Make a Splash

Even if you don't have the budget for a five-star master bathroom, add a little luxury with these expert tips.

Written by loghome loghome
Make a Splash

Bathrooms - particularly master baths - are no longer strictly utilitarian. Instead, they've become a pampering space, serving as a sanctuary for comfort and luxury. Here are some design ideas from trendsetting log home owners, along with some cost-saving strategies.


Bath Budget

Start by analyzing your budget and determine how many bathrooms you'll install. When you add flooring, electrical systems and plumbing fixtures, bathrooms can represent one to 10 percent of your overall budget (much depends on the bells and whistles you select).

If you're on a limited budget, designers recommend that you determine which high-end fixtures you can afford now, as well which ones might be replaced later when you have more money for custom work.


Size & Placement Puzzle

Experts recommend stacking baths in a two-story design or placing two baths back-to-back in a one-story design to consolidate multiple plumbing lines.

How big should your dream bath be? The minimum bath size is 5-by-8 feet for a full bath and 5-by-6 feet for a half-bath. Experts recommend making your master bath larger (10-by14 feet is a popular size), since it will be more comfortable and often increase resale value. Master Bath
Photo by The Terry Wild Studio

Special Concerns

Tile showers or bath enclosures placed directly against log walls can interfere with the settlement of logs. Plus, the expansion and contraction of the wood with changing humidity can cause loose tile and cracked grout. One solution is to place the shower or tub against an interior framed wall. Another is to use stand-alone framing to allow the log wall to settle naturally, without becoming hung up on the shower stall or tub.

Designers recommend venting all bathrooms, either through the roof or an outside wall. They also suggest installing adequate lighting (more light fixtures rather than fewer) since log homes absorb a lot of light.


Cabinetry & Countertops

The more hardwood in your cabinets, the better constructed, more durable and more expensive they'll be. Many cabinetmakers blend engineered wood such as particleboard with hardwoods to make cabinets both attractive and more affordable.


When shopping for cabinets, pay close attention to drawers and pull-out accessories. Are the sliders and fasteners made of plastic or metal? Metal is more durable, plastic is considerably more affordable.

The look of your countertops should work in concert with cabinetry. Countertops come in a range of materials, including wood, tile, stone, composite, solid-surface, laminate, concrete and steel, with many variations in color and texture in each category.

If you want the look of stone without the hefty price tag, consider a stone-tile countertop for one-third the cost.

Sunken Tub
Photo by Bill Matthews


Fittings, Faucets, Fixtures & Flooring

First and foremost, shop for quality craftsmanship. The best faucet choices are those with solid brass, brass-based metal or corrosion-resistant workings. Also, consider ceramic-disk and plastic-disk valves - they're easier to maintain than washer-based designs.

Electric radiant heat under your bathroom flooring (roughly $600 in installation costs for an average-sized bath plus 10 cents a day for electricity) guarantees toasty tootsies on cold winter mornings.

For covering those warm floors, think about stone tile. Other options include natural stone ($40 to $80 a square foot), ceramic tile ($7 to $15) or vinyl ($2 to $10).



To read the complete article and for resource information, see the 2004 September issue of Log Home Living.

Story by Charles Bevier