Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bath with a View, Fireplace, and Room for a Pony

At times, I wonder just how different I am from other people in North America! According to the real estate shows, everyone wants a huge bathroom, and couples want to be able to use the bathroom together. These seeming facts reflect neither my desire nor my experience.

My first question for those wanting (and spending enormous sums to achieve) a large bathroom is just what they want to be doing in there. There is the list of usual bathroom activities that everyone knows, and, as far as I can see, none of them requires much space. We sit on, stand or lie in the three or four major and necessary fixtures with not much need (or ability in most cases) to move very far. And who would want to try?

Maybe dancing in the shower would be fun, but ballroom style isn't necessary.
Drying off doesn't take much room, nor does dressing. Parents bathing kids need space to move around, especially for the multi-child bath, but even then the same limitations on activity and needs apply.

Other activities that designer bathrooms accommodate are not ones that I want to indulge in - at least not in the bathroom! Lounging in front of the fire is nice, but not in the same room with the toilet - no matter how large and well-designed the space is. Reading has its traditional use in this room, but why on a separate chaise for that purpose? - fireplace or no, it's the same issue.

The other problem for me is the desire for togetherness in the bathroom! I don't want my husband in the bathroom with me for any activity whatsoever.  Nothing, nada - privacy, please. On one show, both husband and wife felt unpleasantly like "just roommates" because they had to get ready for work each morning in separate bathrooms. And I thought that not having to share a bathroom was a bonus for people. Even if we had only one bath for us both, I wouldn't want company. What's wrong with taking turns?

Don't get me wrong: Luxury in the bathroom is nice - nice finishes, music and custom jets in the shower, a deep spa tub, a heated floor and towel racks.  If one can afford these things, they make some sense. But I so completely do not understand having the space for non-traditional activities, for lounging, and sharing.

Maybe it's just sour grapes. We have enough bathrooms, but they are small - no room for lounging, twirling, dancing. But I do know for sure that if I had pots of money to add to my home or to buy a splishy new one, a bathroom big enough to share and spend more than the necessary time in would not be on my list of "must-haves."

I can't help it. When people on a reality show claim that the master bath is so nice that they would spend hours, even days in there, I seriously wonder about them! Really, no matter how we dress it up, the bathroom is for elimination and ablutions, and it's beyond me why anyone would want to spend more of their life there!


Pearl said...

yeah, I like a bathroom to myself too. more room would be nice tho. say a chair. because it is the quietest darkest spot at home. It'd be nice to have an option for a place to sit that doesn't give seat-bum.

bigger or smaller bedroom, I'm indifferent. more bookshelves you never see in these home design views. built floor area versus, lined with bookshelves, leftover walking space floor area. that'd be good to see.

Judie said...

We are going to be remodeling our master bath in a few months. It is not at all user-friendly! I am having humonga-tub taken out, since I have to stand in it to clean the damn thing. We're getting new everything. I'll update you on our progress when we begin!

ChrisJ said...


I agree, a chair would be nice, but for some, a whole suite with sofa and love seat wouldn't be enough!

ChrisJ said...


With photos, I hope!

Hels said...

With the future of the world dependent on finding new supplies of water, your post could not have been more appropriate :)

It is hardly an exaggeration to think that many countries will be legislating for the amount of time an individual can spend per day in his/her bathroom. So good quality tiles and towels yes, more power-showers and double baths no.

ChrisJ said...


I hadn't even thought of the implications for water usage!

Ciss B said...

We've lived in our home for over 30 years and there is only ONE bathroom. Three boys, a husband and me shared that one tiny bathroom where you could hardly turn around in at all. It truly was, and IS an experience!

Trulyfool said...


I never thought this would happen to me, but here I am commenting on an 'interior design' post.

My wife loves watching all the HGTV house shows, not a few originating from Canada. In order to have a few moments of 'quality time' with her, I watch along sometimes.

Face it: 'big and more' is what folks want.

Privacy: can't live without it. The advantage to a large bathroom MIGHT be double sinks if both spouses begin a work day at the same time. But don't need the jacuzzi/'soaking tub', don't need a party-of-three marble shower.

Think further, Chris. What else do these 'typical' (read: fairly well-off for the most part) buyers look for?

LARGE walk-in closet. LARGE yard (if only flat with dying grass). LARGE cathedral ceilings. LARGE master bedroom/bathroom with exercycle space and room for a back-up ("hers") computer/office aside from the 4th bedroom that "doubles AS an office". LARGE kitchen space, often even larger to make room for a LARGE prep island.

Panoramic (or 'water') view.

And/or pool/barbeque area.

This is the spoiled (and often tasteless) 'good life' of the haute bourgeoisie vision of the world. Plenty of nouveau (real estate leveraged) riche?

Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't myself be satisfied with a heatless 'Unabomber' cabin in Montana.

But senseless affluence?


ChrisJ said...


It's all relative - what would feel like a vast improvement in size to us would be too small to so many!

ChrisJ said...


You are so right - EXCESS carries the day. So many on the shows always choose the most excessive - read, as you say, largest - in everything, including price.

cooper said...

The only thing I really like in my br is enough room to walk around, and a large custom Swedish shower, with a ceiling and wall shower head.

Also an in batroom closet for towels.

Tubs are just bacteria catchers.

ChrisJ said...


Swedish showers are very nice, and you are right about tubs.

Owen Gray said...

We've just redone the upstairs bathroom. After thirty-five years, it needed a make over. We like the way it looks.

But it is not a showplace. Its purposes are merely functional.

askcherlock said...

We just re-did the bathroom on the first floor. Actually, it is a powder room. We put up lovely wallpaper and I asked my husband to remove a closet in there which served no purpose. That part had him clutching for digitalis, but he did it and I turned the space into a nook for an antique vanity with chair, a quaint lamp, a painting on the wall, and perfume bottles. I love it and there is positively, absolutely no room for dancing. Just the way I like it!

ChrisJ said...


We re-did ours last year; they do need updating. I agree about functionality.

ChrisJ said...


I wish I had waited a day or so to do this post - one of the real estate shows displayed a house with a fridge in the master bath!

Your powder room sounds nice.