Sep 11, 2014

Dueling Thunder Closets

Okay, I get it, nobody likes my idea of combining two small bathrooms into one.  Loss of privacy and pooping people on dueling side-by-side toilets are top concerns.  Resale value drop, too.

Let us talk privacy.

In a bathroom, there are three sketchy zones where you don't want other humans seeing your junk:  toilet, shower and tub.

The two toilets would be completely private, drywall between them, fans to vent that nasty fecal air.  Standing by the sink, you'd see doors.  Sitting on the throne, you'd see walls, door and Car and Driver:



The shower would be separated from the rest of the room by a glass block wall.  Imagine no-see glass block where this gray wall is behind the sink (design software doesn't offer glass).  The wall would be 6' or 7' tall.  Shower area would be 10 feet long, plenty of room for changing after.  Also no "roof" and frame on shower, software limitation:




A reader commented glass block is not private.  I have glass blocks in both bathrooms now... hopefully my neighbors are not getting a peep show:


The tub is NOT private.  The solution there is to lock both sliding entrance doors.  Tub would not get much use, mainly exists only to hose off potential future kids.  Possibly the tub would get the axe in the final design.

Regarding resale, I'm not overly concerned with loss in value by combining two bathrooms into one.  I don't really see homes as good investments, so would rather make it how I want it, not how future owners might want it.  It is a small house in a dated neighborhood, these houses will never go for high bucks anyway.

Another reader suggested this:

However the stall idea I think is a nice though but probably impractical. My suggestion is to take the 10 x 10 space and have a shower area on the left then a toilet in the back left corner fully enclosed. And then instead of the two stalls you could make this area into a powder room with a door into what I presume is the hall way ( just to the right of the current main bathroom door). This could then be as small as 4 feet 6” depending on how you design it. This leaves the space behind it for sink and a slider into what I am presuming is the master bedroom. Off course the limitation is going to be the plumbing etc. I love the “floating” toilets concept but remember you would need to widen the wall they are on to include the tank etc. which are basically hidden in the wall. With such a small space it’s going to be tight but this way at least you have 2 separate spaces.

I think this sounds like a good idea, so will model it out using design software and post her up.

Thanks for the input all, I laughed reading the comments.  Send me other ideas, I'll model them and post.

-Beard

24 comments:

  1. Anonymous9/11/2014

    Where will Pigtails (and Curls or the one that pops out these future children....) put on make up/fix hair do all of the girly things that girls must do. It's not quite as easy as having a dressing area next to the shower, even if they aren't high maintenance girls must be able to have a certain level of primping.

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    1. Updated pic in the post to show crap containment areas (CCAs) flanking the sink(s).

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  2. Shannon9/11/2014

    Here's the deal on privacy: strictly speaking your current design provides a technical measure of it, yes. As in, you can wall yourself off in a little toilet space or in the shower. However, for many people that does not necessarily equate to what they deem necessary (or perhaps better said, adequate) for privacy, which is a space that no one else will enter while you are doing everything you need to do in a bathroom zone. Ie, can you enter a bathroom, do whatever you would do (bathe, toilet, sink/mirror prep work on self) without someone else busting in there. This is my definition of bathroom privacy and I fully admit it is a very luxurious one. I think that may be where you are running into "concerns" about privacy - differing concepts about what that means.

    What does Pigtails think? I have been pondering your bathroom situation much more than seems reasonable this evening, and it has occurred to me that perhaps you & she are very close in a privacy sense. I know it has just been the two of you for some years & maybe this doesn't bother the two of you a bit? Every family is different & if this seems reasonable to you & her, heavens, get 'er done. Definitely not appealing to the masses but we don't live there.

    Oh, and here's a super bougie thing I have in my bathroom & I love it - heated floor. Every time I turn it on I feel pretty absurd, but simultaneously it is pretty awesome. Think on that for the new lav?

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    1. Haha, you feeling absurd with the warm floor.

      Pigtails and I are close, I still have to remind her to close the bathroom door when she's laying logs.

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    2. Melissa C.9/19/2014

      Re: heated floors. I love ours. We retrofitted the kitchen and [original] bathroom areas, and incorporated radiant floor heating in the design when we were preparing for our DIY addition/renovation. 2nd best design decision ever. The best decision was good insulation.

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  3. I think Tails is growing up and will soon be taking over the entire BR.

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  4. Vanity and cabinet space?

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    1. Done, see updated photo above.

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  5. Totally agree on making a home how you want it, and not just what some mythical future buyer might want.

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    1. Yeah, silly to design a home around an imaginary, potential future buyer that may or may not materialize. Nothing should be more personal than your own home. The next owner can can shape it how they want it, I won't design my house around a stranger..

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  6. Anonymous9/12/2014

    Following up on my suggestions yesterday you can make the “powder room” an backwards L shape, especially if the door is either a pocket door slider or opens into the hallway. So you would have the sink on the left then toilet straight ahead. This then gives you space in the Corner for a sink or even a cabinet for toiletries/towels in the main bathroom area. I also forgot to mention that with such a small space I would ditch the tub. If you don’t use one at all then why waste the already very limited space. My wife on the other hand loves her tub and that’s the reason for our planned remodel in a few years. She absolutely want a large claw foot soaking tub and at present we have a standard 5 feet tub that she just doesn’t like.

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  7. I stand by my position that privacy glass isn't enough. If I were taking a shower, and my dad were on the other side of a privacy glass wall, I would feel totally exposed. The ability to see *anything* -- vague shapes, skin color, light -- through that wall makes it not private. Also, what in particular do you dislike about your current layout? Couldn't you just gut/redo those two rooms?

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    1. I updated the photo above to include mirror and storage beside the sinks. That covers most of the glass block area, so reduces exposure of naked parts dangling in the shadows.

      Gutting the two bathrooms and keeping a wall separating them is an option. However, the perception of increased space will be GREATLY enhanced with a single room. I learned from the kitchen redo that deleting small things makes a large change to perceived space increase (removed ceiling fan, corner cabinets, soffitt, reduced cabinet count by 50%, and more...). Plus there would be a tangible space increase from remaking two closets into b-room area.

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    2. Anonymous9/19/2014

      Can we see a quick sketch of what the area looks like now? I'm having trouble picturing it.

      Also, I think glass blocks look dated, so maybe consider just a heavily frosted glass window pane if that's the route you choose. I think one solid piece would be easier to clean too (no mildewed grout lines.)

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  8. What about eyebrow tweezing? Makeup applying? Hair straightening or curling? All those things would be much better with a private sink area for a teenage girl! At least to me - I would still not like it at the age of 31 if my husband was wondering around the bathroom when I was trying to tweeze my eyebrows at the sink. Sometimes he does ramble in at such a time and start fiddling around, and then I'm usually asking, "Do you need something?" or "What are you doing in here?!" depending on how things are going. I think privacy needs to extend to the whole bathroom (i.e. sink and vanity area) not just the toilet and shower.

    I just had to chime in again about my vote for two separate rooms from a girl's perspective. I'm all done now. It doesn't actually matter what I think. It matters what Curls thinks and what Pigtails thinks (and you!). If Curls is good with this set up, then that's good enough!

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    1. Alright, this one I haven't been able to figure out...if sink privacy is so important, then why do so many bathrooms have double sinks? Pigtails moved all of her make-up, hair accessories and primping junk into her bedroom with that redo, so she mostly does all that stuff in her room. And shaving she does in the shower.

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  9. I have to agree with a previous poster who said that while you are "technically" maintaining "privacy," as a former teenage girl, I would not see it that way. Pigtails will soon be getting new hormones, new hair, new body, and I doubt she will feel comfortable sharing a bathroom with her dad in it at the same time when that happens.

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    1. And don't forget new shoes soon too, her hooves are size 8 and growing!

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  10. Anonymous9/14/2014

    I think this is a cool idea except for one thing (this comes from experience...). You are out on a lovely morning 10 miler. Burritos for dinner last night. Code Brown hits about three blocks from your house. You think you're going to make it, but realize this isn't a drill, so you start doing the trots to your house. You get to the bathroom only to find one of the girls showering with all access locked. What do you do?! :)

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    1. That is a level 9 code brown, my friend. I have no good answers.

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  11. Judith9/16/2014

    Chiming in with the "privacy means the whole room"-crowd. For me, it has also always been about having access to a private sink, not just having a separate toilet. You probably regard the sink as purely having a function for hand-washing and teeth-brushing, and thats it. For many women (and some men), there's a lot more happening there though, and for teenage girls that goes double. I wasn't even what one might call a »girly« girl, but still I needed (and to this day need) uninterrupted and private time to experiment with tweezing, makeup, popping pimples, or putting on some face-mask stuff that also goes on the chest and has you sitting there half-naked for 15 minutes at a time. Or just having a door to lock and quietly wash my face and compose myself after having had a bad cry. Or have you ever heard of the Mooncup? Not going into detail, but a woman would prefer a private sink when she uses that over pads.

    Maybe your planned set-up would work if you could also place a private sink somewhere else (it's different from having just a private spot with a mirror, is what I mean), but as it is it reminds me way too much of the communal women's-bathroom of my student-accommodation, where anything beyond hand- and facewashing meant you became a public spectacle because the door to the hall could open any time. I would've been thrilled if I'd at least had a sink in my room.

    I actually think your plan could backfire and you might be looking at no access to the shower and both toilets all at once if Pigtails needs the sink to herself at some point and locks herself in.

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    1. One thing I should have mentioned in the post is this:

      Why do bathrooms place the toilet directly next to the shower and sink? Isn't it logical to have separation from where you become clean with where you drop fecal matter? That is one of the reasons I'm designing the bathroom the way it is...to separate dirty from clean zones. If we wouldn't put a toilet in a kitchen, then why next to where we bathe?

      Curls, if you read this thing, what ideas do you have?

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  12. Curls here. My wish list:

    - A high quality, walk-in shower - no door, slider or other hard-to-clean add-ons. A large (likely directly overhead) shower head would adorn this space. Naturally, we need to account for the proper amount of space to make this sort of design feasible.
    - A better vanity/sink solution. Small sinks are great for saving space, but I'd like to install a double vanity (and perhaps an extra super-small sink for the other side). I tend to lean toward the more modern designs, as opposed to the traditional sink-built-into-and-as-part-of-the-countertop varieties. I've seen some clever solutions on Pinterest and various blogs.
    - We need to figure out useful storage. I'm a big advocate of things being stored where they belong. As such, the bathroom storage should speak to what one would naturally store in there. There are two types of storage, as I see it. Inventory-type storage - things like extra toilet paper, Kleenex, toothpaste, etc. And then there's the type of storage for everyday use items. I personally like to keep these separate, but out of sight. I'm not an advocate of too much being left out on countertops.
    - Toilets. I'm with Beard on the Euro-style toilets. I agree we need two. Where we put them is part of the debacle.
    - Two bathrooms vs. one. Function and privacy drive my decisions. I'm leaning toward two rooms myself.
    - Design. I first mentioned to Beard that we have a front closet, bathroom closet and linen closet to potentially tear out and use to enlarge these spaces. It doesn't buy us a lot of extra room, but I have a feeling it will give us more layout considerations - it's amazing what an extra foot or two can do for a small room.
    - Doors. I like the idea of upscale sliders for the bathroom entrances. I'm not a huge fan of pocket doors in general, but i do think they will help with our space issue. All I told Beard on this front was if we do it, then we choose a very high quality door.
    - The last thing I want is for the room to look cluttered or be reduced to a wonky layout. No matter what we do, it will never reach the level of roominess we want. We'd simply need more space to be able to achieve that.

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  13. Anonymous9/18/2014

    In college, my favorite thing about coming home was having a proper bathroom. Nothing about dorm living bothered me as much as the bathrooms. I certainly wouldn't want a dorm style bathroom and my home. Just to add another girly thing to the list, I wax my own legs in my bathroom. It requires interesting maneuvers such as prop my leg up on the edge of the tub, and I wouldn't want anyone to walk in while I was doing it since I am typically half naked. On the subject of showering, it's not about whether someone can physically see me or not. It's about the presence of someone else while I was showering. Especially if it were my dad. That bathroom is basically my worst nightmare

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Thanks for the note, check back for my response!