Towel Bars & Tile Lines

A few years ago, I was presenting a floorplan to my client. I was walking him through the plan, showcasing the views from the front door, the stunning kitchen and all of its fabulous features. I then presented the perfect master bath, complete with a walk-in frameless shower, free-standing vessel tub, his and her vanities, private water closet – the total package! I paused to gauge my client’s reaction, expecting to see something just below drooling. Instead, my client looked at me deadpan and said in his best “Joe Friday” (just the facts ma’am) voice – “Where do the towel bars go?” 

I was baffled. I had just presented the most awesome bath and he wanted to know where the towel bars went?! Of course, there were plenty of places for them in the plan. That’s a given, isn’t it? When it became apparent that he was serious, I pulled out my red pen and marked on the floorplan the various places they could go. 

It wasn’t until this weekend that I truly appreciated his question. A family friend had just purchased a home and invited me on a tour. When we got to the master bath, my friend said, “The only problem with this bath is that there is only one towel bar and it's on the shower door.” I looked around and discovered that there wasn’t a good wall to add any towel bars. One towel? Are you kidding? It turns out that my Joe Friday impressionist client wasn’t simply a towel bar enthusiast, he had run into this problem before.

The same house suffered another flaw: The flooring breaks between the tile and the carpet. It was obvious to me that this pesky little detail had been left out of the design and the construction documents. The tile wasn’t laid at the same angle as the dining room, creating an infuriatingly awkward sliver of tile. (And you wonder why builders hate angles). 

Just beyond the foyer, the tile continued to the left and the right defining the 42” circulation space from one side of the house to the other. Unfortunately, someone thought it would look nice to add double doors leading into the master suite. The double doors were wider than the 42” hallway, resulting in another unfortunate transition.

The reality is that these oversights happen all the time - and not just in starter homes! This is why we always try to show tile lines on the floor plans, starting in the conceptual design phase through the construction documents. We also anticipate the places where a buyer may want to opt for more tile. 

Here are some questions to ask during the design phase: 

  • How far out from the kitchen island should you run the tile so bar stools can be on one surface? In today’s open floor plans, circulation runs through rooms instead of in defined hallways. 
  • Should you tile the circulation paths throughout the house? Not only can that get expensive but it often makes the adjacent room look smaller. 
  • In big, open great rooms, do you define the dining area with tile or let the homeowner decide how they want to use the space? 

In the end, we need to put ourselves in the place of the home buyer who steps out of the shower cold and cranky because there’s no towel conveniently waiting to warm them up. Or the unhappy homemaker whose kid has just dropped an entire plate of spaghetti on the carpet walking from the kitchen to the casual dining area. These seemingly small details save everyone from big headaches in the long run!