Hi. My name is Bob and I seem to talk about toilets a lot here at Life of an Architect. Not because I love toilets – which maybe I do, they are kind of funny – but because there are a lot of bathroom layouts out there that drive me crazy. Since I am an architect that does residential design, I spend more time on bathroom layouts than your average person, I’m not just some guy in the next cubicle.
Take the (ahem) design below which I picked at random when I typed “master bathroom layout designs” in to Google [shudder … my eyeballs still haven’t recovered].
The image above was one of the winners Google kicked back to me … I didn’t give attribution to the source of this design because I don’t think they would want it given the context of how I am using it here. Quick math will tell you that this is not a small bathroom – maybe something in the range of 10′ x 10′ square. While this isn’t the worst layout I’ve ever seen, I don’t love it. And one of the reasons I don’t love it is the fact that it has what I like to call “a prison toilet.”
Did he say “prison toilet?”
You heard me correctly. A prison toilet is what I call a toilet that is just sitting out there in the main space of in a Master Bathroom, you know … just like what you would find in a prison cell. All that’s missing is the prison wine.
Don’t get me wrong, not all toilets need to be in their own space, but if you are going to design a true master bathroom, your toilet needs to be in its own room for reasons that really shouldn’t need to be spelled out … but that’s exactly what I am going to do. I’m spelling it out –
a) toilet rooms, at times, emit an odor that needs to be contained
b) exhaust fan in the toilet room works more efficiently (smaller area). Nobody needs to know what you’re doing in there, as far as someone might be concerned, you’re just reading email off your phone.
Lastly, and this one is the one that really truly matters …
c) the rest of the bathroom can be used concurrently along with the toilet room
You may not agree with these three items, but there is no denying the value of the last one. My wife and I tend to be in the bathroom at the same time since we both have day jobs that require us to get out of bed in the morning, clean ourselves up, brush our teeth, etc. I can tell you that I’ve been happily married for almost 20 years now and I think – in some small measure – it’s because we do not have an open door policy in our toilet rooms.
Rather than try to prove my point by showing you endless examples of a non-prison toilet style master bathroom, I thought I would simply show you the layout from one of my most recent active jobs. The image above is the current master bathroom layout from the house I used to illustrate the schematic design process several months ago (Sketching During Schematic Design).
If you look at the original post, you can see that the master bathroom has changed quite a bit once the owners started providing some feedback on how they will be using the space. One of the biggest changes was that they said that they needed separate closets (a feature that they felt had keep their marriage a happy one over the years). We also discussed items like they wanted a small tub because the wife is short and doesn’t like to feel as though she needs to grip the edges of the tub to keep from sliding around in the tub; that a shower larger than 5′ x 5′ would be too large – something that I tend to agree with (I’d Like a McShower, please … and SuperSize it!).
There are just a few absolute necessities required in a master bathroom – even a small one. They are:
- Private toilet room
- Dedicated bath tub
- Dedicated shower
- Two sinks
- A common area where all these items organized
That’s not so hard is it? I’ll even issue a free pass if you don’t want both a dedicated shower AND bath tub, but prison toilet layouts are not allowed.
Save that for the guest bathroom.
Since I seem to have some opinions on toilets, I thought I would organize the majority of them here for anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to read them before.
It seems that toilet rooms by the front door is making a come back – which is a terrible idea. This is bad architectural design so I have included some examples and solutions of working toilet rooms
Powder bath rooms generally drive me crazy. Not the ones in my projects but the generic ones I see when I go into older homes or the new builder homes of my friends *cringe*.
I just don’t understand why urinals are the way they are. The function they serve is pretty obvious and I am pretty sure that the invention of the first urinal was one of those Eureka! moments when necessity and opportunity collide.
You are now remarkably knowledgeable on my thoughts relating to toilet rooms.