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Design challenge: A bigger laundry room or a new bathroom?

Which of these choices is best?

Andrew C., a reader from Crofton, Md., needs our advice on whether to add a bathroom to some extra space on his ground floor, or to enlarge his cramped laundry room. (See the miserable laundry room here and here.)

A little background: Andrew bought his three-story townhouse a year ago and plans to live there another five years. The second story has an eat-in kitchen, living room, dining room and half bath. The top floor has the master bedroom, two more bedrooms and two full baths. So far, so good.

But Andrew feels the space on the ground floor could be better used. There are two rooms down there that Andrew uses as a media room and an office. There is also a utility room with the washer and dryer and all the home’s mechanicals, and an adjacent storage room. Both spaces together are 6 feet by 12 feet.

Andrew wants a larger laundry room, but he also would like a bathroom on that floor. He considered a half bath, but it would require a walk through the laundry room to get to it. And he wonders: Is that too weird? A real estate agent told him that a full bath would bring most resale value in case the two existing rooms are used as bedrooms.

But it makes me sick to think of Andrew doing his laundry in that pitiful space for the next five years. That can't be right. I wonder if there is some compromise or another idea we're not considering.

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