Two Master Bathroom Sinks: A High PriorityNW Portland Remodeled Craftsman Bathroom

The most-often requested feature for new and remodeled master bathrooms is two sinks, followed by:

  1. Large(r) shower
  2. Separate toilet room
  3. More storage

Having two sinks is great, but they have to fit in the space available, which means that the side-by-side concept has to be bypassed if the available space for two sinks is less than 66″ wide. Below are two examples of bathrooms that are 5′ x 10′-3″ and 5′ x 11′-2″.

Major Remodeling To Achieve The Homeowners’ Goals

NW Portland Craftsman bathroom before

The remodeled master bathroom in the above picture shows lavatory cabinets on both sides of a new two-person corner shower. It was fortunate that the existing bathroom had lavatories in the same position, but the storage was considerably smaller. There was a platform-mounted 6′ corner tub that never got used. Getting rid of the tub and having the bathroom blend with the modern Craftsman style of the home was the motivation for updating the bathroom. It’s sad that the builder had no sense of style or uniformity. Although the exterior was definitely “Craftsman” style, the interior was a mashup of different materials and styles. This bothered the homeowners, so they decided to remodel the kitchen, living room, and master suite. The major transformation included:

  • Reusing the existing pantry to create a powder room under the stairway (achieved during the kitchen update).
  • Expanding the master closet into an unused portion of the attic.
  • Creating a mezzanine den for the husband and wife above the living room.

Two Examples of Two Sinks: One Works, The Other Doesn’t

In Example 1, it’s impossible for two people to stand side-by-side unless they both have their arms pulled close to their bodies. Although it may hurt resale value not to have two master bathroom sinks, the day-to-day function is improved if there is only one sink and more storage.

Example 2 shows an additional 11″ that allows room for two master bathroom sinks. Two people can stand side-by-side with their arms bent at the elbows, a normal position for washing one’s face. There’s also storage space, two 15″ wide banks of drawers. The total lavatory width is 72″.

Plans showing two alternate ideas

Guidelines for Bathroom Design

Space allocations are very important in bathroom design. The building code requires a minimum of 15″ on both sides of a toilet centerline to the nearest surface, and requires a minimum of 24″ from the front edge of the toilet to the nearest surface (usually a wall). Codes determine the minimum interior size of showers, anti-scald features, and water-saving requirements. Accessible bathrooms are governed by separate codes. In Oregon, it’s called the 2011 Residential Specialty Code. It’s massive! Also, the National Kitchen & Bath Association has 27 comprehensive guidelines for bathroom design that NKBA-accredited designers use for reference. It’s been very helpful to show clients specific information in the guidelines and explain why their bathroom must be planned in a certain way, to achieve maximum safety and function.

But great bathroom design goes beyond using technical guidelines. Bathrooms must have style. They must blend with the architectural style of the home and reflect homeowners’ personal style preferences. To achieve results that the homeowners want, it’s important to understand the why behind every request. These are the emotional drivers for the project. In this project, the homeowners wanted to feel a sense of unity as the moved from room to room. The reason they bought the home in the first place was the immediate feeling of love they had when they approached it. They were willing to forego disappointment with the interior, because they knew it could be changed. I remember hearing how much they hated the interior details from our first discussion on the phone. I remember how their anger and frustration melted away as they looked at elevations and perspectives, as we talked about the details that would transform their home.

Specific Reasons For Two Sinks

Two master bathroom sinks on different walls give each partner a special feeling of “This is my space.” For my clients, having two separate sinks with better storage was at the top of their “want” list. In 31 years, I’ve learned that the “Divide and conquer” idea has been helpful if:

  • The partners are like Felix and Oscar — one’s a Type A and the other is a Type Z
  • There are special storage needs for both, i.e., personal-care products
  • There are accessibility issues that need to be resolved
  • One partner likes more privacy when grooming


The only way to help people achieve a comfortable, safe bathroom is to ask personal questions. It’s never to be snoopy or judgmental. It’s just information that’s needed to help Homeowners make informed decisions. Often, asking questions brings up issues that neither partner is aware of until they realize how their answer will impact their life. This happened when I was designing our new home, and discovered that it makes me nervous to have my husband around when I’m putting on makeup or doing my hair.  Our two master bathroom sinks are in separate rooms on either side of the hallway that leads to our closet!

See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”

Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.

Don’t know what to do because you have a home that’s a mashup of different styles? Architectural integrity is important (with few exceptions) in every home, in every neighborhood! Diane Plesset has lots of experience dealing with these challenges, and she can help you! Call D. P. Design today, or send an email to

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