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Bathroom remodel dilema

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Joined: Sep 11 2004

We live in a 4BR/2B Fairglen Eichler (Willow Glen) and are considering remodeling our master bathroom. Our dilema is that we want a larger bathroom, but cannot see how this is possible without expanding partially into the adjacent bedroom, turning it into more of a storage room/bonus room (4x10ft). This would effectively be moving from a 4B to 3BR. There would be no loss in the overall square footage of our home, however I am concerned about how this would affect the resale value. We don't have any plans to move and can see ourselves here for the next 10-15 years. Nevertheless, we are still hestitant.

I would be interested to know if anyone has confrontend the same situation and how you dealt with it. Or if you did a master bathroom remodel without expanding into another room, and are happy with how you were able to maximize the existing space.

Any opinions/advice appreciated. Thanks!

Joined: Apr 2 2003


We might be neighbors--are you on the east or west of Meridian, north or south of Curtner? (I'm east of Meridian, south of Curtner).

There have been a number of bathroom remodels in the Fairglen tract so I'm sure someone will have a suggestion. I think enlarging the bathroom is one of the first things people consider when they buy one of these Eichlers. Since a lot don't follow through, I'm guessing they either find it's not as much of an issue as they thought or just can't justify the expense.

But if you're up for it, I'm sure there are some great ideas out there. It would be useful to know your current model--if you don't know the model number, you might try describing it (flat roof vs. peaked, bonus room vs. multipurpose area, straight out extension table vs. swing).

Mine is a Jones and Emmons off Fairlawn: peaked living room, multipurpose area, straight extension table--model # is 1534. If yours is similar, I have some thoughts that would use the closet area rather than the adjacent bedroom.


eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Mar 22 2003

Welcome to the neighborhood. I am in a courtyard model on Fairlawn.

I am no RE expert, but from what agents have told me, moving from a 4 br to a 3 br would likely affect the resale value of the home. However, there is another school of thought that says so what, if it makes you happy and you plan on living in the house for a long time.

After giving it a lot of thought, we are getting ready to remodel our tiny master bath, but will not be changing the footprint/size or moving any walls. The main reasons for our decision are: 1) to preserve the architectural integrity of the home, and 2) cost and risk. To #1, one of the advantages of Eichler homes, to my way of thinking, is that unlike many other home builders, Eichler used architects and as a result, the homes are not only beautiful, but they are also efficient in space utilization. We could not figure out any possible way, without a great deal of expense and risk (might not like the result) to enlarge the bathroom, probably in part because these homes are so perfect to begin with. (Some may disagree on that point....)

To #2, moving plumbing and heating through the slab is very expensive, as just about anything else involved in making changes to the footprint. I also worry about the risk of unintended consequences and/or potentially not being happy with the result.

In the end, we are trying to get a satisfactory result through the right choice of furniture, fixtures, lighting and easy task.

Just my $0.02.


Joined: Oct 10 2003

I've had the same thoughts and concerns as cathye since moving into our eichler last Oct (OK, I probably got all those thoughts from cathye and others here on the board). I'm curious how one can revamp one of these crowded, tiny master baths without adding space? as it is the shower and toilet barely fit next to each other, and I can barely close the door if I'm in the room!

Are there any specific tips or tricks on making the most of the meager space?

Come to think of it, I recently saw something in Dwell or Sunset about remodelling small bathrooms, and one of the more interesting ideas was to turn the whole room into a wet area, eliminating the need to divide the space with shower door/ curtains. That might be interesting.

Joined: Mar 22 2003


The wet area is an interesting one. I have been considering the idea strongly, but hubby thinks it is dumb. I don't. I think it is very resourceful and consistent with the trend in some baths of eliminating the shower enclosure entirely. One downside of eliminating the enclosure is the potential "draftiness" of taking a shower. Some report that this is not an issue for them, while others report that it is.

Another important choice, IMHO, is the selection of a vanity or surface for the sink. For some neat ideas about this, we went to the Porcelanosa showroom in San Jose. I believe they also have one up the peninsula somewhere. They showed quite a few baths where the furniture was wall mounted, leaving the space underneath entirely open and showcasing the flooring -- ususally tile. What a concept. Vessel sinks are also widely used and help to reinforce the minimalist look so perfect for Eichlers.


Joined: Mar 20 2003

We also considered the wet area approach for a recent bathroom remodel. A few considerations that made us take a different approach:
1) Must be sure that you have proper drainage on the entire area. The floor must slope properly toward the drain. This would likely mean building up parts of the floor before finishing.
2) Requires additional waterproof wall surfacing beyond the bath/shower area due to additional splashing. If you're tiling, you'd need to run tile up the wall beyond the bath/shower enclosure.

If you can accomplish it though, the look is great. Very minimalist. I seem to recall seeing some Eichlers with sunken showers that are very close to the wet area concept.

After passing on the wet-area approach, we went with some wall mounted fixtures/cabinets. It gives a more open feeling to the space - the illusion of a larger room.

Joined: Mar 24 2003

Yes, architects designed the Eichlers. Yes, for the most part they made great decisons and designed beautiful houses. But, please, they were just men, not Gods, and they were not infallible. And in the area of bathroom design they often revealed themselves at their most fallible.

Our hall bathroom was divided into the sink area, with no door to the hallway, and a tiny tub/toilet area that was so small it could only be used uncomfortably by a normal sized individual with the door closed, or comfortably with the door open, which made the lack of a door in the outer area doubly annoying.

Efficient space utilization? perhaps. After living in the house for a decade I decided it was simply a bad design. When we remodeled, we tore out the divding wall, put in a mahogany pocket door to the hall, leaving one reasonably large space instead of two tiny spaces. We then, despite trepidation caused by years of reading posts about how difficult and costly it was, tore up the slab and moved the tub and toilet to sensible locations so that we could give our small children baths without constantly knocking knees and elbows against the toilet. The slab tear out cost about 4k. The entire remodel about 25. (This is the Bay Area) The slab was excavated and replaced in about a week's time. Once you have people who know what they're doing you see it's not so bad.

Anyway, our bathroom is now better and more functional than the original design. Were Claude Oakland to stop by today (alas, he cannot), I would not hesitate to show him how we improved on his design. Original is not always better.

I plan on doing the same thing in the master bath-- Install a small pocket door in the narrow passage between the bedroom and bathroom, tear out the dividing wall between the sink/vanity and shower toilet area, and get a more sensible, larger, integrated bathroom.

Joined: Apr 2 2003

My master bath lines up 3 areas in a roughly 5 3/4' x 13 1/4" south to north. From hallway end of the space: closet, sink area, toilet/shower area. There is a doorway to the bedroom in front of the sink area, but no door.

If I was to remodel:

- in the shower/toilet area, I would remove the shower materials, sheetrock those walls and rotate the toilet so it runs on the diagonal thus creating more space. I would probaly put a small corner sink in the corner opposite the toilet.

- I would leave the sink area as is

- in the closet area, I would tile the entire area floor to ceiling and put a raised (1 or 2 step) tub/shower along the wall that holds the sink. By raising the tub, I'd hope to be able to accomodate drainage lines. By placing the shower head/taps at the end nearest to the sink, I'd hope to take advantage of the drain and water lines already present.

Not sure what building code would allow but I would think this is doable with some professional input. And I would definitely seek the design services of an architect to ensure the drawings are accurate and the design "works".

I'm thinking this could be done for about 15k (less if you do some of the work yourself).

Just thought I'd share what I'd thought about though I have no plans to do this at the moment.

P.S. For closet space, the north outside wall of the bedroom has a 2 1/2' foot inset from the rest of the outside wall. I would push that wall out and create a closet with sliding doors to match the rest of the house. The roof doesn't inset so I wouldn't have to do much there.

eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: May 20 2004

One piece of input on a wet area.
Years ago, travelling in Europe, I stayed in a hotel with a 'wet area'.
Like an EIchler, use of wood was extensive. I took a long shower, only
to discover that the wood of the door and jamb had swollen and the door could not be opened.

Luckily, (or not) my roomie went down to the lobby, hollering 'my friend is stuck in the shower and can't get the door open'. Six men came up to help.

Moral: don't put a tight fitting door outside a wet area...

Joined: Mar 2 2004

You get the award for the best story this month. I'm surprised there were only six men willing to help open the door. Maybe it was a small hotel.


Thank you, everyone. This has been a most interesting thread.

I'm in the middle of a minor addition to my 1951-1952 Eichler. I'm adding two bathrooms to the front of the house. Construction began about a week ago. Due to property line setback, I can only go 5 ft. out. Both bathrooms will have stall showers that step down 2 inches. No doors. Just curtains. Radiant heat via a separate Takagi tankless heater. The front of the house will appear basically the same, though we're slightly increasing the overhang. And we've been able to salvage most of the original redwood siding.

Ongoing pictures of the project can be viewed from my photo set: with more to follow. I'll probably upload some more today.

I have yet to source the cabinets and counter top. And I'm running out of time. It's so hard to find something that will work with the space. I went to Alno... but the lead time was even more ridiculous than the price.

That said, I confess I've already ordered the sinks (white Duravit counter-top vessels in a perfect circle) and appropriate fixtures to go with them. There goes the budget, heh. I know I'm probably breaking some rules by going with vessel sinks, but I'll try my best to not create a monstrosity. :-)

Here's a pic of the basin (photo at left):$File/designvariationen_was_3.jpg

I have the elevations drawn and everything, but after I order the cabinets, and we DO require the storage, I still have to make the final decision on wall and shower stall tile. I'm pretty set on using 18" porcelain ceramic floor tile that I eventually want to run throughout the house. It looks like a fairly neutral limestone but has far better slip resistance than the natural stuff. I'm going to set it as close as possible. I'm half-tempted to use it on the counter top, but hopefully cooler heads will prevail.

Update: I'll probably just use granite for the counters. But I wish I could find granite that looked like soapstone. I'd use soapstone... but I'm afraid it's too soft. Has anyone worked with soapstone counters before?

Joined: Dec 20 2004

I did exactly what AJM described and the extra room is great! The only other thing I did was have a neo angle (45) for the shower door. This gives the Toilet more room too. (Thanks Renman!)

I have seen my neigbor expand out on the back side of the house under the eaves (extra 5ft?) to make a double sink area. This is nice if the back is facing North but the house would be really hot if the back is facing South like mine is :-)

I posted the drawings and pictures at:
Ralph's Yahoo Photos
Select the Eichler Photo album


-- Ralph


Hi Ralph. I like what you did with the shower stall tile. Would you mind telling me what kind you used/dimenions?

Joined: Dec 14 2003

Our master bath had the same remodel performed. There is a pocket door into the enlarged, single compartment bathroom. A bit of space was also swiped from the MBR closet and the shower floor is recessed below the floor.

Joined: Dec 20 2004


The grey tile are 12"x12" and the pan is a 1" mosaic sheet and both are ceramic. The bill states grey/green Salvia 1212 and I got it at the Tileshop. Really. You would also need to get bullnose (rounded on one cornner) and 1/4 round.

-- Ralph


Thank you sir. :)

I think I'll check out the scene at the Tileshop. Thanks for the tip.

Joined: Aug 28 2005

Dear Bradley --

Hi there. My name is Anne and I was interesting in asking you a question about how you like Charleston Meadows as a neighborhood. My email is Thanks, Anne

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