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Bathroom sinks/vanity are IN bedroom, not bathroom- HUH?

reensjp
7 years ago

When we purchased our home, one of the things I had to make a concession on (meaning, didn't love it, but it wasn't big enough to make me not want the house) was the location of the master bathroom sink & vanity. They are actually IN my bedroom. The "master bath" consists of a tub and toilet. That's it. Then, in my bedroom, right outside the bathroom door, is a double sink vanity, with a light that's bright enough to play nighttime baseball with. It's an issue when one of us needs to get up earlier than the other for work, because it inevitably means either we are both awake, or one of us has to skulk off to use the main bathroom in the house, which isn't always convenient, or quiet. I don't even know what this "style" is called, or why someone would think this was a good idea. I've seen it a lot here in our area, but no one can explain it, not even my realtor.
So, of course the solution is to just enclose the whole space, right? Well, if I didn't have vaulted, exposed wood ceilings, that'd be super easy. I'm trying to figure out how to do this without breaking the bank, or my spirit. Any ideas? Has anyone out there had this type of bathroom in their home? What is this called??

Comments (30)

  • aok27502
    7 years ago

    I have no idea, but it sounds like a hotel room!

  • palimpsest
    7 years ago

    It was done in the late 1960s and 1970s as a form of master bath.

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  • Fori
    7 years ago

    I'd switch out the light fixtures and put in a freestanding screen until I had a better plan. And no hair dryers in the wee hours!

    Is the toilet area big enough for a small sink?

  • Babka NorCal 9b
    7 years ago

    Yes, there are a number of homes around here like that, only most of them have a divider wall from the sleeping area. Usually there is a closet there too. It was considered an upscale feature back then...like sunken livingrooms. The thought is to have privacy in the shower and toilet "room" while the other person is shaving or brushing teeth etc. I agree with Fori about the freestanding screen similar to a shoji screen for now. If you have room you could build a partial wall there later.

    -Babka

  • reensjp
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I definitely have to change out that light! It IS like a hotel room, and sadly, the house is circa the 1990's, if I'm not mistaken. There's not currently room for a sink in the "toilet" room. I will have to look for a screen. There is room, definitely, to modify it at a later day. I just need to decide how badly I need that to happen, to justify the cost and labor involved, :) Thanks for your feedback!!

  • monicakm_gw
    7 years ago

    Oh my! I'm afraid that would have been an instant deal breaker for me. But, if you love the house that much, I'm sure you'll find a solution. Have you posted over on the remodel forum?

  • twilcox
    6 years ago

    My Mother-in-law had a condo like that for many years. The "vanity" part of the room was one step up from the bedroom with a sink and long extended countertop with a separate room for tub and toilet. She also had those "Hollywood" style lights above the vanity. In addition, the vanity part of the room was carpeted. Bleh.

    If that is the only thing you didn't like about your new home, then I would start saving my pennies right now and eventually fix that. Until then, I agree with other posters, switch out the light fixture now and somehow partition off the vanity from the bedroom. Can you somehow hang a drape to separate?

  • Brent B
    6 years ago

    That configuration works good for a single person's room, but definitely not for a couple sharing the same room.

    Oddly enough, I believe that the Japanese have their sinks above the toilet. Yes, it sounds weird to us north Americans, but they wash their hands over the toilet (with warm water) and the gray water is used for flushing the toilet below.

  • Bunny
    6 years ago

    I once lived in a double-wide mobile home with dual vanities in bedroom alcoves. If someone went to bed early or was trying to sleep at night, it created light and noise.

    I understand sometimes you pick a house where something like this is outweighed by the good. I would target this area as a priority to mitigate.

  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/
    6 years ago

    Can you hang a curtain maybe?

    Our master bathroom is sort of similar (late 70s house) -- the vanity/light are in an alcove next to the bedroom and open to the bedroom...and the light shines right in your eyes if you lay in bed. Then you go through a little pocket door in the alcove, opposite the vanity, to access toilet/shower. It sucked because I'd get up to get ready for work before DH, and he always complained about the light and wanted me to get ready in the main bathroom.

    I was able to hang up a curtain over the opening, which helped to block out the light. Now I'm a stay-at-home mom so I don't have to get ready before him any more, but the curtain is there for times when I am up earlier (and for when I do return to work).

    What about building a partition wall that doesn't go to the ceiling, maybe with storage on one side? (If you have space for that kind of thing...our room certainly wouldn't and the whole house is small). I saw some interesting solutions on Houzz, too...I searched "bathroom sink vanity in bedroom"

    This post was edited by melle_sacto on Wed, Oct 29, 14 at 13:32

  • emma
    6 years ago

    I saw a new home like that, that would never work for me.

  • palimpsest
    6 years ago

    There's one big reason that this used to work and no longer does and it's a cultural shift. When this type of arrangement was acceptable it was when married couples got up at the same time, because the wife, regardless of whether she worked outside the house or not, got up at the same time as the husband and made breakfast for him and the family. It was less usual for people to be on completely different schedules.

  • Errant_gw
    6 years ago

    That's interesting, Pal. I never would have thought of that.

  • Lars
    6 years ago

    I've seen flats in San Francisco that had sinks in bedrooms, but that was because they used to be brothels in the early 1900s.

  • jterrilynn
    6 years ago

    The house IâÂÂm in now had a 79â vanity area open to the master bedroom. At the end of that long run there was a door leading to the toilet, shower and tub. My early eighties house is very seventies. Although I donâÂÂt have high vaulted ceilings like you we put up a wall with a door. You could still do that and just have a ledge. Ledges are common with nineties homes so it would blend. Down the road you could build up to the vault. ItâÂÂs pretty inexpensive to do if you buy a pre-hung door, then you just need drywall and studs.

  • reensjp
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    I'm glad it's not just me "dealing" with this bizarre arrangement. It actually embarrasses me when I show people my home. I've been on Pinterest extensively (not that I needed an excuse to do that, :) ) and found a really cool vanity idea that MAY work in the interim, so it doesn't look SO odd. Ideally, the fix will be to move the wall to the bathroom to enclose the space with the vanity, but until I get to that, this may work, :) It looks like furniture, and if I can coax DH into keeping the top of the vanity free of extraneous stuff, I think it will look great.

  • jterrilynn
    6 years ago

    Your inspiration picture looks great! However, unless you can do that dirt cheap and with very little work I would beg you to consider waiting until you can do it all properly. Stick a craigslist divider screen up for under $50.

    Just getting my area ready for a remodel was a huge undertaking. When I eventually show my Finished Bath IâÂÂm sure everyone will think âÂÂoh itâÂÂs nice but not mind bogglingâÂÂ. The shower area in my master bath originally had a shower with two sides of sliding glass doors to an outside atrium that was fenced in. The previous owners put some scrape wood across one of the slider sets and tiled over it. They left the slider in place. The outside of slider was spray painted black. For the other slider they tried to put in a window that matched the window near tub on the same wall. Except, they put it in inside out and over 2" wider and sitting in frame at a different depth! After they did the faux wall they had to adjust the shower floor. They pitched it like an upside down pyramid. That all had to be ripped out. The room had to be gutted down to the studs as the moisture trapped in the faux shower wall side rotted everything out. So, before we even got to the fun part there was cement block and stucco work, two new windows framed properly, new studs, new walls and the list goes onâ¦I was aiming at $17,000 with us doing all but plumbing and floor tile, shower tile, tub and vanity tile. IâÂÂm up to about $20,500 and still have to buy the frameless shower glass surround/door. I canâÂÂt cry though as without DIY IâÂÂd be close to 35 or $38,000 or more. Still, IâÂÂm almost dead.

    This post was edited by jterrilynn on Thu, Oct 30, 14 at 16:43

  • reensjp
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    I can DIY something similar much cheaper than the repair. As for screens, and such, I live on the Big Island of Hawaii, so my resources, even on Craig's list are limited, and prices tend to be much higher than on the mainland. I appreciate the concern, and if I could get away with a shoji type screen for $50, I'd be delighted! One additional issue is the high winds we have on this part of the island. We did have a curtain divider hung from a drapery rod- and with the winds it blew all over the place. Even with a bar anchoring the bottom, it wasn't always stationary. A free standing screen would be the same way if a strong enough gust blew in. A free standing wall, even if it didn't meet the ceiling would also be nice, but if I'm going to "build" anything, it's going to be the permanent solution.

  • kay6271
    6 years ago

    That kind of setup is common in new construction in my area. I have never toured a model home at night to see how the lighting would be. Hopefully you can come up with a solution.

  • PRO
    APPOLLO
    4 years ago

    To keep moisture from vanity wood, shower enclosure is good idea.

  • Raye Smith
    4 years ago

    A quick fix for the light issue would be a dimmer. That bath arrangement makes me think of the Brady Bunch house.

  • artemis_ma
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    One of the homes my contractor showed me was done like that. All three bedrooms had sinks in them. Apparently it is a Scandinavian thing, or so I was told.

    (And the master also had a sunken tub.)

  • Sherry London
    3 years ago

    We built our house in the 90's with the same setup. It was considered very upscale and a big selling feature at the time! Any way to put up a barn door across the vanity area?

  • KodyRae Brown
    3 years ago

    I too like how our vanity area is seperate from the shower and toilet. i can do my hair and makeup while my husband showers or uses the toilet. That way Im not trying to straighten my hair with all the humidity from his shower. So much easier.

  • KD
    3 years ago

    My parents house is like that, but there’s a wall with a wide doorway into the area with the vanity, so it’s open but also easy to close off by just putting a curtain rail up. It’s also oriented to the room such that if you only use enough light at the vanity to wash your hands for a midnight potty run, it really isn’t enough to bother someone in the bed if you place the bed sensibly. Getting ready in the morning would be trickier if you needed to do makeup and so on so needed proper lighting, so that’s where a screen or a curtain would come in.

  • Mrs Pete
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    When I was much younger I lived in a rental house with such an arrangement. Ours had a sink "in the bedroom" plus another sink in the actual bathroom. It wasn't ideal, and the worst part was that the "bedroom sink" was on carpet.

    I would not choose this arrangement.

    The "bedroom sink" ate up loads of space. This could easily be incorporated to make a very large bathroom.

    What an attractive bathroom! I like the wood tone and the pendent lights.

  • Jessica Wiegand
    last year

    How did you fix this? I have the same issue in my house and want to do something inexpensive to fix it.

  • HU-363947828
    last year

    I am considering moving my sink from our 1970’s small master bath into the sitting room it shares a wall with, as a dual purpose wet bar. Adding french doors betw sitting room and bedroom to keep the noise down. Interesting to read the possible pitfalls. Just concerned no one will appreciate it but me (resale). Bar sink and faucet, under counter refrig, countertop height granite counter, coffee maker, maybe a glass front cabinet for glasses and mirror in center?

  • monicakm_gw
    last year

    I could love that :)