With only 100 square feet to work with, Barbara Wolcott and Gary Poe figured they couldn't have the amenities of a big luxurious bath. But designer Marina Phillips knew it was possible—with a well-thought-out layout.
To gain precious floor space in the bath of their San Francisco Bay home, the couple relocated laundry appliances to another room. They also reconfigured a hall closet to gain an additional 4 square feet. The extra space allowed for a separate tub and shower, and Phillips tucked them into a single wet room—an upscale look that's also very practical. "Placing the bathtub and shower next to one another offers a custom look, and keeps all of the wet activities in an enclosed area," Phillips says. Raising the wet room's entrance keeps water from splashing onto the main bath floor.
Within the wet room, stone tiles carry a neutral color scheme, with differing shapes and textures for visual interest. One feature that makes the shower seem larger is the sitting area. "The shower bench continues the tub's stone deck and creates a wonderful flow between the tub and shower area," Phillips says.
A recessed niche in the half-wall provides storage for soaps and other necessities while keeping the shower from looking cluttered. "Hiding bath essentials behind the short wall doesn't spoil the clean lines of the main shower walls," Phillips says. "And you can't see the mess from the dry area of the bath."
Just as the shower niche was thoughtfully placed, the toilet's discreet location was a conscious decision. "We wanted to make the toilet as hidden as possible," Phillips says. Set between the linen cabinet and shower wall, the toilet is not noticeable from either the shower or the main entry. "It doesn't even reflect in the vanity mirror," Phillips says. "What else could you wish for?"
With the major elements of the bath in place, Phillips focused on one of the couple's top requests—storage. Deep shelves hold linens, robes, and a hamper. Narrow pullout drawers near the sink keep makeup and bulky items, such as hair dryers, out of sight. Above the sink, a recessed, mirror-front medicine cabinet holds essentials. Inside the vanity, a door-mounted wastebasket catches throwaways.
Nearly everything in the room also fits another criterion—easy care. Natural stone, used everywhere from floor and wall tile to vanity and bench slabs, doesn't show water spots and is easy to clean. "The open room design itself prevents moisture from lingering," Barbara says, "and the oil-rubbed-bronze finish of the faucets doesn't tarnish." Streak-free glass tops the partial walls. Even the cabinets are low-maintenance—they are slightly distressed so potential nicks or chips would simply add to their patina.