Tall House: Bathroom Floorplans

We’re finalizing the floorplans for two bathrooms — the kids’ bathroom and the owner’s-suite bathroom — so we can communicate the plans to the plumber. I thought we were pretty settled on both, but I spent some time over at the new house and ended up making some changes to one of the floorplans.

Here’s the floorplan for the kids’ bathroom:

It’s the most straightforward because we’re not moving the door. It will have a freestanding bathtub under the window, a double-sink vanity, and a wet-room shower.

I’m not sure if I’m using the term “wet-room shower” accurately, but what I mean is a shower with no edges around the bottom. The room will have the same tile across the whole floor with no visible separation for the shower — except a glass panel. (I included some photo examples of wet-room showers below.)

For the radiator, the common thing in European bathrooms is a radiator that doubles as a towel warmer (like this). I have mixed feelings about these (but we’ll discuss that in another post).

There are a few factors and preferences I’m not really getting into (like the toilet has to be on the right hand wall, and we really wanted the bathtub under the window), but I feel very good about the kids’ bathroom floorplan and I’ve started picking out actual products for the room.

For the owner’s-suite bathroom, the first floorplan we came up with was almost a mirror image of the kids’ bathroom (the bathrooms are directly above and below each other), except we moved the door, so that the bathroom will connect with the owner’s bedroom to make a suite. Take a look:

We had to abandon plan number one because the new doorway needs to be closer along the wall toward the window. (This is due to the bedroom layout and is non-negotiable.) Moving the doorway means there won’t be room on that wall for a vanity/sink with plenty of counter-space (which is important to me).

So the second option we considered is this one:

You can see we created a wall for the shower and then used the new wall for the vanity. I’m not sure if you can tell, but the door is farther along the wall, where it needs to be.

It’s a workable floorplan, but I spent some time in that room and penciled in the floorplan, and felt like when I was standing at the sink, the toilet would feel too close. And that the room felt way less open in general.

So for the next plan, I considered combining the bathtub and shower into one unit to save space. But I’m not even going to show you that plan because I abandoned it pretty quickly. Instead, I tried a floorplan with the wet-room shower next to the bathtub:

I wasn’t sure about this idea at first, but I looked up examples on Pinterest and was pleased with what I saw. Here are bathrooms with different styles that all have in common a freestanding bathtub, with a wet-room shower right next to it, and a glass panel to separate the shower from the rest of the bathroom:

I’m feeling really good about floorplan number 3. I think it solves all my concerns and still feels open.

What are your thoughts? If you were designing a bathroom, what things are most important to you? If there’s enough space, do you prefer a separate bathtub and shower? Do you like the look of a wet-room shower, or do you prefer a more enclosed space? What about the toilet? Do you like bathrooms with the toilet in its own area? And how about a towel warmer?

Lastly, I know double sinks are popular in owner’s-suite bathrooms, but I actually prefer a single sink and more counterspace. What about you?

111 thoughts on “Tall House: Bathroom Floorplans”

  1. Go for the towel warmer! Unless you have specific objections (maybe you’ll get to these in another post?)
    As for the wet room shower right next to the tub, my only concern would be cleaning; you’d constantly have water around the base of the outside of the tub, an area I wouldn’t normally think I’d need to attend to keeping clean and dry.

    1. I thought about this with theater on the floor, too. I am also thinking like a Floridian (humidity and possible mold), so I am always trying to prevent standing water and overflow.

      1. As a Medicare person, I belong to several Silver Sneakers gyms, where I take showers. The open wet shower is really miserable to use. (1) You can’t leave anything on the floor. (2) It is often too cold to take a pleasant shower. A shower stall warms up almost instantly. You have to delay to shower if you need a whole room to reach a decent shower temperature. (3) Do you think the other kids want to see one of them washing their private parts.

        Think about it, there is a reason that 99+% of showers are enclosed. It is just more pleasant.

        There is absolutely no reason for the open shower, except cutesiness.

        1. It’s not at all my experience that 99+% showers are enclosed, and personally, I generally find enclosed showers can be quite unpleasant — they seem to get moldy and musky so quickly, the lighting is usually poor, and I find them difficult to keep clean. But I do think it’s humorous that you assume your personal preferences are somehow universal.

          I’m also mystified that you think that other kids would be in the bathroom while one of them is showering? That’s not a thing.

    2. I do have specific objections to the towel warmer, but I know other people like them. If possible, I would much prefer an old heavy duty standing radiator in the bathroom.

      As for water around the tub, the shower would have it’s own drain with a slight slant to the floor so any excess water should find the drain — though I’m sure a skilled plumber and tile installer make a big difference.

  2. These look great! I have one reservation about the shower open to the bathtub, and that’s the cold. I’d prefer a shower with enclosed sides (though I love the idea of it being ‘open’) and with seamless flooring. Maybe your bathroom is warmer than mine though?

    1. I just finished reading the comments and lots of people share this concern. It’s so funny because I’ve used lots of different open showers and have always really enjoyed them — but after reading all the comments I find myself doubting my own experiences. I’m thinking back and trying to remember if I felt cold in the shower. Hah!

      I spoke with the tile guy today and he mentioned that plumbing for the wet-room shower could end up being an issue. I don’t know when we’ll be able to talk to the plumber next, but now I’m anxious to hear what he says, because if the wet-room shower isn’t a possibility, I’ve got to rethink everything again.

      Luckily, for the kids’ bathroom layout, it won’t matter — if we have to create a tiled-in raised shower bed in that room it will work with the current layout no problem.

      1. I love the open shower! We live in Japan, where every single home has what we call a “shower room,” which is set up exactly how you have your tub and shower set up in plan #3. The difference is that the toilet and vanity aren’t in the same room, but I don’t think that matters. I love having the open shower and tub separate. It’s so much easier to clean, and I’ve never had an issue with cold. If your experience has always been positive then go for it! We probably won’t ever live in the States again until my husband retires (and that is decades away), but we always say that if we built a home, we’d go with the shower room set up. Also, we’d have Japanese toilets with heated seats/bidet functions.

      2. We haven’t had troubles feeling chilled in our open showers. Our climate is fairly mild but we also don’t keep the house so warm. When it’s cooler out I dread leaving the shower as it stays so cozy and warm!

  3. I love the look of a wet room/bathtub combo but find they are best used in rather small spaces. I’ve used them in many homes (traveling) and have a few neighbors with them in larger bathrooms and it’s very cold! The hot steam from the shower goes right out since there is no door to contain it. I like the hot steam enveloping me when I shower, so it’s not for me and might be something to consider when you’re space planning.

  4. These plans look great! Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. My (unsolicited) two cents as a fellow American expat in Europe: I’m a convert to the towel warming racks! That said, though, all the places we’ve lived in here have all also had underfloor heating, so the bathroom’s heating hasn’t been exclusively reliant on the towel warmer. I’m curious to know your thoughts/reservations on it? I was also curious to know why you use the term “owner’s suite” — would this be considered the master suite? Or is this a term used in France? (Sorry if I’ve missed anything on the subject, and thank you for letting us have a glimpse into the process!)

    1. I was taught the term “master suite” is a reference to slave owners, and it’s not used everywhere. Other options I’ve heard used are Principal Suite/Bedroom, Owner’s Suite/Bedroom, Parents’ Suite/Bedroom, and Adult’s Suite/Bedroom.

      1. This is so interesting! I had never heard that the term “master bedroom/bathroom” had anything to do with slavery so I looked it up. According to this source, the term dates to a 1926 Sears Catalog house and is not related to slavery. However, the term is beginning to fall out of favor. To me, owners suite refers to the suite occupied by the owners of a multi-unit building.

  5. We just re-did our master bath. For us, having two separate sinks/vanities was a must. One of us is really neat and minimalist, and one of us, ahem, is most definitely not ;) Luckily our bathroom space was large enough for individual sinks/vanities.

    1. I hear you. It’s nice when you’ve lived with your partner long enough — and with enough different bathrooms — that you know what you like. (We happen to prefer a single sink, and more counter space.)

  6. Love them! Just chiming to say I agree; I prefer lots of counter space and one sink rather than two sinks! Plus a giant mirror.

  7. I agree that one sink and more counter space in the master is best. My spouse and I would never use a vanity at the same time. In a 2 sink situation I would most likely end up cleaning two sinks (my least favorite bathroom chore) and being pretty upset that I’m cleaning his space.

  8. I would also be concerned about cleaning around the tub with it being in a wet space. Honestly think I would remove the tub since there is another tub in the house and make the shower more luxurious.

      1. I would have to agree with the cleaning implications of having bath alongside the shower. You would end up having to clean or try to dry it. You have a lot of baths, does everyone love baths in your family?
        I assume the toilet has to be in that spot because i think having a toilet directly opposite from the door is pretty unpleasant. Firstly if you are using the toilet and someone walks in and also if you leave the door open the view from your room is the toilet!! Goodluck. Kate

    1. I haven’t considered removing the tub but I have considered combining the bathtub and shower as one of those built-in drop in tubs. That would definitely create a lot more space in the room.

      I know there will be another bathtub in the house, and I know we won’t use the bathtub as often as we use the shower, but I also know if the bathtub is in another room, on another floor, it’s pretty much guaranteed we will never use it.

      1. I know you would come up with some amazing design choices for a combined shower + bath – perhaps explore it just so it’s on the table with the other options?

  9. If you don’t want a double vanity, don’t put one in. If there is enough space in the layout for one, maybe have the rough in plumbing done for the double vanity so you “future proof” in order that the next owners can put in a double vanity without a lot of hassle.

    As for the wet room concept and the towel warmer, I have no opinion, except that the pictures you found on pinterest with the shower next to the bathtub look lovely.

  10. Lovely photos!
    Having worked in hospitality my number one priority for my own bathroom is cleanability (is this even a word?).
    If it is not easy to clean, even the most beautiful room feels live a hassle to me.
    I am sure you will find the layout that works best for you.

    1. I think about that too. And I think that’s one reason I want to preserve some open-ness. I am happier about cleaning when everything is easy to reach.

  11. I love the idea of a towel warmer. After living through a winter in Rome without a dryer for our clothes we used our radiators to help dry heavy clothes like jeans and towels. A towel warmer would have been ideal. The weather was just damp and cold enough that it took forever to dry towels by hanging them up. We even switched to microfiber towels because they dry faster. I don’t like them as much, but the cotton towels just didn’t dry well. It did block the heat from coming into the room for a little while, but we removed the clothes once they were dry.

  12. Your plans look wonderful, and seems to suit all your requirements. But since you asked….I have a thing about being able to seeing the toilet through an open door, so #3 would be a no-go for me. And since I’m a showerer, not a bather, I would be most concerned about the openness of the shower…as others have said above, the open shower might be chilly in the winter time (but absolute JOY on a hot summer day!). So if it were my house, I would choose to leave the door where it is and make an exact copy of the kid’s bathroom. Although I would not do a double vanity because my hubby and I are never in the bathroom at the same time and I’m with you on the more space thing. Also, I LOVE the towel warmer heaters in France, and I can’t wait to hear why you don’t. xoxo

    1. The thing is, if the door stays where it is, then we have to go out of the bedroom, and through a “public” space to get to the bathroom. We’ve experienced both and know we much prefer the privacy of the Owner’s Suite if we can make it happen.

      But to be clear, it’s going to be a beast of a project to move the door. The walls are SO THICK and will require a stonemason to knock open a space safely. So I have questioned myself on how important the Owner’s Suite option is.

      1. I completely understand the privacy thing!! Especially with a house full, it must be really nice to have a space that is really just yours. I hope the door option works for you, fingers crossed!!!

    2. I have the same concern about the toilet being the first thing you see when you open the door! I missed why it can’t be placed anywhere else (say, the right hand wall once you enter? I would totally do that and move the vanity where the toilet is now, but that’s just me). I can’t wait to see the update!

    3. I will never have a bathroom without an enclosed toilet again! It don’t like monopolizing they whole room by locking the door, but I also can’t stand using the toilet unless I’m alone! Could you enclose the toilet in a space in the bottom right of both floorplans?

  13. I’m also pro towel warmer and I like #3 best. In the Netherlands, we had a bathroom with a setup very similar with the open shower next to the bathtub and the unexpected perk was a place to perch your foot while shaving legs!

      1. Pamela Balabuszko-Reay

        That would be a great use for the tub. Now that I’m getting a wee bit older I needed to think of that too. Our new shower is separate from the tub. I had them build a low nook in the shower wall to perch my foot while shaving. It holds the razor too.

  14. Personally for me, open showers can be really chilly, so I would rather have it a bit boxed in just to keep it warm. I would also rather have one sink with counter space around it, like you have in the plans. I once had a toilet that faced the door, and for some reason it bugged me a lot. I actually do like a separate toilet space/room, that is still accessible from the rest of the bathroom. The one I had felt cleaner and more comfortable to use, somehow.

    1. A few people have brought up the toilet-view-from-the-door issue. I’ll be honest, I’ve never even thought of that. In our last bathroom, the toilet was also in full view of the bathroom door, but maybe I didn’t notice, because the bathroom door was reached through the walk-in closet? Or maybe we just keep our bathroom door closed?

      I’m going to bring it up to Ben Blair and see if he’s concerned.

  15. Most of my thoughts are echoed above:

    – I really really really don’t like having a toilet facing the door – there’s no way to unsee it unless you always keep the door closed. Also odors and sounds are just that much closer to your bedroom (shudder) We were lucky enough to have enough room when we remodeled to put a closet / dressing room pass-through between our bedroom and bathroom and even then, we put the toilet in it’s own room.
    – In layout 3, I would be inclined to extend the counter all the way to the walls on either side, unless you have a specific plan for those slices of space. Maybe hanging robes? But if you were going to use that space for a waste can or hamper, I’d consider nesting them under the extended counter. And I’m in the more counter space camp – my husband and I can happily be in the bathroom at the same time sharing a single sink, but he shaves in the shower which might make a difference? Our counter top is a really Odd Couple situation – he’s got a single container of Q-tips, but I have allllll my things out on trays and a candle and…you get the idea. But there’s enough room he can just shrug.
    – Also am in the “open showers are COLD” camp, and I don’t even like taking baths in open rooms as the ambient air stays cool, so you have to keep as much of yourself submerged as possible. Is there any way you could enclose the whole bath / shower area so the area to be warmed is smaller? Could you make a door where the open area is?
    – I also agree it’s not pleasant to see the toilet when showering or taking a bath. You could do a glass topper pony wall, so the light would still come through, but block the view form the wet room. It would also give you a place to build in a niche or shelves for bath & shower products which, with a glass wall, would always be on display whether you wanted them to be or not.

    1. In our last house when we remodeled our bedroom and bathroom we also put the closet/dressing room between the bathroom and bedroom — but I confess, I did not like that at all. I prefer direct access to the bathroom from the bedroom.

      And it turns out I have no issues with seeing a toilet when I bathe or shower — in fact, the idea of that being an issue had never even crossed my mind until readers mentioned it here. Hah!

      I hear you on extending the countertop to the walls, but I realized I don’t want a “built-in” look in this bathroom if I can avoid it. I prefer the look of freestanding furniture. And yes, I would likely use those extra spaces for wall hooks.

  16. I’m super interested in your thinking about the open shower options–I will add to the chorus about chilliness from my own personal experience and am wondering if you have used them with your own kids before? We stayed in a loft-style hotel suite with them for a week once, and even with room service cleaning up after everyone daily I found them to be a nightmare with so many kids using them (we have four). It is just SO wet and slippery, and the water gets so much farther than I would ever have imagined! Our kids were constantly grumpy and resentful of one another, and I was shocked because they are pretty used to the annoyances of sharing a bathroom together.

    1. I have used them a bunch and haven’t had issues. But for sure the best ones seem to have some good engineering that helps curtail potential water problems. That said, you are definitely not alone — sounds like lots of people are partial to a more closed-in shower.

  17. Love the bath tubs under the window. I can just imagine soaking in the bath and gazing out the window. What are the views? And how will you create privacy with window treatments? Personally I like the plan with the shower tucked behind the vanity wall. Old houses and breezes might make showering in the open less inviting. I have never been a fan of toilets sitting right in the middle of a bathroom. And I’m curious….no bidet? I’m so excited to be coming on this renovation journey with you!

    1. Well, the bath will be below the window level — the window begins about 32 inches from the floor. So you’ll be able to look at the sky when you’re in the tub, but not much else. (I should go sit on the floor where the tub will be and look out the window to see if anything interesting is in eye view.)

      These bathrooms are on the 2nd and 3rd floor and we’re not too concerned about privacy — but both windows have shutters on the exterior that fully close. Working shutters are a French staple!

  18. I like option 3 best:) Having lived in Europe twice I love the radiator towel warmers, though once at a B&B it was not properly anchored and fell off the wall! yikes! haha! Granted they aren’t the most attractive things:) I would worry about the chilly effect of an open shower though, without radiant floor heating. Brrr. Personally, I haven’t bathed in years and would just rather have a large, more enclosed shower.

    1. One more thing. We have a double vanity now and it is such a waste. One of the sinks just literally gathers dust and hair, haha! Hurray for more counter space

  19. I would swap the sink and the toilet in option 3, and also add that cold is a factor worth considering with the shower. When we did our bathroom a few years ago, I also really wanted the seamless floor, both for easy cleaning and thinking forward as an accessibility feature. It was no problem to still include a frame-less glass shower door to enclose the space and keep the steam in. The glass was the very last piece to be installed, so we used the bathroom for a week or two before it went in, and I can confirm that the glass made a significant improvement in comfort in the shower.

    This project is so exciting! Can’t wait to see what materials you choose. Good Luck with all the decisions!

    1. I know bidets and France seem to go together, but for real, we’ve only ever been to one house that had one. It was in an Airbnb we rented and the bathroom was from the 70s and needed a renovation. I don’t know how common they are here anymore.

  20. Pamela Balabuszko-Reay

    This is so fun. Thank you for sharing your vision. We did a bathroom reno recently. I got my dream free-standing tub. I thought long and hard at what I’d be looking at while sitting in the tub. I can look out a window to tree branches and under the window I look at a beautiful piece of furniture that can display candles, flowers or some other lovely thing. I made very sure that I could not see a toilet. I’m so visual that that would have really ruined it for me. Even out of the corner of my eye. I live in Minnesota in a 109 year old house. Heated floors were a must. I’d have been very cold in an open shower. Our separate tiny toilet room with a door makes for a better experience for all involved. :) Those were some of my considerations. I know you’ll do what is just right for your family. Happy designing!

  21. Ditto concerns about drafty showers, water around the tub, and especially the straight-on view of the toilet from the door. (But I am a big fan of an altogether separate potty and don’t prefer any design that has one in the middle of the room.) Would you consider a built-in soaker tub/shower combo under the window, freeing up possibilities everywhere else? We have a shower with a (private, rural) view and love it.

    1. We have considered a soaker tub/shower combo. I did a couple of drawings with that option, but we know we prefer a walk-in shower to a climb-in shower.

  22. I agree with lots of previous posters. I wouldn’t like an open shower – chilly, and just doesn’t look “relaxing” to share the shower space with a bath! I would like it to be completely separate, even if that means getting rid of the tub and having a larger shower area. Or you could have one of those deep but short tubs that actually look quite luxurious. Towel warmers are lovely, can’t think what anyone could have against them. Lovely warm cosy towels – what’s not to love? Also, no bidet? I come from a bidet-less country but now live in Italy and find it very useful.

    1. Well, I realize towel warmers have a lot of fans out there, but in my experience they’re often ugly, use up a lot of wall space, are unreliable at actually providing warm towels when you need them, and do a very poor job of heating a room. I find traditional radiators much more effective for warming the room (and warming a towel if that’s a priority).

      As for the bidet, if I’m going to remove my shoes/slippers and pants to straddle a bidet, why not just use the handheld sprayer in the shower or tub? It would take the same amount of time, doesn’t require a separate appliance, and my soap bottle would be handy. Or I suppose we could go with a built in bidet on the toilet — there seem to be lots of different add-on options available these days.

  23. As an engineer, my favorite thing about this is seeing how out of square your walls are! :)

    If it was me (and it’s not*), I’d consider flip-flopping the vanity and toilet in option 3, putting the vanity along the wall. It would probably mean less counter space, but it would leave the space open and perhaps you could still fit shelves across from the toilet. The other option would be to take #2 but flip the toilet and the shower. So the toilet would be kind of walled off behind the vanity and you’d have the shower set up of option 3.

    (*If it was REALLY me, I’d ditch the tub. We put in a big soaker tub thinking we’d use it all the time and we use it maybe once a year. I wish we’d done a big walk in shower instead. Some day…)

    1. Not a square wall in the house!

      As for the toilet, we are trying very hard to keep it on the right hand wall. The sewer pipe will be mounted on the wall, and then boxed in. There are zero hollow walls to run pipes through. : )

  24. Since you asked… It looks great! I could spend all day looking at plans like this.
    I would move the door closer to the window- I personally don’t love seeing the toilet through an open bathroom door- maybe you are more the type pf people who keep the door closed all the time?
    Jealous of this wonderful project- Hope your family is keeping occupied and happy enough during this tough time.

    1. We definitely could move the door closer to the window, we just can’t move it any closer to the original door wall. But from the bedroom side — which I realize you can’t see on these floorplans, I think the door where it is on plans 2 & 3 really is the best.

    1. Thats what i was thinking, too. It would be my main concern with the lädt plan: looking onto the toilet first thing after opening the door.

  25. Interesting: when I lived in Denmark, everybody had what you call “wet room” showers, except tubs were more or less unheard of there. Also, there was no glass panel or partition marking off the shower: the whole bathroom was simply one large, tiled shower stall (in American terms) with a toilet and sink standing over toward one corner. Is that not how they do it in France?

    Also, about the free-standing tub – just since I live in a house whose previous owners fancied that: have you thought about the cleaning issues? Ours is pretty and everything, but virtually impossible to clean behind or around.

    1. I think I know what you’re describing in Denmark — we stayed at a house in Sweden that had a bathroom like that and I loved it! Probably the coolest bathroom I’ve used showered in. I don’t see much of that open-shower style here in France.

      As for cleaning around the tub, we had a free-standing bathtub in the house we lived in the first time we moved to France, and I don’t remember it being an issue. It seemds like I could just reach under with a mop as needed?

      1. Well, mine is a clawfoot, and it’s fitted tightly against the wall, so maybe more of a problem. I do try to shove a mop under as best I can, but the floor is pretty gross back in the corners.

        I did like the Danish bathrooms – they felt very clean and sleek. The downside was that they couldn’t have any closed storage in the bathroom, and in most households, squeegeeing the entire room after your shower was expected….

    2. Anna, your comment brought back memories! We had the same bathrooms in two flats in Finland. Haven’t thought of that in a long time, although it is probably what we should do in our small upstairs bathroom! Thanks :)

  26. If I were planning a new bathroom with kids, I would give the toilet a separate room/ door…then if a kid is showering, another kid can use the toilet. This seems to be a design in England when I stayed there with a family and I loved it. Makes the whole design more versatile.

    I would prefer the tub and shower combined. Takes less space and you won’t have water all over the place like the design with the open plan and shower spraying water all over the floor.

    Good luck! I’m eager to see your finished rooms.

    1. We had something like that when I was growing up! When you walked into the bathroom the first section had two sinks, and the second section had the bathtub/shower and toilet.

  27. I’d just like to mention that I prefer one sink as well, but my preference is to have the sink on one side, not centered, so one person can be at the sink and one at the countertop. Right now neither of our bathrooms have countertops! Just pedestal sinks.

  28. I trust that you’ve moved things around over and over until you came up with the most viable solution given your architectural constraints.

    With that said, the house we live in now was in the process of being flipped when we purchased it with the intention of undoing the (shoddy) work that had been done and making some major changes in the process. One of the things we immediately knew we would undo was the wet room bath/shower combo that the flippers installed. Our wet room had a full door, which kept in some of the warmth when the shower was on, but it still felt too big and also weird.

    As for hiding the toilet, we have always found a separate room to be unnecessary, but in two houses now, we have arranged the room so that the shower wall provided a sort-of niche inside of which we were able to place the toilet so that it felt more private. Unless you’re able to move the shower to the bottom left and put the toilet in the bottom right “behind” the shower, I don’t know that the same idea would be possible in your space. If so, then you could put the vanity on the wall that currently shows the toilet, but shift it closer to the tub.

    Or, would it be possible to do the shower and tub parallel to one another at the same end of the bathroom if you did a more rectangular shower (like longer and more narrow)? Then, put the vanity opposite the door, move the toilet to the bottom left corner of the wall where you now show the vanity, and put the radiator on the same wall as the toilet?

    I’m sure that whatever layout you end up with, you’ll make beautiful choices and it will turn out great!

    1. OOPS – I forgot one thing:

      Instead of clear glass for our showers, we have (three times now) opted for glass with a subtle texture in it that makes the glass translucent, but occluded enough so that the person showering doesn’t feel as if s/he is on display in an aquarium. A major bonus is that the texture also eliminates the need to squeegee the glass to avoid soap or water spots.

      The first time we did it, we were super-nervous that it would look cheap, but almost ten years later, we chose the same type of glass for two new bathrooms. This isn’t our glass, but it’s similar and may give you an idea of what I mean.

      I don’t know if this is an option in France, but if so, it might provide welcome privacy in a shared bathroom.

  29. I have a wet bath (and small children) and the entire floor gets wet. All of it. And slippery. And dangerous. I’m not a fan, so I’d probably avoid it. I like the dark-frame, glass enclosed showers from your previous post about bathrooms though! Those look both edgy and cozy.

    Since I’m showerer, if I got to design my own bathroom, I’d totally ditch the tub and get the most luxurious shower I could design! My husband loves baths, so I doubt I’d have my way. We’d probably have to compromise and not get a freestanding tub so that we could combine the two, or dedicate one bathroom to the bath and the other to a shower. Do you and your children have differing enough bathing tendencies where one bathroom could have the tub and the other the shower so you could each have more space?

    1. THIS. My grandmother’s old apartment had a bathroom with the wet-shower concept but no partition, and EVERYTHING got wet (mind you, it was a small bathroom). The floor was exceptionally slippery after someone showered. That said, I’ve also used wet-shower bathrooms in France, Spain, Korea and Iceland, and had no problem as long as the shower area:
      1. had a near-floor to ceiling partition (usually swinging glass) to ensure no water splattered out of the shower area,
      2. there was a drain immediately below the shower head and the floor of the shower sloped toward it, AND a drain out of the shower area but nearby so that water had other outlets if it pooled elsewhere. This was particularly useful in my friend’s Korea apartment; she said cleaning her (small) bathroom just involved spritzing everything with tile cleaner, scrub if necessary, and then basically taking the shower hose and hosing everything down to let the water drain into the two drains.
      3. The bathroom was relatively small/warm/not drafty, to keep the warmth in.

      BTW, I also look at towel warmers/radiators suspiciously. I’ve used them in AirBnBs in Europe and New Zealand, and find they’re not that warm as radiators, and not that useful as towel warmers especially if you use large body towels.

      I second the option of ditching the tub if you’re not regular users. I redid my bathroom in my NYC apt last year and if the stupid cast iron tub wasn’t original to my 90+ old year building and required an architect’s fee to remove, I would have gotten rid of it and replaced it with one of those luxury shower drop-in things. I used one in Lisbon that had a rain shower and 6 jets, and fought with my friends to take a shower first every night. I also used a huge one in an New Zealand airBnB that took up 1/3 of a very large bathroom and probably had enough room for 3 people, as well as a bench, rain shower and multiple jets. Thinking of that shower makes me drool a little.

  30. Just wondering… with all the energy you guys are pouring into renovation + resdesign, how long do you think you will live in this house? This is a question I wonder about when I think about the TIME it takes to renovate a house. Is it worth it if you only live in the completed house for a couple of years? I remember you saying you would move back to the US in NC after this.

    1. Honestly we don’t know how long we’ll be here or where we will move after this (we have certainly considered NC as well as a handful of other places).

      As for being worth it, since we don’t live in the house currently this project has been a pleasure — renovations are a thousand times more painful to me if we are living in the house that’s being renovated. So for us, this is worthwhile and enjoyable no matter how long we end up living in the house.

      But truly I hope we’ll own the house for many, many years, and if we don’t live there, we hope one of our kids might choose to live there.

      1. That’s so beautiful. It’s 100% worth keeping property in your family because property appreciates so steadily in France and you can always find short-term tenants.

        Would DEARLY love to see regular updates from you every week about the house. I think other readers are with me on this? :)

  31. I agree with others – I find the open shower thing so chilly and cold. I also like an edge for my shower – I’ve used them in hotels and the whole place just becomes wet and uncomfortable. My house does not have a tub in our albeit small Master Bath, and I have never once missed it. We have a big shower and double sinks (LOVE!) and lots of storage for our “stuff” and that has made all the difference. I think you need to do what works for you, but since you asked, these are my thoughts!

    Good luck!

  32. I agree with all the people who find open showers too chilly. I like to be surrounded by warm steam rather than icy drafts, but maybe your place is super cosy. And the lovely warm towels from a heated towel rail will ruin you for cold slightly damp towels forever! I see you have placed the towel rails beside the shower in the children’s bathroom, and I wonder how they’ll stay dry as I always find those showers send water all over the place.
    We have a curved shower door which eliminates one sharp corner from that turn around space in the middle of the room, making it feel more relaxing I think.
    Can’t wait to see how it turns out, and all the little design and material details you choose.

  33. Melanie Gehman

    I have a #3 layout too and love it. It’s not too cold and is a cinch to clean. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  34. Exciting! Lots of insight here!

    Sometimes the operational cost of bathtubs in Germany (for water/heating) can be quite high.

    Is that a concern in France?

  35. It looks like there is floor between the tub and the window, like a little alcove? How would you clean this space? I agree with the open shower being cold – I stayed in a hotel with an open shower and did not like it. But maybe the radiator will keep it warm? Another thing I didn’t like about the open shower was it was also very wet outside the shower area. I had to laugh that none of the pictures showed bath mats.

  36. We kept the old radiator in our boys’ bathroom and the towel bar right above it. I’m kind of jealous we didn’t put that in our master bath. They always have warm towels! So nice in the winter!

  37. Floorplans are the best! I like the second option where the shower is more enclosed.
    I love grabbing a warm towel off the radiator after a shower, and they are so much easier to keep clean than the old kind. We recently renovated our bathroom (in Germany) and I was surprised at the variety of radiators available now – they look more like art installations. The new ones generally aren’t so powerful but they’re great in combination with heated floors. We weren’t able to install proper radiant floor heating so we put electric heating under the tiles and are really happy with it.
    We used to open the door and see the toilet first thing (which I hated) so when we renovated I insisted we move the toilet and add a little half wall. However the new toilet is so sleek and pretty that I actually wouldn’t have minded seeing it!

    1. I’m sure this sounds crazy but we are currently leaning against adding heat under the bathroom floors. We have done that before and found the effort not to be worth the expense. I’m very pleased with the heat we get from the heavy duty ancient radiators and will be happy if we can reuse them as much as possible.

  38. Hi, Quick question. Is it possible to have a (smaller) heated towel bar and the big reliable rad? It’s just such a wonderful feeling to have heated towels and something that is super common in Europe (thinking resell) and yet rare in the US.

    1. I imagine it’s possible. (I’m also thinking someone could put their towel on the radiator if they wanted to warm it while they were bathing/showering.)

  39. I designed an accessible bathroom for my mother in our house. She uses a wheelchair and a “roll-in” shower was essential. She loved how easy it was to maneuver in an open layout! She doesn’t find it cold. Shower goes off, robe goes on. Yes, water gets further than you’d expect but our contractor waterproofed most of the bathroom floor under the tile. With diligent clean-up right after a shower it’s very manageable (a quick swipe with a squeegee and a mop-up towel). On another note, I hear you about towel warmers. We lived in New Zealand for a short time and our house had one. It was ugly and couldn’t hold enough towels for the 4 of us using that bathroom. It worked great to help dry towels but I didn’t feel like it warmed them. Even if I threaded a towel across all the bars it would just create single lines of warmth that felt like a tease instead of a completely warm towel.

    1. Yes! That’s my experience as well. I hear the term “towel-warmer” and my mind goes to towels fresh from the tumble dryer and how pleasant they are, but that’s not actually the experience that towel-warmers deliver. Not even close. Instead, only the parts of the towel that are directly touching a bar get warm. And then of course the bars may not be warm when you shower, and unless you’re taking a long shower, they won’t have time to warm up. Towel warmers sound good in theory, but I haven’t found them to be beneficial in practice — they’re not great at heating a room, and they’re not great at warming towels.

      1. I agree. Towel warmers are a waste of space – we had one and only used it for the ends (as hooks). And they say a regular rack is better than hooks for drying towels.

  40. I love option 3! I agree with you on the no double vanity–I rarely use the sink at the same time as my partner, and eventhough you have room in theory, I feel like it would be a little tight on the toilet side. Currently the sink is totally clear of the toilet, which seems better to me.

    I know a lot of people are concerned about draining the area around the tub–if you have concerns after reading that, you may ask the tile installer if it would make sense to put a slight slope into the entire area in case water goes outside the shower specifically? I imagine they can come up with a solution that will avoid standing water! Another option would be to select a tub that is more like the top right photo in your examples–something that fits snugly against the walls on at least two sides. With proper sealing, I really don’t think you will have issues with water getting into inconvenient places or the area being difficult to clean.

    I see a radiator in the plans, and it looks to be near the shower–I would think you will keep plenty warm with that! Whatever you end up with, I can’t wait to see it!

  41. I second (or third, or fourth….) that wet room showers and open baths are cold. If you live in a year round warm climate it may not matter but I live in Pennsylvania and it definitely would be uncomfortable to have a shower and bath setup like this. It looks beautiful on the other hand so if you all are of heartier bathing stock, you may be fine : )

  42. Can you tell me why you want the tub across the window? I think if it were rotated 90 degrees that would go open the window or close it or just stand in your bathrobe looking out for a while. And if you are lying in the tub with your feet toward the outside wall of the house— you’re still looking out the window.

  43. I agree with all the other posters regarding the wet room shower. I have an enclosed shower in my home but a relative has the open shower in her home. I dread having to use the shower when we visit. The water gets everywhere and I find it takes me longer to clean up the water than it takes me to shower. I noticed she has bath mats lined up around the shower in her master suite to control the water. So that means lots of damp towels and mats to dry out after every shower to avoid mildew.

  44. I love our open showers! We remodled a house (in Switzerland) and have been living in it for almost a year now. It is a 2 bath – the kids have a shower and bathtub, we have just a shower (previously it was just a tub). We worked with an awesome architect and she immediately proposed the open shower. I have always been grossed out by shower curtains and shower doors and HATED cleaning all the parts of the shower walls and doors so this new system is a dream! We have the same tiles throughout the house and they aren’t slippery when wet. The shower floors are slightly slanted to aid drainage (we have simple, linear Geberit drains). We do the floors when we do the rest of the floors in the house and I occasionally scrub the shower tiles with a scrub brush but not every week. The glass panels are a specialized ionic-treated Gavalux glass that you just wash with soap (I use dishsoap) and a cotton cloth and water – now Windex or shower cleaner and no scrub brushes. I do it about 1x/mo and it has a lifetime guarantee against soap scum (so far it all wipes off).

    Regarding messiness, we have a large bath mat that the kids use to mop up water and then we hang it over the side of the tub to dry. If it’s super wet I launder it but definitely not every day. We don’t even use a mat in our bathroom, we just dry off our feet as we exit the shower. This contrasts with my experience using the type of shower-bath combination common in Europe – I have the hardest time and generally soak the whole bathroom with that system – the water just seems to hit my body and ricochet. Our glass panels are full height and deep enough to prevent that problem.

    We had a double sink in the old house and it was a pain. The kids now have a large sink but with two faucets and that works really well (there are 3 of them). Everyone has space and it’s easier to clean. More than counterspace I like storage – the mirrored cabinets have awesome storage. Perhaps it isn’t as chic as a simple mirror but we had that in our old house and there was nowhere to put things.

    I know that freestanding bathtubs are all the rage but ours is so easy to clean that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t think I can post photos here but in the kids’ bathroom there is a built-in tub along the wall and at one end there is a glass partition that separates the tub from the shower. We did it this way because of the previous layout and it works very well.

    I have pictures and plans if you are interested.

  45. Nice plan, I think it has potential.
    Personally, I’d rather not have the toilet directly in front of the door, unless you are a locking-the-bathroom-door family. We aren’t, and thus need to have the toilet out of sight.

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