Many Kitchen Designers also practice Bathroom Design.

In my personal design practice, Vestabul Design, Bathroom Design goes hand in hand with Kitchen Design.

Both are rooms that need to function and be aesthetically pleasing.

One of the big differences between the two is that the Kitchen is a public space while the Bathroom a private space.

Most of my Bathroom Designs are focused on how the homeowner will use the space, but without knowing the specific end-user you need to get creative.

Read on to see how I accomplished this in a “mini-multi” project I designed called the Willow Project.

Readers will be familiar with this project from two previous blogs called Heritage Designation and Adding the WOW Factor to a Spec Home Kitchen.

As I related in those blogs, I was contracted to space plan and design the interiors of a unique 6 unit project.

The project consisted of 4 townhouse developed within an old church along with 2 coach houses at the back of the property.

The heritage designation of the property entailed some constraints on the exterior of the property, but I had a lot of flexibility inside.

The design brief was to develop floorplans for the kitchens and bathrooms to meet the needs of prospective buyers.

As with all multi-family projects, I worked with the developer on a buyer persona and designed the spaces to meet their perceived needs.

Let’s look at the different bathroom designs I developed.

Powder Rooms

The powder room in each of the units was situated off the greatroom.

Even though these rooms are “private” spaces they would be used by guests to the home.

I wanted to make them memorable but not include anything that could alienate a potential buyer.

To do this, each powder room featured the following:

  • A porcelain tiled feature wall
  • A suspended vanity
  • Motion lights under the vanity
  • A vessel sink
  • Wall mounted faucets
  • LED back lite mirrors

I developed a specific color pallet for the project but choose products that best fit the design of each individual bathroom space.

For instance in the smaller powder rooms the toilet was wall hung, while the larger spaces featured a skirted model.

Each of the vessel sinks were chosen to fit the vanity. An oval, a square oval and a round shape were all used based on the depth of the vanity.

Overall the layout of these powder rooms were small but the subtle design choices made them a stand out feature in the homes.

Guest Bathrooms

Within the project there were 8 guest bathrooms in total, and each one had a slightly different layout.

In each case the vanity was designed suspended with drawers and featured an under mount sink and single lever faucet.

By suspending them we were able to specify a motion light under the vanity that came on when a person entered the room. Great for late night trips to the loo!

The deep drawers under the sinks were custom cut around the plumbing and provided accessible storage in the compact vanity.

Under mounting the sinks would allow for easy clean up while the single lever faucet provided a simple uncluttered look.

When it came to choosing a tub or a shower for the guest bathroom we defaulted to a shower.

We felt a shower would be the preference for guests or teenagers over a bathtub in these bathrooms.

If there were small children living in the home or grand children visiting, they could use the tub in the principle bathroom.

To expand the small guest bathrooms, a no-threshold shower was specified.

This not only made the room feel larger, it really added a lux factor to the bathroom.

An additional trick employed to expand the feel of the bathroom was to install frameless glass doors on the showers.

The modern lineal drain installed at the back wall of the shower was another upscale feature that added to the lux feel of the space.

And since we could not predict the heights of the users of these showers, a slide bar shower system was specified.

In the units that featured two guest bathrooms we opted to install bathtubs in one of the spaces.

This gave the flexibility of one shower only guest bathroom and one tub/shower combo guest bathroom.

The tubs were clean lined models deep enough for soaking.

Again a slide bar was specified for the shower portion of the system.

Principle Bathrooms

The design of the principle bathrooms had to very functional and inviting.

Double vanity sinks were a must for each principle bathroom since this is a feature buyers are looking for.

To increase the storage at these vanities, all of the cabinetry was specified as drawers, even under the sinks.

Principle bathroom with trough sink and two lav faucets
Trough sink produces a double sink in a principle bathroom

In one of the principle ensuite bathrooms the space was tight for two separate sinks so I specified a “trough” sink with two faucets instead.

This solution provided ample counterspace and storage for each potential user of the bathroom.

A bonus was that this was also a memorable feature which gives prospective buyers things to discuss with their partner after viewing the home.

Each of the ensuite principle bathrooms also included a separate tub and a shower.

In all cases the showers were a no-threshold design with the tile floor seamlessly flowing into the shower.

Depending on the available space the tub was either free standing or build in.

All of the built-in tubs were under mounted in a quartz deck top that matched the countertop in the room.

The free standing tubs featured a grey painted body as an inviting focal point.

Since townhouse living in many cases can be lacking in storage, I used every opportunity to squeeze storage in and around the bathrooms.

In some cases this entailed carving out a storage niche inside the bathroom space or just out side of it.

These details added to the appeal of these bathroom spaces in this unique project.

As per requests from readers I will share additional bathroom and other room designs in upcoming blogs.

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If there are other topics you would like me to blog on please leave a comment below.

Jan Rutgers has been designing kitchens and products for over 25 years and is a recipient of Kitchen & Bath Design News’ Top Innovators in 2020 for the Kitchen & Bath Industry. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

2 Comments on “Case Study: The Bathrooms at the Willow Project

    • An under mount tub is similar to a under mount kitchen sink. A solid material such as quartz is used as the tub decking, but instead of placing the tub on top the material is cut and finished to allow the tub to sit underneath. You must purchase a specific tub for this application. The benefit of this type of installation is a smooth tub deck surface that is easier to clean and gives a clean lined modern look.

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