I've just redone a home including putting in several new bathrooms. Here are a few things I learned:
- In the master, I'd want 2 sinks. I already feel more relaxed and refreshed going from a shared-sink setup to having my own. My wife's snarl of junk isn't in my way and my own things are neatly organized. By default, the extra counter space created by this setup is also nice. I also wouldn't trade the world for all the storage space we now have in our vanity. Pedestals and open shelving arrangements look really nice, but demand a level of organization that I don't want to undertake. I love it that I have a full trash can under my sink, plus drawers for my medicines, hair product, toothpaste, d/o, etc etc etc. I have acres of storage that I can keep well-organized without having to be anal about it.
- I've only lived with this sort of arrangement for a short time, but already I'm a convert that a shower/bath combo in a master suite just doesn't set the right tone and is a compromise that works for nobody. If you have room for a nice soaking tub and a standup shower, do it. If not, ditch the tub. We put in a nice shower, no room for a tub, and I don't miss it in the least. We do have a child, but we also have other bathrooms to give her a bath in. The master is our space. Not having a tub means nothing to step over, a nice presentation, and plenty of room to do some unconventional things. We put in a bench seat, which at first I thought was going to be sort of for show, but I use the bench every day to sit on and clean my feet. It's really nice.
- Rain showers and body sprays are overrated. I got a rain head, two body sprays, plus a hand wand thing with variable spray heads (it's one of those Kohler Flipside things), mounted on a bar, that puts out a more conventional spray. I use the Flipside 90% of the time. The rain shower and sprays are really for show. They do look nice though.
- If you do like I did and sort of design your own shower or certain elements, make sure you think things all the way through. I made one big mistake - you can't turn the shower on easily without being in the spray, so the initial cold water hits you. It's not terrible with the hand shower since I can turn it on the bar so it sort of faces the wall, but turning the rain head on you have to try to stand way off in the corner but the handle is still more or less right underneath. Imaging actually doing the things you need to do in there before settling on a design.
- Gets back to the vanity point, but be really sure to think carefully about storage. You end up with a lot of stuff in a bathroom - I buy my soaps and deodorant and toothpaste etc. at club stores, and you end up with huge quantities of these things you have to put somewhere. Not to mention towels, which are space hogs.
- Finishes etc. are very personal so just get what you like. We got marble basically everywhere - it has trade-offs (it does seem to scratch easily) but I really like the way it looks and an imperfection here or there does not bother me.
- Lav sinks (which someone said are dated, I'm not entirely so sure) are interesting but limited functionally. We did put one in a downstairs bathroom for show but I would not want it in my master where I'm washing my face, brushing teeth, etc. You have to clean around the base and they splash water everywhere. Undermount is great.
- F*ck low-flow toilets. Not sure what to tell you there - I think they're mandated most places these days. You can get the power-assist ones but they're pricey. I have the standard low-flows and I just make sure to flush often and have a plunger in every bathroom.
- Last thing I'd say - this was maybe slightly unconventional but we ditched medicine cabinets in favor of a mirror that covered more or less the full wall behind the vanity, and I really like it. Opens up the space and creates a nice uniform look. We did picture-frame it so it looks nice, too.
- This should be self-evident but if you're doing the work yourself do not fuck around with water. Buy the right backing boards, be anal about sealing things correctly and installing plumbing the right way. If you have questions, it might be best to bring in a pro. You can screw up the rest of your house and cause a ton of damage with just a little mistake.
Good luck, have fun.