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ideagirl2_gw

Powder room off kitchen: Yay or Nay?

ideagirl2
11 years ago

Do you have any opinions on or experience with bathrooms that are RIGHT NEXT to the kitchen? Is it awkward when entertaining?

Here's the dilemma: we don't have a bathroom on the ground floor. We've got a master bath and guest bath upstairs, and basically a contractors' toilet in the basement, but nothing on the main level. Looking at our existing floorplan and the way the sewer pipes run, there aren't a whole lot of options. One easy one would involve a 4'x 4.5' powder room placed in what is currently the southwest corner of the kitchen, with a door that basically opens into the edge of the kitchen--it would be facing the cabinets to the right of the fridge.

This floor plan doesn't show our existing kitchen but one of my fantasy new kitchens. The existing kitchen does not open into the dining room as shown here; there's a wall where the top right peninsula is. I made the two rooms open to each other because otherwise putting the bathroom there just made the kitchen feel way way too small.

The other problem with putting a bathroom there is that it eats up one of the three windows in the kitchen. We don't lose a view--all you can see is the neighbors' house--but we lose some light, and this kitchen faces north and looks straight out at a hillside and trees, so light is a concern. To compensate, I experimented with putting a stained-glass window in the wall between the bathroom and the kitchen (it actually looks pretty cool in the 3D walkthrough mode). Oh, and what's cut off at the bottom of the picture is a stairway to the basement. And also, the window in the bathroom is not at standard height; I think it's 44" off the floor.

Any thoughts? Ideas? Critiques?

Comments (39)

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    11 years ago

    It is handy in real life to have it nearby, but very odd for entertaining. The doorway to a powder room should never open into any other room, but only into a hallway or foyer. Also, even though you wont need a fan with a window, you should have one as the noise adds a measure of privacy.

    The house we are renovating was an old farmhouse and thye squeezed a powder room into the kitchen itself. Ridiculous, and gone. The house we are renting during our reno has a pr that opens right into the great room (and this is a very nice house, 6400 sq ft, only about 5 yrs old). I can only assume a layperson designed it. Its very odd to use it when you have company in great room.

  • palimpsest
    11 years ago

    I would try a plan where the fridge faced Up, so it was turned into the kitchen rather than facing the bathroom. It would involve shortening that peninsula, but it would create more of a sense of separation. The set down would then be the peninsula across the doorway or the one behind. The space behind the fridge could be broom closet/pantry storage.

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  • igloochic
    11 years ago

    I'd actually kill the peninsula and put the fridge there, blocking the powder room into a nook behind the kitchen. A small kitchen is better than a toilet that opens into one (which is a code issue anyhow)

    Do not!!!!!!!! Put a stained glass window in that wall for Gads sake! Privacy and noise (or lack of a sound barrier) would be a big issue. Find ther ways to get light but don't compromise bathroom privacy. No one wants to think the cook sees their form even hazy while in the potty and with the light on....heck you will see it all.

  • chicagoans
    11 years ago

    pre-reno we had a powder room between our kitchen and dining room. Because sound traveled, it was awkward when someone used the powder room while others were in the dining room.

    I'd rather have a powder room on the first floor than not, so I'd put one there but insulate the walls really well, and consider some of the ideas above to make it less a part of the kitchen.

  • dianalo
    11 years ago

    Never have a bathroom open into a kitchen. As a real estate agent, I can tell you that that goes over like a lead balloon. Figure out a way to have it open somewhere else. I'd go so far as to put a wall next to the fridge and a doorway to make it feel less connected to the kitchen itself.

  • ideagirl2
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Thanks for your answers! In case it helps, here's a layout of our existing floorplan. The kitchen is blank, but the existing range, sink and fridge are all where shown in the first one I posted. What occupies the space that could be occupied by the powder room is a ridiculous gigantic triangular peninsula with two bar stools.

    Traffic flows straight from the front door through to the kitchen, and we bring groceries in from the basement because the garage is attached to the basement (we're built into a hill). The flight of stairs closest to the kitchen is where you come out from the basement. I mention that because the suggestion to turn the fridge 90 degrees so it faces more into the rest of the kitchen, which would be a handy suggestion if traffic flowed differently than it does, seems like not a good move in our particular house.

    The toilet stacks in our house are located in two spots: (1) right below the bottom left corner of the kitchen (the guest bath is above that and the basement toilet is below), and (2) right below the top right corner of the living room (the master bath is right above that). It might possibly be possible to put a tiny powder room where the coat closet is, but I'm not sure that it would be feasible (physically or financially) to reach the sewer from there, and I don't really want a composting toilet, although that's not a total impossibility.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    11 years ago

    yes, i was wondering too if there was room for a wall? if so, AND you install a noisy fan and insulate really well, i think you are ok

    But i also have to admit, if it were between this an no PR at all on the first floor, i think i would have to vote for a PR ...

  • Adrienne2011
    11 years ago

    My powder room opens up into the hallway, but is quite central on the first floor. I think it's a very stupid place to put a powder room. The fan is nicely loud, and once during a party, I stuck a tiny cordless radio in the base of the pedestal sink (it was open in the back, and nobody ever saw it). I set the radio to a quiet level on nice music, and my sister-in-law came out asking me where the music was being piped in from, so I told her. It just added a measure of privacy in addition to the fan.

  • bostonpam
    11 years ago

    If I'm reading your drawings correctly, I would leave the "doorway" between the kitchen and the stairs. Put the bathroom in the stair area but recessed from the "doorway". This will make it feel like it's opening into the hallway and not a kitchen. You could keep cabinets across from it. I also like putting the frig either where the penisula is located or rotating it so it faces the kitchen.

    We did something similar with our half bath. We needed one as close to the back door because we have a pool and hard wood floors. It's off the kitchen in a small nook - to the right is the half bath and the left is the pantry. I do not love the solution but you have to make the best with what you have.

  • melissastar
    11 years ago

    I had much the same dilemma. One thought: You say you have a guest bathroom on the second floor. Do you imagine using the 1st floor PR more for your convenience (and your family's) or is truly for guests' use?

    I really wanted/needed a 1st floor PR as well and the only place to put it was somewhere directly off the kitchen. When I first posted my layout plans here (long since disappeared into the ether by the way) the UGH reaction was extreme. But as the reno has reached an end, I realize that it's going to be fine. Partly because, I realized that the 1st floor room was more for my convenience than for guests. Yes, if a few folks were in the LR and the facilities were needed, I'd direct them to the PR. But if I were having a dinner party, for example and one were needed, I'd send them upstairs to a more private bathroom.

    That being said, I'd try to do as others have suggested to reconfigure plans as much as possible to create as much separation between kitchen and DR as possible. But given the choice of no 1st floor PR and one off the kitchen, the PR definitely wins.

    Oh...and as for the stained glass question...seems to me the issue is again is the PR for you or for guests? If it's for you...AND there are very low odds of you selling your house in the next 10 years or so...do what works best for you considering both the PR privacy issue AND the kitchen light (how about a high up transom window between the two?). If on the other hand, you can imagine anyone other than family or a good friend using the PR while someone is in the kitchen or you MIGHT have to/want to sell, give up the window ight.

  • chris11895
    11 years ago

    I was looking at your existing layout and I would seriously, seriously, get a quote for putting it in the foyer. We have a bathroom off of our current kitchen (the house is about 200 years old) and I despise it. It's soooo awkward. I sometimes find myself going into our finished basement bathroom or upstairs. Recently my babysitter arrived and said "I just have to use the bathroom quickly!" and I found myself moving the kids out of the kitchen to give her privacy. It bothers me *that* much!
    :-) So if you have to do it off the kitchen, I'd make sure there is a wall and echo the ideas of the others, but when I looked at your plan my first thought was to ask your for the dimensions of the foyer to see if you could put it there. I'd rather have a teeny weeny bathroom in the foyer than anything off the kitchen :-) BUT, I also would rather have one off the kitchen than none at all.

  • honeychurch
    11 years ago

    I agree if the choice is 1st floor powder room off kitchen or nothing, I'd rather have the PR (could also be awkward having guests walking through a master bedroom to use a bathroom, or even on the second floor at all, depending on how well you know them/trust them).

    That being said, whoever added the PR to our 1870s home made a poor decision in converting A DINING ROOM CLOSET into a bathroom--that's right, the door opens right into the DR! If we are having a sit down meal, we obviously don't use it and as we usually are entertaining family, they all go upstairs.

    Needless to say, moving the entrance to the bathroom around to the front hallway is on our list of things to do...

  • kevinw1
    11 years ago

    The closet that's across from the basement stairs... could you bump into the living room to expand that, and put a PR in it?

  • ideagirl2
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Melissastar, you asked: "You say you have a guest bathroom on the second floor. Do you imagine using the 1st floor PR more for your convenience (and your family's) or is truly for guests' use?"

    It would be partly for guests and partly to make the house more family friendly. We only tend to have close friends or family over, and in any case it's not a hassle for them to go to the upstairs guest bath--it's right next to the stairway, they don't need to go down a hall or through a bedroom.

    When I say family-friendly, we're planning on starting a family soon and I would much rather pop into a ground-floor powder room when needed than scoop up the baby or babies and bring him/her upstairs with me every time I need to pee. In that respect, having it off the kitchen actually seems better than having it in the foyer, since I'm much more likely to be in the kitchen or dining room when "child-caring" or whatever the verb is. I can easily see us staying here for the next five years, and perhaps a good deal longer. We've already been here almost five years as it is, and we like it. The previous owners decided to sell when they got pregnant with twins. There are four bedrooms, so that can't have been the problem that made them move. It might have been the current kitchen (which is *horrible*), and the lack of a ground-floor powder room, that made this house feel like an inconvenient place to have small children.

    As for guests in general and resale value, that is another reason to expand the kitchen into the DR--that expansion would move most socializing as far from the powder room as possible.

    Adrienne2011, I love the radio idea! Note to self: must steal! :-)

  • John Liu
    11 years ago

    Your floor plan is very, very similar to ours. It is what locally we call a four-square. There is no ''good'' place to have a 1/4 bath aka powder room, so lead balloons or no, you have to choose the least bad location.

    Exactly like you, we have considered putting a small 1/4 bath in the entry room. A plumbing hassle (very far from main stacks), make a spacious gracious entry into a cramped space, and is it really a better location?

    See if you can fit something under the stairs and opening into the hallway, but I suspect not, unless you build a sunken floor to allow headroom.

    The lower left corner of the kitchen, or the upper right corner, are the remaining alternatives. If you can use the former and make the 1/4 bath open to an extension of the hallway, that would be ideal. At the same time, build some pantry into the under-stair space. If you have excess space at the left side of the bathroom, maybe you can recess storage or appliance there. I think the window may need to be moved, or another window added. Research sound insulation, do not rely on your contractor, he won't know much about it. An automatic fan and vent is a good idea.

    This will unfortunately shrink your kitchen and some will say ''eww'', but that's what goes with 80-100 y/o houses (I'm guessing the age from the floorplan).

  • lavender_lass
    11 years ago

    Just another idea...have you thought about an L-shaped kitchen (with perimeter cabinets against the wall to the stairs and wall with the windows? Then, you could put in an island, opposite the windows, and see into the dining room, while you're working at the island...you should be able to fit two or three stools at the island.

    Then, if you could afford it, I'd put a powder room and mud room, off the back of the kitchen. If you don't mind me spending even more of your money, maybe french doors from the dining room onto a deck or covered porch :)

  • ideagirl2
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Kevinw1, you asked: "The closet that's across from the basement stairs... could you bump into the living room to expand that, and put a PR in it?"

    We could, but that would probably create more problems than it solves. Having a closet there is already annoying because when the door is open it completely blocks the passageway (that's why in my "fantasy kitchen" floorplan that closet is replaced with a recessed hutch). A bathroom would maintain that annoyance, unless we used a bifold door, but those have worse sound insulation than regular doors, and it would also look weird in a house where every other interior door is vintage 1930s stained wood with crystal doorknobs.

    Also, since the closet is only 15" deep and the wall behind it 5.5", there would need to be basically at least a 2-foot deep by 4-foot wide bump-out in the living room, which I just think would look and feel strange. It would mean the only wall in the living room that was long enough to set a normal-sized couch against would be the exterior wall (right side of floorplan), but the bump-out shown on that wall on the floorplan is actually occupied by a marble fireplace. In other words we would have to stuff the couch right next to the fireplace, instead of having it face the fireplace as it now does.

    The other problem is that the living room wall is weight-bearing. Of course, so is the kitchen-dining room wall, so we would have to put in a reinforcing beam either way...

  • palimpsest
    11 years ago

    I did a project in a townhouse that had the bathroom in the foyer. That wasn't all that much better because most of the houses you walked by you looked right in at the toilet.

    I think the location adjacent to the kitchen is workable as long as you separate it from the kitchen, which can be done.

  • Buehl
    11 years ago

    "...try a plan where the fridge faced Up, so it was turned into the kitchen rather than facing the bathroom...The space behind the fridge could be broom closet/pantry storage..." [Palimpsest]


    I like Palimpsest's idea the best for both adding privacy as well as making the refrigerator more accessible from the kitchen.

    You shop, what once or twice a week? Is the added couple of steps that big a deal? OTOH, you probably prep & cook in the kitchen at least once or twice a day and need to use the refrigerator from the DR for meals. In both cases, the suggested location would, I think, be more convenient. Once you have children, this will be even more important b/c there will be a lot more refrigerator use!

    It would also provide some pantry or utility storage convenient to the kitchen.

    For light, how about expanding the size of the windows...ether the one over the sink (maybe make it similar to MamaDadaPaige's or ErikaNH's in the thread linked below) or the "new" one next to the range...or both!


    If this were my home, I would probably also be looking for a way to create more direct access to the LR from the kitchen. Not necessarily completely opening the kitchen up to the LR, unless you want to, but make it easier to get to the LR from the kitchen. Maybe move, enlarge, or add another LR doorway. Maybe turn the refrigerator and either enlarge or move the LR doorway from the DR so it starts on the far left, where the Kitchen, DR, and LR all come together. Again, once you have children, this will be more important.


    Something like this:


    One other comment...I suggest making the corner susans the type w/a 90-degree angle rather than a diagonal opening. I think the 90o cut would give you more counter frontage and more room to maneuver in front of and next to the range. The "bottom" susan looks more than 36", I think that would make the back corner of the counter and cabinets very difficult to reach in the current diagonal configuration. Just a couple (more!) things to think about.


    Good luck!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Thread: counter height window pictures please

  • artmeetsscience
    11 years ago

    Our layout sounds similar to Adrienne2011, 1st Floor Central Hallway PR. Our update will include a solid wood door on the powder room. I'm hoping the change out from hollow core to solid wood will provide more sound privacy for our guests.

  • Adrienne2011
    11 years ago

    That's a really good idea, artmeetsscience.

  • palimpsest
    11 years ago

    I did a solid door in the project with the powder room near the front door and it made a difference with sound, and it also impressed people, like the house was more solid---(?) People commented on the solid door.

    I would also hinge the door so the entrance to the bathroom was kinda from the foyer side and you would never leave the door open, since it doesn't rest against a full wall (I know that is a compromise) Hinged that way you wouldn't even get the slightest glimpse of the toilet from the fridge.

  • ideagirl2
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Oh yes, it'll be a solid door regardless of where it is. We have some spare doors that are original to the house--they were in the basement when we bought it.

    That's a good idea to have the door open towards the hallway rather than towards the fridge. That would make it feel much less like it was in the kitchen. Thanks.

  • Katie S
    11 years ago

    Great suggestions! We added one in a similar spot. Solid door, insulating all the walls (and we dropped the ceiling just enough to add insulation there) and putting in the noisiest fan we could find, which automatically switches on with the light--- these all helped take it form "better than nothing" to "great!"

  • mountaineergirl
    11 years ago

    I think its a great location provided you do as you said and have it open to a "hallway" rather than kitchen. That set-up makes it convenient for guests to "wash up" (hands) before dinner, which frequently my guests ask to do. Family members tho, know that if they need to do other things, they can go upstairs where its more private. :)

  • palimpsest
    11 years ago

    This is related but OT. I went to a dinner party where the homeowners had done a very expensive bath remodel complete with Toto washlet, which they pointed out proudly. The woman I went to the party with had been there before and the homeowners had insisted she try it, and talked to her through the bathroom door, while she was going for her "test drive", much to her mortification. I guess everybody at the party got the impression that this might happen to them, and I noticed that everyone slunk off quietly to the small powderroom off the kitchen rather than use the upstairs bathroom and have to discuss their washlet experience. :/

  • sugar_maple_30
    11 years ago

    Ours is in the teeniest hallway (56") between the kitchen and the family room. It was the ONLY space available on the first floor. It's not ideal by any means, but it's better than not having one on the main floor.

    We paid extra for drywall or insulation, I can't remember which now, that was supposed to make it more soundproof, but it didn't work as well as we'd hoped.

    Just this weekend my DH changed the door to a solid one, and that doesn't make much difference either.

    I've realized that if it's just the family, no one really cares, and if we're having a party, like we did last night, there are so many people, and so much noise and music anyhow, that you can't hear anything.

    We did what we could with the space available to us.

    See that tiny hallway? The pr is the door on the right.

  • chocolatebunny
    11 years ago

    We have a powder room right off our kitchen. Wasn't our choice as we didn't build the house. It is sometimes embaressing, especially if you're in the kitchen. I agree that when we have people over it's not so bad b/c it is so loud that you can't hear anything going on in there.

  • calimama
    11 years ago

    We too have a powder room off the kitchen, actually as you enter from the open living room you can veer right and go to the powder room. We are not particularly formal people, and it never even occurred to me until I read this post that there might be an issue. Which made me think: have I ever been concerned about this? We have had ONE guest in the 6 years we have lived here ask if he could use an alternate bathroom, and it was a dear friend,that was spending the night, so not sure how the casual guest might feel, but it hasn't come up.

    One thing that is unique about our PR is that it is set on a diagonal to the transitional living room. Therefore, you can only see the door itself from the living room, and can't see anything from the kitchen. In your space, you could bump out the doorframe and angled on the kitchen side, and have the door swing inward. It would save you from having a door open into the "kitchen" and thus blocking the view of the bath from both rooms.

    Just a thought. Good luck with your remodel!

  • dalepres
    11 years ago

    In 1965 we had to remodel a 50 year old house where the restroom came off of the kitchen. We were required by inspectors. I can't imagine codes are any more lenient about that today.

    In any case, nothing would spoil a guest's desire to eat your meal than to walk into the kitchen and have the stench of a recently opened bathroom door in the air.

    Put a full wall between the two.

  • laxfanmom
    11 years ago

    We are in the middle of a major kitchen Reno and we changed the PR so that it now opens into the kitchen. We were told not to do it by our kitchen designer but hear me out and then tell me it's a bad idea.

    1. We have a large house.
    2. This bathroom formerly opened in-between the kitchen and dining room which was not optimal during dinner parties in the DR (we do this 5-6 times per year)
    3. We have another PR on the first floor. We added a great room (party room) 6 years ago on the opposite end of the house from the kitchen and there is a PR in the connecting hallway on the way to that room - about 50 feet from the other Kitchen PR (quite a hike if you're in the kitchen and have to pee).
    4. We entertain a lot, mostly in the party room but also in the dining room. Usually the only parties that take place in the kitchen are family only.
    5. When our guests are in the party room they can use the kitchen PR and when we're in the dining room it's nice to be able to use the PR by the great room.
    6. We also have a bathroom straight at the top of the back stairs if someone really wants privacy (or, if there are a lot of guests and the others are busy!)

    So, I decided to let the redesign open the PR into the kitchen (it's a long story but we moved a wall to open the kitchen up and the el shape of that PR was a casualty and also gave me a pantry - hard to explain without seeing it and I'm not good with posting pics). Anyway, I think it will work out fine. WDYT?

  • John Liu
    11 years ago

    Effective and loud fan, correctly located over the toilet, automatically turns on when light is switched on, automatically runs for 15 min after the light is switched off. Can evacuate the entire volume of a 4x5 bathroom every minute. A floor register to the basement or other source of replacement air.

    Sound-deadening wall construction - not merely thicker drywall, but rubber sheet hung between staggered studs, all outlet/switch boxes caulked, gaskets around the door (as I said, research sound insulating construction techniques and products - yourself - your contractor will very likely not know anything about it).

    No-one should be able to ''detect'' anything. I'm sure you can get automatic scent dispensers too.

    I think you've thought this through well.

  • ideagirl2
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Thanks, everyone. SugarMaple, your setup is really nice looking. And thanks, JohnLiu, for those specifics on construction techniques.

    I am far from mastering Chief Architect, and that's probably why it looks like there's space under the stairs. In fact there are two flights of stairs stacked on top of each other--each of them is actually two half flights with a landing, so they're both two flights wide. One goes to the basement and one goes up to the second floor. So, there's no space under the stairs to take advantage of. It really is tough to put a ground-floor bath in a vintage four-square!

  • John Liu
    11 years ago

    Here are some resources on sound-reducing construction. The one immediately below, and the one that is hyper-linked, look pretty good. The other one (''Suppressproducts'') might just be an advertisement for their products, I am not sure.

    Basically sound is vibration that is transmitted from the source to your ear by rigid materials (sound travels well through hard materials like wood) and air. To reduce sound, you want to reduce the transmission of vibration. Air gap is better than a rigid connection. A heavy, soft material (e.g. rubber) is better than an air gap.

    Techniques are:

    - Double layers of drywall with dampening material like the referenced ''green glue'' between them (not simply screwing one sheet of drywall to the other)

    - Staggered studs w/ separate floor plates (essentially making two walls, no physical connection from one side to the other)

    - Sheet of sound dampening material between the staggered studs (reducing sound transmission through the airspace)

    - Sealing openings in the walls (electrical boxes, holes for plumbing, gaskets around and under door frame)

    - Special doors, or (less good) a conventional solid door, or (maybe an in-between alternative) a conventional door w/ a sound dampening layer on one side.

    - Dampening material between subfloor and joists, and between ceiling drywall and joists

    - Sound-proofing paint (I've not heard of this stuff before, I am skeptical it does much)

    Since the bathroom is a small space, you can use these techniques without too much additional expense, and just the loss of about 6'' if using staggered studs and double drywall layers.

    http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/index.php?/library/articles/elements_of_room_construction

    http://www.supressproducts.com/soundproofing-articles/Soundproof-Sheetrock.html

    Here is a link that might be useful: Link

  • cj47
    11 years ago

    We have just (almost) completed a renovation of our 1960 ranch home, where there is a powder room located just off the kitchen area. It's original to the house. It was not in the budget to move it, so we just prettied it up, put in a real vent and a more solid door and called it good. It's actually quite a convenient location. If the kids and their friends are hanging out in the rec area in the basement, or are out in the backyard, it's not a long trek through the house to find a bathroom. People don't seem at all hesitant to use it. I don't see it as a problem or a detriment to the area to have it there. Here is the layout of the kitchen area with the location of the powder room.

    cj

  • ideagirl2
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    *Forehead smack* OH! Thank you, CJ47--it had not occurred to me that the toilet could be sideways (i.e. not facing the door) and next to the sink. When I sketch that into my plan, with the toilet on the "bottom" wall (the wall to my basement stairs), it's perfect--it makes room for a wider sink and a better "flow" into the bathroom, as well as putting a barrier between the toilet and the door. It also puts all the plumbing along the same wall, which will no doubt be a bit cheaper and sleeker. Awesome! Total forehead smack moment. Thanks.

  • cjc123
    11 years ago

    Sometimes you just have to do what you can. I think a quiet toilet is a must. My kitchen AND family room were open to the bathroom door. HATED IT! We solved so many problems with a small section of wall installed across from bathroom door, turned the bathroom door to swing into the bathroom, insulated the ceiling and the cavity around the top of the wall/ceiling while the ceiling was ripped out. (Walls were not or I would have insulated them) Hung a solid wood door, and put china hutch against bathroom wall on kitchen side. Installed VERY good fan. As always when we have company I light a candle in the bathroom. Still - when we entertain, most women will scoot upstairs.. ;) Guys don't seem to mind I quess. I love the idea of music in the room! Good luck. I think you have it covered!!

    From Kitchen before and after
    From Kitchen before and after

  • cj47
    11 years ago

    Ideagirl, LOL, You are welcome, but I can't take credit for that layout, it was there when we bought the house! :-p But it does seem to work OK, and gives us a powder room close to the back door and the basement (aka kid's lair).

    Cj