Master Bathroom … Again

Apparently, I don’t like myself very much, I am basing this on all the evidence I have on hand  … and I use the word “evidence” because the master bathroom in my current home is a crime scene. Not an actual crime scene, (although I would not have been surprised to find an amputated finger behind the toilet when I first moved in) but it is definitely the location where an assault has occurred.

(If you need to catch up, start here – Being an Architect is Hell … My New House and Being an Architect is Hell – The Ongoing Descent)

Master Bathroom Floor plan original

So here are the original plans for my Master Bathroom, or should I say, “Master BathROOMS” because technically there are two of them. I should point out before we get into the existing photos, that my house was built completely mirrored from the architectural drawings. When you look at Bath 2, imagine it on the right-hand side and not the left. We should also play a fun game before we get started. Care to guess which bathroom is mine? There aren’t any prizes because if you get it wrong, then I don’t know what to do with you.

I should also address the fact that other than a shower, my wife and I have our own bathroom spaces – which is AMAZING. I will concede that it is unnecessary, but I’m quite sure that it has eliminated the potential friction that could occur when two people are trying to get ready at the same time. I am clearly Bath #2 and my wife is Bath #1 – which is the side with the much larger bath and closet. Am I bitter? Not at all because we both have all the space in the world and I don’t need a bigger closet or bathroom … it’s just more space for fingers to hide.

We had a leak in our shower (surprise … not really) and I demo’d the shower a month or two ago to find out just how bad things were. Since we have no choice but to deal with fixing the shower, this is my opportunity to try and fix as much as I can with all the other things that are bad/wrong with these spaces. Let’s examine the photographic exhibits in the case of Borson v. Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom - Bob

So. Much. Yellow-ish and brown … possibly the two worst colors one could use in a bathroom. And before anyone decides to comment on the painting I have on my wall, my Grandmother painted this painting and I just haven’t figured out where to put it just yet … after three years.

Bob's Master Bathroom

There are so many things wrong with this picture. Has any architect ever in the history of forever specified a flower-petal drop-in sink? The answer is “no”. The texture on the walls is like cake batter, the finish on the cabinets is some sort of faux-finished something or another that wipes off when any attempt at cleaning is attempted. Guess what color comes off when you try to clean it? That’s right, yellow-ish brown, which gives the person cleaning it the impression that someone at some point in the past has urinated all over the cabinets. The will to live diminishes the more you try to clean things.

Bob's Master Bathroom Detail 02

Do you know what you’re looking at in the picture above? Plastic laminate ogee backsplash edge with a little extra “couldn’t be bothered” hanging down below. Nice. Guess what else you are looking at? Plastic laminate put on a particle board substrate that has a drop-in sink … which has become spongy over time with grossness.

Bob's Master Bathroom Detail

This is my mirror. Reflected in the mirror is the pricing bar code for the piece of wood trim used to frame out the mirror. You can’t NOT see this.

Master Bathroom tile layout 01

So this is a look at how the tile intersects at the corner … so close (sarcasm). I am willing to let this slide presuming that when the tile was installed, they did have it originate at the corner or some other reasonable location and the image above is just how the pattern resolved by the time they made it across the room.

Nope.

Every single corner looks exactly like this one. For the life of me, I can’t figure out where the pattern was started – it’s so much more effort to do it the way they did. But since we’ve made our way into the corner, we might as well take a look at what started all of this … the leaky shower.

Master Bathroom shower drain 02

There is such an obvious lack of coordination happening in this shower that it make my face hurt. The drain isn’t centered in the shower – but considering that this is a slab-on-grade foundation, I am willing to concede this bit of oversight. How about that light fixture placement? Clearly, the framer put his joist in the mid-span of the shower and the electrician slapped his light fixture to one side. Heaven help them from wasting a 4′ long piece of wood and dividing this space into third’s so the light could be where every single person everywhere would expect to find it.

Master Bathroom poor shower framing 01

And it gets worse!!! Look at the framing above – there is a new-ish piece of 2x framing sister’d onto what is clearly the original framing. This means that at some point, this shower was rebuilt so this crappy light fixture placement was done TWICE!

Master Bathroom rotted shower framing 03

Here’s a look at the 1/2″ copper lines coming out of the slab … we don’t know really know where the water was coming from for certain but based on the level of rot, clearly, something in this area is a contender. I think that the shower pan failed and we got slow-flow water migration over a period of years. All you have to do to think this is the likely culprit is to look at the state of the framing around the perimeter. You can make an assumption on how high up the wall the shower pan liner extended by looking at the studs – you can see a line where the wood changes color. Did you know that by code, shower liners are to extend a minimum of 2″ higher than the top of the drain – which doesn’t appear to be the case based on the evidence presented in these images.

Master Bathroom rotted shower framing 02

… look at all that icky framing. All of this needs to come out.

Her Master Bathroom

So now we move on to my wife’s side of the bathroom with the exact same color scheme. Look at that semi-recessed tub action in the back! Why did anybody ever think this was a good idea? It’s not a lot of fun turning on the water approximately 7″ above the floor. This thing is a trip hazard and when you do eventually trip, you will most likely put part of your body through the windows as you reach out to brace your fall [wait, when did I become so old?]. The good news is that at least the tub will catch all your blood so at least you won’t have to worry (much) about cleaning that up.

Light fixture placement chaos is happening but I’m not sure if we have the budget to deal with it. Most likely we will remove the heat lamp and move down the road for a bit.

All the problems that I have on my side of the bathroom exist on my wife’s side. Bad wall texture, popcorn ceiling texture, 3-day old urine color scheme … I don’t have an amputation/decapitation tub, that’s unique to her side, but we both had the couldn’t-be-bothered millwork contractor. Mine was just a bit of laziness but what my wife has on her side is something special …

Notch in backsplash

Woah. Isn’t that special? Look at that “the-faucet-doesn’t-fit-just-put-a-notch-in-the-particle-board-plastic-laminate-backsplash-no-one-will-notice” detailing.

My point in showing all of this garbage was not solely to embarrass myself to my peers but ideally introduce you to the beginning of a journey that we are about to begin. I am just like most people out there in that what I want to do doesn’t align with my budget for what I can do. I have to prioritize my needs against my desires and go from there – a process that shockingly started a few weeks after I demolished the shower. For the most part, I like the layout of my bathroom, as does my wife … it’s just horribly constructed and looks like a wino assembled the color palette. The light quality is nice and I like having the skylights in the bathroom far more than I would have anticipated and starting with good quality daylight makes everything else a bit easier.

Next up for me is to work through material options and cabinet layouts. We aren’t planning on doing any structural changes or reconfiguring the space at this point so, for the most part, this is an exercise in budget management. The trick for me is to add some of the clever detail touches that I like to work into every single one of my projects.

If there is anything special or of particular interest you would like me to include as we go through this renovation just let me know and I’ll assemble the documentation as we move along.

Wish me luck1! Cheers,

Bob signature FAIA

1 if you rubbed two Leprechauns together while sliding down a rainbow on the back of a unicorn while listening to Tom Jones – that’s the sort of luck I need.


Source: Life of an Architect