Tub or No Tub?
Welcome to the Evensen Design blog. Here you will find our take on the latest design trends, places we’ve traveled, and our favorite design products and materials that can help reinvent the way you live within your home. We work closely with each of our clients to develop their vision and tailor each personal space to suit the function and interest of their families. Renovations are our passion and the opportunities that come with working with what is given to us, fuels that drive to see a project through from concept to completion even more. The realization of a new and improved space should refresh and inspire the day-to-day interactions in what has now become our office, daycare, and home base in these uncertain times. One thing that is certain, we are all home now more than ever and with that our surroundings need to be flexible to carry us through the different seasons we will be encountering in the months ahead. A question many homeowners face is a debate that has sparked new ideas when it comes to your master bath. To have a tub or to not have a tub? That is the question.
Although we always recommend our clients to have a tub somewhere in the home to wash kiddos and pets, we are finding that it is much more important to have a killer master bath than squeeze a tub into the layout, that could restrict the flow and may never be used. This of course is different for every client, some clients could care less, but I personally LOVE a tub. In the current plans to renovate our own home, our tub may end up in the bedroom… but more on that later!
At Evensen Design, we always look forward to the challenges that come with reworking the design of a master bath. Hence our ode to Bath Design in Water Closet Chic. There are many options when it comes to celebrating the space and despite the square footage, this is an area that people tend to use the most. Not only does it need to flow and function for multiple activities, but it should serve as a well-oiled machine for morning and evening rituals that are transforming themselves as we all start to find our new rhythm in our new normal.
A No-Tub Design Solution
One project in particular comes to mind was for a young couple’s master bath renovation for a historical home in the beautiful neighborhood of Lakewood in Dallas, Texas. The owners wanted to have the master bath design be within the existing footprint of the current bath and closet on the second level of the home. The purpose of the renovation was to create more storage for day-to-day use, expand the shower to include a bench, and utilize finishes and selections to create a spa-like, serene feel, and a seamless blend within the vernacular of the neighborhood that would pay homage to the 1930s.
The current layout was restrictive for the young couple with three kids who needed to make better use of the space available to them. We were working within a limited amount of square feet and the pedestal sink did not provide any storage or vanity space, while the shower was small and only included an in-wall shower head. The tub was smack dab in the middle of the room and blocked the flow of the space and was actually being used as extra storage for toys, and towels. Another challenge we were faced with was the placement and use of closets. The master bedroom included a wall with three doors, that made the use of the closet space inefficient. A bedroom is meant to be a calming sanctuary from the stressors of everyday life, having three doors on one wall added to the visual clutter and made the overall closet situation satisfactory at best.
We carefully formulated our plan of action, but the first main hurdle we had to overcome in this design was convincing the client that they did not need to have a tub. Here is my advice that I know goes against the grain–but hear me out. When designing a master bath, whether it is for a renovation or new construction you do not have to sacrifice valuable real estate for a tub. Don’t get me wrong, tubs are fantastic, but the function and beauty of a space are much more valuable to your everyday sanity and use. In my opinion, a beautifully designed Master Bath would be a fantastic selling point of any home, tub, or no tub. However, if you have the space, by all means, include a show-stopping tub in the design!
In our project, Bob O Link, the finished product came out beautifully! First, we were able to close off the bedroom wall, combining the two closets into one. This provided space for a vestibule to the master bath and closet, that doubled as a lovely dressing room complete with full-height millwork for extra linen storage.
In the bathroom, we started with an open footprint, providing us a blank slate for the design. First, we incorporated a custom vanity with outlets built into the drawers for ample storage and convenient placement for hair care tools that could stay in one place and minimize clutter. Second, we left the drains for the shower and toilet, to keep costs down. Since they were located to the back of the space, this worked in our favor. The shower was extended slightly into the closet to create space for a bench. Increasing the footprint of the shower and incorporating multiple shower functions produced a much more useable space and comfortable bathing experience.
Less is More
As for what the space where the tub used to be? We built a custom cabinet between the existing two windows for even more storage. It balances the vanity and creates a lovely focal point for the bathroom. With the money we saved on not having to relocate the plumbing, we splurged on the details, such as sconces, upgraded finishes, detailed cabinets, and of course the plumbing fixture themselves.
The neutral finishes selected were thoughtfully considered to pay homage to the 1930’s architecture of the home. The ceramic tile is a material you would find in homes of this era, but we mixed in a beautiful stone floor and counter for a modern twist and spa-like feel. We wanted the cabinets to feel more like furniture, so the design utilizes inset construction, a bead detail on the frame, and tapered legs to create a lighter feel and the illusion of space. The cabinets are painted a soothing gray to blend with our calming palette. We chose to mix metals with our plumbing, hardware, and lighting, to add interest. Lastly, the four scones throughout the space add layers of light creating a more intricate design that is not only visually enticing but also functional. In our new bathroom, you don’t even miss the tub. We absolutely love the flow of the master suite with an open layout, ample storage, and overall serene feel!
Our Selected Finishes
1. Linear grain stone tile to tie into the wood floors
2. 6×6 gray/green tile – The square offset pattern pays homage to the original
3. Sherwin Williams Gray – offers subtle color but still keeps the bathroom light and airy.
1. Intermixed to create visual interest.
2. We paired chrome finishes with the brilliant brass finishes and spec’d a striated wood mirror.
3. The paint on the frame has both gold and silver flecks (the mirror below has a similar finish).