12 Aug 2010
Powder bath rooms generally drive me crazy. Not the ones in my projects (obviously) but the generic ones I see when I go into older homes or the new builder homes of my friends *cringe*. I need to ask you to assume that I am not a design snob and that I don’t judge people who love their home – different strokes right? But I am begging you designers to stop putting a toilet by the front door!!!!
Seriously … you do know what is supposed to happen in those rooms right?
I also have some other peccadilloes that are sure to earn a designer a big fat X in my book. The biggest one is when I see a custom designed, expensive, new bath room … and the sink gets placed next to the toilet. Since we are a visual bunch, I prepared a floor plan sketch of the bathroom that greets me when I walk into 99% of all traditional homes. For those with a weak constitution, I have employed a crowd favorite – the modesty crotch panel – so feel free to safely continue reading and evaluate the sketch.
So here is the oh-so-familiar toilet next to the sink arrangement that I don’t like. I am well aware that this arrangement became popular and has remained popular because there is one common wet wall and that makes it more cost effective. I don’t think that argument is a very good one unless you are doing multi-family or you are working on a very tight budget. This layout is also a space hog; you have to make the room deep enough to have knee + toilet length in the room. I won’t use toilet that doesn’t have an elongated bowl. I am 6′-1″ tall and unless I want to take a shower every time using the facilities (because I am clean that way), full grown men need some room at the front of the bowl. Sorry to be crude but this is one of those ‘if you’re a female, you probably don’t think about it’ kinda things. Men ‘descend’ into the bowl (some more than others but I’m trying to be sensitive here) so if you have to put in a small toilet because you have designed a small room, go back to the drawing board. I know I’ll thank you for it. *wink*
(for the record, I didn’t mean “full grown men” like some of my groupies/ fans might think, I just meant mature and not child size. Ooh, that’s not much better is it? Okay, someone over the age of 14 years old. Yeah *air punch* nailed it! Dang it, I’m going backwards here…)
This is a far better layout in my opinion. You can actually design this room with less space while making it feel far more spacious. Another benefit is that you can locate the toilet paper roll on the right hand side of the toilet so the user doesn’t have to be a contortionist while twisting around to reach the roll. FYI, the toilet paper roll is most comfortable when located even with the middle of the toilet bowl or slightly forward of that point.
Another benefit of this layout is the additional counter top space and extra storage capacity the cabinet offers. In the traditional layout, there is no real usable counter top space and the storage capacity of the cabinet is worthless considering that everything has to work itself around the p-trap below the sink. There is also the benefit of having the mirror address the individual coming into the room and – an opportunity to make it a more impactful feature of the room (not to mention the view into the room when the door is open). You also have more lighting options because you have now better defined the “zones” of this room. If you provide dual switches, one can control downlighting for the “business” zone, and wall sconces along with a small recessed downlight directly over the sink can give you mood lighting – useful when you have a party where guests will be using this facility. See … full circle back to why you shouldn’t EVER put the powder bath at the front door. That is some clever writing! (happened on accident)
This is a bathroom I designed for a Cabana pool project and is the best picture I have of my own work that illustrates the layout. I know it’s not that great but thats the nature of this layout – it’s efficient and compact without looking that way. Those attributes make it difficult to take a proper photo. We don’t generally have the bathrooms professionally shot on our projects and my wide angle lens isn’t so great.
So there it is. A better toilet room layout. If you don’t have to lay out the powder bath room in the totally sucky traditional way, I would have you consider making a layout like this one the standard.