I recently had the opportunity to visit some relatives who moved house late last year. The first chance for me to see their new abode. Well, new to them, it’s a twenty year old detached family house built by one of the big developers. They had a heck of a job finding the sort of house they needed – the husband has very specific mobility issues and needed various things to either alrady be in place, or it be easily possible to add them. One of the prerequisites was taking out the badly fitting shower cubicle and making the ensuite a proper walk in wet room with hand rails and secure seating for him. Easy to operate shower with on-off button operation for the shower. Lever taps on the basin makes it so much better too. These things could be installed in every house if the developers thought ahead more instead of concentrating on quick, cheap, profit only.
Whilst lying up poorly this last few days, I have not had much energy, let alone the opportunity to drive down to the store to pick up any magazines or papers. I wake to the gentle sound of classical music then generally dart out of bed to the ensuite shouwer room as soon as the news bulletin sounds. Then I do my exercises, variying them and then race downstairs for the healthiest of breakfasts and my day unfolds. There is very little variance in this routine and it makes me feel calm and unflustered.
What would make me flustered and exteremely uncalm would be a shower or tap that doesn’t work properly. So a little while back I invested in very up to date technology in the shower department. I chose push button literally on/off operation showers with easiest temperature controls for ease of use with my increasingly arhtritic hands.
Oooh I am so glad I have modern well fitting out bathrooms in my very comfortable modern house. I stayed over in a country cottage with family recently. It was fabulous fun being together down in the west country. We got the holiday cheap because it is very off season in fact it was almost a give away but we booked it anyway. I mean, what can go wrong on a winter break in a cottage . . . . . Well what can go wrong is to find the hostess has not had her loo or bathroom updated for several years – there was no running hot water upstairs – just a teensy weensy water heater on the wall above the cereal bowl sized hand basin and the bath had a monsterous ascot style instant water – you couldn’t run cold at the same time. No Shower installed. Gosh did we lux it up when we got home !
The grimness of having to use the facilities in my mother’s care home bedroom is all to familiary to my sisters and me. We have been visiting this establishment for over 8 years now and the horror comes back every time one of us needs to take a call of nature. Everything else about the bedroom is perfectly adequate. the very hi-tec bed has of of those marvellous bed raiser/lower/tipping hand devices. No, don’t tempt me . . . another very disappointing reception from our ma when I entered the room did make me reach for the controls. But no, I jest.
These facilities could so easily have been built into my own home, just a few thousand to engage the services of a professional bathroom company to modify the second bedroom, adding appropriate shower room with grab handles and all the kit, would have kept her nearer the family. But I have a degree in hindsight!
I had my ensuite and bathroom updated 12 years ago. The facilities built in to the house looked exactly that, bulk standard and common, so I had my friend’s son in law come and quote. He had just started his bathroom and kitchen refit business out on his own having worked as a contractor for another big supply company. It was a marriage made in heaven – his work and my money!
I have never actually got over the joy of going into my washrooms – every single time I get the same thrill of seeing a beautifully installed shower and bath and the fitted cabinets are beautifuly practical and streamlined. Everything was chosen with ease of use – the plumber knowing my rapidly deteriorating arthritis, fitted easy on/off taps and stylish grab handles on the bath to look like a design feature. The stone tiling all round still looks ultra modern and the professional finish remains – worth every penny!
Funny isn’t it, when the rain comes down continually, day after drizzled day, the need for gorgeous and comfortable bathroom fittings seems more necessary. Must be a rather peculiar train of thought on my part. There is though nothing more ghastly than having to go to outside facilities in any weather these days. No excuse at all. The old outside lav is almost a thing of the past. There are a few stalwart meanies out there. The eccentric old biddy who refuses to spend any money on such frivolous luxury . . . . . I do know one such old bird in a village near here. She resolutely refused to be modernised and have the outside loo brought inside a small internal extension to the main building. Once she departed though, the next owner ha the most wonderful bathroom facilities installed – they chose the claw foot roll top bath. The swanky all singing, all dancing power shower cubicle with steam. The lot!
One of the things that a relative of mine has to consider in her house move shortly, is making the bathroom, ensuite and downstairs cloakroom as disabled friendly as possible. Her partner was injured in a car accident some 15 years ago and has gradually lost more mobility as the years have gone by. They are now about to move to a 1990s designed family home – for the big garden and driveway. However, unlike today’s houses, it doesn’t have a wide staircase in readiness for a stairlift. It doesn’t have a spacious downstairs cloakroom – again designed for future wheelchair use. The upstairs bathrooms have tiny shower cubicles that need to have a strong wall aside, to allow installation of a flip down stool. The bath too need to have space for strong grab handles for support.
All these things can be built in to their home when they have the place refurbished. A good bathroom installer will know how to help them.
The good old US always advertised that everything they did was bigger than us, bigger cars, bigger people, bigger land and space per head and of course, bigger houses. Their house design is different again, with most being made of wood and a few bricks, not the tremendously safe houses we enjoy. The bathroom arrangements do seem to be a good idea though. I’ve been to several US houses and they have their bedrooms place around an upper sitting quadrant, and there is one bathroom sitting between two bedrooms. It’s very sensible and I have yet to find a house with a completely separate bathroom.
I mention these points because when families ove into bigger more comfortable houses, they always desire the ensuite bedroom. A jack and jill arrangement ensures two rooms are each ‘ensuite’, sharing one between them. The very best facilites can be installed – together with lockable side doors for totally happy family baths!
I had the most glorious time this last Christmas holiday. Being invited to spend a whole week with a family who own a historic cottage with origins that can be traced back four hundred years. I have to say I was slightly anxious about my habit of knocking things over and my general lack of co-ordination when thinking about joining this family. I know them to be very kind and thoughful – and not in the slightest bit clumsy.
I was shown round the cottage by the youngest member of the clan. With immense pride I had the guided tour, which incuded a very old bathroom – now just for show. Happily the cottage included a super duper bathroom and my bedroom had a small ensuite. Neithern detracted from the cottages’ heritage and beauty one iota. The mix of old and new was carried through by absolute craftsmen – a fantastic job all round.
Gosh how this family would miss having our large well appointed bathroom and a certain couple would hate to have to dispense with their modern sate of the art ensuite facility in their bedroom. The very thought of going back to sharing one bathroom between 5 or 6 every morning does seem unbelievably chaotic in this day and age. Yet it isn’t all that long ago tha we did all gratefully share one bathroom. This was in itself a great improvement on our grand paretns’ days when they would have been grateful to enjoy an indoor toilet, and utter bewilderment would have ensued if anyone had push the average grandfather into an upstairs bathroom with running hot and cold water AND a flushing toilet!
Today we can enjoy such wonderful luxury in the bathroom department. Fitted cabinets to hide the junk, all kinds of shower designs including wetrooms with no cubicles for the shower. Sheer magic!