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Ann Architect, Renovation Design GroupAnnie Architect, Renovation Design Group

Renovation Solutions is weekly column on architectural home design by Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, Principal Architects of Renovation Design Group, a Utah architectural firm focusing on home renovation design.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Bathrooms can make big splash

By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon

A well-designed family bath goes a long way toward helping your home function better for your family. Nice finishes and fixtures can add an extra splash to a very practical room. Many feature two sinks.

If you are honest, you would probably rather die than allow a guest to use your children's bathroom. Or think of how your mornings would be revolutionized if only the vanity in your teenagers' bathroom was separate from the shower. No more fighting over bathroom time! It's amazing the difference a well-placed, well-designed bathroom can make. Fortunately, when you are considering a bath in your home remodel, there are several options available to meet your family's needs.

Powder room: "Powder room" is a fancy name for a guest bathroom. Also called a half bath, this tiny bathroom has just a sink and a toilet and needs at least 16 square feet of space. Its primary function is for short-term guests; therefore a powder room is generally located near the front entry or another public area. A powder room can be elaborately decorated, serving both a functional and decorative purpose in your home.

Family half-bath: Some floor plans will include a half bath near the garage entry, possibly in conjunction with a laundry or mud room. These tend to be more practical. This half bath provides a place to clean up from outside work or play before entering the main part of the home. Only larger homes tend to have both a family half bath and a powder room, so generally this bath would also serve guests, and it tends to be less formal.

Family bathroom: Assuming you have a master bathroom for the use of the parents (which we discussed in an earlier column), a family bathroom is for other family members. The family bath may include one or two sinks and a bathtub, shower, or bathtub/shower combination. Separating the sinks from the toilet and shower allows more than one person to use the room at the same time. This type of bath requires at least 40 square feet.

A powder room can include rich materials and luxurious accents like a granite counter and a decorative mirror. It is a functional way to keep public and private spaces in your home separate.

A "Jack and Jill" bathroom: This type of bathroom is located between two bedrooms. Each bedroom has an ante-room with a sink, and both ante-rooms share a center room where the toilet and bathing facilities are located.

Guest bathroom: If a bath is associated with a guest bedroom, a half bath is not sufficient. You will need at least a three-quarter bath (sink, toilet, and shower) or a full bath (sink, toilet, bathtub/shower) connected to the guest bedroom or in close proximity.

Expect your budget to be about $8,000 to $12,000 for replacing a bathroom in its current location. A powder room would be proportionally less, while installing a new bathroom or relocating an existing one would be more due to additional framing, plumbing, and electrical costs.

And a final note: When designing a bathroom, visual and acoustical privacy needs to be taken into account. If you can see the toilet from the living room or front entry, go back to the drawing board and try again! As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

© 2005 Renovation Design Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Renovation Design Group.

If you are considering a remodel project, please Request a Free Consultation with Ann or Annie.

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