Pros of a Secondary Powder Room

An informal survey of architects from California to Massachusetts suggests that sometimes two half baths are greater than a whole.

Many home-design pros report that an increasing number of recent projects have involved building a secondary powder room for the family in new homes and additions. Characterized by ample storage space and utilitarian fixtures such as an extra-large sink or a small shower stall, these family powder rooms are all about function—catering to potty training the littlest ones, hosing down muddy young sports stars, or giving Mom or Dad a place to clean up after yard work. Connecticut-based architect Jay Haverson recommends placing a secondary half bath in the back of the house, near the mudroom, or off a great-room kitchen in a large home that has a primary powder room located near the front entry.

Designed more for function than for style, the focus in a family powder room should be on materials that are durable, easy to clean, and kid-friendly. If excess dirt is likely, a tile floor with a drain can aid in quick cleanup. Depending on the size and layout of the house, this secondary half bath may include large cabinetry or a linen closet for storing towels and toiletries. It might even act as a miniature pool house when equipped with a small 30-inch shower, changing area, and a washer/dryer—stretching the limits of the space, not to mention the meaning of the term "powder room" itself.

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