Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Most Important Room(s) in the House

The bathrooms might be some of the smaller rooms in the house, but per square foot, they take the cake on design time- no question about it. The existing house has a recently remodeled full bathroom on the first level, so that has saved us some design time and money. The only work we will do in that bathroom is to replace the toilet with a dual flush Toto Aquia dual flush unit. The dual flush toilet has both a .9 gallon per flush option and a 1.6 gallon per flush option and it looks pretty sleek as well.

The upper 2 bathrooms have gone through dozens of iterations. We originally tried to salvage the existing bathroom on the upper floor. It has the original 1940’s tile and tub. This proved to be too limiting to the rest of the upper floor plan, as the existing 3’ wide corridor would prevent us from getting most of our furniture to the upper floor. Once we decided to demolish the existing bathroom, it opened up a whole series of options on bathroom arrangement for us.

The plan we settled on for the bid documents has the master bedroom toilet and shared bathroom back to back. This allows for a common plumbing wall, which is a very efficient approach. We have a compartmentalized design for the shared bath, so someone (who shall remain nameless) can spend as much time as he needs on the toilet, while others could still have access to the sink and toothbrushing. We initially had only a shower for the master bathroom and a tub/shower for the shared bathroom.

The tub/shower combination is what we have in our current house, but I wanted a better solution to the shower curtain problem. I hate having a curtain and don’t want a shower door that makes the tub impossible to clean. There doesn’t seem to be any good solutions out there, except to separate the shower and the bath. So much to Kevin’s chagrin, I reworked the shared bathroom to include a separate bath. (Men just don’t seem to appreciate the importance of a good bubble bath.) This reworking of the shared bath did result in Mazzy losing a bit of her closet space, but given the increase in size over her existing 3’ closet, I don’t think it will be a problem.

For the shared bathroom, we are going with the entire Nexus suite from Toto. We are working with Ratieken Sales in Minnetonka for both Toto and Grohe fixtures. The Eco-Nexus toilet has a 1.28 gallons per minute single flush. The air bath has warm air jets that will give you a heated massage. (yeah!) I have told Kevin that once he tries our new Toto Nexus Air Bath, he will likely break down crying and thank me for insisting on it!

In the Master bathroom, we are specifying another Aquia dual flush and a Toto square vessel sink with Grohe faucets. Look for a posting soon on the exciting tile selections!


Jennifer said...

Love the new layout!

Anonymous said...

Can I ask why you are so stuck on the Toto toilet? Are you a distributor for them or do you work for them? If you are going dual flush, why not go with the company that invented the dual flush toilet, Caroma? Unlike Toto who still makes toilets that are not HET's (High Efficiency Toilets), Caroma only makes HET's and is the only toilet manufacturer to test their toilets on the half flush. What good is that .9 gallong flush on the Toto if it is only good for liquid or paper? Go with a Caroma that can flush solids on the .8 gallon half flush. Also, Caroma is the only manufacturer whose toilets have a 4" trapway that can flush a baseball. In short, Caroma's never clog. For impartial testing go look for the MaP report at

Kurt Bramstedt
Orange, CA

Kevin & Roxanne said...

Thanks for your comment and for the path to the report, it is useful information. Our good friends at Natural Built Home carry the Caroma and they are impressive. We've seen them flush a handful of golfballs down the trap over and over again with no ill effects. We agree that Caroma's are great toilets as are many others in the CUWCC listing. We did consider the Caroma line in our selection. For us, there were a number of factors influencing our decision - one of them being that pesky notion of aesthetics and we simply prefer Toto's aeshtetic over the Caroma's - a matter of personal choice. Not only do products need to be green, but they need to be beautiful as well- otherwise, they just don’t make the cut. We also felt it was important to showcase various technologies in our project- such as a dual flush and single flush and find out first hand how they perform. Each of the toilets we selected are HET. If they don't stand up to the demands of use, we'll likely replace them with something else - perhaps the Caroma, or Zurn, or one of the other high scoring HET's out there on the market. We'll do more on water saving ideas in a future posting.

Anonymous said...

What about a soft bathtub, or a shower bed?

Obed Eriksson said...

Is there a bidet in the plans for any of the bathrooms? That would be classy!

Kevin & Roxanne said...

Sorry, no bidets or other fancy gizmos. At some point, the amount of bathroom space would overtake the living space, which might say something about our priorities.

fairdinkum said...

Kevin and Roxanne,
the toilet in the first floor bathroom is a pressure assist that only uses 1.0 gallons per flush (whether its #1 or #2). I would recommend keeping it; it is a very good one (

The toilet upstairs is also a pressure assist but that one does use 1.6 gallons per flush.


Kevin & Roxanne said...

Thanks so much for the info on the existing toilet on the first floor. We will definitely keep it! The upper floor one will be either sent to the reuse center or to another good home!

Anonymous said...

Hey there Kevin and Roxanne,

Building ITALIAN is a good can't go wrong..... :-} Looks like an exciting project, hope to see some photos of the finished product. Greetings from your cousins Mike and Jill (Nelson) "CARLUCCI" out here in sunny Seattle Washington...just keeping it real... :-} God bless and keep you safe in all your endeavors. Looks like things are really going well so far, keep up the good work.

Best regards from,

Mike and Jill Carlucci