Bathroom Upgrades for Suite Success

Creating a master suite that really stands out means adding something extra. Here are some ideas that could also bring you and your special someone a little closer together.
Master Suite with Open Air Bathroom

Open Air Bathroom in Master Suite

To give the Olsons the ultimate master suite, Chip Wade and his team from HGTV's hit show Elbow Room created an open air bathroom with double vanities, a double shower, a large soaker tub and beautiful light fixtures. This bathroom is visible from any area of the suite and also has the benefit of the natural light let in by the wall of windows in the suite.

From: Elbow Room

Photo by: Jessica McGowan

Jessica McGowan

As master suites have become must-haves in today's new and remodeled homes, owners are looking for new ways to help their suites look truly sweet. High-end options can help your bed-and-bath combo stand out, and could make a difference in a future buyer's mind when you eventually put your home on the market. In the meantime, these ideas can make sharing your master bath even easier.

Doubling Up

Double sinks are still popular after all these years and for a reason: Living together is tough enough without having to negotiate sink time. The side-by-side set-up is the most common, but some designers are placing vanities back to back with a mirror in between. Vanities can also be separated by a tub or shower and the trend toward vanity as furniture makes this easy. If you don't have room for a long vanity or two separate ones, consider two pedestal sinks placed together, such as Kallista's Retro pedestal. It's an elegant solution for a practical problem.

And pairing up isn't just for sinks anymore. Lorey Cavanaugh, of Kitchen and Bath Design Consultants, Hartford, Conn., and a SEN Design Group member, says that she's doing more double showers for her clients.

"When else do you get to see each other?" she points out. For busy couples who want together time in the midst of hectic schedules, a shower built for two is the answer. Cavanaugh and her partner, also a kitchen and bath designer, added a double-sized shower when they redid their own bath. The 10' x 3.5' foot space has a glass block wall with an opening in the center, in front of a semi-circular bench. On either side of the bench are showerheads and an array of body sprays. A pebbled-tile floor helps to bring the outdoors in to their retreat.

Another double option is a two-person steam shower, such as this one by Wasauna. It meets both practical needs (getting clean) and relaxation requirements (steaming away stress together).


For those who believe that the couple that soaks together stays together, Kohler's Sok double tub is just what the couples counselor ordered. With molded seats for two, the large infinity-edged tub immerses both of you up to the neck. Another option for togetherness is Victoria & Albert's Sorrento freestanding tub, which lets you sit side-by-side instead of toe-to-toe.

Added Features

With today's open floor plans, the bathroom may be the only remaining private place in the home. The toilet — a once primary part — is being relegated to its own small space with a door, offering privacy in the midst of togetherness. Couples looking to connect are also making sure their bathrooms have all the amenities for early morning tête-à-têtes or late-night wine and cheese. A glass of Pinot Grigio while soaking is easy with a small refrigerator nearby. It can also hold the cream for your morning coffee, made with a close-at-hand coffee maker. A television for the morning news or a late-night talk show tops off the mix.

Clothes Make the Bathroom

Some people are opting for a comfy chair or two to enjoy that TV or cup of coffee, but others are using any extra space for clothes storage. This may mean a wardrobe in the bathroom or a walk-in closet leading off from it. Either way, says Cavanaugh, you're spared a drafty walk in search of a nightgown or ironed shirt. The other advantage to closets in the bathroom is that one partner can get ready for an early meeting without disturbing his or her partner.

Heating Things Up

Cavanaugh's clients have had heat on their minds lately: "Almost every project we do has a heated floor. Folks also are opting for towel radiators that can heat the whole room as opposed to just warming the towels." These additions aren't just luxuries — they heat the bathroom during season transitions so you don't have to crank up the central heat.

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Master Bathroom from DIY Network Blog Cabin 2009

A tapestry of limestone tile and neutral cabinetry surrounds the luxurious VibrAcoustic tub in this spa-like space. An oversized vanity with his-and-hers sinks, crisp white linens and thoughtful appointments make a stylish statement.

Master Bathroom from DIY Network Blog Cabin 2011

The hotel-chic bathroom boasts a vintage-style soaking tub, a spa shower and custom touches that incorporate architectural salvage.

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