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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Bath Advice: Can I do wet area with bath & shower?

Cat S.February 15, 2013
We are moving into a Victorian that desperately needs a bathroom remodel (see disastrous stucco shower). It's the home's only bathroom, so we're nervous about not having a bath and shower for resale value. What we're thinking is this:
-Remove the vanity and use that extra space for a combined tub/shower "wet area" with a curb similar to the attached images from houzz.
-Take out the clawfoot tub which is rusted and in poor shape anyway, and use that area for a vanity plus storage (typical of a Victorian the house and bathroom have little to no storage or closet space).

The bathroom is 5' 6.75" x 13' 6". There is a window on the wall opposite the sink and toilet that cannot move. Do you think that there would be room for a combined bath and tub web area? If not, do you think that we must do a combined bathtub/shower in order to have resale appeal, or can we get away with just a modern, really nice tiled shower area?

Pickering · More Info
|| C O B U R N - A R C H I T E C T U R E || · More Info
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What's beyond the curtain? Is that the shower? How wide is the room?

how long are you planning to stay in this house, if it's likely to be 5 years or more, do YOU want a bath and a shower?

Is there anything obvious that will make it tricky to move major sanitary ware?
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 4:28AM
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Cat S.
Beyond the curtain is the very weird stucco shower stall, which is 33" wide. The shower stall's half walls are probably about 6" deep, so you're looking at a 39" depth and 5'6" wide to work with before you reach the vanity, which is 30" wide.

This is not our "forever" home, and so you bring up a good question. As we will most likely move in 5-7 years, resale value should probably be there. I'm imagining that the "wet area" combined bath/shower will be exorbitantly more expensive than just a bath shower combo, so the more I think about it, we should probably just do a bathtub/shower combo, something like the attached image...
Contemporary high rise · More Info
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 4:45AM
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Given that this is the only bathroom in the house, it would be wise to have it as a tub / shower combo for resale.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 5:49AM
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You are definitely right - the weird stucco shower business has to go, but you could probably achieve more of the wet-room look than you realise, but without having to fully waterproof the world. Here are some ideas which shouldn't break the bank.

Get rid of the stucco walls and replace the shower area with something much more open and modern looking. With glass doors for showers, you usually get what you pay for, and it's worth paying more for a thicker grade of glass (at least 8mm).

This company does some great good-looking products for recessed showers and corner showers, but I'm not sure whether they sell in the US:


You are lucky enough to have plenty of room in there to have both a shower and a bath, there's no reason to put the shower over the bath as far as I can see.
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 6:40AM
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Interiors International, Inc.
I have been doing bath remodels and in that few years more people are choosing large showers instead of tubs. It seems to be the consent that great showers are more important. Although most of those clients are older. I am thinking of putting my big spa tub on Craig's list( it hasn't been installed yet) to add more floor space and larger vanity. The shower is already huge. I was told by my real estate agent that it would not hurt the resale value if I would ever choose to sell.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 6:50AM
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Cat S.
Thanks for the input, gingerclaire and Interiors International. I'm still wavering back and forth about whether or not to do both a shower and deep tub (which we would almost never use), but you both seem to indicate that a shower alone might be fine.

Of course, we could also always do a standard depth tub over shower combo. We are planning on having a family, so I suppose a tub might be necessary, but growing up, my parents always bathed us in the utility sink (no stooping over!) until we were the age that showering with supervision was fine.

Lots of food for thought!
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 8:49AM
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Hi Cat,

In answer to your initial question, yes, you definitely have enough room for both a tub and separate shower. With 13'6 length of the room, you could have the following 36" tub, 42" shower, 30" toilet, leaving you 54" for the vanity. These numbers could be tweaked to your preference of course.

I really like the idea of a combined wet zone, and because you have the space for both, I think it makes much more sense than a typically tub/shower combination or shower only. As you know, it will cost more, but not substantially if you keep the tub and fixture costs sensible. Waterproofing that whole area is not going to cost substantially more, because the majority is related to the shower.

There is additional drain work and of course extra tile etc, but if you did a shower only you'd still be paying more for a longer vanity and counter etc.

- Steve
1 Like    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:00AM
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My two cents since it's the only bath in the house is to work a tub in there. People with kids want a tub. There have been other threads on tub in the master bath and the consensus is always a great shower is enough if there's a tub elsewhere. Since there's no other bath in yours I think you need the tub.
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:23AM
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S. Thomas Kutch
Combined wet area (tub and shower) if you're leaning towards keeping a tub.....you've got the room. Or, you could just go with a shower and make accommodations for bathing small children as part of the shower design with some creative thinking.

I'm finding more and more clients who are foregoing the tub component for a larger shower (2 person) with the bells and whistles........

Either will be a plus when it comes to resale.........I'm seeing the notion of a tub as a must for resale slowly fading.
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Linda Peterson
I must speak up for tub lovers everywhere. It is a joy of life to have a relaxing spa tub or even soaking tub and I would never buy a home with out a tub and I know there are a lot of us out there. Don't risk losing potential buyers in the future by going shower only. The "wet area" sounds wonderful and a great asset to the home.
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:59AM
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I like the wet room idea too. Think about having a vanity large enough for two sinks. Your tub is lovely so maybe you could have it refinished. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,197046,00.html
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 10:36AM
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Highly suggest having a tub for resale. Also, with removing the bathtub, you would have the space to fit a double vanity and being that this is the only bathroom I think that would be the way to go. Not sure what your style is? I'm thinking a great double vanity with tons of storage and a matching cabinet.
    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:15PM
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S. Thomas Kutch
Linda is right.... and for those who love tubs and soaking, the tub is a big decider. Tub lovers won't even look at a house usually that doesn't have a tub. But, with that said, I think that group is highly over calculated and this is one of those Realtor notions that is becoming a moot point in today's hectic world. A tub that sits there and is used maybe once or twice in a quarter of the year is not a great factor in deciding whether or not to buy for most people. For every person I've heard say that a tub was a deal breaker, I've heard or had a dozen others say if you hadn't asked. I would have forgotten all about that tub...... that's how much it's used.

I think you need to evaluate the typical buyer in your neighborhood........what are they buying, what is their demographic make up..........young families just starting out with a toddler or one on the way,, young professionals without kids and no plans for kids in the near future........how close are you to an elementary school or is it a middle school or high school that you're closest too.......or, like us, are you in a University district?

In today's economic environment it is ridiculous and just bad marketing to assume that the old "shot gun" spread pattern is a wise decision........meaning throw every element out there and it's bound to sell. That's just not cost effective now.......times are and have changed, specific buyer groups are looking for specific items. One size fits all is no longer the guiding theory..... it was this thinking that gave us the endless track houses where you quite possible had 4 identical models on the same street..............this worked when it was a seller's market, not so good when it's a buyer's market..

I think you need to determine what's best for you right now........what meets your needs or wants for your life style here and now..........five or ten years down the road, there may not be a market period. There could be extenuating forces that drastically alter our current concepts of housing.

And when it does come time to sell, you target specific demographics that would be most likely to purchase your house making your efforts the most efficient and effective.........businesses learned this marketing strategy years ago.... that's why you see Viagra adds in golfing mags and not so much in Teen Beat mags......

Just my 2 cents and I'll gladly give you a penny in change back if you want.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Cat S.
All good ideas here. I think the consensus is that we're going to have to have a tub. Our neighborhood is a gentrifying one with lots of young families (like us). While I'd personally rather bathe a child in a sink without a doubt, I know I'm in the minority! Now on to getting some quotes and seeing whether or not the "wet area" is something we can afford, or whether we go with a shower over bath. Either way, you've all convinced me that getting rid of the clawfoot (which is too short for an adult to soak in anyway...) and selling it at the historic salvage yard will not only make us happier, but open up a ton of space for vanity, storage, etc.
Thank you all for the excellent advice!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:02AM
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Something to think about: if you can find room to put in a small powder room with just sink and toilet, you can alleviate part of the morning or evening traffic jams. If it is near the main bathroom, you will save money when installing plumbing for the two together.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:48AM
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Cat S.
Just as an FYI--we decided to go with the combined shower wet area with bath and shower. I think it's going to look great! We just started the demo job, which convinced me more than ever that we'd made the right decision--they found that the toilet had been leaking and had almost fallen through the floor. Plus, the shower wasn't installed correctly and probably caused leaking as well. So happy we make the splurge--though it will be pricey, it will be worth it! I'll post photos once the space is completed.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:23PM
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If you are wanting to start a family, you'll need that tub while you're pregnant to relax your poor aching back!
    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Cat S.
I will post more images as soon as everything is done, but I wanted to post a small reveal photo of the bathroom that this community helped us make a decision about. The before and after are below! I'll post more photos as soon as it is done. Thank you, thank you for all of your input!
2 Likes    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 6:52PM
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Dramatic transformation, you must be thrilled with the outcome!
1 Like    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:06PM
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Cat S., the new glass wall and door are much better! Much more open feeling! Congrats.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 3:09AM
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Cat S.
Thank you both! We'll post more pics soon!
    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 4:28PM
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