Master Bathroom Design – Yes, My Bathroom

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments regarding my new kitchen design. I couldn’t be happier with how it’s looking. If you missed the kitchen renderings or would like a refresher, you can see them here.

I also love my new final layout for the master bathroom design.

Some of you may recall a post from the fall of 2020, shortly before I purchased my condo, which revealed an idea for my “mistress bathroom design.”

I don’t know. I’m struggling to call it a “master bathroom;” and not because Grammarly says it’s politically incorrect, (oh, stop!) but because I am a woman. Duh.  Yet mistress is a somewhat derogatory word. IMO, far worse than “master.” Aren’t little boys sometimes called “master?” Well, anyway, I guess we can call it an “ensuite master bathroom design.”


The ensuite bathroom is a term I never heard until HGTV.


However, it makes sense. It’s a bathroom with an entrance from a bedroom, or, at least, connected to a bedroom.

My ensuite altogether is about 425 square feet. I’ve often thought it could easily be a separate apartment. In fact, I learned very recently from the Gleasons that before they purchased the building in 1978, the lower level was indeed a studio apartment.


Like most of the houses in Back Bay, my building had been a rooming house from 1943-1977.


I mentioned this in Sunday’s post about architectural friezes.


Below is the most recent iteration of the bedroom, with an ensuite bathroom design, entry, and laundry area. I keep making tweaks to the design. You will find some later on in this post. If you’d like to follow the progression, please go here.


Straight run stairs Garden Level October 14, 2022 - final design


Okay, for today, we are going to focus on the mastress ;] bathroom design.


It is square, which I love. Some of you are going to be delighted to know that I’ve taken out the partition by the toilet. I don’t need it, and you’re right, it really was blocking off the space. Now, I have 36 square feet of uninterrupted space to practice my pirouettes.


Just kidding.


Gil Schafer elegant hotel-style master bathroom design


I believe I mentioned in the blog or maybe it was my “love note” to subscribers, that I’d love a “hotel feeling” for my master bathroom design, similar to the vignette above by my idol, Gil Schafer. 


my living room holiday 2021-warm lighting

At night, with the lamps in front of my eight-foot-high windows, I’ve always felt like I’m sitting in an elegant hotel. That’s the feeling I wish to retain throughout the renovation.


What is currently there, is not my idea of an old, glamorous hotel.



Above and below, my  bathroom before I purchased the apartment. Even if I didn’t want to, it has to get changed because the wall needs to come over about 20 inches towards where the toilet currently is.

However, that entire space will be occupied by the bathroom vanity.


bathroom fixes

It’s funny, but when I first moved here, I couldn’t fathom the amount of storage in my new bathroom. Well, compared to the New York bathroom, that makes sense. In reality, it’s quite a normal amount of storage.

What I had was horrible. Remember the scalding pipe?
I plan on keeping the tile in the shower, except maybe changing the floor. I want a lighter floor, and it’s too gray. The entire bathroom is too contemporary for my liking. Some people would love it, and it’s not that it’s bad. But, it’s not what I envision for this 143-year-old brownstone in Boston.


What I want for my master bathroom design is something more like this.


Gil Schafer Inspiration master bathroom design Charleston Greek Revival

Yes, Gil Schafer’s giga-gorgeous bathroom for a home in Charleston, SC. There is his signature console vanity and fabulous classical detailing with just the right amount of detailing.  One of my favorite parts is the interior window. But, here’s what’s extra special that could be overlooked unless one has stared at this image for about 150 hours, as I have. :]


There’s storage in the seat under the window, AND in the side panels.


See those tiny silver thingies? Those are for opening the panels!

Anyway, I’m stealing the floor and the interior window. However, I can’t make my wall this deep because of the doorway.

While I adore the console sink, I need the storage a vanity provides. So, let’s see some solutions for my smallish bathroom.


gil-schafer-gray-master bathroom design - sink niche
Another inspiring Gil Schafer master bathroom design. I love the niche and have decided I absolutely need one.  Yes, the mirror is in front of a window. :] But, please observe. There are those little silver thingies again, flanking the sink. Yes, those panels open for storage. Brilliant!


Okay, then, let’s take a look at how I combined elements for sink wall rendering #1.


Mistress Bathroom March 2023 #1 - master bathroom design

Here, you can see the case pieces flanking Gil’s sink above. And yes, I stole Park and Oak’s fabulous moulding design.

You can also see this bathroom featured in this post about dark bathrooms.


Park and Oak Design - wonderful bathroom - brass fixtures - moulding

But, since I love stealing other people’s ideas designing, I collected a few more images I adore for inspiration for my ensuite bath design.


ensuite master bathroom design Amy Studebaker - vanity niche

Fabulous, by Amy Studebaker.

That floor reminds me of the Bronxville aster floor. 
Maybe she stole the design from me? Oh, I hope so! I would be incredibly flattered.


My bronxville bathroom Greek Key pattern design
Oh, wait. No! Amy’s is similar but not the same.

My client wanted the hex tile. I did not; I prefer what Amy did. But, never mind. That vanity with the mirrors is gorgeous! And, there’s a little spot behind the side mirrors to have some shallow storage.


elegant hotel-style French bathroom alcove - master bathroom design

And, here we have this idea again. Sorry, I don’t know who to attribute this bathroom to.

While this one is a tad too fancy/glitzy for me, I love the basic idea of it. And, lookie here! There’s a gorgeous frieze design. It’s a Greek Key pattern, too! Oh, I think I see a brass thingy on the side mirror. This is the idea. The shower is also in the same location as mine.


double vanity niche master bathroom design via BHG


I’m posting this one because it’s such an architectural gem, and would be perfect for a master bathroom design. I really love the bump out in these two bathroom vanities. I didn’t get my bump out in the kitchen, which I’m fine with. But, I feel that for the new bathroom, I would like to have it. There isn’t nearly as much going on in the bathroom as there is in the kitchen. (To see what I’m talking about, please check out this recent kitchen post.)

Okay, there’s one more rendering coming up where I put many of these ideas into play.


Mistress Bathroom March 2023 #2 - hotel-inspired bathroom ensuite master bathroom design bathroom niche


That’s it! There will be some tweaking. I will play around with the vanity design. However, I love this idea. If interested, you can see the real life bathroom that inspired a portion of this bathroom design.


So, let’s look at the floor plans which haven’t changed dramatically since last October, but a little.


Straight run stairs Garden Level March 21, 2023 - vanity #1

This is the floor plan for vanity #1. The sink area is 36″ wide. That’s certainly adequate, however, I’m leaning towards version #2.

I’ve added back the closet by the stairs. However, I still might leave it off in favor of a piece of furniture. still, I like how the twin walls create a beautiful entrance into the bedroom.


With this ensuite design, except for those two little walls, there’s only wall space flanking the window. And, not much there, either.


Please note: The closet next to the bed is underneath the stairs, but will be used only for things like luggage and other items seldom needed. It’s also a wonderful selling point for the apartment.


Straight run stairs Garden Level March 21, 2023 - vanity #2
These floorplans have a few mistakes, but it gives a good idea. I’m happy with the designs.

Vanity number two is more spacious. I’ve indicated where the mirrors will go. This is going to make the light bounce around in a beautiful way.

I made a little niche by the toilet, which could have a door. But, there, I can put in extra rolls of TP and other toileting essentials, plus cleaning stuff.

The little teal square is either a small chair or stool.


Which master bathroom design do you prefer?


By the way, I reached out to my contractor last week, just before Cale arrived, to see how his schedule is going and if we are still on track for June. He got back to me the next day by email and said he was six months behind.


Only, I didn’t say WHAT??? With my heart in my stomach, I called him up and let him do the ‘splainin’. Two of his jobs have expanded by a lot. I could tell he felt terrible. However, I felt worse. So, I asked him if he knew another contractor who could start in June.


Without skipping a beat, Rick said, “Yes, I do! I will call him right away and see if he’s available.”


One hour later, I got another email from Rick, and he said the new contractor IS available in June. I looked him up. And he has hundreds of five-star reviews on numerous websites. Anyway, I’m meeting him this Friday morning.

You may exhale now. lol


Laurel, aren’t you going to interview other contractors, and get quotes?


Some would say I should, however, based on his reviews, he sounds amazing.

I wonder if he’s ever heard of an unkitchen?

Okay, that’s it for today. Hope you’re all having a great week!



PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!


Also, I am adding something new to the bottom of my posts. All you need to do is click this link.

(And, thank you to everyone who has already done so.)

Or, click the image I made below.


Amazon ad

It will take you to Amazon. That’s all you need to do. If you order anything within the next 24 hours after clicking the link, I’ll get a small commission. (except for Whole Foods, liquor, and gift cards) There is no extra charge to you. The vendor makes less money. It would help me out a lot.

I have decided not to do a membership site. I know there were some rumblings about that. However, it’s too risky. Still, this is a business, and the expenses to maintain the website have practically doubled in the last few years.

Thanks so much!


75 Responses

  1. These are all gorgeous inspiration. The mirror-panelled bathrooms you show make me wonder if adding molding on top (to create “panels”) could be an option for those enormous builder-basic bathroom mirrors? Hmm.

    Meanwhile, I redid my bathroom recently as a “un-bathroom” based on some of the principles in your un-kitchen posts. Thank you for all the inspiration!

  2. Thanks for your response, Laurel. For some reason I can’t reply to it directly. After reading some more, maybe I was just thinking of other people using the bathroom down there. So the idea of one person using the bathroom while someone else is heading to the patio is what I’m wondering about now. I’m not sure I understand how the window will be private. Is it because it will be so high?

    I also have realized that I mistakenly said that I liked number one the best, when the one I actually like the best is the one at the top of the post, which is neither 1 nor 2. I’m sorry I didn’t read it more carefully. I actually think that one’s great. You’re the one who has/gets to live with it, though, so ultimately it’s a matter of what you like the best, of course.

    1. Hi Janet,

      I’ve nixed the window idea and have opted for more storage, perhaps. Thanks for your comments! There’s a floor plan, perhaps on another post. (I can’t see the post because I’m in the comment area.) But, there’s a hallway that snakes from the bottom of the staircase, past the bathroom, and into the bedroom.

      Alas, the entrance to the patio is in my bedroom. I have some ideas for how to deal with that. There is a gate from the outside, but the bloody door is a mess and very difficult to lock, so I never use it.

  3. I like floorplan #1 the best.

    I thought you said something about guests possibly coming into that entry in a post a while ago.

    Regarding Angi, I like to use that also, but some reviews seem suspicious (as in the photos don’t look like they were taken here and the reviews were all done within a very short period of time *or* some are really good and some are really bad). I’ve read that people pay for good reviews on there, so perhaps there has been some corruption of the system. Just thought I’d let you know in case it helps and you want to take that into account, in case not all of the good reviews are actually legitimate.

    1. Thank you Janet. No, if I had people over, there would be no reason for them to use that entrance, that I can think of, unless they were parked behind the building, but that is rare as I don’t own a parking spot and have to ask for permission. Typically, guests would come in through the front door and into the main entry near the kitchen. However, guests might very well come down the stairs to use the bathroom or go through the bedroom to go to the patio.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your contractor problem. I keep wondering if you should just wait until your original contractor is available. I know it’s disappointing to have to delay your project but in the end you may be glad you were patient and it was done the way you wanted without a lot of other headaches.

  5. Personally, I like the general layout at the very beginning of your post, and your subsequent vanity/cabinetry/finishing ideas are wonderful. Except, the window concept is not wonderful in your particular setting, and I feel you are forcing it in. Although you may use a blind or window covering of some sort, having a window directly facing a toilet is a “no”. Consider, also, that window opposes your entry door from the outside hallway. I haven’t read the other comments, I imagine others have said the same thing. Getting rid of the window allows you to put a proper door back on the bathroom like you have in the layout at the beginning of your post. I know a door requires room and will rarely be used, but I like it more than a pocket door.

  6. We are renovating our new house, and your blog and PDF guides have been my Bible. My husband is patient but a bit exasperated with me (and you! lol) and my particularity. But we completely gutted and just finished the master bathroom and he is surprised how much he loves it. Ours is much, much smaller and less fancy than yours, and probably a bit middle-class looking. But I do think it abides by as many of the design guidelines you provide. Thank you for making good design so accessible to learn about! Recently I’ve ventured to other interior design blogs to see what else is out there, and nothing compares to yours.

    A few general questions, if you have the time or inclination to answer!
    1. In one of your older blog posts, you said you love all white walls in a ranch house, and said that color in a ranch takes more skill, but you didn’t elaborate why. Do you still hold this opinion, and if so, why?
    2. In older posts, you recommend BM Regal Select Matte finish. I’ve seen some less favorable reviews about the durability, especially compared to Sherwin Williams scrubbable flat finish. Is BM Matte generally still your preferred finish for light to mid tone colors, or has your opinion changed? Worried about painting my whole house matte and regretting it.
    3. I want my wall colors to be complex/dynamic with changing light. Generally, is matte paint better for this? Do you have an opinion on the Color Stories line of BM, and if it really is more dynamic/changeable? I noticed at least one of the colors in your paint guide is from Color Stories.

  7. Laurel,

    Lovely job on your bathroom. I have a question about lighting. I want to put 2 fancy mirrors in my Master Bath. I had them in my last house and I love them so I am reordering them again. The problem is they have fancy tops which means you cannot put lights above them. I have a 90inch vanity with 2 sinks. I like a lot of light. One contractor said to put 3 single candle lights between the mirrors. I am wondering if this is too much. I have some overhead can lights in the room already but none over the sinks. If I add three candle lights and 2 more high hats, will that be too much. Will I create a shadow over the sink? Are there rules about bathroom lighting? Thanks, Mary Ann

  8. Option 2. I love any kind of storage, will never regret! Heated floors sounds amazing if not cost prohibitive. Would you consider having the shower door swing out into the bathroom instead of into the vanity? And agree with another reviewer: avoid slippery floors, maybe a honed material? Can’t wait to see the progress!

  9. Blessings to you LAUREL 🙂 Love reading your Blog and thankfully remembered this morning prior to placing my Amazon order to CLICK on your icon.

  10. Laurel do you have a guest bedroom bath upstairs? Powder bath? I forgot your upstairs layout. Was wondering if you’d live in those spaces while renovating. Good luck we spent last 3 years in remodelgedon.

  11. I do like an interior window but I’m imagining someone coming down the stairs and having a view straight into the shower 🙂 Of course that all depends on window size and placement and where the stairwall actually ends, the kinds of things that are very difficult to visualize except on location. The kinds of things that you are well aware of and are taking into account. I look forward to seeing the end result which I’m sure will be beautiful!

  12. It is primary bedroom and primary bathroom on the West Coast now. Ensuite might still be used though, for say, an inlaw suite.

    1. Hi Ramona,

      This is difficult for an old girl, and a lot of other old girls, too, I’m presuming. More people are probably googling “master bedroom suite” than “primary bedroom suite.” Especially people in my age demographic.

      Frankly, I would prefer to call it the bed & bath area. lol

      Most of the PC movement has always felt trivial to me. People are so easily offended. They are, until a catastrophe happens; something that is truly deserving of their attention. Then, it doesn’t matter so much what name someone assigns to a room in a home.

  13. Hi, Laurel!

    I love the idea of a “hotel bathroom.” May I copy some of your ideas in our primary suite??!!

    With regards to the Amazon link: good to know it has to be new items added. I usually pull from my cart every time…oops!

    And how long does the link last? 24 hours from when I click, or 24 hours from the drop of the post?

    Love the designs! Both of them ;D

    1. Hi Gabrielle,

      Yes, absolutely, you can copy my ideas. That’s why I post them. I once had a client who was freaking out at the idea that someone might see her home and copy it. Like she would ever know? I don’t understand that kind of thinking.

      As for the link, I’m going to have my developer add a link to the bottom of every post, (there’s a way he can program that.) I will add a note that one has to click the link before putting items in their cart. The cookie gets activated when you click the link. After 24 hours, the cookie expires.

  14. If it was practical me, I would put full size washer and dryer next to each other and a closet rod along the whole length of that space. Blouses slacks or items air drying; etc could hang above. And then a separate tall closet for seldom used long pieces next to that. It could maybe look like 3 tall panels but actually be doors. And a full length mirror somewhere for last check before you go up the stairs, perhaps where you are thinking you should have a window. I also agree about former comment the bases–pretty but dirt, hair,etc—in kitchens and bathrooms—in reality a pain

  15. I don’t like the interior window that faces the entry door. I have something similar (it’s glazed). Even glazed, it’s uncomfortable. Even if someone can’t see you, they know you’re in there and what you’re doing. How about a fabulous piece of art?

  16. Hi Laurel – and here’s another vote for #2. I like the bump out sink. And I’m going to encourage the heated floor as well – you won’t regret it. I too didn’t know what the orange lines indicated on the drawings. My one and only concern is the width of the shower. It looks to be about 24″ wide, but I sure could be reading this wrong. If it is 24″, that’s pretty cozy!!
    I’m on the fence about the window. I understand the beauty of it and it would certainly be a ‘statement’. Would something stained glass tie in with your plans? If it’s a true window, it might feel a bit uncomfortable to be using the bathroom. And if you dress it up with a shade or something, then why go to the trouble of installing a window? I’m torn on that one!
    I loved Gil’s black and white floor and hope you’ll consider doing the same thing for your space.
    This is so exciting to watch! And very glad you found a new contractor!

    1. Hi Sandra,

      The shower is existing and the size is spacious. It’s 36″ wide. I better double-check over-all measurements. I did the length, but not the width. The space from the back of the shower to entrance door is 15′-5″. So, that wall should actually start on the other side of the black line. I am working off the architect’s original drawings, but yes, I do need to double-check the measurements.

  17. The only thing I can add is that I agree with Mary Evers in that drawers are the way to go with the vanity. All my vanities have drawers rather than doors.Cupboards get untidy and hold little and things get lost in the back. My powder room vanity has one large drawer the width of the vanity with a cut out on the back to accommodate the pipe works. Perfect for storing spare toilet rolls, tissues and bathroom paraphernalia.

    1. Hi Alison,

      I say, amen to drawers! I forgot to say to ignore those details. It’s difficult enough to find a photo that is the basic size and style I’m that’s close to what I’m doing. So, for now, I’m ignoring those specifics.

  18. Laurel, I used your style guidelines and teachings when we replaced the tile in my TINY only bathroom in my 1945 house a few months ago. I added the black marble border tile around the floor perimeter and it looks so smashing! It adds interest/panache without overwhelming a crazy small space. Like a dumb-dumb, I do not have a photo to upload. I really need to take one because it turned out so well. Thank you for all the knowledge you share with us! It truly makes a difference.

  19. Laurel, both versions are gorgeous!
    My preference is version #2. I think having more countertop space is better – both for you, and for any potential resale in the (distant, I expect!) future. I especially love the mirrors on the side of the vanity. If you design them with hinges on the main mirror side, you can open them and see the back of your head when you are styling your hair. I had a similar arrangement in my previous house, and I loved it. I never left the house with the collicks in the back of my head showing!

  20. Stunning design.

    If it were me and on MY budget, I would just be thrilled with the bathroom you already have. On the other hand, your stairway has to be rebuilt and with all the necessary changes around that, even I would think about redoing the bathroom bring it up the several notches you are about to.

    All of this is coming together in my mind’s eye. It is thrilling that you are taking us along with you on your journey. You are training my design sense with every posting. Bravissima.

    Option #2 for sure. Once I see your inspiration photos, it is clear what you are going for.

    I understand the interior window as a design element but do not understand what happens if someone is in the bathroom and the door to the hallway is opened. Won’t there be a view into the toilet and shower?

    Also, why the double doors into the bedroom instead of a door closing off the entry/stairs? I think you discussed this in the past, but I don’t think I understood the choice then either.

    Could the interior window be up high and maybe then wider? Would that solve the privacy problem?

    What are the orange lines along the stair?

    And where will the contractor begin because this is going to be a major, major disruption if you are planning living here while the construction is going on. I have very recently done that and am not recovered from the stress. Even with careful planning, what could go wrong, did.

    1. Hi Ramona,

      I’ll address questions not already answered. Yes, I will have to move out for several months. Bloody drag, for sure.

      I only need to close off the bedroom. I don’t care about any other part of the downstairs. We’ll call those “public” spaces.

      The orange line on the stairs is something covered up from an earlier rendering that is peeking through and I didn’t notice it with everything else I was doing.

  21. Laurel, I’m in love with the rendering you posted near the end of this post! Gorgeous! I’m a fan of option #2, because I like the extra counter space, but maybe you want extra storage space? Either option will be lovely, because you have good taste! :] Best of luck in your upcoming meeting with the “new” contractor. I hope it all works out for you!

  22. I, too, am aging in place at 75. My friend put in a luxury vinyl tile floor that looks like marble. Warm underfoot, no grout, and not slippery. I’m planning to do the same in a much used bath in Laurel’s black-and-white design.

  23. 1) Heated floor is a definite, especially in a cold climate!
    2) Consider enclosing the toilet area by having the wall for the shower continue across the toilet area opening. More private and I think it looks more sophisticated and period appropriate to the home with two doors for shower and toilet in that wall. Very “hotel”. Can have shaded glass panels within the door so not solid wood.
    Just my two cents…

    1. Hi Allison,

      That would be lovely, I agree, but the toilet cubicle probably requires at least feet in front of the toilet, so the doors wouldn’t be side-by-side.

  24. The number one non-negotiable thing for both my new bathrooms was heated floors. They are not expensive, and will keep your new bathroom much dryer. Additionally, a warm floor on your feet makes getting up in the middle of the night bearable! I couldn’t love your designs more-and I love watching your process. Thanks for what you do, Laurel!

  25. I think I’m in the minority, but I prefer option 1. In my experience, if you give me more counter space I tend to fill that space with stuff. Better to have less space and plentiful storage right next to the sink so that the clutter can be behind closed doors. I would probably tweak it so that the lower portions of the side cabinets are drawers, however, to have some easily accessible drawers as well.

  26. What beautiful bathrooms! I smiled when I read “vanity wall”. In our bathroom (UK), the toilet pan, sink and shower (over bath) are all on the same wall, and there is no room for anything else :). But at least I can look at beautiful pictures and enjoy your thoughts Laurel.

  27. Hi Laurel,
    I like both designs. I realize that’s not helping.
    A couple of things I want to mention…
    My previous home had a bathroom similar to the picture via BHG. The shelves in the center were glass & they constantly looked dusty. I’ll never do that again.
    And like your kitchen, I would only have drawers in my vanity cabinet. I realize that brings up the cost. But it’s so worth it.
    Lastly, the interior window you’re including would disrupt my sense of privacy. But that’s just me. Maybe I’m the odd one.

  28. Hi Laurel,
    Definitely Suite #2!
    I clicked the Amazon link. Made a small purchase. Sorry I could not purchase more at this time. Please include link again I will be happy to support you. This is an easy, convenient way to pay you back for your clever designs and for including us in your design process. Much obliged!

    1. Hi Snady, (or is that a typo and should be Sandy?) I’m going to see if my developer can add it to the bottom of all posts. I so appreciate your support!

  29. Have you considered changing the shower door’s swing, with hinges on the left side? I think the current version might feel awkward. That’s 1 of the changes I’m making to our small ensuite.

    1. Hi PJ,

      Then it’ll be swinging into the vanity, unless I’m misunderstanding you. It can’t swing into the shower. Right now, there isn’t a door. haha. Yes, the floor gets wet!

  30. Definitely Plan 2. Every inch of counter space is a blessing.
    The current terminology on HGTV to replace “master suite” is “primary suite”, which makes sense to me.
    Thank you for sharing your journey. It has been a real education for me – and a lot of fun.

  31. Hi Laurel, I much prefer option 2, with the mirrors and shallow storage behind them. With drawers in the vanity and the storage behind the mirrors, you’ll have plenty of storage – even if for two! ; )
    I agree that a heated floor is very cozy, especially on a slab floor. I LOVE the interior window! What a great idea for that hallway AND and an interior bathroom. Also love how much closet/wardrobe room you’ve incorporated. I agree with another comment regarding the two doors into the bedroom from the hallway inside your ensuite bathroom/closet/bedroom area, and I would try to place a door from the stairway hallway instead. After all, you’re going to have a door leading into the bathroom. What a great design!

  32. Hi Laurel, thank you for generously sharing your gorgeous talent with us! Your apartment plans are stunning. Two thoughts only:
    1. You might want to do your due diligence on the new contractor. We found ourselves in a similar situation some years ago with a major renovation. The original contractor came highly recommended, but in the end things got pushed back. He strongly recommended a team that he had worked with often – so we trusted him. It was a *complete* disaster – incompetence, shortcuts, property damage, slovenly work. I won’t bore you with the details, but it ended with us firing them and overpaying for a minimal amount of progress that had to be undone anyway. You don’t need this kind of buyers’ remorse in your life.
    2. Heated floors!! Oh do it, Laurel! When your bare feet touch the stone floor in the bathroom… the warmth of fuzzy slippers. Some chilly mornings/nights this makes life worth living again.

    1. Oh, I’m sorry you had a bad experience. That’s horrible. This new contractor has hundreds of glowing reviews, mostly on Angi’s list, but also on other online sources. They are from last month going back several years. And one thing I read over and over was how conscientious he and his workers were. Some had used him multiple times or said they would in the future. I’ve worked with a lot of contractors, so it should be okay.

  33. I like option two, as well. I am sure your final choice will delight you. I think there is plenty of room in the entry hall for a charming round table in the middle with a basket for keys and mail, and a bit of decor.

  34. #2 -I like a lot of counter space (I also put my make-up on standing in the bathroom – why I like more counter space). And another vote for a heated floor. It is my favorite thing about my bathroom!

  35. Call me crazy, and it is just me, but I would HAVE to have a tub. Oh well, to each her own! I would sacrifice closet space for a tub.

  36. My vote is for Bathroom Suite #2 but with these tweaks
    1) heated floors
    2) add pocket door to the opening leading to the bedroom, bathroom and closet. Imagine 2 people using the apartment and one person enjoying the upstairs living area and kitchen and needing to access the laundry and entry area while the other person has total privacy in the master bedroom, bathroom and closet.
    3) omit the interior window
    Lastly, I’m using the Amazon link right now to buy some things that were saved in my Amazon cart. I appreciate the time you put into helping me develop a keener eye for design. You have a gift for communicating and design and it has brought me a lot of joy. Using a link for something I would be buying anyway is no trouble at all.

    1. Thanks so much Les,

      The floors are already heated. Thank you so much for using the links. I’m very appreciative! However, they don’t work for items previously put in the cart. And, you don’t need to click on separate links. It will work if you come back to it later in the day, as long as it’s the same device.

  37. Hi Laurel. I also like option 2 with the larger vanity. A heated floor in Boston would be great! I can only imagine how cold it is in the mornings. Brrr. And as other said, do be sure the floor on the tile is not slippery. I, too, have ended up on the floor from slipping on a quarter-sized puddle.

    I have a question about the bedroom, however. I am a light sleeper so any little noise wakes me up… Have you considered switching the placement of the bed and the antique bookcase? Your bed currently backs up to the common space and if it’s loud and echoey, that could prove annoying. Could be very cozy in the alcove, if there is room for bedside tables.

    Sorry about your contractor. I’m glad he could recommend someone. I hope you like him when you meet with him.


    1. Hi Anne,

      That wall is going to get soundproofing sheetrock, because yes, I can hear EVERYTHING. I sleep with a fan by my bed. The opposite wall is only seven feet which isn’t large enough for my bed and two nightstands. Also, it’s too close to the garden door. I did consider it, though.

  38. I like option 2. The larger vanity makes it so much better. It’s amazing looking at the photo of your current bathroom and then comparing it to pictures of what you are dreaming about. The moldings make such a difference. Seeing the comparison makes it clear what is missing from so many modern homes. They lack character and charm. I love the idea of an interior window. It is one more detail that will make this space feel larger and so special. I’m assuming it will be high enough that no one could look into the bathroom. How pretty it would be to see your hall ceiling light fixture when using the toilet. I like the photo of the vanity area that feels more enclosed with a dropped header over it with moldings. The mirrors on the side panels give it the look of a high end hotel. Adding the twin walls in the hall feels right, too. They give that space feel more like a foyer and delineate it from the ensuite. They are in keeping with the architecture of the home. Would you ever consider adding a pocket door between those walls and omitting the doors on your bedroom? It would make the bedroom and bath area feel even more ensuite, too. I would leave the closet by the stairs but I’d consider reverting back the area at the foot of the stairs to a place for a pretty console table with a mirror above. Have a separate closet for the washer and dryer. It’s nice to have a place to set things down, if entering through that door. When coming downstairs, it is much more pleasant to look at a mirror or picture on the wall than a closet door. It also would make that space feel more open. Adding the closet beside the stairs eliminates the need for one at the bottom of them. It’s so fun to watch your thought process. I hope the new contractor works out and your project can start in June. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that soon you can see some of your dreams take shape.

    1. Hi Susan,

      You have a lot of terrific ideas. This “entrance” is not really used. However, I think I will eliminate the first closet. Ohhh, I have another idea, a nice tweak, but I’ll save it.

  39. First, I second the idea of a heated floor. It is so lovely to have. We don’t have one and I so wish we did. It doesn’t need to be “hot” but it takes the chill off the tile which is remarkable.
    Second, please please please make sure your floor is not glossy and not slippery!! Our bathroom tile (not chosen by us and not marble) looks lovely but it is treacherous when damp or wet. I took one step to get my towel the day I forgot to move it over by the shower door and ended up ON the floor!! Did not get hurt, but there are so many sharp corners in a small space in any bathroom and it could have gone very badly. Third, please at least have a conversation with the recommended contractor to see if you two can be a match! Finally, the classic designs you have made are all so beautiful and elegant. So happy for you!

  40. Good morning, Laurel, I learn so much when you share the development of your plans and the thoughts and visions that go into them. Some things come to mind: why do you have a pair of doors leading into the bedroom? Will they ever be closed? If you want to separate the bedroom from the foyer, why not put a sliding door across from the opening into the walk-in closet? That way the sleep area and the closet/ensuite areas read as a principal suite. Secondly, how much will the wall behind the electrical panel have to built out to allow for wiring and the sliding door? And, YES to a heated floor!!
    Such a disappointment about your builder. Hopefully the new one will be of equal skill and commitment.

    1. Hi Cathy,

      Yes, the doors will be closed if I have company upstairs. (Like my son or out of town guests) Also, if I have a party and folks need to come down to use the bathroom, I can close off the bedroom. I don’t see a need to close off the area before that. Also, I like the idea of being able to see the pretty doors. The room is currently quite bland. There will be a door to the walk-in closet.

      I don’t know if the fusebox will go there or not. But, I was thinking about where it will go because it’s currently on a wall that’s coming down. Of course, this is for the electrician to figure out.

  41. I love all your ideas except I would make all cabinetry go all the way to the floor. If not you will be constantly mopping and dusting under the cabinetry. In the long run it will become worrisome. I love the architecture of your apartment.

    1. Hi Sherri,

      The cabinetry all goes to the floor. If there’s a decorative valance, there’s a piece about two inches behind it that goes to the floor. Otherwise, yes, it would get awfully skivvy under the vanity. However, I might also run the black marble as Gil did in the first bathroom. It’s so handsome! And, I won’t have to worry about water damage.

  42. Great inspiration images, love the panelled walls and hope this is part of your plans for space.
    Thoughts/ observations/suggestions:

    1. Skip bifold doors at laundry near your entrance. Awkward to utilize; keep prior wall and door to w/d and to left consider built in cabinetry with drop spot for package/ keys/ purse/ mail etc.and folding when needed.
    2. I would capitalize on the hall space and rework floorplan to enlarge master closet; Unusual placement outside of the bedroom; feels like it is more off your entrance hallway. Symmetrical entrance and walls within your bedroom worth losing with focal point already established with beautiful bayed window vignette.
    3. Faux window in bath breaks up that wall on both sides IMO. I would eliminate and focus on wall panels and/or beautiful sconce over art on hall side.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      The only reason that entrance is there is because it’s the law that there must be two means of egress on every floor. Otherwise, it will seldom be used except to go to the storage closet out side the door which is rare.

      As for reworking the floorplan. haha. I’ve done about 100 iterations of it for the last 2.5 years. I don’t need a larger closet. There are two closets or wardrobe cabinets in the bedroom. Plus another closet by the stairs and one by the front door. AND, under the stairs storage. Plus, there’s a large storage closet, just outside the door, as I said. Then, upstairs, more closets!

      I love this plan. Interior windows are wonderful, especially for a space where there are none. It will not be faux. Gil’s window is also an interior window. I can still do sconces and art. It’s a nine-foot ceiling.

  43. I love the look you are going for – absolutely beautiful. I much prefer option 2. Counter space is so important when getting ready in the morning! And it will be fun to style with all that mirror around it. The vanity will have tons of storage. And very interesting the idea of an internal window in a bath. Now re-thinking my powder room…hmm.

  44. What ever you pick will be lovely. I favor option 2 and pencil edge on the vanity top. I’m 80 years old and still working at least 5 days a week. I always stand when I put on my makeup so I can get close to the mirror and see the real me!!!!. Shocking for sure!

  45. I prefer option 2 with more counter space, definitely drawers in the vanity. IMO, I’d feel crowded with option 1.

  46. Laurel:

    Thank you for taking us on this journey with you. I like number 1 with tall cabinets on either side. I prefer to reach up rather than bend down. When we remodeled our bathroom 5 years ago, I had a decorative leg created at the bottom of my cabinet and, although I like the look, it’s a great place for dirt and bugs to hide. In hindsight, I would create a solid bottom. I love my tall cabinets flanking the vanity. They go floor to ceiling and I use the top space for storage of things I may only use once a year.

    I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  47. Laurel, I simply cannot understand these bathrooms that have no vanity seating for women to do their make up. What are people doing? I guess if you’re young you can just stand and do it in the mirror, but if you’re my age, which is 65, and you want your make up to look impeccable, you need particular mirrors, good lighting, and a place to sit. I think it’s absurd that builders are not including these in their homes. Your designs are lovely, by the way.

  48. I like option 2. The more storage the better. Drawers in a vanity are priceless. And by the way the the Europeans used the term ensuite long before HGTV did. Maybe that’s where they borrowed it from. Can’t wait to see it!! So fun to dream.

  49. Hi Laurel—gorgeous as usual and reflects your inspiration images yet still works in your space. My question is about the floors and safety. We are nearly the same age and I’m currently designing a new ensuite bathroom for the home where we will age (if all goes well for a good long time!!). That does have me thinking about safety and accessibility long term.

    I love that single marble slab floor so much but wonder about it being slippery. In our current (quite small) bathroom we have a marble hex and I know it provides more traction. But also more grout to clean! Same is true in our shower. Easier maintenance in the new bathroom is important to me too, as I plan to be gardening and not cleaning grout!

    I’d love your thoughts on how to balance these concerns and still style a beautiful space. Thanks!

    1. Hi Mary Pat,

      I won’t do a single slab. I had a marble floor in our townhouse in NY and did not find it slippery. The current floor is also marble and also not slippery.

  50. I like option 2. I like the more open feel of the larger vanity and the mirrors. I think shallow storage behind the mirrors is more useful than two deeper cabinets flanking the sink; otherwise you end up digging for tiny toiletries that get shoved to the back.

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