There is a Chinese Proverb the reads, “ People in the West are always getting ready to live.” That about sums up what happens in the Master Bathroom. Male and females, are getting ready to live when they use the master bathroom. They are also there to recover, re-adjust, to re-align and restore themselves. It is a room that is private, and an extremely territorial space. It is where both genders can pluck, prune, pamper, ponder, polish, prepare, and groom the image of what they anticipate themselves to look like. It is where sexuality is adorned and recreated visually. At the end of the day, it is where all the façade is erased, and scrubbed off, stripped down, exposed and returned to authenticity. All of this relates to the way the bathroom is designed, especially in the grooming areas. Cabinetry layouts are designed to accommodate the activities of “getting ready to live.”

And guess what? The gender issue, male female is a big deal. I remember a client saying to me, “ I don’t want to look at all her crap: makeup, creams, hair products, body lotions, etc. etc. etc. “ And she said, “ he splashes the mirror with water, and gets the shaving cream all over the place. It just drives me nuts!” Cabinetry layout trends for male and female are now not only separated by some special division if they are in the same room, but also are planned as separate his and her master bathrooms. Separate sinks for each user is a basic suggestion.

Grooming is a solitary chore and each individual will have his or her own habits and rituals that should be isolated and respected. Being separated is not such a bad idea. She cannot interrupt his thoughts and he cannot interrupt hers.

Not to say that not ALL couples enjoy the separation. Some couples “get ready for their life” at the same time. It is during this time that they can review, plan, and communicate the schedules of the day for themselves as well as their family. Joint grooming areas in this situation are very important. If two professionals are in the same household and have a routine of racing out the door after they have completed the morning grooming ritual, the chit-chat at the sink when brushing their teeth in unison, might be the only opportunity to amend the plans of the day. Get the visual of synchronized teeth brushing? These folks might select the master bath location to brew the coffee and watch the news together. The television source, coffee machine and small refrigerator might be included in the cabinet layout design to accommodate these activities.

However, in spite of the separation requirements in the cabinetry layouts, there are distinctions in the planning of grooming areas for women and men. All of the equipment for both genders must be realized prior to the design and planning of the master bath cabinet layouts.

Should separate grooming areas be a significant requirement, or even if the partners share the same space, women require a lot more storage and a variety of storage solutions because of their specific grooming needs.

So what does she really need? She needs to see the back of her head to perfect the hairdo parts and proportion and that means lots of clever mirror placements. Mirrors can hinge from the wall creating angles which provide this solution, and/or the mirror can be placed on the side walls of the vanity area so at least when she turns her head from side to side, she can see some of the back of her head.

The location of the ‘body-to-the-mirror’ when applying make up is important and can dictate the cabinet layout distances from the mirror. Some women sit down to “make up” and others stand. If she is standing and or sitting, the distance from her body to the mirror should be no further than twelve to fifteen inches. One client “sat in her sink” because she could never see her face. If a make-up magnified mirror is specified in her grooming area, that mirror should be an inch from her face.

“Oh for light!” The correct placement of lighting is very important. Light on her face should be planned to be located on either side of her face and not more than twenty four to thirty inches from each side of her face. There is nothing worse than a lady who thinks that she looks fantastic, only to discover that she looks like a freaky clown because the lighting she used while putting her face on just was not in the correct location. This usually is recognized far too late when the reflections in the guests mirror reveals rosy cheeks in the wrong color and the hideous combination of eye shadows and or application of them. The worse lighting is light that shines above the head. This casts cruel shadows that direct and guide the makeup to not be the most complimentary and or in some cases, down right ugly! The other point of grooming-area lighting, is not to ‘melt that face!”

The glamour incandescent make-up lights that follow the perimeter of the mirror which provides an equal light source at six inch centers, produce so much heat that when the lady is twelve inches away from the mirror (which is the correct distance), her face melts, she perspires, and the makeup just sprints down her face. The makeup will not look so hot after the lights “hot-up-her face.”
Drawers on either side of her makeup area are imperative. Several tall bottle drawers are also very useful, as many of the oversized shampoos and creams do not fit in the standard 5 ½” high drawer. Decorative cabinetry pilasters that pull out can store the larger bottles, and may also embellish the cabinetry design.
Electrical outlets concealed behind the cabinetry drawers to provide easy storage for the hair equipment chords, prevents the electrical chord of equipment from knocking over anything sitting on the countertop.

She also needs many smaller compartments for the storage of makeup and larger storage areas for hair equipment. It is astounding how many lipsticks a female can acquire in one year, and or never throw away. The “makeup’ hoarder that ‘keeps this one shade for that future occasion,’ will require a storage place for ‘stuff-to-use-at-a-later-date.” Most females won’t admit this, however it is just a reality that the ‘Storage God proclaims’, “one must provide a place for it all.”
Woman love the photos of her family, which can be framed in an array of shapes and sizes. Cabinetry for her should include a place for her to look at, gaze at, remember, and reflect on her memories. She is heartfelt and these small things mean a lot to her. Some women have a special “memory area” close to where she grooms herself. Close attention to this is important in the planning and designing of her space.
Apart from all the technical requirements for her, ‘the Goddess’ needs the cabinetry to be beautiful. It needs to resemble some part of history that she can relate to. Painted finishes are usually easier to clean and imbue the feminine. She loves pretty, and practical. The female needs it all.

Men are not really from Mars, but they do require and like a different style. They typically require functional, clean, organized, and simple areas for storage and cabinetry styling. The gender just doesn’t have all that ‘stuff.’ However, the accoutrements needs to be just plain handsome. Men usually prefer darker cabinetry that can ‘resemble a men’s clothing store.” Some men would prefer just to “hose it down and not worry about it.”
Men’s’ habits and needs that direct the design are very different from women’s’. Men use some hair product on their hair, and some use hairdryers. Men like to watch the news while shaving. Clever storage of televisions through the grooming mirror makes it easy to see and watch. Men need extra outlets to charge their toothbrush, and phone. They sometimes require a built-in coffee machine. Some men shave in the shower, some men shave over the sink, some men just trim the beard. A quick –mini vacuum is useful around the men’s grooming area. Heated floors in the grooming area, in and around the cabinetry layouts are a plus for him. After the shower, it is usually a towel around the waist, and a steam free mirror to shave by. A magnifying mirror for him is equally as important as well as correct lighting. To miss part of his face while shaving certainly does not compliment the ‘Macho-Male’ image.
The layouts and style of master bathrooms can also affect the disposition of the user not only on a conscious level, but on a subconscious level. The master bath is not just a territorial issue. It is a place of inner-reflection and a place where one can visualize, contemplate and anticipate the activities and dreams of our lives. It is the first room used at the beginning of the day where we are awake. And, it is the last room used at the end of the day, where one seeks solitude, recovery, and re-centering. The design and style morph us into an unconscious state and or conscious state. The layouts of these rooms can affect how we feel, and how we judge our lives and activities. This room can influence how our life manifests.


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