On a tight budget, the ever-popular spa bath seems undoable. But it can happen at modest cost. It won’t involve expensive tile, a shower-plus-tub wet room, or walk-in closets. It will involve a brand-new layout.
In the first drawing, all parts of the five-piece bath are there, in a design that’s fine but takes up precious space. The vanities are double but are lined up on the same counter. There’s an adequate walk-in closet for a couple to share. But with square footage at a premium, this setup is becoming less realistic. In the second diagram, available bath space is reconfigured, with separate dressing areas, commodes, vanities, and closets. What gets sacrificed is the big tub. We did, however, deliver a nice shower with double showerheads. The closet is now an upscale dressing room. Wrapped around the bedroom, it doubles as a walk-through passageway with cabinetry and drawers (to let light in on both sides, the cabinets are lowered to make room for clerestory windows). The approach is inspired by health clubs, cruise ships, and hotels, and it feel luxurious—even when done with off-the-shelf materials. Once the buyer has chosen the floor plan, there’s an option to upgrade finishes.
We didn’t realize how many market segments we’d end up appealing to with this new design. For empty nesters, privacy increases. We ended up expanding on our separate-yet-together approach with several variations. Even at the early sketch stage, the client went for it. He now reports that floor plans with the new bath design are selling 2-to-1 over the others—proof that despite modest square footage, a luxury retreat for two can be done.