Small Master Bath – Borrowed Space
By Chet Zebroski
While working on the American Clay installation in our soon to be Den/Guest Room, we discovered loose tiles in our Master Bathroom shower. There was no way around it, the Master Bathroom was to be our next excursion into transforming the style and use pattern of our humble ranch home.
Sarah Susanka has received notoriety for promoting the concept of living small in her book “The Not So Big House”. It’s an observation contrasting developed space, small versus large, focusing on what makes a home special. She puts forth that it’s not size so much that makes a place special, as it is it’s function, detailing, and relation to adjacent spaces. The main point being: invest money on details and relationships, not necessarily on square footage.
Her work and observations flowed perfectly into and beyond the training we received while working at JSW/D, coauthors of “A Pattern Language” (another book on the study of successful design patterns). JSW/D wrote a follow up to Pattern Language titled “Patterns of Home: The Ten Essentials of Enduring Design”. It’s a book focused on successful residential design patterns only. A link to the residential design patterns list can be accessed here.
Using these guides as a foundation for decisions, we saw an opportunity to improve our sense of space by enlarging the doorway into the bathroom and borrowing space from an adjacent closet and under the existing roof eave. This is an example of the tactic “borrowed space”. In one case, by enlarging the size of the door from 24″ to 64″ we gained a sense of space from the hall. In another, by extending into an adjacent closet and under the existing roof, we take advantage of those elements and evolve their function with a new use pattern for our daily activities.
This is the wake up room. The place where we spend time preparing to meet the day. In a small space such as our bathroom, we worked to minimize visual clutter to maximize a sense of tranquility. So, we took care to choose each detail carefully, assuring a pleasant space. Though the selection phase was slow and deliberate, the end result is that each and every element was chosen by us, with no exceptions. It was worth the effort in the end.
We got some positive press from Fine Homebuilding in their Fall/Winter 2007 issue when we completed this aspect of work. Here’s a copy of the article below in pdf form. (Reprinted with permission © 2007, The Taunton Press, Inc.)