Opening Up a Bath for Better Function
Knocking out a walk-through closet and rethinking fixture placement bring more space, and good flow, to a master bath
"Excuse me" is a phrase no one should need to utter in her own bathroom. But in the 1850s Philadelphia rowhouse that Catherine Price shares with her husband, the crowded master bath necessitated such formalities. Even without an extra body, Catherine says, "A pass-through closet, a boxy shower, and a platform-mounted toilet made it feel cramped." Tired of turning sideways, they decided to gut-renovate.
Shown: The revamped room holds a new claw-foot tub and a console sink along one wall; the shower and toilet sit on the adjacent windowed wall.
Designer-builder: Daedalus Design Build, North Wales, PA; 617-320-1222
Medicine cabinet: Afina; OverstockDeals
Glass shelf: Restoration Hardware
Towel ring: Branbury Towel Ring, Moen
Mirror sconces: Pottery Barn
The ripping out that ensued revealed additional problems—including wonky 1970s plumbing concealed under the step-up loo. But, more important, it provided the couple with a clean, open 12-by-12-foot space in which to design their dream bath. With improving its flow as a goal, they drafted the new layout on graph paper, using the necessary plumbing redo as an opportunity to relocate fixtures, and replaced the ill-designed closet with streamlined storage. The couple left construction work—it called for bumping in one of the walls by 6 inches to create space to run the new sink plumbing—to contractors, but they shopped online for most all of the tile, lighting, hardware, and fixtures. Doing that themselves paid off, Catherine says. "We saved a ton, and we love every last detail."
Shown: The toilet sat on a platform to accommodate its waste line and had a disconcerting window view. The walled-in shower hogged space and blocked natural light.
The roomier new shower has lots of upgrades: a marble mosaic-tile inset that frames all-new fittings, two frosted-glass walls and a space-saving sliding door that invite in light, and a bench to hold beauty products and bathers alike.
A platform toilet, a boxed-in shower, and a hulking closet crowded the 144-square-foot room.
Removing the walk-through closet created a more free-flowing bath with the fixtures arrayed around the perimeter.
1. Moved the shower to the old tub corner, enclosing it in frosted glass with a sliding door to save space.
2. Knocked out the walk-through closet and added a door to the bedroom. Brought in a freestanding armoire for towels and toiletries.
3. Relocated the toilet away from the window, near the shower.
4. Framed out a new wall to accommodate the plumbing lines of the new, leggy console sink. Gave the claw-foot tub pride of place in front of the window.
5. Added a trim clothes closet to supplement a lack of storage in the bedroom.