Space – How much can I have? The next step is to find out more about the space that is available for this new bathroom. Is it restricted to the existing bathroom footprint? Can you remove the linen closet and use that space in a different way? Do you really use the whirlpool tub? Can you use an adjacent closet, a coat closet or part of the adjacent bedroom? Empty nesters may be very willing to give up a bedroom to make a new master bath. Master baths with all the amenities can take up a lot of space in a hurry. Look at all the options. Be creative and think outside the “box”.
Now look at the room(s) available. Are there windows that will dictate the design? Is there a finished or unfinished basement below? Is there a crawl space below? How much access is there to the plumbing and electricity and HVAC? What is above? An attic, or a finished room? In a two story home, it is likely that the baths are stacked. Note this and start to think about the waste lines and supply lines (waste lines are by far more important and more difficult to re-configure). What walls do you think the waste lines are coming down? Are the walls thicker than the normal walls in the house?
Other questions to ask yourself are whether the existing configuration is a good one. Does it fit your new needs? Is it safe, efficient, attractive, comfortable, inviting? How much natural light is there?
[Tip: An easy way to get light into a bath with little or no natural light is by using a light tunnel. Velux Sun Tunnel skylight and SolaTube make easy ones to install and they work fantastically. Of course you’ll need attic space above the room in question.]
If you are going to use an adjacent room, then you need to look at what is bearing on the wall(s) to be removed. If they are bearing, then you will have to put in a beam to support the load. Most of my clients would rather see no evidence that a wall has been removed. In other words, they want a flush ceiling, which means you have to cut the joists apart and install an in-ceiling beam. It’s not that hard, but there is a definite technique to doing this. I suggest you use a qualified remodeler to do this.