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How to get a bigger bathroom and a better closet without adding on

Is this your Master Bathroom Wishlist? First, a large shower. Second, a free-standing tub, and, third, a separate toilet room.

    If you live in a house built before 1980, chances are your master bathroom - if you even have one - is tiny. There's nowhere to put your free-standing tub. Your shower stall is a cozy 3 feet wide by 3 feet deep, and your toilet is right out there in the open. A spa retreat it is not.

    That was the case with our clients' master bathroom before we redesigned it. It's not crowded anymore.

    Remodeled Master Bathroom by Jackie Lopey of Wide Canvas with Custom Wirebrushed Knotty Alder Cabinets, Wetroom, Freestanding Tub, Freestanding Tub Filler, Pebble Tile Inset, Black Plumbing Fixtures

    Master Bathroom, After Remodel. Design by Jackie Lopey. Photo by Boaz Meiri.

     

    Here's the floor plan before we remodeled. See that miniscule L-shaped room with one sink? That was the master bathroom. It was next to a generously sized hall bath, and right outside the door was a wide hallway and a long reach-in closet. The entire floor plan was out-of-proportion.

    Small Cramped Master Bathroom Before Remodel Architectural Floor Plan Space Plan by Jackie Lopey of Wide Canvas
    And, here's the new floor plan we created. Now our clients have a good-sized, functional hall bathroom and a large, luxurious master bathroom. A lot changed:
    • We squared off the hall bath and repositioned the tub and toilet. 
    • We added a free-standing tub and large shower in a wet room at the end of the master bathroom. (A wet room is a space within a bathroom with a water-tight floor and walls, a sloped floor and a drain. It's like a big shower. It may or may not have a door.)
    • We tucked the toilet into an out-of-the-way, u-shaped alcove.
    • We replaced the reach-in closet with custom wardrobe cabinets and added a matching vanity with two sinks.
    Large Luxurious Master Bathroom After Remodel Architectural Floor Plan Space Plan by Jackie Lopey of Wide Canvas

    Master Bathroom Before and After Remodel

    See how wide the hallway in front of the bathroom was before the remodel? So much wasted real estate! The tiny bathroom was through the door on the right.

    Master Suite Before Remodel and Removal of Closet and Hallway
    And here's what it looks like when you enter the new bathroom. The wardrobe cabinets are to the left and the vanity is in the background. I think of it as a walk-through closet rather than a walk-in closet.
    Remodeled Master Bathroom by Jackie Lopey of Wide Canvas with Custom Wirebrushed Knotty Alder Cabinets, Closet Removed and Replaced with Built-In Wardrobe Cabinets, Black Plumbing Fixtures


    Master Bathroom, After Remodel. Design by Jackie Lopey. Photo by Boaz Meiri.

    The semi-private toilet alcove, below, faces away from the bathroom entry and away from the vanity. It's the next best thing to a private toilet room.

    And, we designed a niche for shampoo bottles and body wash into the wall separating the vanity and shower, also below.

    Remodeled Master Bathroom by Jackie Lopey of Wide Canvas with Custom Wirebrushed Knotty Alder Cabinets, Wetroom, Semi-Private Toilet Alcove Room, Travertine Floor

    Master Bathroom, After Remodel. Design by Jackie Lopey. Photo by Boaz Meiri.
     

    Beautiful and functional built-in cabinets replace the old reach-in closet

    The new wardrobe cabinets offer more hanging space than the old reach-in closet. Plus, we included drawers, shelves, and shoe storage.

    The custom cabinets blend seamlessly into the vanity with its matching mirrors. (Note the side splash on the left end of the vanity. It keeps water from splashing on and damaging the side of the tall wardrobe cabinet.)

    Remodeled Master Bathroom by Jackie Lopey of Wide Canvas with Custom Wirebrushed Knotty Alder Cabinets, Closet Removed and Replaced with Built-In Wardrobe Cabinets, Double Vanity and Sinks, Black Plumbing Fixtures

    Master Bathroom, After Remodel. Design by Jackie Lopey. Photo by Boaz Meiri.

    Tile, wood cabinets, and plumbing fixtures give a Farmhouse feel

    After our clients decided on a space plan and got the storage they needed, we focused on the look. All of the elements in the room work together to give the new bathroom a Farmhouse feel:

    • The cabinets are wire-brushed knotty alder wood with a medium wood, and those dramatic countertops are quartzite.
    • A large 8" x 24" soft-white tile covers the wet room walls from floor to ceiling,
    • The plumbing fixtures, including the towel warmer and pump-style tub filler below, are matte black,
    • Soft travertine tile covers the floors and a river rock pebble inset, also below, serves as a focal point above the free-standing tub.
    Remodeled Master Bathroom by Jackie Lopey of Wide Canvas with, Wetroom, Freestanding Tub, Freestanding Tub Filler, Pebble Tile Inset, Black Plumbing Fixtures, Black Wall-Mounted Towel Warmer
     
    Master Bathroom, After Remodel. Design by Jackie Lopey. Photo by Boaz Meiri.

    Top 3 ideas for making a small bathroom bigger

    If you'd like a bigger bathroom but don't want pay for a home addition, here are my top space-saving ideas:

    1. Combine circulation space. Hallways between rooms and walkways in front of bathroom fixtures take up a lot of your square footage. Arrange your fixtures so that one walkway provides clearance for multiple fixtures. Look what happened in the master bathroom above when we incorporated the wide hallway outside of the room into the room itself.
    2. Eliminate barriers and doorways. In the example above, we opted for a wet room instead of a shower door. That meant that we didn't have to leave room for the shower door to swing, so we had plenty of room for that gorgeous free-standing tub.
    3. Replace closets with cabinet wardrobes. This tip works for a couple of reasons. First, a wardrobe cabinet is typically 24 inches deep, and a reach-in close is 28 1/2" deep (24 inches on the inside plus a 4 1/2" wall). That doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're trying to squeeze a free-standing tub into an existing bathroom, every inch counts. Second, you can build storage for folded clothes, shoes, and handbags into your custom cabinets, so every inch of space works for you.

    Did you know that you can design your own vanity, including wardrobe cabinets, with Wide Canvas. Check it out here.

     

    Jackie Lopey, Certified Interior Designer & founder of Wide Canvas

    She didn't know it, but Jackie Lopey's days as an advertising executive were numbered when she bought and renovated a 1950's bungalow. She soon went back to school and started her own design studio. Jackie is an award-winning, certified interior designer and the founder of Wide Canvas, a kitchen and bath design studio in Reno, Nevada.
     

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