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Bathing Beauty

Designer Tobi Fairley shapes her outdated master bath into a functional retreat

By Tobi Fairley

A master bathroom should really be an oasis, a place to wash away the cares of the day, or to get you ready for the day in a relaxing atmosphere. But the master bath in my home was anything but a spa-like retreat. 

Other than an extreme lack of closet space, the layout wasn’t terrible. But there was a lot of wasted space, and the fixtures were dated. Sore points included the huge cultured marble tub (so big the water would be cold by the time you filled it enough to get in), a tiny linen closet, a small shower with a low ceiling, and a water closet with an extreme amount of legroom and a swinging saloon door. Plus, there was one small master closet that my husband could barely fit all his clothes in, while I had to trek upstairs every day to the guest room closets. Crazy, right?

Master bath before

Another problem—one of the main reasons I disliked the room—was the lack of natural light. We didn’t have a single window. The space felt dreary and disconnected from the world outside. It was time for some floor plan fixes and fixture upgrades. 

The good news is there was a dysfunctional mudroom backing up to the bathroom linen closet—good news because I could steal that square footage for my new closet. My days of sleeping downstairs and dressing upstairs could come to an end. 

Other updates include a roomy shower with a full-height ceiling, a very functional Kohler soaking tub with some fun bells and whistles, and a new window between the shower and the toilet. I can now see the gorgeous landscape outside. I also added a wall at the end of my vanity for electrical outlets and a make-up mirror. We had only one outlet before, and it was on my husband’s end of the cabinet—which drove us both nuts!

Master bath after

Even though some of the changes may seem subtle, there is so much more to love in the new floor plan. The spaces aren’t huge, but every square inch now makes sense. The bathroom and closet space went from hardly working to functional and fabulously organized. And as you know, nothing makes me happier.

Next month we’ll talk about creating the perfect guest room.