Bathing Beau­ties

Look­ing for bath­room strate­gies that will hold wa­ter? From pow­ders to masters, these four foun­da­tions of good bath­room de­sign will get the ideas flow­ing.

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS - By Donna Peak

Look­ing for bath­room strate­gies that will hold wa­ter? From pow­ders to masters, these four foun­da­tions of good bath­room de­sign will get the ideas flow­ing.

Whether you’re plan­ning a pie-in-the-sky lux­u­ri­ous bath­room or one that’s a lit­tle more down to earth, in­vest­ing time, thought and, yes, a lit­tle money in this space is worth it. Bath­rooms are sec­ond only to kitchens when it comes to cre­at­ing value and en­joy­ment in your home. Con­sider these four key ar­eas as you are de­sign­ing yours.

1 Lo­ca­tion, Lo­ca­tion, Lo­ca­tion

As the say in real estate, lo­ca­tion is ev­ery­thing, and that adage cer­tainly ap­plies as you’re draft­ing your bath­rooms within your floor plan. Mas­ter bath­rooms are the most straight­for­ward to place; sec­ondary/guest baths and pow­der rooms can be a lit­tle trick­ier, so here’s some good ad­vice:

If you have kids who’ll share a bath, it makes sense to place that bath­room be­tween the rooms with pri­vate ac­cess from each. This is some­times called a Jack-and-Jill bath­room. A vari­a­tion of this is to cen­tral­ize the tub/shower and toi­let for the kids to share, but then give each of them their own sep­a­rate sink and van­ity next to their rooms. this is spe­cially smart if they're dif­fer­ent gen­ders. hav­ing pri­vate space helps keep the peace.

If the kids’ bath­room also will ser­vice oc­ca­sional guests, then you may need to re­lo­cate it to a more uni­ver­sally ac­ces­si­ble lo­ca­tion. Be sure to pro­vide ex­tra stor­age space so the full-time res­i­dents’ and guests’ be­long­ings don’t crowd each other. If you’ll have fre­quent overnight com­pany, give se­ri­ous thought to pro­vid­ing them with their own ded­i­cated lava­tory.

And fi­nally, there’s the pow­der room. This is likely the small­est room in your house and yet it’s one of the most crit­i­cal to site right. This two-piece wash­room should be eas­ily ac­cessed but some­what re­moved from main liv­ing ar­eas. For max­i­mum pri­vacy and the com­fort of its users, place the pow­der near the foyer or a mud­room but never al­low it to open di­rectly to­ward a main liv­ing space like the great room or kitchen.

2 Re­think the Mas­ter Bath

“The idea of a ‘mas­ter bath­room’ has changed dras­ti­cally over the years,” says Dan Mitchell, a log home builder and owner of Ea­gle CDI in Ten­nessee. “If you look back a decade or two, mas­ter bed­rooms were rel­a­tively small spa­ces. Few had an en suite bath­room and, if they did, they were quite util­i­tar­ian. To­day’s mas­ter bath­room has en­larged; it’s tran­si­tioned to be­come more of a grand dress­ing area.

“In fact, hav­ing the mas­ter closet within the con­fines of the mas­ter bath’s foot­print has be­come an in­creas­ingly com­mon re­quest,” Dan con­tin­ues. “It makes sense that af­ter you get out of the shower, your clothes should be close at hand. You can get dressed, look in the mir­ror and make any changes as nec­es­sary. If you’re wor­ried that the hu­mid­ity cre­ated in the bath­room will cause mold or mildew on your clothes, fear not: No ex­tra mea­sures need to be taken to prevent that — as long as run your ex­haust fan to re­move ex­cess mois­ture when you take a shower. You need to do that whether your closet is part of your bath­room or not.”

3 Fac­tor in the 3 Fs

Whether it’s your mas­ter en suite or a pow­der room, as you’re de­sign­ing each of your home’s bath­rooms, keep the 3 Fs — form, func­tion and for­ever — in mind.

Ac­cord­ing to Fred Ken­dell, de­sign man­ager for Hon­est Abe Log Homes, one of your top pri­or­i­ties should be to care­fully con­sider both your cur­rent and fu­ture needs. This may mean wiring or plumb­ing each space for the fix­tures that fit your im­me­di­ate plans, as well as for any up­grades you may want to make down the road. In a log home, plan­ning ahead dur­ing the de­sign and con­struc­tion phase makes things a lot eas­ier and less ex­pen­sive than retrofitting later.

You also need to think about what your needs will be as you grow older. In a bath­room, this trans­lates to wider door­ways (3 feet wide is rec­om­mended) with pocket doors, if pos­si­ble, to elim­i­nate door swing; show­ers with­out thresh­olds (no rims or curbs) and a seat with a hand­held show­er­head; and enough clear floor space to ac­com­mo­date a 5-foot turn­ing ra­dius, should you re­quire a wheel­chair. When it comes to fix­tures, a lower, roll-up van­ity sink, lever-style han­dles and slip-re­sis­tant floor­ing are op­tions that will let you stay in your home for the long haul, with­out hav­ing to make dras­tic and costly mod­i­fi­ca­tions.

4 Beauty Ba­sics

Bath­rooms aren’t just a ne­ces­sity, they’re also a res­i­den­tial show­piece. Just watch any home im­prove­ment pro­gram on TV and you’ll see how sig­nif­i­cant of a role they play in a buyer’s sat­is­fac­tion with a house. But let’s be hon­est: A beau­ti­ful bath­room doesn’t come cheap. Tubs, tile, sinks and fix­tures can be high-ticket items. It’s im­por­tant to per­son­al­ize your home’s baths, but you may want to think twice when buy­ing into the lat­est trends.

For ex­am­ple, in the 1950s, pink-and-black bath­rooms were all the rage. The ’70s brought us the joys of har­vest gold and avocado green, and in the late ’80s, if you didn’t have a jet­ted tub large enough for you and a dozen of your clos­est friends, your re­sale value dropped dra­mat­i­cally. Now, none of these op­tions are de­sired or, in some cases, con­sid­ered ac­cept­able.

The point is that even in some­thing as prac­ti­cal as a bath­room, trends come and go. If you’re the kind of per­son who loves to be on the cut­ting edge and rel­ishes the thought of rein­vent­ing your log home in a decade, then by all means, in­dulge in the de­sign du jour. But if you want to get it right now and for the rest of your life, then ask your­self one ques­tion: Will you love this look in 10 or even 20 years’ time? If yes, you’re on the right track. If no, you can’t go wrong with the ba­sics.


ABOVE: To­day’s mas­ter suite de­sign calls for a walk-in closet within the bath­room space, mak­ing it more of a dress­ing room than sim­ply stor­age.

RIGHT: As the scale of mas­ter bed­rooms is shrink­ing, mas­ter bath­rooms are in­creas­ing in size.

Bulky built-in gar­den-style tubs have gone by the way­side. In their place, free­stand­ing op­tions, like the retro-in­spired claw­foot, are back in vogue. ABOVE: A frame­less shower equipped with a built-in seat and a hand­held wand is both lux­u­ri­ous and prac­ti­cal ag­ing-in-place de­sign.

ABOVE: In a small bath­room, make the most of ev­ery inch of space you have. The open shelv­ing of this com­pact sink keeps it from look­ing cramped.

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