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February 2008
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Master Bath Project Episode 4

The major demo is done. The decision on the types and rough sizes of the shower, vanity sink, and the makeup are done. A mirrored medicine cabinet has been selected. So now it is time for rough framing.

Remodeling Construction Notes

This project was a field design. There are and were no prints other than quick sketches as we went along. In the case of this project, until we demoed the walls and figured out where the plumbing was, we could only guess as to what would be needed to get things moving. Once we knew what was in the walls, we could begin to figure out where things were going and what our rough sizes would be.

I do mean rough. For example, the vanity wall was built out to mount the built in medicine cabinet. The height and width of medicine cabinet, determined the room needed for the vanity height, and space and placement for the GFI outlets above the counter. This build out also gave the plumber and electrician room to work without having to spend a lot of extra time having to break things to do their work, creating more work for the next guy.

The original bathtub pony wall determined how deep the shower pony wall was going to be. The grout line on the top of the bottom glass block, in the window on the tub wall determined the height of our vanity and toilet pony walls. It also determined the height of the solid surface walls for the tub surround. The exterior door on the south wall determined the depth of the toilet pony wall. The desire for a magazine rack on one side and a heated towel bar on the other side dictated the construction details on the pony wall next to the toilet. This also let us know where to put the switches for the vanity shower and overhead lights.

The remaining space between the back shower wall and the bedroom wall determined the width and depth for the makeup counter, and cabinets. The height of the make up counter and the built in mirror and the small built in medicine cabinet in this alcove determined the placement of the upper cabinet as well as the switch and outlet for this area.

The selection of fixtures and controls for the water determines where your blocking goes, as well as providing pathways for your water and waste lines.

Those are just a few of the reasons that this was a field designed project. Now back to our project….

The Shower
The shower is going to be 42” wide by 72” deep. ‘Standard’ shower pans center the drain. The original drain is embedded in the slab. In specifying the size the client wanted, we knew that it was going to be custom. The number of companies that do solid surface that can also cast an off center drain shower pan is surprisingly small. The shower door will be a 32” wide frame less double pivot style. This requires 3/8” tempered glass. Because of the width of the door and not having a frame, the back wall is made with 2×6” with a double corner to provide strength for the hinges for the door. The pony wall at the lower right of this image is 2×6 also.

The choice of 2×6 was made for a number of reasons. Strength, as the glass door will be hanging off rear shower wall, and the two vanity pony walls will be supporting the vanity which will be suspended from either side with a small drawer cabinet below. No Base Cabinets. Plumbing access on the shower side as the controls will be mounted on the shower side of the pony wall and not underneath the shower as is typical. The last reason is visual. Having all the pony walls the same width and height, we can visually tie the room together.

The Vanity
The vanity wall was built out with 2×6” to accommodate the built in medicine cabinet and to have space to insulate the brick wall behind, and to provide room for the plumber to route the water and waste lines, as they need some serious work from the last time. Also it allows us to build square and plumb walls, which is real important with so much custom solid surface and cabinetry.

On the bath side, we added material to the bath pony wall to provide strength for the vanity as well as framing for the clean out access.

The Toilet Wall

This pony wall does double duty, On the bath side it will have a heated towel rack. On the toilet side it will have an alcove for reading materials. In this photo you can see where we installed vertical blocking so we have a wide area for attaching the towel bar.

Here is a detail shot of the outlet box for the electricity for the towel bar.

Here is a detail of the magazine alcove.

A little electric and some rough plumbing we are ready to drywall.

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