A Luxe, Light-Filled Bath and Laundry Update
Years of planning and saving—followed by months of hard work—give an enterprising couple their longed-for retreat
Some people have to hire talent. Others can simply lie in bed and conjure a drawer recessed behind furniture feet under a mirror centered below a cathedral ceiling with an unexpected window tucked under its peak. "I wanted a little drama," says Elizabeth Frazer, who wasn't even conscious when she came up with this scheme for her bath redo. "She'll dream it, wake up, and draw it," says her husband, Tim, who used her sketches to build his-and-hers vanities and the room to go around them.
Shown: The now larger, window-lined space holds two marble-topped vanities, a tub, a shower, and a revamped laundry area. Porcelain floor tile approximates the look of natural slate but won't spot or stain.
The result is a luxurious master bath and laundry area on the first floor of the couple's 1950s house, in Walnut Creek, California. They crafted the space after squirreling away savings for six years and setting aside weekends to do the work, with occasional help from pros whom Tim knows through his job at a lumberyard. They avoided moving pipes and stuck to a pay-as-you-go policy, too. "I love the challenge of making things work," says Elizabeth. Today they have a dream retreat, complete with spa finishes and "just enough space for us both to feel pampered."
Shown: The bath and adjacent laundry area were dated and worn.
The 108-square-foot bath and laundry area hadn't seen much TLC since they were built, in the 1960s.
Homeowner Tip: "To avoid moisture problems, we primed the backs and all sides of the V-groove paneling and used AZEK trim where the paneling meets the tub deck and the vanity tops." —Tim and Elizabeth Frazer, Walnut Creek, California
Gutting the spaces, getting rid of the utility and linen closets, moving one wall out 5 feet, bumping out farther for a second sink, and adding more windows paid off with improved function and a loftier feel.
1. Moved the existing windowed wall 5 feet to make way for a tub and a larger shower enclosure, and added a 1-by-4½-foot bumpout for a second vanity.
2. Added windows over the tub, inside the shower, and over the washer and dryer to bring in light and air.
3. Relocated the opening to the bedroom, separating the spaces with a pair of narrow sidelight doors.
4. Replaced the laundry area's swing-out door with a space-saving pocket door.
5. Rebuilt one wall and added cabinets with a built-in hamper and ironing board near the washer and dryer.