(More) Layout Options for the Master Bathroom

January 24, 2018

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The master bathroom has been tricky, to say the least. We’ve gone around and around so many times, finally landed on something we felt good about, posted about it, then had over 100 comments that made us completely rethink and revisit. Which is a great thing, because what we were thinking just wasn’t there yet. Specifically, the entrance:

Bathroom Option 0

Way too tight. We felt that originally, but convinced ourselves we were willing to deal with that in exchange for the larger shower. And boy was it large. But having a more open entrance does wonders for making a space feel bigger, so we needed to figure something else out.

There were a lot of suggestions to alter the doors into our bedroom, and move the bathroom entrance to the wall where our TV has been (where the linen closet is in the layout above). While it didn’t make sense to remove the double doors to our room, we did some measuring and found a spot where we could fit a new bathroom door without it being interfered with by the bedroom entrance.

CLJ Master Bathroom Option 1

NOTE: You can see I also swapped my layout software. I had been using Illustrator and it was obnoxious, so I downloaded FloorDesign from the Apple App Store (not sponsored). It’s a pretty basic CAD drafting program – it’s not amazing, but pretty good, and allows us to make changes faster and more accurately. That was a bit of a tangent, but we had a lot of people ask us about it on Instagram so, there ya go. 

When we drew the above layout, which would place the bathroom opening in the nook where our TV sits in the older photo from above, we were actually super excited about it. It seemed to make so much sense and used the space up a lot more efficiently, while allowing a more open entrance and main floor area. BUT, the problems with this one are more on the bedroom side. The first issue is the placement of the door. It’s very off-centered in the space. Off-centered doors aren’t a new thing and we all have them, but this would feel really scrunched to the right side because of how it sits back in the little alcove. There are a few more inches we could borrow on the left to move the door over, but then we eat into the closet and don’t have room for the things we want to do in there. We would also be creating a large, protruding wall that would visually invade the master bedroom – it doesn’t feel that way now, because that’s where the doorway to the bathroom is. Close it off and it would feel really intrusive. So despite or initial excitement, this one wasn’t the answer, either.

Having the doorway closed off in the photo below would make our whole room feel cramped.


With our next option, we wondered if maybe the problem was the vanity placement. What would happen if we moved that and opened up the back wall?

CLJ Bathroom Layout Option 2

You’ll notice I neglected to add the doors to the toilet closet and shower on this one. That’s because we nixed it before I even got that far. At first glance it may seem fine, but the problem is the windows. We want to add a big window in the shower to finally get some natural light in this room. With this layout, the window would give us a great view of our main gas line that goes right up that exterior wall, and we’d also be opening ourselves up to a lot more noise during the summer, as our air conditioner is out that side of the house as well.

Why not add a small window on the other wall of the shower? A window the size that we could fit just doesn’t jive with the vibe we want in there. Why not add a window above the vanity? Because that pushes the mirror down too far (standard height ceilings, yay). We also end up pushing back into the closet a bit with this layout, and we really want to get more space in there. So this layout also is not our answer.

Bathroom Option 2a

It was about this time we realized why the bathroom is laid out the way it is. But we also knew that the current layout still doesn’t work for us, so there had to be a better option. We revisited the layout we posted about last week and started going over the things we didn’t like about it. We turned the toilet closet and narrowed the shower, and found that we gained space in the entrance. But the toilet closet was still in the way of the natural light of the window we wanted to add. So we swapped the toilet and shower, and…

CLJ Bathroom Layout 3

As of now, we’re feeling really good about this one. Though the bathroom area is a bit smaller, the large window will really open it up (not pictured- the window we plan to add in the toilet closet as well). Especially since the front of the shower will be all glass to let all that light in, which is not illustrated very well here in wall depth or inches of shower space. (Also, cue us googling what’s a good size shower?) We’re also going to build in a vanity, instead of using a standalone vanity–like we were in our initial rendering, so we can move the walls in and add a lot more space to the closet and storage to the vanity. The closet will be a separate project, but we can’t wait to show you what we have planned for in there.

This layout of course hinges on the toilet closet. We’ve tightened the space up a lot (read: made it smaller). Some of you sent us the same articles we’ve seen ourselves – a toilet closet has to be a minimum of 60×30. But we’ve also read that it’s not so much about overall space, but inches around and in front of the toilet. Specifically, 21 inches from the front of the toilet to the wall (minimum). We have a meeting on Thursday with our contractor to go over all of it, and he’ll help us make adjustments where necessary to ensure we’re up to code.

So, what are your thoughts? Anybody else create 20 different layout options when making changes to your home? It can be tricky, but I think the end result is so much more satisfying when you’ve taken the time to mull over the details. We’ll get there!


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What do you think?

  1. Audrey Langslow says:

    Why do you need two sinks? Takes up too much room and most people use the bathroom alone.

  2. Danava says:

    Thanks for the app you recommend, it’s very helpful. We are trying to fit a little bathroom in the kids’ room as they always want one.

  3. Kate says:

    Can you link to the new floor design app you are using? Searching “floor design” comes up with a lot of floor plan apps that don’t look like the one you’re using.

  4. Annie Fletcher says:

    LOVE it! Our glass shower door pushes in. Saves floor space and can drip dry into the shower. Best thing ever

  5. carrie says:

    I’m very late to this, but have you considered a sliding (bypass) glass shower door? We just installed one in our master bath and I LOVE it. Both functionally and in appearance — it is fantastic.

    I still haven’t taken good photos of our finished master, but it’s something like this (we got ours from a local glass fabricator). The finish is matte black. it’s just beautiful.

  6. Sassy says:

    I”m late to the game but wondering where you plan to hang your towels? And why are two sinks so important? (We put one sink in our master bath in part to save some wall space for hanging up our towels and it seems to be working out just fine).

    • Julia says:

      We have been living with one sink and it’s not fun for us. We’re constantly in each other’s way. We plan to hang towels across from the shower, there will also likely be a hook or two on the wall between the water closet and shower

  7. Tara says:

    We are mid master bath remodel as well and played the whole layout game for months. We finally landed on the best option once it was gutted and we could play with layouts in the space. So my option based on very recent experience is I think in the long term you will regret the length of the wc and width of shower. I would also rethink the window in the shower. A skylight does amazing things for natural night and requires way less maintenance in a wet area. We have both and skylight and a window in the shower and I wish the window wasn’t there.

    • Julia says:

      In our area, a skylight is actually not recommended (per our contractor). There’s so much snow that he said he has only seen problems with them so I think it depends on where you live.

      • Tara says:

        I didn’t even think about the snow. We definitely don’t get anywhere near what I would guess you do. That’s a bummer! Natural light is such a game changer. I know you guys will knock it out of the park no matter what you do!

  8. Ann says:

    Here’s my two cents: By trying to keep the location of the bathroom, the closet and both the bedroom doors to the hallway and the bathroom basically close to wher they are now, you are limiting yourselves from being able to find an ideal and easy-to-use layout.

    First, I’d start with the bedroom, specifically the bed placement. I would not want a bathroom door to look at (or into if the door were open) across from my bed when I was sitting or lying in bed. You have enough room to get rid of this current not-ideal set-up with its lousy feng shui – so why keep it?

    Also, if your floorplan drawing is somewhat correct, the bedroom has a second possible bed placement position – in front of the windows. EVEN SO, with the bed placed in front of the windows, I would not want the bathroom entrance to be next to where I slept.

    So, in my opinion, the ideal placement for a door to the bathroom and/or closet is (as always) as far away from the bed as possible, which in your house would be near the entrance doors to the bedroom.

    Which gets into a discussion of why keep the angled wall entrance to the bedroom and the double doors. It seems to me that considering squaring the bedroom entrance door wall, having a single door (or even double doors that are not each full-door width as your current ones are if you like that double-door look) would be beneficial in this planning stage – all before you get to the specific layout of the bathroom and closet.

    So, secondly, I’d also consider what is the ideal placement and size for the bedroom entry door(s). (If I were doing all the work you are, I might also consider from the start whether the bedroom/bathroom/closet placements as they exist are ideal – I’d even consider putting the bedroom in the corner the house and seeing if the bathroom and closet would fit in nicely around it as well, etc., just for fun.)

    Thirdly, I’d also consider whether one large closet is the best use of the space to maximize closet storage space. As a city condo dweller, where layouts need to be efficient, it is clear to me that having one large closet often makes for a lot of wasted space in closet planning. You might benefit from having some closet space accessible from inside the bathroom, and some closet wardrobe space either accessible from the bedroom, i.e., wardrobe doors that open directly into the bedroom space, and/or a separate closet (or closets) entirely, not accessible from the bathroom, but with a door opening directly to the bedroom or hallway, and possibly a larger linen closet that opens into the hallway.

    More thoughts on closets – I get wanting to have storage for clean towels and washcloths in the bathroom, but it doesn’t always need to be an actual tall closet – there are many ingenious ways to provide for closed clean towel storage in a bathroom without installing a closet if there isn’t room for one. I also don’t want ALL my linen closet storage – that is, my sheets, and anything else I might store on linen closet shelves – to be INSIDE the bathroom – I want space to store them elsewhere.

    And, while I can see wanting some laundry bins in the bathroom for some clothing (I’d like them for my underwear, socks, and whatever I’ve worn to bed, as they all tend to end up on my small bathroom floor until I pick them up and put them in laundry bins elsewhere), and for depositing dirty towels and washcloths that have hung up until they are entirely dry, I don’t want ALL of my dirty laundry to be stored in my bathroom. I want other dirty laundry items to be in laundry bins NOT in the bathroom (and ideally not in the closet either – I’ve become a fan of multiple good-looking lidded laundry bins in bedrooms (and hallways if I had space mine) but not in closets, due to needing all the space in my closets for clean clothes.)

    Likewise, I would love to have storage for some clean clothing accessible directly from my bathroom – specifically for underwear and pajamas (and maybe even socks if my small bathroom floor didn’t always always wet when I’m getting dressed in the morning, due to my glass shower door only opening outward), and for some T-shirts, sweats, and workout wear that I wear around the house, I DON’T want to store my work suits, casual business clothing, sweaters, or even other pants or jeans and nicer shirts IN my bathroom, or in a closet connected to my bathroom. While I’d like to be able to put on my first layer of underwear or lounging around clothing while still in my bathroom, I don’t want my nice clothing (whether clean or dirty) to be stored in or connected to the bathroom. I’d want those in closets that did not open into the bathroom at all.

    So, in your house, I’d consider putting multiple closets in that space, rather than one large one. Not just because I don’t want all my clothes exposed to the bathroom, but because I’d likely get way more closet wardrobe storage space out of the larger space as well. Walls of modern style wardrobes with tall doors that open to reveal organized storage space seem to be much far more space efficient than older-style closets that have one (or double) doors or normal height opening to actual smallish rooms. I get that you like your current configuration of having one large closet opening to the bathroom, but as you nixed some proposed layouts because they did not add enough space to the closet, you might consider whether you’d get more closet space with a layout involving more than one closet. There is definitely a trade-off, though, between maximizing closet storage space and having the open dressing-room sort of space that one gets with a really large closet, and it may be that open space in your closet that you are trying to maximize.

  9. This seems to be better!!! I just want to throw it out there in case you never seen this. My sister just built her house and had a small half bath downstairs and when the toilet was brought in they felt WAY too close to the wall in front of them. Apparently they make corner toilets… It would angle from the corner where the back of the toilet is into the space. It sounds strange but looks really good! Idk that it is the right thing for your layout as of right now but thought I’d mention it if you were still brainstorming layouts.
    I attached a link in your website space for ya. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s all done!

  10. Elisa says:

    The original layout is my favorite, but I would certainly walk through the closet and not the bathroom. I am not north american and never see walking through bathrooms elsewhere USA.
    The pros for the walking through closet would be: 1) the closet can ventilate much better with 2 doors; 2) you will have some wall space to hang the towels; 3) the flotting vanity with the big shower window will be so gorgeous and 4) even with the WC-room I do not like people (including husband) disturbing when I am in the bath (moms do not get much privacy, taking a nice shower without interuptions makes miracles). I also think a bathroom door just in front of the bed is not ideal. Much better to put the TV there, no?!
    The only contra is the loosing of some closet space, but you have a huge house, so it cannot be a problem. You can also recease the whole wall (where the TV nook is) and gain some more space in the closet (and bathroom).
    Anyway I am sure your bathroom will be beautiful.

  11. Stefanie Rupp says:

    I love seeing all the progress you guys are making! We gutted our main bathroom when we bought our house and found a sliding glass door for our shower and it is the most amazing thing ever! I’m not sure if you guys have Menards around you, I think it’s mostly a midwest chain, but that’s where we purchased ours. Good luck with your reno and can’t wait to see the final product!

  12. Joellyn says:

    I was determined to get a WC in my own bathroom and struggled with the layout so much until I decided the WC and shower could be together in its own space with one door. Doing this would make your shower less open to the main room and less of a focal point, so not sure if this helps you. But functionally I love the idea of both shower and toilet being more private and separate from the vanity area.

  13. jill says:

    I like this layout much better! Our powder room is right off the kitchen between the/family/living/dining rooms, to give occupants privacy during use we put batt insulation in all 4 walls (it’s an interior space) at the time we built (all of our doors are solid wood), adding that insulation proved to be very soundproof.

  14. Sara says:

    Word about windows in showers–we had one and it is so lovely for letting in light and taking a shower with the window open in the Spring or Summer is amazing–make sure that you avoid as much wood in the window surround as you can. Seems obvious, but ours had wood, and the water that would sit on the sill started to rot the bottom of the window surround. Vinyl feels so cheap and insubstantial, but if you can somehow clad all in tile or stone or something else totally waterproof, I would do it!

  15. Lori says:

    Since everyone seems so concerned about pocket doors on the toilet closet, I’ll weigh in since I have one– get a solid core door, and the noise issues will be fine, seriously. If you’re really worried about soundproofing, maybe you can use the purple soundproofing drywall on the inside of the toilet closet or something. I love my bathroom pocket door– it solves so many issues in a tiny space. I’d love to add one to my master closet, too.

    Also, does anyone ever run plumbing through the attic in your area? It’s a pretty common thing to see in Austin, and I wonder if that might be a solution for the 2nd shower head placement. I know it doesn’t freeze hard here too often, but heavy insulation over any attic pipes would be extra insurance. No idea if that’s remotely viable in a cold winter area, but just throwing that out there.

  16. Courtney says:

    Hi. I like where this is going and am super excited to see the process. Just a thought, you maybe don’t need a shower door. Depending on shower layout, I have seen some REALLY cute showers with just a wall of glass that kina just stops. It looks like you shower is going to be big enough that you won’t splash in the bathroom. Then you don’t have to worry about the door. But if you get a door, definitely get one that swings both ways.

  17. Kristen says:

    First I have to say I absolutley love your blog! I haven’t read the comments so someone may have mentioned this already. I’m a kitchen and bath designer and the International Plumbing Code for a toilet compartment is 30″ x 60″ minimum (IPC 405.3.1) The National Kitchen and Bath Association has 27 guidelines for designing bathrooms. You can google NKBA Bathroom Guidelines (PDF) for a great resource when designing a bath. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  18. Lori says:

    Ok, I am only noticing this because I just removed one of those ugly old fashioned glass sliding shower doors where I used to hang my towels, but where will you put towel bars for your bath towels? There’s also a super limited space for hooks bc of the pocket door hardware.

    My solution there would be to close up the closet entrance from the bathroom and make it be from the bedroom instead, so you have a wall where you can hang towels to dry, but you would definitely be losing some prime bedroom wall space where you have the TV.

  19. Jen says:

    I wonder if you need double doors to enter into the bedroom. Taking out the door near the new door to the bathroom, would give you more privacy in the bedroom and more wall space near the new bathroom door which might make the new bathroom door look more centered on the wall.

  20. Lindsay says:

    The updated layout looks great and the commenters that brought up the space in the toilet closet for personal storage and swing in and out shower door so it doesn’t drip outside the shower are such good points that can add so much to how the space works at the end of the day- sometimes it’s the small things. Also, I love the process posts and getting insight into what you consider and then reading all of the comments to see what other people consider.

  21. Nick says:

    I’m living in a Levittown PA house that was built in 1953. The bathroom is 60 inches deep, and there’s ~ 29 inches in front of the toilet – which seems fine to me at 6’3″ but too deep on occasion for my 5’4″ wife. The toilet itself is a tall, elongated bowl toilet. I suspect you could get by with 20-21 inches in front and be ok; that said, one could also consider a wall mounted toilet, with the tank inside the wall, if the toilet wasn’t on an exterior wall. Even there I wonder, if there wouldn’t be a way to insulate the tank and lines, to allow the water to continue flowing in winter.

  22. Angela says:

    When we remodeled our first floor, I went through a billion kitchen layouts, only to land on the one I originally wanted!

  23. Allison konwinski says:

    I drew a bazillion layouts when we redid our bathroom too and ended up with a similar layout to yours (but with a soaker tub as well). Your size looks very similar to our bathroom/closet area. Ours was 215×114. I wouldn’t recommend less than 28” in front of the toilet (that’s what we did) but you could do a wall mount toilet or a smaller bowl to achieve the smaller toilet room. To make up for the smaller length and still make the toilet room not feel like a cave, we added some width to it to make it 3.5’ wide and a shower 4’x3.5’ wide.
    I’m assuming you don’t have 3.5’ width to get the shower and door but have you thought of moving the wall into the room a little more and straightening it out to slide the door to the left?
    Also, one issue with the smaller length for the toilet room is the pocket door to it gets incredibly small and scrunched since it can only be as wide as the wall.
    I have plenty of pictures on my Instagram “girldesigned” if you wanted to look at the space or feel free to email me! We sacrificed a larger closet for the freestanding tub (I’m a bath person) but the space would feel very similar to yours. Our closet is 4.5’ deep and I even have room for a small makeup vanity in the room (or linen closet!).

  24. Nicola says:

    Whatever you do, I would try to avoid having either the shower water line or the toilet be on the wall that’s shared with the bedroom. I’m a light sleeper and every time my husband flushes at night, I wake up. Same noise problems with the shower. But if you’re heavy sleepers or are on the same sleep schedule this might not be an issue.

    Have you considered swapping the position of the closet and bathroom altogether? Personally i’d prefer walking through the closet to get to the bathroom than the other way around and it may solve some of the layout issues.

    • Lori says:

      I wonder if using that purple soundproofing drywall in those areas would take care of the issue. Maybe there’s even room to double it up?

  25. Sally says:

    Love watching this process (& your blog) – so important to look at all options! It’s even more interesting because I live in Australia & we always seem to do things the opposite to the US. If we have an ensuite & wardrobe accessed by one door only, we always go through the wardrobe into the bathroom, not through the bathroom into the wardrobe. Or, one door for the ensuite & a seperate door for the wardrobe. It would also be really unusual to have a toilet with walls & a door in the ensuite. It’s always just one big room with the toilet, sometimes a half wall but not a full room unless it’s completely seperate down the hallway. Good luck with the decision making & hopefully the architect will be super helpful in confirming your plans or offering some other great suggestion.

  26. Jenny B says:

    I second the ideas of mocking the space up (maybe in one of your other bathrooms, so block off the space in front of the other toilet, etc., to see how it feels. I think the window in the shower in your inspiration picture is gorgeous! For the shower door, when we just remodeled our bathroom we got one that swings both ways :) and it is lifesaving. Good luck!

  27. Christine says:

    Have you considered a sliding barn type door with rollers for shower to save space? Or pocket door for the wc? Looking forward to updates!

  28. Ling says:

    I like the new layout :) Thanks for sharing your thought process! I definitely can relate to going through a bunch of different layouts before settling on one when I designed my kitchen, which is finally being built right now!! For the longest time I was fighting this HVAC soffit along the load bearing wall: I wanted to take out the wall for a nice big open living space but then I’d be stuck with this giant soffit dropped in the middle of the ceiling ’cause it’s just totally unmoveable without re-doing all our HVAC. Once I embraced the soffit, I actually managed to work it into the final kitchen layout where it’s integrated with cabinets and visually disappears. Ended up saving $$$ on taking out a load bearing wall and the headache of moving HVAC. So I guess my point is if there’s anything you’re finding yourself fighting against, try embracing it instead and see where it takes you :) I also second the idea of solar tubes in the closet + bathroom and an in-swinging shower door so you don’t have water dripping off the door in the middle of the walkway into the bathroom. Also second the idea of nixing the linen closet (store stuff in vanity + walk-in closet) in favor of exploring other layout options. I’m sure whatever you guys come up with will be great for your needs :D

  29. sarah newell says:

    Really like the new plan, the first one felt so awkward with the doors! 2 things – totally LOVE the pocket door. When I renovated my last bathroom I added it and it saved so much space it was my favourite. The other suggestion I have is looking into the sliding glass doors on the shower, I have this. And the only reason we did actually is because my aunt has the swinging glass and mentioned how much it drove her nuts when someone would get out of the shower all the water on the glass door just dripped all over the tile floor or mat. With the sliding doors we have, it drips right back into the shower base! I would agree with the comments about the window in the shower but ThriftyDecorChick recently added one to her bathroom and it was so pretty!

  30. Hope says:

    Love it. It seems like the best of both worlds. I tried looking up FloorDesign on the App Store, but nothing turned up. Are you sure that’s the name? Thanks!

  31. Jenna says:

    In the middle of a renovation and wish I had known about this Cad program. Hard to tell based off a drawing, but would you be walking over a shower mat to get to the vanity? Just trying to envisions rugs and the walking paths.

  32. DK says:

    All that matters is the measurement from the front of the toilet to the wall/door: 26” is way too cramped, 31” is fine and 40” is palatial feeling.

  33. Jessica says:

    What if you flip-flopped the bathroom area and the closet. If the way I am envisioning your layout is correct, that would mean you could tap into the plumbing from the hall bath. Then you could eliminate the “walk over a wet bath mat” to get into the rest of the room, and your shower/toilet area would be tucked back further making it more private from the bedroom. Just an idea :)

    • mary says:

      C & J, I know this idea probably rocks your world but it’s totally worth considering. When we were planning our renovations we always found it helpful to “think outside the box” and completely and throw away all preconceived notions about our spaces. It can lead to a simpler, more logical solution. Since you’re moving everything anyway it shouldn’t pose budget problems.

      Here’s a quick idea: looking at your new layout, move the wall of the closet over to the right so you eliminate the jog and have a clean break between the spaces, which will then be flopped. Then you can center the door into the bathroom in the nook where the TV currently is. Upon entering, a quick right takes you into the closet, and I believe you end up with a bigger space for the bathroom and an exterior wall to play with that’s probably more flexible since no AC unit (I think?).

      This way you could get rid of the awkward jog in the bathroom and leave the more prominent wall seen from the bed open for a TV etc. It seems more clean and logical in my head, anyway ; ) Good luck and thanks for letting us in on your process! I love this stuff so much : ) : ) : )

      • mary says:

        … and I would maybe put the shower with the gorgeous window straight ahead in front of the bathroom door – so it’s first thing you see – with WC to the left in the corner, and vanity along the left hand wall, i.e. the layout you have now turner 90 degrees.

  34. Olivia says:

    I will say that if you are concerned about privacy in the toilet closet, barn doors are terrible at muffling certain bathroom *sounds* to be delicate. I work as an architect in hospitality, and most of our hotel developer clients immediately reject the barn door.

    • Anne says:

      YES. Thank you! I lived in a house with a sliding barn door on the bathroom and it was AWFUL. Cannot agree more.

      • Julia says:

        There will be no sliding barn door. A pocket door is different.

      • Sarah says:

        Pocket doors tend to have the same problem. They just don’t latch quite as tightly as a swing door. But would you be making those “sounds” while your husband is brushing his teeth anyway?

      • Peggy says:

        There are ways to make a pocket door more private, by having the door a little wider and taller than the opening. This does involve customizing the door so it doesn’t appear off-center when it’s closed. Google “how to sound-proof a pocket door” for lots of info.

  35. Alex says:

    When another blogger was renovating her house, apparently she was told she cannot tile a wall that had a pocket door (I assume you’re tiling the shower?). Not sure if this is regional code (this was in Canada, BC specifically), but perhaps something you want to check out? I believe it was something to do with tiles loosening over time with the pocket door in regular use.

    • Jenna says:

      I was thinking something along these lines except I was thinking more about the plumbing that may have to go in that walk where the pocket door is? But I think you guys could just change which way the door opens and problem solved. :) good luck!

    • justynn says:

      We have a tile over the wall where the pocket door is, and have never had an issue. We also reinforced the areas where the pocket door interior had gaps between the structure with plywood to 2) provide more stability, b) sound dampening and c) if we ever wanted to install something into that wall it had some structure to do so with shorter screws.

    • Lori says:

      I have a bathroom pocket door and the walls are tiled, no problem. I also have friends who put pocket doors on their bathrooms and tiled those walls, no issues there either.

  36. Monika says:

    Why don’t you close off the wardrobe from the bathroom completely and add a door to the wardrobe from the bedroom (where the tv used to be). That way you don’t have to enter your wardrobe via the bathroom and you gain some more wall space in your wardrobe? Win-win.

  37. Megan says:

    How about a wall-hung toilet to save space? $230 at Lowe’s. That’s my plan to squeeze as much space as possible out of our master bath. Thanks for sharing your process!

  38. Sara says:

    New layout’s a definite improvement! Sorry to revisit something you feel you’ve already vetted, but did you consider in option 2 that the windows behind the vanity could be huge, and one or two decorative mirrors to be suspended in front of the window(s)? I’ve always wanted that for functional reasons – I hate trying to apply makeup in a bathroom with natural light coming from one side of my face only. Wish you could find a solution for the shower window because this option feels really open at the entrance, too. Nice work either way!

  39. I feel your bathroom pain!!! We turned our garage into a master suite 2 years ago and wanted to use the existing windows on the front of the house… which made for lots of layout revisions! We couldn’t make room for a water closet, but am happy with the final product!

  40. Kathleen says:

    So I should make layout options for our Reno is what I’m gathering. My only thought is – have you seen @howwelive on Instagram’s bathroom? She has a window BEHIND her vanity mirrors. I think there is a pilar of some sort in from of the window to hang the mirror. I think it’s beautiful. I once went to a spa that had a similar design…. hello natural light getting ready!!! I’ll try to find a pic and tag you guys.

  41. Kimberly says:

    The new layout is a huge improvement, I can’t wait to see the final space! I am going to chime in with another “why a toilet closet??” but understand that some things are just NOT negotiable. Where I am from, toilet closets are nearly non-existent so while I don’t see the necessity for it, I understand it being a must for you. Either way I’m sure you guys will make the bathroom remodel look great!

  42. katy says:

    Love this post. It’s so helpful to see the evolution of design. We’re in the process of building a house right now and have lots of these layout dilemmas right now!

  43. Tee says:

    If i were a betting woman, I would have bet your update plan would’ve included bumping out the wall and moving down the door which would provide more square footage in the bathroom and a clean wall across from the bed for the TV. So glad I’m not a betting woman. You obviously know what will work for you and you have a plan…..looking forwad to seeing it all play out.

  44. damia says:

    I’m really looking forward to your master bath project – I know it’s going to turn out great!

    Below is a link to a layout idea I had – it removes the bump-out into your bedroom which allows the pocket bathroom door to move more to the right (tho not quite centered)… the reason I made the changes is that I ~personally~ hate walking past a wet area (where the shower door will drip onto the floor) to get to dry stuff (i.e. the closet / the toilet). The attached layout tucks the shower out of the walk-way, also puts the shower head on the WC wall (vs if it goes on the bedroom wall (1) it’ll interfere with a pocket door and (2) will be loud in your bedroom. The WC is wider than the last design posted above, tho not longer (so that might be an issue). The shower is similar dimensions… anywho, looking forward to your project =)

    • melbajo says:

      I really like your idea Damia! And the pocket door could be moved over to the right slightly (especially if it doesn’t bother Julia and Chris to walk through the path of the bathmat) to make it centered on the vanity, so you look straight on to the center of the vanity as you enter.

  45. Megan says:

    This makes so much more sense! I would still think that centring the entrance door on the vanity would look best in real life, and you wouldn’t have to move the door and linen closet much. But this layout definitely addresses so many of the problems of the previous layout!

  46. Bobbie says:

    I made 21 renditions of our master bathroom layout in sketchup before we settled on the perfect one. We ended up with a 30’x49′ toilet closet because of space constraints – perfectly code compliant. Although the inspector did warn me that the relocation of the toilet drain pipe would have to be perfect to end up with exactly 15″ on center. (concrete slab so no easy fixes). It passed inspection just fine. It’s been finished for nearly 5 years and it’s been perfectly fine for us at 5’1″ and 6″2″. All that said y’all are taller and might want to check that comfort factor. An aside is I don’t see where you can put plumbing for the second shower head y’all want with the pocket door to the bedroom.

  47. Alonzo says:

    I think a different layouts is perfect really hot hot hot going to steal some of your ideas LOL

  48. Sara says:

    Have you looked into a wall mounted toilet? They give you a couple of extra inches in a tight space like your planning. 50” is going to be really tight.

    Also have you thought about not having a shower door? Since your shower is pretty large/deep and depending on if you are planning for a curb or not, you might be able to get away with not having a door. Less glass to clean!

    Keep up the good work!

  49. Amy says:

    I like the new layout more-for sure! Only thing, and I think this is a personal preference–but why put the toilet in a closet at all? There is a germ factor for sure having a door between the toilet and the sink-ick, and it might save you some sanity and visual space. Just my two cents. Good luck!

  50. Julie S says:

    Great process post – this is really how it goes IRL! I thought your first draft was great until you talked about how it affects your bedroom, so I do like the final draft as well. In our new house the water closet has 22″ from toilet to door and it feels plenty roomy, then 6″ to one side and 12″ to the other, which is nice because there’s room for a shallow cabinet in which I can keep necessary personal supplies. I’m surprised how annoying it is to have to leave the toilet area for certain things/personal care. Also it’s annoying to have to go into the water closet for a few squares of toilet paper to get hair off the shower, quickly blow your nose, etc. So keep in mind you may want to make provision for a handy paper towel roll or similar in the main area.

  51. Elyse says:

    Is it weird I still like the first design best even with #doorgate? Who leaves the WC door open anyway? I know you will do an amazing job whatever layout you end up going with!! So looking forward to the result!!!

  52. Andi says:

    I love the new layout! Your bathroom entrance and shower are almost identical to ours, and we don’t ever have any problems. I think someone mentioned the door swinging in, so I would get a shower door that swings both in and out. Ours does that, but our shower is a bit small to swing inwards. Still nice to have the option though! And I like that the toilet is enclosed. Gives you a little bit more privacy. We have a pony wall, which works fine most of the time. But our second bathroom is always open for us to use too. Excited to see what the design plans look like!

    • Kelly says:

      Our shower door swings both in and out and it’s great! We have to open it outwards to get in or out as our shower isnt big enough but I like to leave the door opened inwards to let things dry out after use. I hang a towel style bath at up after each use so no wet floor to walk over either.

  53. Jackie says:

    Have you thought about angling your bed to be in front of the window? Would you have the clearance to do that? That would minimize the cramped feel in the layout you labeled “terribly off-center.”

  54. Rale says:

    Thats a tricky room to design and I’m sure you don’t want/need more advice but here goes anyway. Add the bedroom nook to the bathroom move bathroom entry door to the far right of that wall .vanity would be against bedroom wall, toilet nook straight ahead from entry door and shower across from vanity

  55. Monica says:

    Use a toilet with the tank in the wall! It will save you so much space!

    We recently converted a hall and bath closet into a toilet closet, and we used a toto toilet with a geberit tank. These in-wall tanks can be fit into either a 2×4 stud wall or a 2×6 stud wall. We went with the former, because that was the depth of the wall we would be placing it in, but I’ve also seen people frame out a 2×6 portion, which then becomes a little shelf behind the toilet.

    Anyway, the geberit tank totally saved our design, so I wanted to pass along the goodness! I’m happy to send along a picture of what we did, if it would help, just let me know!

  56. Phoua says:

    Is the toilet closet really necessary? Maybe think about just adding a half-wall for privacy if you feel you need it. This will probably open up the space a lot more. Also, what is the box with the X? Is that the linen closet? If so, have you considered just putting the linens in the regular closet instead of boxing out a space for it in the main bathroom?

  57. Heidi says:

    You show a regular hinged door in your shower, but another option might be a sliding barn door. I’ve seen several of those in showers recently (and even some kits for sale), and depending on your setup, might save you some space.

  58. Liz says:

    I like this option since the door placements are much better. Could you have a frosted glass pocket door for the commode area? It would continue the glass look on that wall area.

    Don’t forget the option of adding a solar tube in your closet area. It adds so much light without having a large footprint on your roof. And, the tube can be snaked through your attic – I have one in a hallway, but the roof cutout is on the backyard side of the house.

  59. Jenny says:

    You guys! Wow, your new layout looks great. Nicely done! I know that your worried about losing light from the window in the toilet closet. We had a similar issue when we renovated our master bath. We solved it by using a frosted glass panel door. It gave us privacy and let light in to our space. Also, I’m not sure if you’re medicine cabinet people, but now that you’re building in your vanity, have you considered using the wall area on each end of the vanity to add a built in medicine cabinet? That’s another touch that we added to our master bathroom, and it made a world of difference. It kept clutter (toothbrushes, toothpaste, facial wash, etc) off the counter and we liked not having to constantly bend over to retrieve our toiletries from the drawers/cabinets under the sink. I know that sounds like a little thing, but it made our morning rush easier. I’m so excited to watch your renovation take shape. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  60. Lynn says:

    As someone who has a window in the shower, I really wish I didn’t. Even if you do vinyl clad and tile up to it, there’s always a risk of water getting into the wall. Just my 2 cents, if looks trendy but it has been an incredible pain functionaly and from a privacy perspective there’s that too. Agree that a skylight or solar tube might be answer to let light. You could also do a narrow vertical window between two Mirrors over the vanity as well!

  61. Christina says:

    This layout is much better! Love the pocket doors and more space in the entry. The whole room has a cleaner look to. Re: toilet closet…just make sure your tall husband can fit on all fours to throw up in said small closet. Nobody wants to feel walls closing in on them while hurling (once every four years or so…which means if you have to, he can suck it up! :-)) Having room on either side of the toilet to scrub is great, so even if you have to extend the wall an inch, do it. Also, in our most recent bathroom addition, the contractor turned the 2 x 4s so I could fit my mother’s antique china cabinet to use as a linen closet. Maybe something like that can be done in there? Super excited….I think you are there or almost there!

  62. Jennifer says:

    I may have even seen this on your blog, but if not…something that can help free up space in the toilet closet is using an in-wall toilet, so the tank is actually in the wall rather than taking up space in the room. That could save you about 6 inches! I don’t know how well this works for outside walls where you need insulation, but you’ll have plumbing in that wall anyway, so it may not be a problem.

  63. Candace says:

    Thumbs up!

    I’m really interested to see how the window & Glass surround/door install work out. Purely for my own selfish research gains ;)

  64. Nancy Sherman says:

    I don’t have much to add, since I’ve never moved around plumbing in the bathroom. But I’m all for a bigger closet & smaller bathroom area – less to clean :) I also don’t think I’d go overboard on the shower. As long as the two of you are comfortable & can move around in a smaller size. I’ve been alone in a BIG shower & it’s cold and seems wasteful. But it was pretty ;)
    Overall, I can’t wait to see what you decide on. I don’t think you two can do any wrong when it comes to decorating a space!

  65. Debbie Ricks says:

    That looks great!!!! And I really like the fact that you even reconsidered changing it some due to different suggestions! Cannot wait to see the progress!!!

  66. Emily says:

    Have you guys thought about consulting with an architect? It’s amazing the way a good architect can solve space issues (and prevent space planning problems). It’s like they see things differently! Just suggesting because my parents went through a similar situation with a bathroom renovation, and the architect came up with a great layout my parents didn’t even consider could work. Plus, it would make an interesting blog post! Just an idea!

  67. samantha says:

    What a pickle! I do agree with Michelle that your height may make the toilet closet a bit awkward.

    Your first alternative layout might work if you just scrap the linen closet and have your pocket door run the other way. That way, the pocket door could be centered and you have less wall sticking into the bedroom space. You could flank the door with pretty sconces or art to make it feel more purposeful. Then you might also be able to align your closet entry partitions to give you a bit more space. With such a large vanity, it seems like you have plenty of storage.

    Excited to see what you guys end up with, it will be great as always. We’re tackling a similar project in 5 years or so and am itching to plan!

  68. Kelly says:

    We just put in a 36″ x 60″ shower and even with 2 of us in there (and 2 shower heads) we’ve never felt cramped or had any issues with it being too small even though we read it’s recommended the shower be much larger for 2 people/2 shower heads. Although we are on the smaller side of average build. We also find ourselves opening the glass shower door IN rather than swinging it out most of the time, so if that’s an option in your space it might help on any door crowding you’d possibly feel.

  69. Kirsten says:

    Hmmm…Which wall is your shower plumbing going in? You’re going to have trouble doing a pocket door for the bathroom if plumbing is in that wall.

    • justynn says:

      This was my thought on this too. We had a similar situation in our bathroom Reno and had to flip where the pocket door went because of plumbing, and also had to do in floor water line for the toilet vs wall.

  70. Michelle says:

    You are both so tall, so um, without being too weird, I would definitely try to mock-up a toilet room the size you have shown to see how, um, “comfortable” you are. I’ve never grown up with toilet closets like this so don’t even know if people actually use the bathroom while someone else is in there. I grew up with a sort of partition wall with the toilet in the nook there so I felt private, but was part of the overall room. As kids, you just had to deal if someone ran in for a hairbrush while you were on the commode. When we redid our own bathroom 2 years ago, I redesigned the space in that same fashion. As a couple sharing one bathroom, I wonder why you would bother with the enclosed toilet closet when you have a half bath right outside your door. So if someone was showering, wouldn’t you politely do your business in a different bathroom? Just a brain dump.

    I like the first layout best, personally, and it probably feels like too much solid wall since you’re so used to the opening being there. If closed up, I would use that wall for maybe a slim or sleek gas fireplace in the wall with a chair to create a little nook/sanctuary. Or a spot for large scale art or a mirror, but I know you have the wall opposite for that as well (where I would definitely put a dresser!)

    Good luck! Can’t wait to follow along as usual!

    • Emma says:

      Definitely test out the toilet closet layout if you are scrimping on space in there! I very recently stayed in a hotel with a too-small toilet closet and I don’t think I can fully express how annoying it was!!!! (and I’m only 5’5″)

    • Lindsey F. says:

      Love the new layout! But definitely recommend the idea of doing a mockup to make sure the toilet room doesn’t feel too small with your long legs! Even just holding a piece of cardboard 50″ away from your existing back wall will help you gauge if it’s big enough (On top of checking for code issues)
      We toured a house once where the half bath that they added didn’t have enough room in front of the toilet and it was horrible.

    • Michelle says:

      Mocking up size is a great idea! I know it’s not something you think about, but as a person who has had extreme HG/morning sickness my brain flashes always to can I comfortably kneel in front of a toilet, not just sit at one.

    • Katie says:

      Just my opinion: We have a separate toilet room in our bathroom, and yeap we use it all the time while the other is showering! We just moved from a single bathroom house, so we would have to taper our get ready schedules, but now we don’t as much and can get ready at the same time pretty effortlessly. The second toilet is down the hall and that just seems too inconvenient(like if you need to pee and you don’t have your bra on yet and have over night guests etc) and risks waking the baby who shares a wall with that bathroom.

      I do agree, I’m tall but thin, and have issues fitting in small toilet closets at public restrooms(especially while pregnant!) The pocket door should help with fitting, BUT i never really though a pocket door allows as much privacy as a swinging door! I’m very excited to see what they pick!

  71. This is a really similar layout to our bathroom! Only real difference is our vanity is on your closet entrance wall and we have a window straight ahead (and one between the vanity windows and one in the toilet room!!). I love it. Some pictures in this post.

  72. kristen says:

    this looks great! What types of doors are you planning for the toilet closet? frosted would help let more light through! also what about a skylight to help get more natural light without taking up wall space?

    and I think the toilet should be as far away from the bedroom as possible for obvious reasons haha!

    • Meaghan says:

      Frosted glass door – yes! That’s what we did on our toilet closet and it makes the space feel way less enclosed. But because it’s a normal door with the glass inset panel AND we put a fan in the toilet closet (must!) there’s no issue with noise traveling (which I was concerned about when I first saw the plan).

  73. Patricia says:

    Yes! I really like the new layout. It looks well thought out and you’re not constantly blocked by doors. In real life, it would have driven you crazy pretty quickly. Can’t wait to see the final final final plan.

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