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Remodeling and Home Design

Designing Bathrooms

Feb 2, 2012 | Bathroom Remodels

I had a client ask the other day, “how did you look at this (bathroom) and come with the end results?” She suggested to me to write about it, and so hence here is a blog post on some thoughts on how to start with a design.

The beginning is the most fun- the phase of brain storming and dreaming. I ask my clients to gather images of what they like. Tear pages from magazines, snap some photos, or use Pinterest. Pinterest is a web site that allows you to capture web images and organize them into folders. It’s an easy, quick, and free tool that I highly recommend. I linked our site here so you can take a look.


So let’s start by looking at this bathroom’s before shots.

Bathroom before

It was a pretty bad space, not well taken care of (cabinet doors loose, corners chipped, dirty). It was the kind of space I love to redo as I have no guilt and no question that this bathroom needs a remodel.

The things I look at are the space, how large is the room, how is the lighting (windows and lights), are the fixtures (toilet, sink, shower) in good locations? Remodeling is already expensive, so when you can leave fixtures in the original locations that will help cut down on costs. This is especially true with toilets, as moving the stacks are usually challenging and expensive.

Bathroom before- vanity view

The size of this bathroom was large (10’4? x 7’7?). Therefore I didn’t need to look at re-framing walls to change the size. Often we take a section of an adjoining closet, hallway or room next to the bathroom to grow it a bit and make the feeling more comfortable. I also liked the locations of the fixtures, there was no interference with doors hitting knees while on the toilet, and enough room that someone could be by the toilet and someone else at the sink at the same time. You need to think about details like that and lifestyle (the way couples, families or individuals use bathrooms, you learn a lot).

Master Bath Floor Plan

We use Sketch Up Pro as a computer tool for designing the bathroom and looking at dimensions. You can see how we added the tub/shower area in the floor plan. We played with the drawing to decide how large of a tub to put in that would be comfortable to use as well as the right scale for the space.

Remodeled bathroom

We wanted an open feeling, that was natural and relaxing as well as durable and low maintenance. We choose porcelain tile which we love as there is no sealing and on going care needed. We sourced salvaged fir to bring in character and history to the room. The old bathroom had no windows. We added a satin etched (for privacy) window to get some natural light in the room. We also put in shower rated 4? cans over the tub and shower, as well as a vanity light for multiple light sources.

Floating shelves

The detail for the floating shelves was thought out during the framing. We used 5/8? ribbed dowels and cast them into the studs before sheet rock. Then after sheet rock and paint we matched the dowel ends to the wood and drilled into the wood. It’s not an easy detail as you need to be precise, but I love the end result of no visual supports.

Wall tile

In picking out tile it’s important to think about color, size, and texture. These tiles have a relief pattern on an otherwise simple white matte tile. It brought a lot of interest into the back wall, especially when the light and water hit them.