Transforming one oversized, awkward bathroom into two well-proportioned baths.
Having a spacious master bathroom can seem like a luxury, but often extra square footage translates to an inefficient layout and wasted space. Such was the case for a 1930s Colonial revival home we recently renovated. The existing master bath was long and narrow, with the tub and toilet oriented perpendicular to the vanity. This awkward configuration made the room feel cramped. Our clients wanted to reclaim the dead space to create a more functional bath.
Challenges of a Large, Poorly Designed Master Bath
Oversized master bathrooms come with their own set of problems. An expansive room with few fixtures or partitions feels cavernous, cold and uninviting. Our clients disliked how they felt lost in the elongated space. Though the bath offered sufficient area, the layout was inconvenient and made it difficult to utilize the footprint effectively.
On top of the inefficient layout, building codes have changed since the 1930s house was built. Current regulations require bathrooms to have proper ventilation and operable windows – things the existing master bath lacked. We needed to split one deficient bathroom into two baths that met modern standards. Here are some of the main issues we addressed:
The previous master bath layout did not take advantage of the available space. The room measured 12 x 20 feet but included minimal fixtures and a lot of unused floor area. Our clients felt the huge bath was inconvenient to navigate and getting ready in the mornings took longer because supplies were spread out.
With just one small window, the original bathroom was dark and gloomy. Proper illumination is essential in a bathroom for applying makeup, shaving, and other grooming tasks. We needed to add more windows and lighting fixtures to brighten the new baths.
Lack of Ventilation
The outdated master bath did not have an exhaust fan or operable windows. Current codes require bathrooms to have a fan vented to the exterior to control moisture. We had to install proper ventilation in both new bathrooms.
No Private Toilet Area
The existing bathroom had an open concept layout, with the tub, toilet and vanities all in one space. For increased privacy and convenience, our clients wanted the new master bath to have a separate water closet for the toilet.
Inefficient room layouts result in wasted space that serves no purpose. The previous master bath had ample unused floor space that made the room feel cavernous. We aimed to reclaim the lost square footage.
Solutions: Two New Bathrooms
To resolve all the problems with the existing master bathroom, we recommended dividing the space into two separate baths. Here are the benefits of creating two smaller bathrooms:
Improved Layouts & Storage
We were able to design two baths with layouts tailored to their specific functions. This allowed us to reduce wasted space and include more practical storage options. Built-in cabinetry helped reduce clutter on the counters.
Adding a partition wall between the toilet area and the main bath provided privacy, which many clients prefer. Separating the vanities into two baths also allows couples to get ready at the same time.
Creating two bathrooms allowed us to add operable windows and exhaust fans to each one. This provided the necessary ventilation that was missing in the original bath. Proper moisture control prevents mold and mildew.
More Natural Lighting
Strategically placing windows in each bath brought in ample natural light. We also added recessed lighting and sconces for task lighting at the vanities. The new baths feel bright and airy.
Efficient Use of Space
Dividing the bathroom into two distinct spaces allowed us to maximize the existing footprint. The new layouts feel open and uncluttered. By reducing empty floor space, we created two modestly-sized baths.
With two separate baths, our clients were able to personalize each one based on how they planned to use the space. His bath focused on function while hers prioritized spa-like luxury.
Designing His & Hers Master Bathrooms
When creating two master baths, it’s important to consider who will use the space. Customizing each bathroom to suit individual needs results in rooms that are tailored and functional. Here’s how we designed baths specifically for our clients.
His Master Bathroom
For the husband, we designed a functional bath focused on easy access to daily necessities. Here are the features we included for him:
- Large walk-in shower with bench seat
- Built-in shampoo, soap, and razor holders in shower
- LED showerhead with adjustable settings
- Heated floors for comfort when exiting the shower
- Adequate task lighting at the vanity for shaving
- Grooming station with electrical outlets for razors and trimmers
- Mirrored cabinet for medications and toiletries
- Energy efficient vent fan with humidity sensor
- Windows placed for natural light but privacy from neighbors
Her Master Bathroom
In contrast, the wife’s bath prioritized luxury and spa-like amenities for relaxation. Details included:
- Soaking tub with array of bubble bath and bath salts
- Rainfall showerhead and handheld wand
- Heated floors and towel racks
- Vanity seating area with upholstered chair
- Soft LED lighting on dimmers sets a calming ambiance
- Built-in makeup desk with ideal lighting for application
- Decadent freestanding tub
- Radiant heated floors
- Spa-like amenities like plush robes, slippers, and candles
- Aromatherapy diffuser with essential oils
- Sparking clean design with pristine white subway tile
- Decorative sconces and accent lighting for an upscale feel
By keeping the users in mind, we designed his and her bathrooms tailored to their unique needs and preferences. The dual baths solve all our clients’ complaints about their existing master bathroom.
Floor Plans: Before & After
To help visualize the transformation, here are the before and after floor plans.
Existing Master Bathroom
The original bathroom was one elongated space measuring 12 feet wide by 20 feet long. It felt cavernous and awkward with minimal fixtures spread out.
New Master Bathrooms
We divided the available space to create two bathrooms of equal size. His is functional while hers is more luxurious and spa-like. The new layouts maximize the footprint.
Segmenting the large bathroom into two dedicated spaces resulted in master baths tailored to their owners. Separating fixtures improves privacy and allows both partners to get ready simultaneously. The side-by-side bathrooms also have better natural light, ventilation, storage, and style.
Converting an existing master bathroom into two well-appointed baths involves careful planning and precision. Here is a look at the construction process:
We gutted the original bathroom down to the studs, removing the dated finishes, light fixtures, plumbing lines, and ventilation ductwork. This allowed us to rework the layout and distribute plumbing to two baths.
Framing & Rough-ins
With the old bath demolished, we framed a new dividing wall to create separate bathroom spaces. We roughed in the plumbing and electrical systems for the relocated fixtures and lighting in each bath.
Insulation & Vapor Barriers
On the shared dividing wall and all exterior walls, we installed insulation for temperature control, moisture protection and sound dampening between the baths.
New ductwork was run for exhaust fans in both bathrooms. We also cut openings for operable windows above the tub and shower areas for fresh air.
Tiling the Floors and Walls
Waterproof backerboards were installed to provide a surface for tiling the floors and shower walls. The tiles were carefully laid out to create patterns and designs.
Painting & Trims
With all fixtures and tile in place, we prepped and painted the remaining drywall surfaces in each bath. Trim molding accentuated transitions between walls and ceilings.
Once painting was complete, we finished off the dual baths by installing mirrors, lighting fixtures, towel bars, and other accessories selected by the homeowners.
Repurposing one oversized, outdated bathroom into two new baths provided our clients with a highly functional, comfortable master bath experience. They now have his and her spaces tailored to their individual needs, properly equipped with lighting, ventilation and storage. Not only are the new bathrooms visually appealing, they are also convenient, private, and easy to maintain.
The side-by-side layout enables both partners to get ready at the same time. By dividing the square footage strategically, we maximized the available footprint so every inch serves a purpose. This project shows how two well-designed bathrooms can be better than one oversized, inefficient space. Through careful planning and precision demolition and construction, we successfully converted an outdated master bath into a dual bathroom oasis.
Frequently Asked Questions About Creating Two Master Bathrooms
Here are answers to some common questions about dividing one master bathroom into two smaller baths:
Is it expensive to convert one bathroom into two?
Converting one bathroom into two does have associated costs, but it is often less expensive than adding a second full bathroom elsewhere in your home. Because the plumbing is centrally located, you can minimize pipe rerouting. The existing electrical can also be adapted, provided sufficient amperage.
How do you divide fixtures between master bathrooms?
Divvy up fixtures based on frequency of use and who will use them. The toilet and showers should be split, while double vanities usually work better in the more spacious bathroom. Consider separate sinks if each person wants their own space.
Should both bathrooms be the same size?
Making both bathrooms the same size is ideal, but sometimes one space lends itself better to a larger bath while the other works fine being more modest. Try to avoid a drastic size discrepancy though.
Is permitting required to convert one bath to two?
If you are simply dividing one bath into two, permitting may not be required. However, any relocations of plumbing, electrical or ventilation will need proper permits and inspections. Check with your local building department.
How do I soundproof shared walls between master bathrooms?
Use insulation designed for sound damping and caulk around all edges. Hang both walls with two layers of 5/8” drywall leaving a 1/4” gap between them. Seal all electrical outlets with acoustical caulk.
Should master bathrooms have a connecting door?
A door connecting two master baths allows easy access and privacy control. Make sure the door swings inward and has locker handles on both sides. For total separation, you could leave the connecting doorway framed but not cut out.
Is it better to have separate hot water heaters?
It isn’t necessary to have two water heaters. A single larger one can supply hot water efficiently to multiple bathrooms. Just make sure the system is adequately sized for the number of fixtures.
Converting an oversized master bathroom into two well-designed baths provides homeowners with a more comfortable, functional space tailored to their needs. Dividing one inefficient room can result in two beautifully appointed baths that make better use of the available space. With careful planning and an experienced contractor, you can enjoy the luxury of having his and her bathrooms.
Transforming an outdated, awkward master bathroom into two new baths provided the homeowners with a space better suited to their needs. Separate his and her bathrooms allow for privacy and the ability to get ready simultaneously. The side-by-side layout also enabled us to maximize the available footprint so the new baths feel open and uncluttered, not cavernous.
Strategic placement of plumbing fixtures and windows results in bright, well-ventilated baths that meet building code. Details like heated floors, dressing vanities and built-in storage provide convenience and luxury. By focusing on functional elements for him and spa-like amenities for her, the new master bathrooms feel customized to their individual owners.
Converting one deficient bathroom into two well-designed baths takes strategic planning and precision demolition and construction. But the end result is a suite of master baths tailored to the homeowners that transforms an unused space into a beautiful and inviting oasis.