Master Bathroom Design

Posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2016.

By Hank Wall

Every house has some version of a master bathroom although some are dinky and some are grand. According to a recent homeowner study by Houzz, less than 50% of master bathroom renovations include a bathtub. Choosing to omit the tub sounds like a wild and crazy idea but it is neither – people want a larger shower or expanded storage and countertop space instead of a 5-times-a-year bathtub.

If you are a “tub person,” you are in the minority if you did not know. Most people shower. Few people take regular baths. Remodeling your bathroom for a tub-person may involve a redesign which:


ditches the jetted tub,

gives up the monster corner tub

Includes an elegant freestanding bathtub.

Even in upscale neighborhoods, homeowners are spending money saved from no tub on nice fixtures and frameless glass shower enclosures. Shower enclosures with metal track are usually semi-frameless, with ¼” thick tempered glass. Frameless enclosures use ⅜” thick or ½” thick glass so no metal track is required and the door can swing in or out. Pivot hinges on frameless doors rest the door in the proper position.

Definitely take a drive to Carolina Glass & Mirror (in Wake County) or any nearby showroom before you decide. A typical semi-frameless shower enclosure costs $1,200 – $2,000. The cost jumps up to $2,600+ for the same shower with thicker glass and the frameless look.

A larger shower (once the tub is gone) may not need any glass such that you just walk in. No door. Taller tiled walls are necessary (60” – 72”) to keep shower spray from escaping. Wood Wise often uses half-walls with glass above for new showers with shampoo & conditioner niches hidden from view at the upper section of the 42” wall. Matching tile or even granite may be placed on the top surface of the half-wall with either frameless or semi-frameless glass sitting on it.

Curbless showers allow wheelchair access. Newly developed shower pan systems like Schluter, make the curbless shower easier than ever. Typical curbs are 4” – 5” tall with a sloped shower floor down to a center drain. Curbless showers have a very slight slope up from a center drain.

If you are not ready for the complete bathroom renovation, new countertops ( bargain priced remnant granite) with undermount sinks and nicer faucets may be the “lite” fix – with a large framed mirror and a new vanity light fixture. Add to this some new towels and you can get a fresh look without the multi-week renovation project.

Master bathrooms are the first place we go each morning so improvements here are particularly beneficial to a positive mindset as you head into your day. Wood Wise has completed over 200 bathrooms in 25 years so please call us when you decide your next project involves a bathroom remodel.