The bathroom is one of the two “money rooms” in your home. The other is the kitchen and that will be the next chapter. These two rooms can make or break the sale of your home faster than anything. If you’re looking to purchase a home these rooms will become the power in your negotiating. The worse condition you find them in, the more leverage you have in your offering.
In this chapter, I’ll deal specifically with existing homeowners considering a master bath remodel and we’ll touch on the other bathrooms in the home. I’ll furnish some examples from my website of total remodels of master baths. We’ll look at the common complaints and solutions, current trends and things you can do to update this important room.
Let’s consider what we have to work with. Not all master baths are created equal in terms of physical size, location, architectural or structural elements, window placements, and truss or joist locations. Some master baths are fairly typical at 8×5, 8×10 and grow from there. Others offer more opportunity because of the location in the home and a host of other details, which we’ll cover in the paragraphs ahead. There’s also a big difference in what can be accomplished in a first floor bath vs. a second floor bath. Here is Las Vegas most homes are built on slabs. There are some custom homes with basements but they are far outnumbered by the slab homes. The plumbing for these first floor bathrooms and kitchens are laid out before the slab is poured and will sometimes pose challenges if we are considering the relocation of certain fixtures. Moving sinks and toilets will undoubtedly involve jack hammering the slab (and let’s hope it’s not a post tension slab) and relocating the plumbing drains and possibly reworking supply lines.
Second floor bathrooms pose their own challenges relative to joists, trusses, framing schedules, venting and supply lines but are generally more flexible and less expensive to alter than the first floor bathrooms.
Many first floor baths are called powder rooms or powder baths and they’re usually half baths. This is the primary bathroom for houseguests or visiting company and usually does not have a shower or bathtub. The exception here would be if the bathroom was connected to or serviced first floor sleeping quarters. In that situation I would expect to find either a shower or a tub/shower combination. The typical “powder bath” remodel involves any combination of changing the flooring, wall coverings or painting, switching from a vanity sink to a pedestal or vice versa, changing over the toilet to a newer model, changing out the mirror, lighting or installing a fan light combo. It’s a fairly basic remodel situation where the plumbing fixtures generally stay in the same position but may be updated to more modern fixtures. For an example of the kind of difference you’ll find in first floor bathrooms take a look at the web site I use to show some of the work I’ve done. If you are on our website www.tajo-one.com, you can click on the shutterfly link at the top and it will take you to some other jobs. Click on Nicole’s bathroom you’ll see three bathrooms done in her home. The bathroom done in copper slate services two bedrooms. The hallway bathroom used by most visitors is done in a black mountain rock, red walls, contemporary sink and faucet, new mirror and lighting. The other first floor bathroom was just done with new flooring, new shower valve and new copper slate on the shower walls.
The master bath is the Mac Daddy of bathrooms. You can see the original layout because Mickey the Dunce left his coffee cup on the counter when he took the first picture. The final pictures speak for themselves with a steam shower, full length glass, repositioned shower, new valves, new floor, new ceiling work etc…This really shows the range and depth as well as the substantial possibilities available in the Master as opposed to the “typical” powder bath. Although in this situation my client’s exceptional choice of color and material is certainly far from typical and the small powder bath is a total knockout!
Tub or no tub? The answer is surprisingly simple. Do you like soaking in the tub or not? Tons of people ask me what’s the right thing to do. I’m a big fan of walk in, wide open, no walls if I can get em showers! But it’s your house and the result has to please you. There is no hard and fast rule here. Generally if you have at least one bathtub somewhere else in the house I say go for it and put in Mac Daddy. Let’s get decadent and build a luxurious retreat where we can chill. I really love Las Vegas because people are much more “into” building a great bathroom. Back in New England it was function, function, function……”Whaddayameanclearglassnodoors????” Just what is your political affiliation young man? There are some truly spectacular baths in my new hometown and this is where I need to be.
Seriously now, one of the best things you can do is read a lot of magazines and cut out a lot of pictures and when you get together with your contractor……put them on the table!