Maybe I am overstating that – “problems with the bathroom” – but Nick has been fretting about the design of the bathroom, and this week we resolved it.
Below you can see a photograph of the room ready to get what it needs to make it into a bathroom. You will see that we now have a house that has electrics, plumbing, plaster and whitewashed. Yea! That is progress and overall once a home is plastered it feels like it’s nearly finished. Like when you sew up the side seams of your dress, put in the zip and try it on. Of course there is still so much to do (facings, lining, hem etc) but you have the form completed and you can try it on. The house is like that now. The next stage will be the floors, skirting and staircase as the woodwork goes in.
So what is the problem with the bathroom? The problem goes back to our design. Most of the homes on the estate are designed for holiday use and lettings. The design maximises the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to give maximum letting flexibility. We didn’t like this approach. We found the bedrooms too small and the bathrooms too large and plentiful. Nick and I use bathrooms mainly for washing etc and, given my daily gym trips I use the shower twice or three times a week. Nick is a bit OCD about personal hygiene and often showers twice a day. I know you are thinking “too much information” and “I hope she is not going to talk about toilets”. OK I won’t. But when you are designing a home you really need to think about what matters to you, how you use space and facilities, where you want your wow factors, what you use storage for, how you want the house to flow. So, in the planning, we talked a lot about the bathrooms (and bedrooms) and how we wanted to use them.
Rainshore has three bathrooms, all very much smaller than on the original plans. They are functional rather than having the Wow factor.
Now, as you know, I work in property development and wow-bathrooms are all the rage in London. As we build small flats on the whole (land in the capital is eye-watering expensive), often with internal bathrooms (ie no natural light) we have to work quite hard to make them look attractive. Here is an image from one of our new developments in the Royal Docks (Newham). This is not my personal cup of tea, but it shows that modern bathrooms are both fairly large, often include a bath and use interesting and attractive materials. In fact due to disability regulations often the bathrooms are designed so they can be used by a wheelchair user, leaving the bedrooms and communal areas rather small and restricted. I have a bee in my bonnet about how much space we give to bathrooms. So our bathrooms, at Rainshore, and in our current flat, are as small as you can make them, with a focus on functionality.
So back to our “master bathroom”.
We knew (as well as a WC and WHB – toilet and basin) we wanted a double shower, to allow for shower sharing. Again this maybe too much information but even if you are dedicated to privacy having double the space in the shower is nice. But we wanted two shower heads with two independent sets of controls. He likes very hot, I like hottish. And my showers are shorter as I don’t wash my hair everyday. (See what I mean – it is probably very tedious for you to read this stuff). We also wanted to turn on the water without getting a wet sleeve. The shower heads are recessed into the ceiling so all you see is chrome circle with tiny holes and the water comes down on your head from above (if you stand directly underneath). So all this was considered by us and our architect.
As we went on Rachel (the architect) suggested we put a bath in too. Sometimes you want a bath, sometimes visitors want a bath, sometimes little kids come to stay and need a bath, occasionally crafting activities need a large vessel. OK. So we decided to include a bath. So two showers and a bath were designed. Here are the plans.
This week we decided on the type of bath that will go into the back of the bathroom. After lots of mind changing we went with a free-standing bath. This will sit at the back of the space and the two showers will be set in front of it. They may splash a bit onto to the bath, but we think there is enough space to minimise this. It would be possible to have a shower while someone was having a bath, if you wanted. We have specified neutral white and off white wall and floor tiles. And then Nick chose a mirror from the Arts and Crafts period. Together I think these two features give us sufficient “wow”.
And just because you have been very patient here is a picture of my sewing room. It’s going to be magnificent.