Seeking Bath/Laundry design opinions
Does this make any sense? I’m working on the remodel of my master bathroom. The current MBa is adjacent to the laundry room and both suffer from a chopped-up design. The MBa is long and narrow, with a shower and only a single sink. The toilet sits at the end a narrow, relatively long space, making it feel like being in a tunnel.
The laundry room has the washer and dryer separated, with the dryer set back into an alcove.
I’d like to update the MBa, make it more contemporary in style and design. To do that, I think I need to steal some space from the laundry room.
The attached pic shows the floorplans, pretty much to scale. I tried to minimize replumbing and new framing, but can’t seem to get past the fact that I’ll need to relocate a wall, the toilet and washer and add plumbing for the tub.
Does this design make sense or do you have any better suggestions on how to better renovate to make it contemporary with today’s conventions with less plumbing/electrical changes.
Hard to tell but generally (if you squint hard enough) it appears reasonable. Just make sure you have a respectable amt. of room between the w/d and the counter opposite. What's the skinny counter left of the sink in the laundry room doing? Verify the in/in dimensions across both rooms (north/south direction) and then subtract your wall thickness, tub length, dryer depth, counter & space to stand - if the numbers add up you may well be onto a good solution.
Thanks for the sanity check. The skinny counter you noticed is supposed to represent shelves for cans and foodstuff, to make the laundry room double as a pantry.
I'll measure the room out carefully, check for load bearing walls, existing electrical and plumbing runs, and proper spacing like you recommended.
See any areas for improvement?
I'm no architect, but I've been doing a lot of work on my own floor plans for a remodel and a few thoughts come to mind:
The scale on your drawing is a little tricky to understand, but it would seem that you only have a foot or two in front of your washer and dryer before you run into what ever that ~1' deep counter/shelf is. Is that enough room to get the door open on your washer or dryer? Which brings up another question...do you have the standard large top-loading washer, or are you lucky enough to have front-loading units? If they are both front-loaders, you won't be able to get in there to move the clothes from one to the other. Even if you do have a top loading washer, it will be tricky to get the clothes from one to the other in such a small space.
I'm assuming that the ~1' shelf across from the w/d is a counter height unit, because it appears to have a sink on the far right end. The appeal of a counter in a laundry room is as a folding surface, but this counter is so narrow, I'm not sure it would effictively serve that purpose. My thought would be to put the washer and dryer along the far right wall in your drawing. The top of the washer and the dryer would serve as a decent folding surface if you don't have the kind of units that would let you build a counter over them. This layout gives you much more room to move around. I am guessing that the long skinny green thing that is right in front of the door is what you were referring to as can storage. If so, it wouldn't need to move. If the other green thing was needed as storage as well, you could build a wall height set of shelves along the short wall on the left side of the wall that the w/d are on in the new plan. This would crowd the w/d a bit, but I don't think it would be nearly as tight as the current layout.
You have a tough space to work with. Good luck!
Honestly, when I was measuring the spaces, I didnt pay as much attention to the laundry room as I did the bathroom. I wasn't expecting to remodel that room much, but the more I looked at the MBa, I realized that I needed more of the laundry room space. I'm hoping the dimensions on my drawing are wrong, so I'll have the space that you (and I) think I need. One thing not noted on the drawing is a window which is on the right wall (as depicted in the drawing). I don't think that it would be appropriate to put the W/D on that wall. The wall at the bottom of the laundry room is also an exterior wall, studs on top of a concrete block footing. The more I think about it, plumbing and wiring there will be more difficult there, too.
As for you question about the type of W/D I have, the answer is "none yet". I think that the space should be set up for a conventional top-loading washer and a front-loading dryer.
If I had to trade off the countertop for a deep sink (across from the W/D), which would you recommend?
Oh, and the narrow green shelf across from the door, that's notional for now. I'll have to measure to see if it will fit. I think that storage space in the laundry is important because the kitchen doesn't have a lot of extra storage space.
Keep the great ideas coming....
"Keep the great ideas coming...."-- I don't know about great, but you asked for it.
I've got an idea that would keep your w/d plumbing off any exterior walls. Try to follow me on this one: divide the laundry room into two rooms (a pantry and a laundry room) by continuing the wall that makes the right side of your family room (as shown in the drawing). The laundry room door you have in the new design will now be the door to the pantry. You may want to slide it left or right to allow for wrap around shelves in the pantry, but you can figure that out once you have a detailed measured drawing of the space. The resulting laundry room will now be a rectangle accessed by a door where you have it now in the "current design" drawing. This leaves plenty of room to put the w/d along the top wall (the one shared with the MBa) and moves all the plumbing to an interior wall that already contains all of the pipes for the master toilet and tub. Depending on the dimensions you end up with when you get a detailed drawing, and select your w/d, you may be able to fit your deep sink along the same wall. The one concern here is the window in the laundry room. Since it is not on the drawing I can't factor that in. How high is it off the floor? How far is it from the ext wall on the bottom of the drawing? If it is high enough or far enough towards the bottom wall, you may be able to get the sink in without running into the window.
Since you don't own the w/d yet I'll throw in a plug for the front loaders. They use far less water and typically clean the clothes better. Standard top loaders can use as much as 50 gal/wash, with the efficient ones coming in closer to 20 gal/wash. My front loader does a load with 6 (same size load as the top load units). I threw down for the Asko washer, not cheap but worth it (~$1,100). It heats its own water while it washes, supposedly causing it to be more effective at getting stains out because different stains release at different temps. At the end of the wash it spins the clothes at some rediculous speed like 1200 rpm, so they come out of the wash practically dry (i.e. less enegy wasted heating air in a dryer). Sorry for the sales pitch, but I'm kind of into energy/resource conservation. The best part for your set-up though is how compact these units are (only 2' wide). Check out the photo on the web site (http://www.askousa.com/laundry/). If you could squeeze your w/d into 4' of wall space, that leaves you plenty of room for the sink before you have to worry about the window.
Hope these ideas help!
I think I understand your idea. I'll have to measure the laundry room to see if that layout would work. I think it all depends on how much room there is for the W/D and I sure hope my scale is wrong. As for the fancy W/D idea, it sounds great. However, I only expect to be in the house for a year or two, so expensive appliances don't seem like the best places to put my money.
While I'm measuring and redrawing, consider this... One of the problems with this laundry room is that it's off the family room. The family room and the bedroom areas aren't directly connected. You have to go through the living room or kitchen with your laundry all the way through the house to a room just 6 feet away to do the wash. So, If I'm going to tear out the MBa, would it make sense to somehow either move the laundry room so it's accessible from the hallway (essentially where the (purple) shower is in the top center of the drawing or make the hallway connect to the family room "somehow" through the existing laundry room? It isn't clear to me, right now, but with your WEALTH of experience, maybe it is to you.
-Is it worthwhile to make the laundry room accessible to the bedroom areas instead of the living areas?
-Is it worthwhile to make the family room directly accessible to the bedroom areas?
Check out stacking the w/d units. The front loaders are well worth the money, and they can be stacked. I own a pair of Bosch. Love them. You can use the nice w/d as a selling feature when you move on.
CurlyHand Hewn Restorations Inc.
Restoring the past for the future.
Go ahead and spring for the 'fancy' appliances - they are portable. Even if you leave the house in a year, you will be able to take that investment with you. If you are going to question an investment, it should be the redoing of the bathrooms and laundry with such a short time horizon, that's a pretty expensive undertaking. But, if you are set on remodelling, and if you really want accessibility to the laundry from the bedrooms, then consider these 2 possibilities:
1) Incorporate the master bath and the laundry into one big room. I've lived with this design and it's not so bad - take off your dirty clothes, drop them in the washer and you're good to go. Doing that gives you a much larger room to work with and you will have more flexibility for where to put the porcelain. Plus, you can cut one sink out of the design that way. There should be enough space to have 2 doors - one from the master and one from the family room.
2) Split the rooms another way, turning the washer and dryer to face in from the outside wall, and moving the door up to the BR end where the toilet is now. Why does it matter if there is a window on that wall? The dryer is easier to vent through an outside wall. Ditch the shower stall and put the commode there with a little pocket door for privacy. Put the new tub back to back with the other tub, and put the sinks and some cabinetry where the toilet and the tub are in your 'new' design. If you must have a separate shower, then by all means invest in stackable washer and dryer and steal a little more room.
Given that you're only there a year or two, I'd agree with the others about why bother with this? But if you are set on doing it, here's a few more thoughts:
I didn't mention it, but the Asko units I linked to above, are stackable, as are many of the european brands. There are some (GE?) stackable American units that are very compact (2 pairs of jeans is about capacity, OK maybe a little more than that), which may be what you are thinking of.
I don't think I would want the only access to the w/d dryer to be through the master bedroom if it more than a 1 BR house. And I likewise wouldn't want a door to my master bath out of the living room. That's why I think you have a tough space. Piffin did put together a good drawing, but I don't understand moving the shower. If you have to keep a shower unit in there, why tear it out. My real estate agent tells me that for resale it is good to have a tub in the house somewhere, but not necessarily in the master. All of the feature houses these days make us think that we need huge showers AND big soaking tubs in master baths. There was an interesting article in the recent K+B issue of FHB about design and resale. The author produced a stat from on of the manufacturers of these jet tubs that said the average jet tub is used 7 times in its life. If your current shower is a nice one, maybe skip the tub in the master and gain some room that way. Having never had two sinks in my master bath, maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but it certainly seems to be a new standard in nicer homes. I can certainly argue for some counter space around the sink though. I've had pedastal sinks in the bathroom and I think they are a pain (IMHO).
Get us those dimensions when you get a chance and we'll all take another look at it!
You're right in questioning the cost/effort put into a house that I'm going to resale soon. My approach to the renovations is that I be careful about my budget and that I make the house into something that I would enjoy living in for a long time. If the space appeals to me, then it will appeal to future buyers. I really hated seeing houses for sale which had shoddy renovations, splash some paint on the walls and call it a "complete remodel".
That said, I'd like to make this bathroom/laundry room renovation something that will minimize plumbing/elec mods and be functional. I could toss the bathtub for a nice shower unit. Counter space for the sink is important (need room for all the women's makeup, brushes, curling irons, hair dryers, plus the room for the guy's razor). Double sink would be nice, but not essential. Stackable w/d, I think, have less capacity than conventional ones and I don't think would be appropriate for a family (3BR detached house). Front loaders aren't out of the question, but I really need to see how they fit in the budget. I wonder whether it will be hard to get a good return on a $1000 washer.
I'm seeing the tradeoffs you're suggesting, more and more. I'll sketch up some new ideas and float them by you.
Super thoughts. Keep 'em coming!
Front-loading, stackable washers (and dryers) often have larger effective capacities than traditional washers. Yes, they are more expensive - but the payoff is in lower water usage, no more unbalanced machines, and smaller footprint when stacked. I really, really want a stackable washer/dryer, but my maytag is only a little over 7 years old, so I have trouble justifying getting a new one. And again, I emphasize, this is an investment that you take with you to the next house. It makes no sense to me to invest a lot of money into remodelling a bathroom and skimp on the appliances, even to the point of rejecting a good design because you might have to pay a couple of hundred bucks more for the appropriate appliance. You talk about 'upper middle-class' homes, well that is a higher trim line of appliance, better fixtures in the bathroom, and well thought out usability in every room.
I've got a better idea I will scetch up. Hang on and don't start tearing things apart yet tonight..
Excellence is its own reward!
Well, Maybe not better but all I can do with no dimnensions or exterior walls identified
Excellence is its own reward!
You guys are too good to me! Piffin, I think you guessed the dimensions pretty well. That's a real good floorplan that you sketched out.
Do the stackable washers have the same capacity as traditional, top loaders? You certainly make a convincing argument.
A buddy and I were talking about combining the laundry room/MBA, too. (great minds thinking alike??) Do many new homes these days have that set-up? I would think that one disadvantage would be that anyone with laundry has to trek through the MBR. Awkward?
As for tossing out the shower, I'm flexible. I don't think it has to stay in. Whatever makes the most sense. What are the "conventions" in newer, upper-middle class homes?
I owe you some dimensions and depictions of the windows...
Thanks so much!!
One other advantage of some front load machines (with controls on front) is that they can be installed beneath a counter top, which can serve as a convenient folding and stacking location.
I don't know how you like to live so I can't comment on all this, but I would opt in favor of putting a stacking washer/dryer where the shower is. That gives a lot of options for the bath area.
I have sold four stacking whirlpool units this year. Forgot the model nymber but it is the middle sized one which is nearly the same capacity as a normal unit. What gives me good feedback from customers is that it gets clothes clean and does it relatively quietly.
It retails around $1200 and my cost is 1128.
Excellence is its own reward!
Well, I've been thinking about it some more and I think I've got "a" plan. I checked out the front-loading washers in the store, like some of you suggested, and took another look at the pantry article in this year's K&B issue. Front loaders are a bit pricey, but if I were to use them, I could regain some counter space for folding laundry. And the pantry shelves in the K&B issue look pretty simple and inexpensive to build.
I think that I would place the water hookups on the left wall (the back side of the bathroom), and vent the dryer through the floor under the sink.
The MBA gains another sink, linen storage, and the fiberglass shower is replaced by a larger tile shower. Minimum plumbing and electrical changes in this design. (Saves some $$ for the W/D.) Shelving in the pantry is only 6" deep, but I just can't figure out a better use of that space. It doesn't make much sense to use it for recessed cabinets from the FR nor does it make much sense to enlarge the MBA another 2 feet.
The laundry room is right off the family room and I need to keep it quiet. It doesn't seem as though the walls are insulated and I think it would be worthwhile to tear down the drywall and put some in. Will definitely add insulation to the guest bath since I'm already tearing out the surround around the current tub for backerboard. Laundry room floors will probably be the same tile as what will be going in the kitchen.
So....what am I missing? Have any other great ideas to make the spaces more efficient or to keep the laundry room quiet?
Nice job! I like what you have come up with. Also, thanks for getting the CAD program. Much easier to understand your plans.
I think you made a good call leaving the shower where it is. The MBa is not one of these huge suites that you see in the mags which can be confused with a living room, but it seems sufficient. The double sink, the additional sq. ft., and upgrading the shower to tile will all make that a nice room.
As for the laundry room, a few thoughts. Obviously I think you won't regret the front-loader choice, so I won't get into that. Your current design of the the pantry area will be one of personal preference. Some would probably say it is to narrow to be useful, but you should see what you think. Can you do a mock up of the space to see how it feels. Maybe stand a sheet of plywood up 2'6" from a wall in your garage with some shelves on it, and try squeezing in there to see if it works for you. The other easy option is the second door out of the family room into that space, but I'm not sure that is that great of an option. You would end up with a 2'6" deep pantry space. A little too deep in my opinion, things that get pushed to the back will disappear forever.
As for the soundproofing...there are lots of different options on this one. There are all sorts of expensive soundproof wall tile products, but if you don't mind making your walls a little thicker, there is a pretty simple solution. You can make a 5.5" thick wall out of 2"x4"s by staggering which side of the wall you make the 2x4 flush with. That way none of the studs touch both sides of the wall and can easily transmit sound through the wall. Then weave fiberglass batts horizontally through the wall and cover both sides with drywall. I tried to find a drawing of this on the web and couldn't, but have seen it in most framing books I've looked through. I haven't tried it yet, but intend to on my upcoming remodel. From what I've read, it is a very effective, low tech solution to the problem.
Edited 12/6/2003 10:16:11 PM ET by rfarnham
We're right in synch with one another! I stood in the pantry area and visualized what the narrow shelves would look like. I'll put some masking tape on the floor as a mockup to get a better feel. 6" deep shelves seemed pretty narrow, at first thought. But I looked at the pantry article in K&B issue and I think he showed some narrow shelves with 2-3 cans deep of storage.
I discarded the idea of moving the door, as you mentioned. Cost is one issue. Wasted space is the other. After doing the measurements, I could only fit the door/walkway in that space. No room for shelves if I put the door there, so it's not very efficient.
I'm thinking of just adding fiberglass insulation to the walls for soundproofing between the guest bath and the family room. The space is just wide enough for the tub, so making it 2x6 studs for more insulation won't work. (Oh yeah, and I'm a cheap SOB, too. haha).
Appreciate the encouragement. Will post "the next" design iteration when I get it.
Any other thoughts?
If you make the laundry room to small, Your wife or who ever does the wash will hate it, no room to turn around, more less work. Can the Laundry room be moved to a different part of the home? That way you can use the space for a much nicer bath.
Just a thought.