms and from the hall for the other two secondary bedrooms. With never more than four children, it worked out fine. For the Duggar-inclined, maybe not so well.

    providencesparrow thanked worthy
  • lazy_gardens

    I like this one, which is two powder rooms connected by the shower area ... so you don't have a long shower by Jack interfering with the use of the toilet by Jill.

    providencesparrow thanked lazy_gardens
  • lazy_gardens

    I like them only if they address the problem of having the two activities culturally needing privacy (bathing and toilet use) from sharing the same compartment so one doesn't interfere with the other.

    This one would work OK too ...if you made the shower compartment big enough to dry and hang a robe in. And added some doors.

    I've had a house with a similar bath and it worked well for the tenants.

  • worthy


    If you've gone as far as the first example, why not just spring for a little extra plumbing and have two ensuites?

    Convinced me I won't cheap out on the next build. One bath per bedroom.

  • vinmarks

    We had a Jack & Jill bath in our previous house and it worked out well. We had 2 sinks separated by a linen closet. Directly across from the linen closet was a door to a room with the toilet and shower. There was no walking in on someone showering or using the toilet because they could lock that door. The locks on the bathroom doors to the bedrooms were on the bedroom side. It worked very well for my son and daughter.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Pros: Saves a few bucks...Cons: Two users are always in the way of one another.

    Best compromise may be to compartmentalize everything so that different functions can happen simultaneously. When it comes time for simultaneous similar functions...someone has to go downstairs!

    Or simply build two fully separate baths!

    providencesparrow thanked Virgil Carter Fine Art
  • AnnKH

    Virgil, I think a J&J would cost slightly more than a hallway access, since you have 2 (or more) doors instead of one.

    A friend of mine with 3 daughters put a sink in each of their bedrooms, and they shared a hall bath (which also had a sink). It allowed the girls to do hair, makeup, brush teeth, etc in the privacy of their own room, which greatly reduced time spent in the common bathroom.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    J and J baths are sometimes a compromise for small children. Never for adolescents and adults!

  • Annie (Georgia / USDA Hardiness Zone 8A)

    I think that each child should have their own entrance to the bathroom and not have to go in the hallway. There should be locks on the doors but they can be those simple locks that can be opened with a coin and just keep a few coins in the vicinity of the locked door.

  • zippity1

    bit off the exact subject.........our college dorms had one bath between two rooms for 4 people nobody complained, much better than running up and down the hall never heard of problems with unlocked doors there.......

  • doc5md

    I was just sitting here with nothing better to do than think about this.... lol rarely happens for me...

    anyway, what is the average cost savings with Jack and Jill versus two baths. Let's assume the baths are in relatively near proximity.

    There would be an extra tub/shower (1000$) and an extra toilet (300$). Plus the additional square footage (is there that much extra sqft if well designed?!). Then. Then extra labor and plumbing.

    Whats the total? For us, we decided it wasn't worth it even not knowing the numbers! Lol :)

  • mark1993

    Which of the two choices are you saying is not worth it?

  • doc5md

    I see I didn't clarify. We are doing separate kid bathrooms.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    It is important to consider the long term use of spaces in a home. What is a good idea when you move in may not be that functional in ten or twenty years. It also may not be appealing for the next owners of the home.

  • k_dabrowski21

    I am contemplating a j&j bath as well, but I am thinking after all these comments, a hall bath would be better. I am also thinking about separating the toilet and bath with a door from sink space ... so one sibling can bathe while other brushes teeth and what not.

  • One Devoted Dame

    My favorite J&J/hall/master baths are ones where the toilet and tub/shower are separate -- that way, someone can be showering without making the potty off-limits.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.

    But never the two in the same bathroom at the same time unless it's compartmentalized with doors.

    Jack and Jill is an entertaining children's poem. When it comes to bathrooms, not so much...

    Keep the bathroom simple, with a single door on a commonly accessed corridor.

    Your family life will be much simpler. And your guests may want to return for another visit.

    providencesparrow thanked Virgil Carter Fine Art
  • Pinebaron

    Jack and Jill is an entertaining children's poem. When it comes to bathrooms, not so much...

    Don't know what they did up there but they came back with a daughter.

  • doc5md

    I grew up with a jack and Jill bath. Hated it. A door would inevitably be accidentally locked just when you had to "go" really badly. It was always an argument.

  • Suru

    I, too, grew up with a J&J bath for 6 kids; 3 girls and 3 boys. The boys always, always, (probably on purpose) left the door on our side locked. Then they wouldn't let us in through their bedroom to get in. Always a fight going on. We drove my poor mother berserk! Referring to Mark's post above, there was no conflict resolving or memory challenging, but there was a lot of vocabulary enhancement from my mother. LOL

  • whaas_5a

    My girls love our design. They'll love the vanity set-up even more as they get older.

    I'm sure someone will find issue with it though.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Pretty small counter and lavy spaces, especially when teen-age sprawl arrives, with all the lotions, sprays, appliances, hand-held mirrors, etc.

  • providencesparrow

    (OP here) Thanks to the feedback from this post (thank you!) we ended up going with a bath that opens only to hallway but has a doorway separating tub/toilet and sink/vanity. We are also considering creating a cosmetics vanity area (w no sink) in this area as well. (One thought is that this vanity space could hold travel toiletry bags in the future for when grown kids return as guests?) In our current home, our biggest issue is when teenager is showering but littler kid needs to brush teeth for bedtime. A powder room toilet is available elsewhere if needed. We haven’t built yet but anticipate this setup working well over the years for our situation and ages of kids.

  • whaas_5a

    Better to keep it more confined than to allow the sprawl!

    42" for a single lav certainly isn't spacious but plenty adequate for a kid's/teen's individual space.

    Sparrow would you just be better off putting a sink there? More function, more value?

  • cpartist

    Thanks to the feedback from this post (thank you!) we ended up going with a bath that opens only to hallway but has a doorway separating tub/toilet and sink/vanity.

    Um do you really want the kids opening and unlocking the second door to the lavatory after they've um, done their business? To me that is a bit of an ick factor.

    I'm putting a toilet closet in my new build but the door to the closet is a swinging door with a push plate and no door knob so no one has to touch door knobs or handles.

    providencesparrow thanked cpartist
  • opaone

    This seems largely a rather fascinating American problem caused by an over concern with seeing someone without their clothes on. Yes, people like their privacy but what's the harm if someone sees another without anything on? If Robert comes in to take a leak while his sister is in the shower?

    Half of Europe sauna's together with no ill effects. Mom, dad, kids, cousins, and Etna from next door. Europeans actually have many fewer problems than the U.S. Over protection is not necessarily a good thing.

    Ensuites are nice but otherwise build a J&J, don't put locks on the doors because they do cause problems, and tell folks to knock if others are squeamish.

  • ILoveRed

    CP...I'm interested in a door like this for my toilet space. Can you post more info on it please? Or a link even?? Can it be propped open?

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    "...Europeans actually have many fewer problems than the U.S...."

    Er...could we see some substantiating statistics, please. This is such a silly statement.

    Maybe it all depends on the definition of "problems"...

  • opaone

    What kind of substantiating stats do you want?

    A good place to start is: https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/rc11_eng.pdf

    Then this: http://www.civitas.org.uk/content/files/crime_stats_oecdjan2012.pdf

    We can also get in to things like the U.S. having the most dangerous roads of all developed countries with the highest fatality and injury rates, or perhaps the U.S. having the lowest life expectancy of all developed countries, but I'm not sure those are pertinent.

  • opaone

    What's relevant?

    We've generally had the highest teen pregnancy rates of all developed countries by a quite wide margin with around 40/1000 for the U.S. vs 5-7/1000 for most European countries. Recently though some European country's teen pregnancy rates have soared due to an influx of immigrants. We've seen similar huge increases in rapes over the past 10 years in high immigrant countries like Sweden, Belgium, Australia, and the UK. France has also seen this but a slower increase over about 15-20 years. Sweden for example has risen from an average of about 1600 reported per year to over 6,000.

  • opaone

    Kids in the U.S. are about 60% more likely to smoke pot as those in The Netherlands and by college we are three times as likely to smoke it. As adults we're only twice as likely. Stats are worse for hard drugs. And yet we incarcerate 10 times as much of our population, most of it for drug offenses.

    We spend almost three times as much per capita on healthcare ($11k/yr) and yet have the lowest life expectancy and among the highest rates of every preventable chronic disease.

    STI/STD rates? We don't look so good.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Is it time for you to move back to Europe?

  • opaone


    My job is writing about comparisons between the US and other OECD countries, primarily US vs EU. I do spend a good chunk of time in Europe every year but generally like where I live here and have family here.

    That doesn't mean that we shouldn't look at areas where we are failing and in particular failing our children and try to do better.

    You were the one who asked for stats.

  • Holly Stockley

    What in the world has this to do with the OP? Beyond providing a forum for trolling, that is.

  • opaone

    Virgil asked a question. I answered.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    On a thread about Jack and Jill baths this is just about the most off-topic comment I remember seeing:

    "...Europeans actually have many fewer problems than the U.S..."

    "... My job is writing about comparisons between the US and other OECD countries, primarily US vs EU..."

    Fine. Can you just leave us silly Colonials to debate the pros and cons of shared baths?

    providencesparrow thanked Virgil Carter Fine Art
  • opaone

    My original post, that you replied to and asked your question, was quite on topic. There was a lot of concern over doors being left locked causing problems (and they do) and I was simply raising the issue that the need to lock the doors or have locks on the doors may not be as big a need as we think.

    Sometimes we try to solve the wrong problems. Very often with business stuff or with our new house I'll be focused on solving some problem and my wife or architect or plumber provides a bit of different perspective. There's a great story about a town that had a giant boulder that they wanted removed. Every company that looked at it said it'd cost a fortune to either haul it out or break it up and haul it out. A kid then asked why they didn't just dig a big hole next to it and roll it in.

    That is often the value of the houzz forums for me, someone providing a perspective that I'd not even thought of.

    To avoid any farther off-topic discussion I'll bow out of any farther comments on this.

  • artemis_ma

    Wow, this one really did flop off-topic!

  • vinmarks

    Holy cow. We went from discussing j&j baths to teen pregnancy and smoking pot.

    As I stated before we had a j&j bath between my DS and DDs rooms in our previous house. It worked out well. There were two sinks separted by linen closet and separate room with door that locked with toilet and shower. Both kids could brush there teeth, wash their face, comb their hair and DD could put on makeup in the sink area. If they needed to use the toilet or take a shower they had an area to do this with a door that locked. If they took a shower they either dried off and got clothes on in shower/toilet area or wrapped a towel around them and went into their own room where they could lock their door for privacy. The locks on the doors to the sink area were on the bedroom side so no being locked out of the bathroom. We are currently building a house where originally there was a bath which had a door from bedroom and door from hallway. The bath was one room with toilet, sink, shower and linen closet. We took out the door from the bedroom because of having to lock two doors and unlock two doors. Both kids are in college. The room the bath connected to would be used by my daughter. If both were home on break i know my daughter would forget to unlock the hallway door and lock DS out.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    I don't care for jack & Jill bathrooms, but I didn't realize what a detriment they were to society.

    (although I may be reading it wrong)

  • Sophie

    If the toilet is in a compartment with the shower, where do you wash hands after using the toilet? My first thought is, the door handle would become dirty quite fast, and the next person who uses the shower would touch that door handle too.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Don't most humans have two (2) hands...? The other option is to practice sanitary methods when using the facility. :-)

  • Michael Lamb

    Use the same hand to open the door that you use to turn the water faucet on.

  • providencesparrow

    Cpartist can you post info on your suggested swinging door idea? Sounds interesting!

  • roy1tucker
    I can see the pro for kids sharing a bath, but it's a nightmare for adult guests to share, particularly if they aren't related. It's just awkward. As soon as I can, I'm compartmentalizing mine into two baths.

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