apple Our Fifth House: The Big Master Bathroom Debate

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Big Master Bathroom Debate

This is what our master bathroom looked like when we toured this house with our realtor.


that's a faux stained glass window - i replaced it with frosted glass

This bathroom had been updated about 7 years ago when the homeowners painted the cabinets white and had the counter top, bathtub surround, and shower stall tiled.  This isn't what we would have chosen if we were renovating, but at this point it seems silly to tear out perfectly good tile.  It's not at all bad looking; it just isn't what we would have chosen.  That being said, as many of you know, back in May we I started giving our bathroom a little makeover.  I was gifted a fresh paint job (Martha Stewart Sandpiper - same color on the ceiling of the master bedroom) for Mother's Day which led me to give the cabinets a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware. 

knobs from Hobby Lobby 
I've also had the light fixtures replaced with new ones I found at Lowe's, and I picked up some new mirrors at HomeGoods.  Here's how things are looking now, but keep in mind it's not done or styled yet.  I just snapped these pics the other day so I could have you all weigh in on a little debate we're having here at our fifth house. 





So I was moving right along, getting ready to diy some fabric shades for the windows, thinking about changing the recessed light over the tub to a chandy, looking for a replacement faucet for the bathtub,  when I stopped one day and thought  - do we really need a tub?  

You see this door to the left of the tub?  


That door leads to our very small shared master closet.  




We've made the most of our small closet maximizing all the possible storage space, and we've even talked about replacing the wire shelving with some nice wood shelves.  However, even with nicer shelving this will still be a fairly small closet.  I've been thinking about knocking down this wall, removing the tub, and extending the closet. 


On the one hand it would be so great to have a little more clothing storage, but on the other hand I can't help but wonder what the return on investment would be for this type of project.  Would this be a negative move in the eyes of potential home buyers?  Not that we're planning to sell any time soon, but I can't help but always have that in the back of my mind (probably because we've moved so many times).  

What do you think?  Would you rather have a larger closet and no tub, or a modestly sized closet and a whirlpool tub?  

I mean we do have a nice sized shower that we use a lot more often than the tub. 


But on a cold night it is super relaxing to grab a glass of wine and soak in the tub with the jets on full blast. 


Are you pro-bathtub or pro-biggercloset?  I'm on the fence and it's making my head hurt to think about it - so throw me your opinions please!  

For the record  - the hub is pro-biggercloset - but don't let that sway you. 

60 comments:

  1. If you have another tub in house for those wine/tub nights you could definitely have that dream closet.

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  2. Hmm. Well I don't know what the return on invest would be, but I know people are really impressed with custom closets. I'm not sure that I would buy a house that doesn't have a tub in the master bathroom. Also what would the window situation be if you take out the tub and expand the closet? Nobody wants a dark, cave like bathroom & I think your two big windows are a selling point!

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  3. i am not much of a fashionista, but here i am more than 5 years later still missing the huge bath tub i had in our first home- now i only shower, but i used to love to take nice relaxing baths. so i would definitely prefer the bath.

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  4. I am as torn as you! Like the others have mentioned I would not want to lose that big window or a nice relaxing soak from time to time. I guess it comes don to whether there is another tub in your house to where you could escape and the lighting situation??

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  5. I would keep the tub! I love my baths!!

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  6. Oooh, I love the tub and a master without a tub would be a downside for me. We don't have a big closet either but we make do with ours. I'd rather a tub than a bigger closet but I like my baths. :) Probably the only thing I miss from the house we built was our big big bath tub.

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  7. Quite frankly I am seeing homes with master baths now that don't have tubs,just really large showers. We live in a 40 yr old house that the master bath has only a shower but lots of closet space. Originally when we moved I was thinking just the opposite of you- eliminating closet space for a tub. But ultimately I didn't want to lose the closet space for resale value, and besides there is another tub down the hall for bath and wine time. So I am happy with my current situation but know if we sold the house today(which is not going to happen)that it would be a real concern for many not to have a tub in the master. So ultimately I am saying do what makes you happy(if you have decided)because trends are changing so fast that it might not be a big deal in the future.

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  8. Pro closet!! We just renovated our house last year and opted to not do a tub in the master bath - have 2 closets! so glad everyday.You could even make the shower a little bigger?

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  9. I'm more of a closet than a tub person. You should talk with a real estate agent and see what their input is.

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  10. I would keep the whirlpool tub. Your closet appears to be a good size and the whirlpool tub would be a great selling point for me!

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  11. That's a tough one, but I think a large master closet is a huge selling point. We use our whirlpool tub probably less than 5 times per year, but it's nice to have when you want that long, hot soak. I see your trouble, I'd be on the fence also!

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  12. As far as resale, I think if you have a really nice shower and a tub somewhere else in the house, you'll find a buyer. We bought our house and the master bath only has a shower. Our big project this year is to gut and redo that bathroom and make the shower bigger and better. The bottom line is to make it what works best for you and not dwell on resale because I think you'll find that you'll have a split crowd and you'll find someone that appreciates either the bigger closet or bath.

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  13. I'd tear that wall out in a nanosecond, but I'm not much of a tub girl! I agree if you have another tub for kids or aging adults that would be fine for resale. Kim above me said it perfectly! :)

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  14. I do not use a tub and would rather not have one in my master bath because I view it as a waste of space; however, my opinion is this is not a feasible solution for this space since you have that window over the tub. You would lose the window and sunlight in the bathroom and a large section of your wall space in the "new" closet would be taken up by a window. I think the master bathroom will look cramped and dark if you removed the window and tub. If you do pursue the closet, is it possible to install one or two skylights or solartubes in the ceiling? The additional sunlight from above might make the remodeled, smaller bathroom more inviting.

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  15. I'm loving all of your input - thanks so much! The window issue is one of my main concerns. I love all the great light we get. I've thought if we did expand the closet we could change the closet door to a french door and frost the glass so you wouldn't see in the closet but the light from the window would still pour out into the room. Lots to think about - thanks for taking the time to give me your thoughts! I really appreciate it so much!

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  16. Keep the tub. It might not be used all the time but if I was looking at a house with a master bathroom and it didn't have a tub I would pass on the house. I would think big expense to add. I lived in a place for 2 years and the bathroom was amazing and it had a huge closet, but it did not have a tub and I missed it big time. At first I thought no worries I do not use a tub that often but believe me you will want it and miss it. Good luck with what you decide to do I can't wait to hear what direction you will go.

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  17. I'm not a bathtub person myself and would prefer having a bigger closet, but I think for re-sale you will want to keep the tub.

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  18. Pro-bathtub! I wouldn't buy a house without a tub, and now so many people keep clothing in dressers, armoires, etc... even though a huge closet is a luxury, it's not a necessity. I'd keep the tub.

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  19. Do you have another tub in the house? Then do it!! I love the idea!! you are so darn creative girl!

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  20. For resale definitely have a tub in there. You could make the closet bigger and add a free standing tub like a claw foot or a modern style. That is what I would love instead of the huge tub with the surround.

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  21. I think it is important to have at least one bath tub in the house for resale. As a wife who shares an even smaller closet, I'd definitely go for the bigger closet! :-) Blogless Peggy, Turtlemss@aol.com

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  22. My inlaws just pulled their tub out and it looks awful! My husband and I can't get over how bad it looks. It seems like the shower is taking over the whole bathroom, that could just be because of bad design though! I think you should definitely talk to a real estate agent in your area. My aunt has been a realtor for 30 years and swears that you will find a buyer for your home eventually, but it will take a long time! Your market could be different though!

    By the way this is my first time commenting, I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I love your ideas! I would have never thought of painting doors black, but it looks amazing! I can't believe that is the same furniture in your master bedroom, and I love the red paint in your family room! I love red and not many people use it anymore!

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  23. I vote to keep the existing closet and tub. The biggest reason for that is you'll lose the larger of your two windows to a closet and though it will be nice light in the closet, I think it would really darken your bathroom and make it feel smaller in the eyes of potential buyers.

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  24. Hii Carmel. We are going through the whole tub/no tub debate as well. But like others have noted i would agree that you should optimize your spacee so you are using and taking advantage of every square inch of it. One of my biggest pet peeves in a home is wasted space. If you would get more daily use and joy out of a larger closet then get rid of the tub. Perriod. There are other great ways to bring in natural light. Perhaps consider installing a couple large skylights. For every one potential future buyer that will pass on your house bc it doesnt have a tub, there will be 5 that love it bc it doesnt have a tub! If you have some extra space you could even make your shower bigger. I had to learn to stop thinking about the future buyer so much when making design decisions bc i was limiting myself. If the day comes when you decide to sell, the right person will end up loving your house just as youve made it. Be fearless my dear!!!


    Oh and by the way do you have any plans to Carmel-ize those mirrors? They are great, but somehow i see you tweakin them a bit. Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Hmmmmm....this is a tough one. I'm voting for the tub to stay :) I do love a big closet (and yours is so organized)....but I think the tub is so great for resale :)

    Love that light fixture :)

    blessings,
    karianne

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  26. We don't have a tub in our master bath. I hardly used it in our last house. I think as long as you have a tub in at least one of your house's baths, then you are okay. As far as not having the light fom that window, you can have a olar tube installed( it takes about three hours with the installer leaning up the dust) and you will have as much or even more light than you have right now.

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  27. If your stuff doesn't fit in that closet...then you have too much stuff!
    Can you tell I've been reading about minimalism? LOL.

    Pareto's rule says you wear 20% of your clothing 80% of the time...maybe you could do a major clean out, donate the excess to charity, and add some extra shelves/hooks to make the closet more efficient?

    We did that when we moved into our home. Hubby throws NOTHING away, and his closet
    ( we both have tiny ones, house was built in 1948)was bursting-until we got rid of clothing he's had since college ( he's 49!)and t-shits that had seen better days.
    We added a second hanging bar and a few extra shelves up top and voila-a closet that works!

    I personally wouldn't buy a house that didn't have a master bathroom tub-I am not going to go to another part of the house to use a tub when all my OTHER stuff is in the master bath. Not practical.

    Whatever you decide I hope you'll show us what you do!

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  28. Looks like you can rearrange the tub and pickup some more space for the closet... But don't get rid of the tub! - Susan

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  29. I'm tired of always worry about re-sale! Our homes are for us to LIVE in and ENJOY! So I say go with your gut....make the closet because it's what you want and it works for YOU! The next buyer (if and when) can change it to their liking. As long as you have a regular bathtub in another bathroom I think this is a great idea! I would pick closet space over the occasional soak in the big tub! Laura - lau99ra@aol.com

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  30. We too are in our fifth house, in 8 years. Our third house was a large nice house that we built, loved it. In the master bath to make it bigger, bigger closet, etc, we did a walk in shower. When we sold the house just over a year ago, no one commented that the house needed a tub, and it actually sold within a month. We did however have a jetted tub (not oversized) in the kids room. So while it isn't relaxing in there, I did still have access to a jetted tub to relax in! Fast forward a little over a year and we moved into house #5 last week. There is a standard tub/shower combo in a plain boring master bath. We have plans to take out the tub and turn it into a nice tiled walk in shower, I think the return on investment will be better with that! I feel you would LOVE the closet space, but miss that huge window!

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  31. Tub for resale! Closet if you plan to live there forever.

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  32. We had our home in Spokane Washington custom built and opted to not put a tub in the master bath and used the space for enlarging the closet. I never once regretted the decision and it did not keep the house from selling. There was one other (small) tub in the main bathroom. I think there are always going to be people who must have a large tub and those, like myself (and probably the person who bought our house) that are not tub people. In our latest home in Texas, there is a large garden tub and I cannot WAIT to rip it out. I will NEVER use it. Yes, you may lose some potential buyers but I think it's not a deal breaker as there are plenty of others who don't care either way and/or would prefer a larger closet. PS. Our home in Washington sold in 2 months in a down market.

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  33. I would be pro-bigger-closet, assuming that there is another bathtub in the kids bathroom. No bathtubs at all in the house would be a problem for resale, but as long as the main upstairs bathroom has one, I don't think the lack of one in an en-suite bathroom is a problem.

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  34. Hmmm... For you now I'd totally say expand the closest and do what you want. BUT if you're looking to sell later I'd keep the tub. I love our shower and large-ish linen closet in our bathroom, but sometimes I really wish I had a fancy tub to soak in. ;) But if you have another bathtub somewhere in the house it shouldn't really be a big deal.

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  35. Keep the tub. I agree with the woman who stated we really only wear about 20% of what we own. I recently did a major closet edit (as in nore than 50% left) and I have not missed a thing. On a cold night, a nice glass of wine is much more enjoyed in a tub vs. a closet!

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  36. Bigger closet for sure. There's never enough storage in my opinion.

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  37. Keep the tub--you will lose too much natural light.

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  38. I don't think a tub's really a must for me... and I do love a great closet. And most ladies do! BUT... my first thought when you started typing was.. eek. Could be bad for resale. That's a tough call... ultimately, I don't think it would make or break a sale (at least for me... as long as there's a kids tub somewhere else?) so do what will function best for you guys while you're there. Especially since plans to move aren't in the very near future.

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  39. When you go to move to the sixth house, you just knocked half a bath off your place and the equivalent value. Other then that, go with the bigger closet and get a hot tub in the backyard.

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  40. Keep the tub!! I think it's a negative to remove a tub! !

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  41. Keep the tub but see if you can steal closet room from somewhere else. I recently walled up my walk in pantry for more master closet space. I am so happy now. I don't know your floorplan but could you steal some room? When I first walked thru this house I was impressed with the garden tub but honestly my son has taken more baths in it than me. You probably won't miss it but a potential buyer might.

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  42. Tough situation. I do love the option of a tub, even if I don't use it regularly. And would an extended closet make you lose one of the windows (and its natural light) in the bathroom? I'd probably leave the tub and hire a closet designer for a consult to see if they could squeeze in any extra useable space with a different design?

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  43. Yes, that really is one of my main concerns - losing the light from the big window. But I think if we expanded we could change the doors of the closet to something with glass that would allow the light to filter through. Hmmmmm - I wonder what a closet designer would say- good advice - thanks Anna!

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  44. This is a tough one! A tub is a must have, I'd say. But what if you got a free standing one and re-oriented it under the smaller window? Or even put it on an angle in the corner... there might be a way a pro could figure out how to down-size the tub and up-size the closet using angles...
    I'd say it all comes down to how much you're willing to spend to get a few more feet of clothes storage :)

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  45. My vote is definitely to keep the tub...relaxation needs far surpass the need for more closet space that just hold more "things". A reorganization of the closet would likely provide additional hidden space. The loss of natural light in the bathroom would also be a shame.

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  46. Don't know your measurements, but could you change the tub out for a clawfoot & reorient it 90 degrees to run from the edge of the sink cabinet to the back wall? Then you could borrow 3 or 4 feet from the previous tub space, maybe replace the big window with a smaller one to keep some light? Might be worth consulting an architect for an hour of his time ($80-100) to get potential solutions. I would also consult a realtor in your area for feedback on potential resale value either way you go.

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  47. Just had another thought - clawfoot tub reoriented 90 degrees, add more wood flooring to match the rest of the room, then add a big beautiful armoire on the outside of the closet wall - it could store clothes and a few towels w/o the cost/mess of a more involved tear down & add?

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  48. I would totally vote for a larger closet but, you would block the window and your bathroom may become very dark.

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  49. Keep your tub! There's no toilet so you'll have a better bath. :D

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  50. If I were to extend the closet I would do it in the dead space between the closet and the shower. No way would I remove a jetted tub from the master suite! You can always store some of your stuff somewhere other than a closet - dressers, armoire, other closets, etc. but you can't have a master tub somewhere else.

    Besides, it's not like taking away the tub will give you a giant closet worth losing the tub.

    It would probably be a deal-breaker for me if I was in the market to buy. I'm not - we just built a house and moved in six months ago - whew! Who knew there would be SO MUCH work to do in a brand new house!

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  51. You said: I think if we expanded we could change the doors of the closet to something with glass that would allow the light to filter through


    I wonder how you will use the closet if you plan to leave that window from being blocked? Isn't the point of making the closet bigger to use the available space on the walls? If so, the light wont be shining through, but shining on your clothes. Or am I just not getting it?

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  52. We move just as much as you do. So I've looked at a ton of real estate. The homes with no master tub sit on the market. Couple things to think about...if your husbands company buys the house from you and your number is based off a relocation appraisal. You will be dinged for no tub. If the ding is a few thousand. It might be worth it when you run the numbers. To rip that bathroom apart you are looking at 15-20k. Check comps in your neighborhood to see if it's worth it.

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  53. I am pro-bathtub! I love me a big closet, but it will hurt your resale value (if that's even an issue). During our house hunt, we looked at a house where the owners took out the bathtub to create a packing table. So weird. Our realtor had a huge issue with it and said he would never recommend removing the tub. If you do lose the bathtub, could you add a window on the same wall as the mirror (and other window) so you don't lose all of the beautiful natural light? Regardless, I love the changes you've made to it so far and know it will look awesome with whatever you do!

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  54. I have a suggestion for getting more space out of the closet. Switch those wooden hangers out for the slim, felt covered hangers. I did it recently & I was amazed at how much more space it freed up in my closet. They come in several colors & they are really inexpensive.

    I enjoy reading your blog and love your sense of humor.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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  55. I never takes baths and my closet sucks, so I would totally toss the peace sign at the tub!

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  56. I would love a soaking tub! In fact, I'm trying to figure out how to squeeze one into the master bathroom in the house we just bought. That would require making our current closet smaller (boo!) or taking over the office as a closet and turning the current closet into bathroom space. Those are hard choices to make.

    Do you have a soaking tub somewhere else in the house? If so, it's a no brainer. If not, I wouldn't touch the tub. But if you do decide to get rid of it, send it my way. ;)

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  57. It's hard to tell what the space is really like between the closet door and the side of the shower, but maybe that could be incorporated into closet by changing the location of the closet door. I would definitely vote "nay" on taking out your tub. We bought just a year ago, and a master bath with tub was big on my list. I think it would be a huge expense, too, for not that much more closet space. Good luck!

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  58. Any way to expand the left side of closet into your bedroom? I have the same dilemma but you can't loose the depth or the window in that room. Good luck~~ Pam

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  59. You probably already decided, but I just found your blog and came across this post. To me, your closet looks huge! If you are thinking of resale having a nice closet like that and the tub would be better than just a bigger than that closet and no tub. That tub looks nicely done compared to most that I see. I'm not a tub person, but I would definitely vote to keep it.

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Be nice or I'll tell your mom! xoxo -C

 
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