Further increasing the number of bathrooms in grand homes are junior bedroom suites, said agent Felix Pena of Hilton & Hyland. Some wealthy owners want their guests to feel at home with finely appointed his-and-her bathrooms.
"It's not only the master suite that has two bathrooms," he said.
Among his A-list clients, steam showers are in style, as are oversize, luxurious tubs set in the center of big rooms.
Pickfair in Beverly Hills has the most bathrooms of any home he has ever listed. The 25,000-square-foot villa, last priced at $60 million, boasts 30 to go along with its 17 bedrooms.
"When you start counting all those," Pena said, "you need a full-time plumber."
As with other trends started by the rich and famous, there has been a trickle-down effect.
In the West, the number of new homes with three or more bathrooms increased to 26% in 2010 from 15% in 1987, while the number with 21/2 bathrooms more than doubled, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
"I wouldn't look at a two-bathroom house," said Lynda Shim, a financial planner who stopped at a Standard Pacific Homes development in Brea on a recent Saturday to check out a model. She lives close by and is considering a move-up house for her family of five.
This is just the type of buyer Standard Pacific has in mind, according to Jeffrey Lake, the company's national director of architecture. The 4,223-square-foot model has a bathroom off every bedroom, plus a powder room. The five-bedroom floor plans include 5 1/2 bathrooms.
"The move-up buyer definitely demands a higher bath count," Lake said.
Part of the amping up in bathrooms also can be attributed to baby boomers "going for exactly what they want," said Diana Schrage, senior interior designer at the Kohler Design Center, a three-story tourist attraction devoted to kitchen and bathroom products in Kohler, Wis.
Contributing factors have been the emergence of the spa experience and changes in health and wellness attitudes.
"Boomers are looking at bubble massages and different water experiences as taking care of their bodies," Schrage said, "part of their health."