A Disturbing Bathroom Renovation Trend To Avoid



Today, we are going to look at a bathroom renovation and what I’m recommending.

And especially, not recommending.

And yes, please be warned that this one is pretty snarky, but not without provocation!

Sometimes I feel it’s just as important to talk about what not to do as what we should do. Because there’s a lot out there that’s not good. At least, that’s what I think.

By the way… Remember our open-concept one-bedroom apartment renovation run amok? There’s an open-house tomorrow. I hope the realtor brings a book or something.


For an apartment bathroom renovation, it’s pretty simple. I would stick with something that coordinates with the kitchen.


Most apartment bathrooms are quite tiny, so there’s only room for a small vanity, shower/tub and toilet.

Can you put in a pedestal or console sink?


I love them both and they are each appropriate to a large number of styles both modern and traditional.

However, logically, unless there’s some other way you can get in some substantial storage, I would not advise that.



That works! Great bathroom!

(please make note of the door to the bathroom. We’re getting to that.)

between the studs storage bathroom

Remember when we were discussing Unkitchens and storage and there were some great ideas for in between the studs storage? Well, that might be an option for a small bathroom.


There are a few other things that I would avoid in a small apartment bathroom renovation.


  • Avoid gaps between the vanity and tub. I have that and it’s very annoying because stuff falls in there and is very difficult to get out.
  • Vanities with legs are great, but what would be even better is if there is a kick plate, a few inches back so that stuff that fell in on the sides doesn’t accumulate underneath the vanity.
  • I recommend a bathtub/shower combination, even if you’re not a bath person, it’s better for resale.
  • Most of the time it’s really best to stick with white for fixtures and tile, unless the style of your home definitely dictates something else.


Please learn from history.



This one scares me.

retrorenovation blue 50s bathroom renovation

There is actually a trend to recreate these vintage bathrooms.

Fine if you live in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) New York.

Otherwise, I don’t recommend that.

Both images via: Retro Renovation

  • In addition don’t feel that you have to add a tile border for some “color” or “interest.” IMO, it usually looks too busy, too dumb and can also be limiting.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 5.17.55 PM

This bathroom would be far more elegant, IMO without the busy border.

If you want to see some color, paint the walls, put up art, towels, A vase, if there’s room, pretty bottles, etc.

But here’s the disturbing bathroom renovation trend that has left me immensely bothered and bewildered. (but definitely not bewitched)


The Open Concept Bedroom/Bathroom


I mean like the poo pot is IN the area that is used for SLEEPING.


AND the shower, bathtub.

Water, water everywhere…

bathroom renovation mistake

And the results…

(BTW, if one of these bathrooms happens to be yours and you feel highly insulted. That’s perfectly understandable. Just kindly ask me to take it down and I will. )



There are just some things I like to do in private. Ya know?

You have to see the rest of this place. It’s pretty wild!


A bathtub headboard?

“Oh honey. Sorry. Did I wake you? Here’s a towel.” haha.


It appears that folks who like to put up mega-expensive frameless glass (and unsafe, in this case since you can’t see it) walls, also don’t like to put up window coverings.




Is that the living room in the background?


This is getting out of hand.

This one reminds me of a diorama at the Museum of Natural History.



For the love of…

I understand that it doubles as a hyperbaric chamber.

But really. Could we get a little ventilation in there?


Undoubtedly, this trend may have started in some boutique hotel trying to be different.




But as I always say. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

However, it’s not just contemporary/modern bathroom renovations that have been invaded by the open-concept en suite loo.



There’s the bathtub footboard on blocks competing with the gorgeous mantel. Why?

richard powers photography open concept bathroom renovation

This one’s covering up the fireplace.Β  Okay, maybe the FP doesn’t work. But why can’t we at least have a lovely drape to close if necessary? Or bi-fold opaque glass French doors?

6.6 million bathroom in bedroom

Same here. And no. There isn’t a pocket door because the wall isn’t thick enough to accommodate that. Love the French doors. Drapes?

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 5.19.31 PM

Such a gorgeous room but what IS that thing?

This is reminding me of something.

Who remembers the Leave It To Beaver Coffee Cup Episode?

leave it to beaver coffee cup


Are they any situations where an open concept bathroom works?


Rarely and really, can we at least have a separate WC?

That is IN a closet?

With a door?

But here are a few pretty cool, open concept bedrooms with a bathtub.



This one feels genuinely like it was always like this.


Great colors and at least they put in a sliding garage door. ;]

There are some elements that I love here and some that confound me. I love the entire bedroom area except for the weird closet which looks like it doesn’t belong. It’s also butting up against the drapery which is a no-no.

If they had actually put up a wall or left it as it was, (parallel with the window wall) they could’ve put in a closet. I find the positioning of the shower stall very strange as well.

The block pattern floor is cool, but I think it’s too much to run it up the wall.

A lot of these bathroom issues could be solved with opaque glass doors. Then, light could come in and it would be architecturally lovely, I think.


I think this one works because of the opaque glass doors, the drapes. And the shower stall feels integrated and jewel-like. Very pretty!


Happy summer!



  • Sylvia - June 5, 2017 - 3:14 AM

    “Avoid gaps between the vanity and tub. I have that and it’s very annoying because stuff falls in there and is very difficult to get out”

    This is something that has happened in my bathroom as well..lol

    Thanks for the suggestions will keep that in mind when I renovate my bathroom.

    I have heard a lot of cheap wood effect tiles..are they good in bathroom?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 5, 2017 - 10:20 AM

      Hi Sylvia,

      I am not familiar with cheap wood effect tiles. Doesn’t sound very good to me.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth R. Nero - March 1, 2017 - 9:58 PM

    Very disturbing styles. I wonder, how did the owner like this in the first place. Thanks for sharing this entertaining yet disturbing bathroom ideas.ReplyCancel

  • Zequek Estrada - December 7, 2016 - 4:44 PM

    That vintage pink bathroom is quite scary and the blue one reminds me of the bathrooms of the elementary school I went to. Vintage is cool, but I don’t really like that type of design for this type of room. I’d prefer something more modern with a glass shower encloser.ReplyCancel

  • Bella Vici - November 21, 2016 - 10:40 AM

    Ha! You crack me up! The tile border thing drives me BANANAS! It’s like every installers go to suggestion. It’s cool mr. tile installer, let me handle the design!ReplyCancel

  • Marisa Hawk - October 29, 2016 - 1:12 PM

    Loved this post – the Natural History Museum pic made me laugh out loud.

    When I saw the picture of that – what is it – pink red bathroom it reminded me of the guest bath in a not to be named family member’s home ( I stay there often). It is painted high gloss, bold teal. There are no windows, only florescent lighting.

    The color is everywhere, including the wall opposite the mirrors. The teal reflecting off of the mirrors makes my skin look terrible (zombie) and throws off how my make-up looks when applying, the color of my clothes, etc. The comment above – form follows function – is SO true. Can’t imagine how one would appear in that red pink bathroom!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 29, 2016 - 1:37 PM

      Hi Marisa,

      Oh my stars! That sounds positively dreadful! I guess sometimes people live with something for so long, they stop noticing it. Or, they just don’t care.ReplyCancel

  • Suzan Halterman - October 10, 2016 - 12:15 PM

    My bathroom looks like that all blue tile bathroom. I even have a blue toilet and tub. I want to get it remodeled. It would be a big change for me. I’ll have to avoid getting any wood floors put in. I do not want them to get warped.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - July 18, 2016 - 4:40 PM

    Haha, the first time I saw the tub in the bedroom I assumed the homeowner was on drugs. No designer in their right mind would ever do such a thing. Now I have seen it too many times to believe it is just crazy homeowners. I can’t imagine why anyone would want a bath tub never mind a toilet in the bedroom! I think the open concept living has jumped the shark.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 18, 2016 - 9:58 PM

      Hi Linda,

      As I was researching this post, I was gobsmacked by how much of this is out there. Thanks for stopping by!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Davis - July 2, 2016 - 7:51 AM

    Dear Laurel,
    Thanks for posting this timely ‘trend’…..hopefully that is all it is……I try to abide by the concept of form follows function.
    We hope to change out our ancient fiberglass tub/shower combos in our house next year. Sticking with the idea pretty basic tile. I love the idea of the tile borders/contrast, but know in my heart of hearts that the tile work will be basic and simple and that can translate to quite economical…..Thanks again for reminding us of good design options versus What were they thinking.
    And no one has mentioned the noise and the environment of odors that is created in any bathroom…..great post!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Johanson - June 29, 2016 - 12:08 PM

    I am with you 100% on this post Laurel! A bathtub headboard? A clawfoot tub at the foot of the bed? I don’t think soooooooo!

    This is why waterbeds went the way of the dinosaur! Water in the bedroom is just not right! (Unless it is in a glass on the bedside table!)

    PS I love the idea of putting a storage niche between studs. We are in the midst of renovating our bathrooms and our master bath is tiny. I just may use that idea!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 29, 2016 - 6:30 PM

      Hi Diane,

      I love that idea too and have never done it but then again I’ve never had a client with a very small home with no storage.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - June 28, 2016 - 11:26 AM

    My daughter came back from a visit with old school friends in upstate Vermont and reported that [almost] every one she visited had an open concept bedroom/bath combo. We thought it must be some back country quirk. Oops, show how plebean WE are! Can’t imagine living that way (unless, of course, the bedroom was just for me).
    You are a hoot and I live for your posts.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2016 - 8:21 PM

      Hi Alice,

      Thanks so much. Really appreciate your comment especially because I’m having such nightmares with my site.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Savage - June 27, 2016 - 8:08 AM

    LOL! You are a creative genius Laurel–not just with your interiors but also with your words. This was another fun post–thanks! As a designer can you imagine working with these clients in the ‘discovery’ phase of their program? What do you think was on their mood boards (snicker, snicker)ReplyCancel

  • christina - June 27, 2016 - 7:16 AM

    I guess I’m not on trend! I just finished designing a house in which the master suite has a separate bedroom, bathroom and closet – each with it’s own, closable door. And, I’ve put in a toilet closet within the bathroom. Rooms in a master suite need privacy! Plus, I didn’t let the designer put in any accent tile in the showers. She was heartbroken:)ReplyCancel

  • Lora - June 26, 2016 - 11:06 PM

    You are the voice of reason Laurel! I learned many years ago that the secret of a happy marriage is separate bathrooms. I never shared a bathroom with my husband, I used the kids’ bathroom. Now we are building our retirement home and we will have our own bathrooms – with doors. I had to chuckle because I read about a famous actress (initials JF), who had glass walls between bed and bath because her husband at the time said a husband and wife should not have any secrets between them; yikes, where’s the mystery?
    About accents – some well-placed color combinations can be lovely and classic – think crema marfil with dark emperador marble, or white with black. I have seen some very high end homes with beautiful marble combinations that I think are timeless if the patterns are well designed. Thanks for the “heads” up.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 11:49 PM

      Hi Lora,

      Well… we’re veering into a different blog topic altogether. There are secrets and then there are SECRETS, if you get my drift… the devastating kind. Separate toilets is the least of it. :/

      And that’s all I have to say about that…

      Best wishes for your new home!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - June 26, 2016 - 8:38 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    After reading your usually witty and informative post, I was compelled to leave a comment, and WOW, you have a lot of readers, girlfriend! Just wanted to say the gorilla diorama made me laugh out loud. HA HA. I have never been a fan of the open concept either, unless you live in a teeny tiny apartment in NYC or San Francisco where every inch is so precious and expensive. I’m not really a fan of these enormous mansions that people are building either, even if they have the means. To me, they no longer feel like a home, but a commercial space. I just can’t imagine living in one of those spaces. I would feel like my house owned me, and I didn’t own my house. I’m more of a small cottage like house with a garden kind of girl. Oh well, to each his own. Vive la difference!

    Lisa D.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:11 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      Yes, I do have a lot of readers, and wonderful people too! But it took a while for folks to BEGIN to find me. Like at least 2 years and then it began to build steadily for which I’m grateful.

      I’m with you on all counts. Have to say I love high ceilings but actually prefer smallish rooms. Those ginormous cavernous entries with balconies everywhere will never be warm and cosy.

      And it has nothing to do with the size of the home. I’ve been in some huge homes that have a human scaled welcoming entry. It’s so much more gracious, IMO.ReplyCancel

  • Faxon - June 26, 2016 - 8:37 PM

    Thanks for posting this- I had no idea this was “a thing.” It is a completely insane gross thing. It conflicts with basic human evolved behavior, IMO. I am a retired architect (no residential experience) and I love glass and modern style, but this is silly and disgusting. I do love the wall mounted toilets- I have always wondered why they were expected in the building types I worked on, but at home, I am down on my knees cleaning a maze of porcelain bulges and the joint around the floor. Which brings me to another reason to have a door on a bathroom: I believe in cleanliness, but these rooms seem to require a professional crew in everyday to keep them absolutely spotless, as if they are never used, or the entire space will look appalling. Love your blog!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:01 PM

      Hi Faxon,

      I’m with you on the toilet cleaning difficulties. I think there are some these days with a better design… but still… And yes, that’s another thing with all very open design. Everything is on display. There’s no place to escape if you live with others. It’s just not cozy. But it’s great for “entertaining.”

      There’s something about that word that feels like grit under my fingernails. ReplyCancel

  • Peg Schaffer - June 26, 2016 - 3:04 PM

    My images loaded immediately, thank you very much.
    The images are beautiful and disturbing all at the same time.
    Privacy. It’s a good thing!
    Thanks for your post! Well done!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 4:50 PM

      Oh, glad they loaded for you Peg. Some browsers aren’t having any issues. Hopefully, it’ll be all sorted out very soon. Thanks for letting me know!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - June 26, 2016 - 3:02 PM

    Hysterical post! The first time I ever saw a master bath without a door was in Denver CO. It was a new house at the time (mid-80s) designed and built by an architect for himself. I was horrified, being from Alabama. (At least the backyard privvy had a door! Ha.) At any rate, aside from the potty being out in full view in some of the photos, the rest of them look like hotel rooms that are meant for ONE THING. I went to a wake a few years ago, and the only bathroom in the house was between the two bedrooms. There were no doors anywhere! Not even to the bedrooms which were connected to LR and DR with no doors! I posted my husband at one opening but I kept my eye on the other.. . So weird. No one living in the house was in a wheel chair, so I could not see the reason for this. It was a fairly new house, too. People are weird, all right.ReplyCancel

  • Joyce - June 26, 2016 - 2:25 PM

    P.S. In my eagerness to discuss tile, I forgot to add a comment about those open-concept bedroom/bathroom combos! I think “uh, no” pretty much sums it up. πŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • Joyce - June 26, 2016 - 2:17 PM

    Another wonderful post, Laurel! My husband and I are almost done with our master bath renovation. We worked with an architect (My husband’s sister), but I pretty much acted as the designer. (I know. You probably frown on such homeowner behavior. lol) Anyway, I decided early on that I didn’t want one of those garish contrasting tile borders but instead chose a border (two borders in the shower area actually)that’s the same color as the field tile but in a different shape. So gorgeous creamy white satin-matte handmade subway tile for the field, creamy white satin-matte handmade square motif tiles (Pratt and Larson) for the borders. The field tile isn’t Pratt and Larson because, well, we’re not wealthy! I must say, it looks lovely. But did I ever have to fight with all the nice tile studio people to defend my choice! They said my monochromatic look would be “boring.” Nuh-uh!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 2:23 PM

      Hi Joyce,

      Thanks so much!

      Some people have an innate knack for design and you sound like one of them. You did have help when it came to the technical stuff. As for the aesthetic issue with the tile folks.


      And drives me nuts–especially when it is me specifying and they tell my client that their choice is going to be “boring.” Good for you, sticking to your guns!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - June 26, 2016 - 12:35 PM

    I would never be able to take care of business in a glass cubicle toilet! And how extremely unromantic to watch one’s partner sitting on the can before coming to bed! No thank you.

    The open bathroom (well, in our case, the sinks are open and next to the bed, but the toilet and shower are enclosed with a separate door) is the thing I hate most about the apartment I currently live in. Maybe I’m weird, but I hate washing up with my boyfriend (fiance, now, actually) lying right next to me on the bed. I like privacy when I take care of personal hygiene, and I prefer not to see his nighttime routine, either.

    I look forward to the day when I live in a home with enough bathrooms so that I can claim one as entirely my own.

    Love this post, those bizarre bathroom/bedrooms are a hoot!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:42 PM

      Hi Michelle,

      Here, here to privacy and one’s very own bathroom!ReplyCancel

  • JD - June 26, 2016 - 12:32 PM

    Have you been stalking my FB feed or something!?

    My husband and I have now stumbled across TWO houses in our area with the bathroom in the middle of the master bedroom! The first one at least put the toilet in its own closet… sort of. The closet was SMALLER than an airplane lavatory. I kid you not- we were trying so hard not to be disrespectful and laugh, but a child wouldn’t be able to sit on the toilet without banging their knees against the door.

    The second time we found one, the toilet was FACING THE BED. As in, this toilet was four feet away and pointed toward the bed like a couch might face a television. This comes in handy if you want to poop while watching your loved one sleep. HOW CONVENIENT.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:41 PM

      Hi JD,

      Lol, no. I stay off of FB as much as possible, which means I only check it six times a day. haha!

      That’s crazy time. I am sure I would be laughing and embarrassing my husband– well, wasband now.ReplyCancel

    • JD - June 26, 2016 - 12:41 PM

      By the way- my husband and I have been house-hunting for a new home. Thought I’d clarify that in case someone thought we had a habit of popping up in random folks’ homes to check out their bathroom situations.

      Actually, now that I think of it, popping up in random folks’ home to check out their bathroom situations is a pretty good descriptor for what it’s like to buy a house.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:43 PM

        haha JD. I gathered that you were house hunting. Of course, being in my profession, I’ve seen a LOT of homes and yes, some pretty interesting situations!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Silverman - June 26, 2016 - 12:14 PM

    What a funny post…I had my first real laugh on this beautiful Sunday morning. Thanks for that! I’m all for privacy especially in the bathroom…somethings are just meant to be kept sacred! But can you imagine my horror when we booked a cruise on the Norwegian Epic, a few years back, only to find out that the shower and separate toilet area, which is located right when you open the stateroom door, are only clad in translucent glass. There was a curtain that you can pull on the side where the bed was, thank the heavens above, but nothing was really soundproof or sightproof especially if you were entering the room. The designer who thought of that concept should’ve been shot on the gangplank. Hopefully they’ve seen the error and renovated. It was a very talked about subject while I was on that cruise lol.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:37 PM

      Hi Susan,

      Yes, shot on the gangplank, is right! What were they not thinking? ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - June 26, 2016 - 12:07 PM

    Yes! I intensely dislike open concept homes. I don’t want to live in one big room. I like separation. Am I the only one who needs to get away from loved ones occasionally? I won’t even get started on those bathrooms. Finally, I am thrilled to hear that you agree with me; I hate those tile borders in showers, kitchens, etc. I find they just make things look too busy. Another amazing post. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:36 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      No, you are not the only one who needs to get away. I am actually an extroverted introvert or ambivert. I need my alone time, although these days, I often have too much of it. Still, if I don’t have it, I get very crabby and tired.

      My bathroom came with a border. Kind of beige and brown and I hated it, so I painted it–lightly. I’m not joking. It’s more like a tint and now looks gray and is much better.ReplyCancel

      • michi - June 30, 2016 - 10:02 AM

        Hi Laurel,
        I was just reading more of the repsonses to your public service announcement and was delighted to read about an ambivert, I always thought I was an extrovert as I love socializing, but it exhausts me. Which means I am really an introvert. But now I can embrace my ambiness. I learn so much from you! And best of all, you make me laugh – in a good way.

        I wonder what percentage of people like this open concept ablution lifestyle? Have you heard from them?

        • Laurel Bern - June 30, 2016 - 9:15 PM

          Hi Michi,

          I think a lot of people are both. I like to socialize but alas my social director died. I’m really not kidding. My dear friend Elaine who died last year was so good about making all kinds of arrangements.

          It doesn’t come naturally to me, but I do like to be with people.

  • Jenny - June 26, 2016 - 11:42 AM

    Yes..while house hunting we encountered two houses like that..everything is nice, cool, recently remodeled, but then it’s no door between the bedroom and the bathroom AND no door between the toilet and the rest of the bathroom. I was perplexed)) I thought maybe a cultural thing? But one owner was from Northern Europe, and another one-from India..

    I liked both houses by the way, they had many redeeming qualities. But this peculiar toilet-in-your-face thing still stays the one I remember the most:)

    Here I must add that we have this open plan master suite in our old place, and will have a pretty similar in our new place. But. The toilet stays in the closet. Overall I think it should always stay in a separate closet, door or no door. Why to have master suite then if both people can’t use it simultaneously?
    Of course there is always a question of square footage..we insisted on a separate closet for a toilet( which we would insist on, again, door or no door), and then drawing a plan took couple weeks instead of a day..
    I don’t exaggerate.
    Of course we also wanted a shower AND a bathtub..)) And a step to the bathtub. And a bench in she shower. That was much more about needs than wants, but needs take space too.

    And they (by “they” I mean the GC and team) screwed up the measurements a bit anyway when framing..
    So I’m really afraid about the end result. For now looks real cute..but has a potential to turn into my nightmare. It was thought out well..and then the life interfered!

    So I’ll be honest-I got really frightened when I saw your post..)))))

    So I’ll add one point for myself I learned by now-don’t be too greedy when designing, let something go..ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:31 PM

      Hi Jenny,

      I love your last sentence and actually I think it applies to everything in life. Partners, friends, kids, work– you name it.

      Interestingly, I’ve never lived in a home with a separate WC in any bathroom. But my homes are my childhood small ranch with a bath and a half and then everything else has either been an apartment or a townhouse.

      But even so… it’s not overwhelmingly common even with many of my clients with large homes to have a separate WC–even in newer construction. Sometimes, but not always.ReplyCancel

  • joyce - June 26, 2016 - 11:03 AM

    another trend that we are seeing is the use of far too many different materials. We were just hired to furnish a house that our clients purchased, a newly renovated 1929 Spanish, could have been a stunner, bungalow. This is most egregious speculation remodel I have ever seen. The developers used 9 different materials (4 different tiles, 2 types of marble and 3 different woods) in just ONE 5 x 7 bathroom. The other bathrooms all have different motifs. It goes down hill from here. The worst part is that the client won’t change any of the finishes because it is new and they paid top dollar. – had to vent, knew you would understand!

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:27 PM

      Hi Joyce,

      Oh man, I do, I do! And I’ve had to reign in clients before who start to go down that path. I tell them as I have on this blog that a room is a composition and that not everyone can be the star of the show! Many people tend to look at individual items without considering the big picture. And that’s when they get into trouble.

      Of course, if one has a client who’s already done or bought a place with this mess, it makes our job all the more difficult. Sometimes, too difficult and I won’t take the job. ReplyCancel

  • Sage - June 26, 2016 - 10:28 AM

    Laurel, thank you for your always timely advice… I’m chomping at the bit to do some much needed work in our master bath. Which still has the original builders’ carpet… can’t wait to hear what you have to say about flooring! I know tile is an easy choice but our bedroom/bath is above the garage so the floor is very cold in winter and not at all level.
    Another issue for is is the ‘almost-open’ concept where there isn’t any sort of door between the vanity and bedroom, and the shower is just around the corner from that, in an L-shape layout. this obviously is a problem if one person is up earlier than the other. What’s your preferred solution??
    Keep the amazing advice and images coming, love your blog!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:23 PM

      Hi Sage,

      Sounds like you need some professional advice. Maybe some insulation and a better layout/design of your space– if that’s all doable for you.ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - June 26, 2016 - 10:10 AM

    They are even doing this is some ordinary tract homes.

    My mother’s house had no door between the master bedroom and the master bath – just a wide opening. They ended up extending the wall so they could put a door in.

    I did know a couple who build a log house in the mountains and purposely had a half wall between their master bedroom and master bath. I thought it was bizarre. The wall came up to your waist.ReplyCancel

  • Jo - June 26, 2016 - 10:01 AM

    Oh, sweet Jesus, ya’ll!!!! I wouldn’t even let Korean actor Ji Jin Hee poop in front of me. What’s next — public restrooms with no stalls? Not going to happen here in the South where manners and modesty rule.ReplyCancel

  • Shawna - June 26, 2016 - 9:51 AM

    I hate the open to bedroom bathroom in our house. The WC is tucked behind a wall. I put up some nice thick curtains so they can be shut to provide privacy. It has worked quite well thus far, but I consider it a short term solution until we are ready to renovate it. The bathroom itself has a poor layout. I’m considering removing the jetted tub altogether to get a double vanity and a larger luxury shower. There is a tub/shower in our guest bathroom.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:19 PM

      That sounds terrific Shawna. I used to take baths, on occasion, but the reason I haven’t in a while definitely goes under the category of TMI. lolReplyCancel

  • Leah - June 26, 2016 - 9:30 AM

    I don’t like open concept at the best of times and certainly not for a bathroom. I don’t even understand how men can line up in a row at urinals in public restrooms! IMO, all public restrooms should have stalls with walls and doors that go from ceiling to floor. For one thing, it would eliminate all the hoopla over which bathroom transgender people should use.
    An architect friend of a friend recently ripped out all the walls in his condo and put a shower in the middle of the living room. I guess he’s treating the space as his lab for new ideas but this one is definitely not a keeper.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:17 PM

      Hi Leah,

      I’m with you. I love being out in public and getting a stall with floor to ceiling walls and a FAN thank you very much!

      As for men. I can’t say. lolReplyCancel

  • Gaye - June 26, 2016 - 9:25 AM

    Now, if everyone would copy this, then post copies in strategic spots. Everytime I see these “open concept” bed-and-bath-and-potty rooms, my mind boggles, and I say something profound like “Gawd!” Far better a small nest of a bedroom and a tiny but efficient bathroom. (And some of that furniture arrangement seems uncomfortable, but it might be because I would not like to waken facing a fireplace square on. While white might be an improvement over cinnamon pink, both fail as purpose-driven spaces. Oh my!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:16 PM

      Hi Gaye,

      There’s a lot of bad design out there and unfortunately, a lot of it is perpetuated in the media.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - June 26, 2016 - 9:07 AM

    Those bathrooms are my worst nightmare. If I was looking at an apartment or house, those would be an absolute deal breaker.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:14 PM

      Hi Linda,

      I agree and also imagine that there’d be other things to go along with this that would be a turn-off.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - June 26, 2016 - 8:52 AM

    Oh my! PRIVACY people! I don’t want to floss my teeth in front of my SO let alone any of the rest of it. All that stuff on display…well…it makes one woozy! For me, walls, a door…with a lock…are necessities.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:14 PM

      Hi Robin,

      I think the majority of folks feel like this and maybe are afraid to speak up? ReplyCancel

  • Elyse - June 26, 2016 - 8:46 AM

    Laurel, the “coffee cup” looks like a Japanese soaking tub – there’s probably (should be) a shower in the room, to be used first. As to the “hyperbaric chamber” — the first thing it calls to mind is Hannibal Lechter, don’t you think?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:13 PM


      Hahahaha! Yes! Hannibal Lechter. Geezzz… even he got some breathing holes!

      Japanese soaking tub. I know some people who would only manage to get their feet in there. maybe. ReplyCancel

  • Michi - June 26, 2016 - 8:44 AM

    Fantastic public service announcement – oops. I mean fantastic post. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Jo Galbraith - June 26, 2016 - 8:39 AM

    I personally find these open bathroom/bedroom combinations amusing, yet horrifying. My husband and I are pretty open with one another, but there are some times when we desire privacy, such as using the toilet, and I sure we are the norm. (I laughed about your comment about the marital break-up!) I recently heard from my niece that her married friend (late 20’s, 2 kids) was admitted to the hospital because she had not had a bowel movement (sorry for being so graphic!) in several weeks because she was not able to “undertake” this basic bodily function if her husband was home (let alone in the same master suite). Now she has severely damaged her digestive system. I then read (can’t remember where) that his phenomenon was becoming more common with the societal and media driven trend of beauty and perfection for young women! Didn’t Donald Trump say something similar about his wife? Maybe these bedroom/bath combinations are just for show and the real private bathroom is next door!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:27 AM

      Hi Jo,
      OMG! What a story. Poor woman. She needs to have a baby. Yes, indeed. Barfing, crapping with lots of people encouraging you to do so! (all the stuff no one tells you) not to mention all the blood. It’s a messy business and may relieve her of this anxiety.

      Or else she needs someone like my wasband who spent countless hours belching and farting throughout the day. lol

      (and no. That is not why we are no longer together.) :]ReplyCancel

  • Brittany Rhea - June 26, 2016 - 8:39 AM

    Wow, wow, just wow. I have to say that I kind of love the bathtubs in some of these rooms. It feels very elegant and romantic, but why on earth the toilet in the room? It’s just gross. If you had company over everyone would have to leave the apartment when someone went to the bathroom or be sequestered to the kitchen? The last bathroom looks cool but clearly no one actually showers in their b/c there is no shower curtain and the shower head appears dangerously close to a light fixture?!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:22 AM

      Hi Brittany,
      Yes, a couple of the traditional rooms look cool with the bathroom. But it’s certainly not main-stream, but it has it’s place in a more bohemian-type dwelling.

      I looked at the last one again and there are TWO hanging light fixtures below the shower head. Yikes! You are right! ReplyCancel

  • Anna Mac - June 26, 2016 - 8:28 AM

    Heh! A couple of these appear as if the designer applied the open concept to their bathrooms to mitigate visual space considerations. Are these rooms in the U.S.? Some looked Euro/Scandinavian. My better half and I are comfortable around each other in the altogether to a large degree, but what about the resale factor?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:17 AM

      Hi Anna,

      For resale, they SUCK! The vast majority of people (as evidenced by the comments here) do not want this and all they can see are $$$ to fix it. Of course, the owner thinks that he has “updated” his abode and spent a FORTUNE on the frameless glass enclosure… So, no price break until the place sits and sits and sits… on the market. ReplyCancel

  • Dolores - June 26, 2016 - 8:03 AM

    Ugh..who wants to see the most private ablutions performed in such an’unprivate’ manner? Not me!I like to keep it all behind closed doors.
    I’m going to be very interested in your take on wood bathroom floors, because I have lived with one for thirty years, and still love that floor. When we added a full dormer to the upstairs, we simply polyurethaned the beautiful old pine floors and they have worked out quite well.
    The fixtures are all white and so is the new vanity that we just put in. I so agree with you that a kickplate behind the legs of that vanity would have saved having to retrieve hairbrushes etc- and stopped all that dust from finding a happy home πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:14 AM

      Hi Dolores,

      I bet the floors are glorious! There is nothing quite like an old pine floor. I can imagine someone with far lesser taste than you would’ve ripped it out and put some ghastly linoleum down instead. shudder.ReplyCancel

  • Celeste - June 26, 2016 - 7:48 AM

    I was in a bar in Philly in 98 and in the center of the bar was the bathroom, a glass enclosed bathroom and when you went in, the double walls filled with steam. Or toxic fumes, after all it was Philly. It was terrifying I felt so exposed. HATED.

    We have a teeny bathroom in our upstairs rowhome and the people before us took out what I am sure was a very quaint sink and installed a brown laminate particle board monster. With a plastic mirror above. And they took off the door to make it fit and put a brown PLASTIC ACCORDIAN DOOR. When we bought it I said ” I cannot live with that door” oh but I did. For two years til we finally found a door that matched the others,
    People are terrible.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:12 AM

      Hi Celeste,

      Your note made LOLOLOLOL!!! Why oh why did they buy a historic gem, only to render it soulless? It certainly does boggle the mind.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - June 26, 2016 - 7:40 AM

    This piece was on target….seeing too many bathrooms integrated with rooms…last one I saw had the tub and shower encased in a glass enclosure. I love my husband, but when I take a bath, I enjoy my privacy and do not need someone showering at the same time. Ready to read about wood floors in the bathroom….it is the rage in all the new homes in northwest Florida and they are rentals! It is cheaper than tile but I went with tile for the bathrooms and wood for the guest powder room. No showers or baths in that room!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:10 AM

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s interesting about wood floors in Florida. A lot of people don’t want them in any case, much less a bathroom because of the heat and humidity. ReplyCancel

  • Phoebe - June 26, 2016 - 7:26 AM

    I’ve seen this in China. Before our trip, we were warned about it. The hotel we stayed in had two twin beds made of board, and the bathroom was next to it with a see through glass, but they had blinds so everything worked out fine πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Betty - June 26, 2016 - 5:40 AM

    Down with “Open Concept”. I am assuming that these folks have guest washrooms that have doors (we can only hope). I watch a lot of House Hunters International and I’ve noticed, of late, that this doorless trend is popular in many countries – lack of space(?). It just doesn’t make sense, I think even living solo it is weird to be soaking or showering or … next to the bed.

    I do like the storage unit in the first bathroom, a great idea. I live in a shotgun style house (built in 1900) in Kentucky and I love my rooms, even though it is a nightmare to try and decorate when all rooms are narrow 12′-15′ W. I saw many of these historic gems that were decimated by “open concept” when I was looking for a house to purchase. Many of these houses had fireplaces in two rooms, but I saw so many that the walls were gone and there was a brick chimney in the middle of the “open concept” room as you heard the noise of walking around on hardwood floors because of these non-walled places … sigh,

    I love your comments and ideas.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:07 AM

      Hi Betty,
      Thanks so much! You know I was raised in Evansville, IN? We left when I was 15.

      What a crying shame about those historical homes! It’s really a crime. Gives all new meaning to “shotgun.” :[ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Aldredge - June 26, 2016 - 5:04 AM

    As a designer myself, it does my heart good to hear another professional reject bad design, even though doing so flies in the face of what is all over the pages of print and online “shelter” publications. It can’t be overstated that, just because something appears in print, on a TV home makeover show, or in a model home, everything that glitters is not gold! All too often the emphasis is on achieving something different or new, rather than just achieving something good. I especially appreciate you pointing out the folly of the tile accent strip! Perfect example of a busy little detail that will become an expensive-to-change feature that dates the room! I would love to see you do more of the “don’t do this” stuff. I often find approving the appearance of a room has so much to do with what I call “getting rid of the uglies.” And almost always the uglies are the things that were once the latest trend….. either that or clutter, dust, and film. I’d love to hear your humorous rant on the subject of cleanliness and order!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:05 AM

      Hi Cathy,

      Thanks so much!

      I don’t read a lot of magazines anymore because I got so sick of seeing interiors that didn’t look like anyone could possibly live there. Certainly not all. There are some gorgeous spaces done by brilliant designers, but they all end up on pinterest, anyway.

      I did touch on the order thing (and rendering a home completely devoid of all personality) in this post about prepping ones home for resale. https://laurelberninteriors.com/2014/07/01/home-staging-ideas-you-wont-hear-on-hgtv/ReplyCancel

      • Cathy Aldredge - June 26, 2016 - 10:29 AM

        Love, love, love what you shared about staging for resale! Write on, Miss Laurel! You’re helping the world!!ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:23 PM

          Thank you Cathy!

  • Maggie - June 26, 2016 - 4:08 AM

    Dear Laurel, you summed it up perfectly :”Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”!!! I can always count on you to debunk the crazy trends that mysteriously appear now and then. This one is mind boggling. Talk about taking things too far, namely the open-concept plan! Such a pleasure to read your blog on a Sunday morning. Thank you. I am in Germany at present and had no trouble loading any images btw.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 10:01 AM

      Hi Maggie,

      Oh phew! (about the images) I held my breath a little bit this morning. Things are still not right, but at least you can see everything!ReplyCancel

  • Alison - June 26, 2016 - 3:41 AM

    It’s gross, yuk. Some things in life are meant to be private useless of course you have a gorgeous young Adonis for a husband but even then I wouldn’t want to see him on the toilet! Sadly the trend has caught on here too with many of the homes in the large display villages having open ensuites. A friend of mine who has just completed a new build had to pay a whole lot extra to have a wall put in to close off the ensuite.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 9:59 AM

      Hi Alison,
      I wouldn’t mind a young Adonis for a husband. ;] Even an older Adonis would work. ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - June 26, 2016 - 3:35 AM

    One thing I just don’t get with the fad for open plan bedrooms / bathrooms. What happens to all the steam and condensation?? It’s got to go somewhere – extractor fan, open window, etc – in open plan, it must be absorbed to some extent by the bedding, drapery, dress closet … Damp, mouldy clothes anyone?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 9:58 AM

      Hi Catherine,

      Great point! And imagine in some already steamy climates?ReplyCancel

  • Bambi Mayer - June 26, 2016 - 2:12 AM

    Well, I guess 16 minutes is the magic number because they all came up as I was typing my comment.

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 2:16 AM

      oh, good, but still. That’s ridiculous. It is undoubtedly related to my new SSL certificate. What an enormous PITA +++++ that has been and I dared to think after some two dozen hours, it was behind me!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 2:15 AM

      Hi Bambi,

      Apparently, there are some issues and at this point am not sure what they are. I did see that in Safari, but that’s alright now and it’s been good the entire time in Firefox. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Ahhh… technology. It’ll get fixed but being the weekend, might be difficult unless it corrects itself, somehow.ReplyCancel

  • Bambi Mayer - June 26, 2016 - 2:10 AM

    I’ve waited about 15 minutes and only the first two photographs have downloaded, so I’m thinking that there may be a problem beyond that it’s just being slow to download. Just an FYI, plus I’m dying to see all of the photos!

  • Lisa - June 26, 2016 - 12:54 AM

    So entertaining and disturbing at the same time! I appreciate your research, offering so, so many high-end examples of ridiculous “design” choices that take “open concept” in such a weird direction. Also, your effort to salvage some of the possibly redeemable examples is generous and charming. Thanks for this post.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 1:42 AM

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for stopping by. And what’s here is only about a quarter of what I found and half of what I saved! ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Lambert - June 26, 2016 - 12:22 AM

    No open concept anything for me. Nothing. I want a room for each process of my daily life. Never in a million years would I bathe out in the open, and the WC is just that – a water CLOSET. One with a door. That is kept closed. No sharing of bodily functions, thank you very much. Each room of my house has its own use, and everyone loves it. They compliment me on the fact that my kitchen closes off to the dining area, and the dining area closes off to the living area. And there are many articles being written with hundreds of people chiming in to say that they are sick of open concepts and want to go back to real rooms with a real purpose and stop living in one big room like a cave man. And Laurel, thank you for chiming in. You are 100% right.ReplyCancel

  • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 12:11 AM

    Hi Linda,

    Oh, I just got your other message. I have heard this a few times recently that the images are slow coming up. I just had to get an SSL certificate but that shouldn’t do that. But thanks for letting me know!ReplyCancel

  • Cathlin - June 26, 2016 - 12:09 AM

    Ugh *post title. I really need to proofread /before/ submittingReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2016 - 12:12 AM

      No worries. I fixed it, but have to say that the typo kinda worked in this case. hahaReplyCancel

  • Cathlin - June 26, 2016 - 12:08 AM

    I’m dying πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ keep the mystery alive, right?

    As soon as I saw the post title, I kid you not, I flash backed to my first business trip to L.A. On a colleague’s recommendation I was staying at The Standard. My husband and I died laughing. The bed was on some Hugh Hefner platform and the bathroom was adjacent – behind a giant plate of glass. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Also: I think that bathroom storage in the main image is so lovely! I don’t love the garage door on the later image, but those colors- mmmm, I want to sleep there!ReplyCancel