• Paul C

    Quickly, some other common pitfalls I have seen: ensuite wc without doors, windows in wet areas, carpet flooring, lack of proper ventilation, lack of storage/towel bars, over abundance of glass surfaces (cleaning), gas fireplaces adjacent to acrylic surfaces (tubs) and hard edges just to name a few.

  • Doug Roberts

    My pet peeve with many master ensuites is the built-in “roman” tub set flush into a raised tiled deck with steps leading up to it. We had these tubs in two previous houses and in my view they are a complete marketing gimmick, as they look very spa-like, but are a pain to clean and a complete waste of space. Cleaning the back wall of the tub required that you either balance on your stomach across the front edge of the tub (which makes breathing pretty much impossible), lay on your stomach and slither around to the back of the tiled deck, or climb into the tub and clean it from the inside. One tub had a bay window behind it and adjusting the blinds either had to be done from inside the tub or by walking up the steps onto the tiled deck to reach the blinds on one side, and then carefully tiptoeing across the front edge of the tub to reach the blinds on the other side. We replaced that tub with a freestanding clawfoot tub that you could walk around to clean and adjust the blinds — just as luxurious and way more functional.

  • Grace

    fabulous description of tub cleaning, doug. still laughing!

  • Louis Pereira

    In keeping with the pitfall theme, here are a few extremes that are touted as possible ‘Bath Plan Options’…


  • Louis Pereira

    ^hmmm…try again.


  • CL

    Doug, I always wondered how these “lavish” tubs could be kept clean… now I know.

    We have chosen to do away with the tub and have just a shower, one sink, a toilet and lots of storage in our en-suite bath. It works well for us… it’s very efficiently set up and is easy to keep clean.

  • Sean

    Here are my requisites for an ensuite bathroom:

    - It should have a window, at chest height – for light mainly. This window should not be opposite the main mirror if possible, and not over the bathtub. You should be able to open and close the window or adjust the window coverings without stepping into the tub or doing other contortions.

    - If it has ceramic flooring it better be heated if you live in Canada

    - There should be a 3-step rule. If you have to walk more than 3 steps from one fixture to another it most probably has too much wasted space.

    - There should be 2 washbasins – unless you live alone! The space under the basins is not enough for storage, so you need some drawers too.

    - Large odd shaped baths are only good to look at, at best. Just think of how much water they must use. I have stayed in hotels with large whirlpool baths and wonder what the attraction is. I would be interested to know how often people who have them, use them or whether they just take a shower instead.

    - If you have a walk-through or walk-in closet you should not have to go through the ensuite to get to it.

    - Good ventilation is essential, especially if there is separate shower

    I am sure I can think of other criteria – I’ll let others add theirs.

  • Meg

    My pet hates for bathrooms are:

    1.Not enough storage
    2.No neat place in the shower to keep bottles out of sight.
    3.configuration done in such a way that drying off from a shower means leaving a wet patch in front of the sink which is a pain when coming back to do teeth.
    4.Inadequate towel drying facilities in the bathroom
    5.No outlets to be able to plug in chargers out of sight.
    6.Flooring that’s hard to clean.
    7.Shower fixtures where I have to fiddle around to get the right water temperature every day.
    8.Baths without a shower (great for washing hair and makes cleaning easier)
    9.No natural light
    10.Fan and light on the same switch so that the fan cannot be turned off.
    11.No mood lighting for lazy baths.
    12.No room for a chair for watching kids or chatting with significant others.
    13.Shower stalls that are too small.

  • James Scott

    Hi folks,

    This is a general version of my guest bath. Simple, too the point, no frills but comfortable.

    The doors are on a 45 degree angle because there are steel posts at the corners. Also by keeping the door at a 45 you can’t see into the bath from the rec room which is at the lower left.

    It does have a fiberglass bath stall, but it’s on its way out and will be tiled instead. The stalls and the doors just don’t stand up to daily use. They’re hard to clean and seem to age fairly quickly. and you either get boring white or a colour that is out dated.

    No luxurious baths here but it does suit the extra bath requirements.


  • Grace

    I have few demands and a couple may not be popular, but I insist on:

    yes, a whirlpool, which I use almost daily therapeutically (you couldn’t tell by looking, but, believe me, I need it)

    a separate shower–no way will I take a bath on the floor of someone else’s shower!

    a door that does not, when open, look at a toilet

    I can work around most everything else.

    I do love lots of towel hanging and drawers.

  • Tina

    Grace, I agree that a separate shower & tub are a must. Plenty of light, an accessible window and plenty of storage. Our current bath has room for a chair, and I often find myself reading there at night when I can’t sleep. I wish there were more electrical outlets for the radio.

  • Grace

    Tina–the slow home guys may well disagree, but imho, if there’s room for a reading chair, that’s NOT wasted space!

  • Paul C

    Not sure which “guys” you were referring to, but I believe all bathrooms have a reading “chair” :-)

  • John Brown

    Some good lists of ideas here. I will put them together into a design summary.

    I couldn’t open your drawing – perhaps you could reload it. It sounds intriguing.

    Great examples of bad baths. I can’t believe the Maginot Line design.

    A very apt description of the problem with a tub/shower. I never thought about taking a bath on the floor of someone else’s shower.

    Although I like the idea of the “slow home guys” (which certainly needs to include both genders) I also agree with Paul about the utility of a chair. However, it should be properly accounted for in the layout so it doesn’t feel either abandoned or overcrowded.

  • Grace

    John–I don’t think Paul was referring to any additional reading chair! (or am I missing your own droll sense of humor?)

  • James Scott

    I’m trying again. Maybe this will work.


  • Volker

    In total I agree with the discussion about the bad bathrooms… I believe it is important to decide what you want this room for – the simple usage, how many peaople are going to use that facility – really two going to use it at the same time? How many (fully equipped) bathrooms are in the house? Perhaps one full-size and a small guest-bathroom would work too.. and so on.

    Louis I like your “bad design” plans – pretty strange layouts – but I wonder about the “circling bathroom” – some people do want a room that is more than just a bathroom, it is about an additional room for relaxing, wellness and so on… it is about the possibility to turn the room into a spa – something totally different to get everything into a small, odd shaped room without windows, it is about a statement of living. I’ve attached a nice sample of the DURAVIT company. I like the design and layout, but personally I’d never want to have something like that in my place…