I don’t believe I have ever been called a false prophet, mostly because I don’t think I’ve ever been called anything that included the word “prophet” in it. However, this is the 3rd time I have come on the site here and talked about how verily sucketh-y my own master shower is and how I planned to removeth the sucketh from this mortal plane and replace-eth it with something – as Donald Trump would say – more “luxurious”.
But let’s not get carried away. We already know that getting architects to work on their own homes is rare … like “finding a duckbilled platypus in your toilet” kind of rare. I have already admitted that working on my own home is a total drag (Working on your own Home Sucks) but as bad as it is for me, it might be worse for my wife because since I work on other people’s homes all day long, I am acutely aware of all the amazing things that are out there that I can’t afford. That also goes for working with contractors. I typically get to work with the most amazingly talented contractors – virtuoso’s of the building world … virtuoso’s who don’t take on the projects that are in my house because … why would they? They are small, I am extremely particular, my threshold between “amazing” and “total crap” is very small, and I don’t have any real money to work with so the maestro won’t be getting a new fishing boat from working on my house.
That AND the idea of coming home and doing more of what I’ve been doing all day doesn’t sound very relaxing. All my wife wants is for our master shower to get less sucky, and let’s be honest, that’s a pretty reasonable request.
The first time I introduced the world to my amazingly wheels off master shower was June 4th, 2010 – in an article titled “An Architect’s House – Master Shower“. I know, it was a lame title for what would eventually become the longest running unfulfilled series on this site. My site had only been up and running a few months when I wrote that post, and back then, this post had about 50 page views (39 of which were probably me looking to see if anybody had left a comment). The best thing that came out of that post was the sketch above because it set the bar for the graphics on my site and was the first time “Martini Man” and “Sexy Pantsuit Lady” were used as scale figures.
So here is the plan of my master bathroom as it exists today … that is some wild and crazy stuff. [Shudder] Please make note of how many sliding glass doors are in this shower.
Three. There are three sets of shower doors.
Also notice that the closet is the same size as the shower. [slaps forehead]
Do you even realize what you are looking at here? Cinnamon-toast crunch glass cereal tiles, sunken “tub” and exposed rough heavy cedar beams (because there weren’t enough places for spiders to build their webs in the rest of the world).
Hello toilet. [waving] I see you in there!
I have written a lot of articles on toilets but the one that is most relevant – and yet at odds – with my own master bathroom toilet layout is “Bathroom Prison Toilets“. Despite the fact that this toilet is technically in its own private room (as all master bathroom toilets should be), this has got to be one of the less private” private toilets rooms ever conceived. Why would someone need direct access from the toilet to the shower?
Wait … on second thought, don’t answer that question.
It’s possible that since this house was designed by an architect in the 60’s, that the client liked to “party” in the shower and the architect was simply addressing the programmatic request of his client. Why bother your guest with coming in through the front door when they can cut to the chase and entire the “party” directly from outside the house?
All you need is a bowl by the sliding glass door for your car keys and you are ready to “begin partying”.
While I am not in top physical condition, I think most people would acknowledge that at 6′-1″ tall and weighing in at 198 lbs (proportionately distributed mind you), I shouldn’t have any special needs that need to be addressed getting through the shower door that rotating my shoulders wouldn’t take care of … but why should I have to do that? The clear space for entering this shower from the bathroom is a whopping 17″ … it’s 34″ clear at the exterior sliding glass door – further evidence that the main entry was intended to occur from the outside.
And finally, there is the shower head wall, complete with weird ceramic tile rotated 45 degrees set at the bottom – clearly an indication that some sort of plumbing repair work has taken place at some point. But if that’s actually the case, why doesn’t the tub filler work?
That’s right, you read that correctly … the tub filler doesn’t actually work. And if that doesn’t make it sucketh enough for you, does the fact that the tub filler sticks out 8″ from the showered wall that it causes you to straddle your legs around it?
So, that’s enough of a bad trip down memory lane. Why am I talking about this? Again?
As it turns out, I am finally going to be fixing this shower, and it only took 5 years and 17 days for this to really become a reality. And how do you know that this time will be any different from the last time(s) I talked about fixing this shower?
You don’t. Because now I’ve actually done some drawings, I’ve actually saved some money, and I’ve actually met with the contractor. That’s about as real as you’re going to get in my world.
I prepared a few drawings as part of the design process for my remodel. At one point, this remodel was going to be a lot more substantial, but after some financial soul-searching, we decided to scale it back to a more reasonable renovation in an effort to make it happen this summer AND have it appear less like a swinger’s party shower space.
Since this is a big room, I am going to be using some fairly large format tile on the walls (12×24) to help scale the space down just a bit. In the drawing above, the long horizontal space that is the 3′ to 4′ height above the shower floor, will be a 6′ long recessed niche. (You’ll see in the next drawing how I am able to pull this off.) I am also going to visually distinguish this niche by using the same stone tiles on the wall but changing the pattern to a vertically oriented narrow mosaic tile.
Ah-Ha! Since I am not a fan of the recessed portion of the shower floating in the room (like the non-functioning tub that it is) I am building out two of the four walls in this space so that they will be flush with the vertical face of the “tub”. On the right hand side of the drawing above, you can see that I am basically adding a header along the top of the niche and just building a new wall.
You will also notice (if you are trying) that the sliding glass door that was heading out to the exterior has been removed. Eventually we will deal with the mosquito breeding ground patio that is on the other side of this wall, so this modification is really about planning for a future project. That, and I don’t want the neighbors to be able to see in to the shower from their front door. (It gives an entirely new meaning to the question “Can I borrow a cup of sugar?”)
To the side of the drawings, I am including a small graphic of the types of stone tile I plan on using. We basically wanted a white shower, but installing a white shower floor is not without its complications. We also needed to stick with a small size stone tile because of the change in elevation at the floor. The recessed area of the “tub” has a truncated corner on one corner and it’s not at a 45 degree angle, this means that my grout joints will not align between the upper floor and the lower floor if I turn the tile down the vertical drop (which I’m planning on doing).
In this image, you can see that the sliding glass door looking in to the toilet room has been removed and replaced with a solid wall of tile. In addition to that, a new frameless glass door has been installed – one that is wider than the 17″ we have grown accustomed to using. This is also a look at one of the walls where I have moved the wall out to align with the drop in the slab in to the tub. This will allow me to bring the 12″x24″ wall time all the way down to the lower floor level.
The timing of this project should be pretty quick. I won’t actually start any work until the stone tile arrives – but I choose tile that only has a 1 to 2 week lead time. That means a July start date and from there, maybe another three weeks to coordinate the actual work. Unless disaster strikes, I should be in my new shower – not partying – by early August.
No outside loofahs admitted.