New Home Trends - Ensuite Bathrooms

by Karen Briscoe
August 2, 2013

One of the most prevalent trends in new home building is that of ensuite bathrooms.  According to Wikipedia, the definition of an ensuite bathroom is one where a bathroom or shower room is attached to and only accessible from a bedroom.  Very rarely does one find a new home where there is only the hall bathroom to be shared by several bedrooms.

When I was growing up in the Midwest, the Master Bedroom (now frequently referred to as the Owners’ Suite) was the only one that was set up as ensuite.  Siblings always shared a bathroom, and oftentimes even a bedroom.  The current trend in home construction is for each bedroom to have its own bathroom.  Occasionally one will see a “Jack and Jill” bathroom arrangement where 2 bedrooms will share facilities between.  Sometimes in this arrangement, each bedroom will have its own sink and the toilet and tub/shower is the shared component.

When I show homes to potential buyers, the issue sometimes arises on whether it is necessary for each child to have his/her own bath.  On these occasions, I share the story of when our son Drew was a junior in high school and we were visiting colleges.  At James Madison University in Virginia the Admissions Counselor posed two questions to the group of students:  1) How many of you share a bathroom? And 2) How many of you share a bedroom?  Out of a group of about 75 students, there were about one dozen that shared a bathroom and only 1 student that shared both her bedroom and a bathroom with a sibling.  The Admissions Counselor proclaimed that the young lady that shared both a bedroom and bathroom was the only one out of the group that was prepared and ready to attend college!  I use this story to remind parents that sharing a bathroom and bedroom allows opportunities for learning and growth.

Bathroom design has changed over the years as well.  At one time it was vitally important to have a Jacuzzi tub in the Master Suite; now decorative free standing tubs is the popular design trend.   Number and style of shower heads follows trends as well – high on the current popularity curve is the rain shower head that is attached to the ceiling.  Separate sinks in the Owners’ Suite are almost always present, as is a separate water closet for the toilet.  Bidets rise in and out of popularity, currently out of cycle.  Higher priced homes frequently have heated tile floors, heated towel racks, steam showers and even a television screen embedded into the mirror.

A good Realtor can “date” a home just by looking at the tile and hardware selections.  In the 1950’s pink and gray as well as turquoise blue were all the rage.  In the 1960’s sleek contemporary looks reminded people of space travel and Frank Lloyd Wright design.  In the 1970’s low slung toilets (to save water) as well as foil wallpaper was popular with the hippie “flower power” generation.  “The 1980’s color selections frequently were mauve and grays.  Sometimes trends return again and the retro look is back in style.

It is important to understand all the myriad of factors that go to create and retain value in real estate.  Karen Briscoe and Lizzy Conroy are active and experienced Realtors® in the Northern Virginia, Washington DC and suburban Maryland market place and would be delighted to assist with this process for you, whether it is home buying and/or selling.  Please contact via the means most convenient for you:, 703-734-0192,

Karen Briscoe is Principal of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Group (HBC) and author of "Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day". She is an Associate Broker in Virginia, a Certified Luxury Home Market Specialist, and a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors. Karen began her real estate career developing residential lots with the Trammel Crow Company in Dallas, and in commercial real estate with The Staubach Company in the Washington, DC Metro area. Karen has a Masters Degree from Southern Methodist University and her BA from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri – her hometown.
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