I have a chum who is about to buy her first house after many years of sharing with relatives. She’s not a youngster by any means but has a private income and a small fortune set aside for this very task. I’m not sure what has now prompted her to take the leap of faith, maybe realising that she needs to gain independence from a group of family members who never let her think for herself! Anyway I went with her to look at bathroom cabinets and towels etc. It was fabulous fun. We then stopped in a traffic queue right outside a premier bathroom showroom – that was it. Of we had to toddle, round to see the most exsquisite bathroom settings – fabulous basins and taps set into neat but functional cabinets with worktops aside. Shower cubicles that can be opened and closed with the tip of a finger. Electronic showers . . . . . . absolute luxury.
In this extreme heatwave we are experiencing, it can be very tempting to use water for all the things we think are very important. I know someone up the road who, despite their protestations, must be watering their front lawn – it is an unreasonably bright shade of green when absolutely everybody else’s is brown bald and dead. It now sticks out like a sore thumb and the neighbour is feeling smug – until she notices that even her best pals are shunning her. soetimes vanity gets in the way of common sense. I also know a couple of pensioners who won’t hear of having a shower installed. They have always had baths and won’t be changing to these new fangled things. I cannot get through to them how much easier getting clean is with a walk in shower, than clambering up over the side of a bath. And the water savings alone make your eyes water!
I have a very lovely sparkling white bath with a whirlpool featuring 5 spouts around the sides. There is a pump underneath the bath wired through to the airing cupboard, very conveniently placed next door. This is a favourite from the massive upgrade I had done to my bathroom and ensuites a few years ago. The therapeautic effects of a fast hot spa on the limbs is wonderful. Even better with the pouches of bergamont and other herbal scents to make it feel even more like a professional health farm! However one issue with a whirlpool bath that gets overlooked – they need regular hygienic cleaning. Depending on how ofen the whirlpool feature is used, it needs a sturdy chemical cleaner, the same as in a spa, Rather than waste even more water, once I’ve got out, I top the bath up again to a few centimetres above the spout level, add my proprietary spa cleaner and then leave the spa running for 25 minutes. It complete solves the problem of horrible black bits of mould gushing out of the water spouts which will occur if it’s not used at least weekly.
Oh how I have needed help with a couple of bathroom issues – well not necessarily that room but a water department matter arose last month that needed call out of the engineers. Because there’s been a huge amount of rain, followed by snow and ice, more rain and so on, we’ve had an unbelievably challenging time wih waterlogged sewer outputs and the like. It has made using the bathrooms and loos a bit awkward at times. It’s only when you’ve had this problem for several days athat gets sorted out, that you appreciate a well designed bathroom – installed by a professional bathroom installer and craftsman. My showers are top notch, electronic on-off operation with very little movement needed. the taps are all lever type that can be operated with elbow or chin if needed. Such ease of use is critical when mobility is affected by a medical handicap and I for one always recommend seeking a professional installation!
One of the more annoying aspects of living in an area that has much clay and also very hard water is the messy build up that gets deposited all over the bathrooms and kitchen areas. Most folk try to keep up with the cleaning routine on a regular basis and after a few years of fruitless scrubbing and scraping they then give up in despair and just try buying new of everything. That idea does appeal but is sometimes not possible from an economics point of view. However there is light at the end of the mucky tunnel. There is one particular limescale remover spray on the market that is absolutely fantastic at removing these deposits. I’ve seen it in action on basins that look dull from using other products and the taps in this house shine as if brand new. It even works on glass flower vases, dulled by hard water. It is a wonder product and worth every penny!
I like very plain bathrooms and ensuites. Not for me the frilly roman blinds or gingham curtains. Certainly no place in my abode for dolls with massive knitted ‘crinolines’ to cover the spare toilet rolls. No, le’s be honest and have a basket stacked with lovely clean sparkling white loo rolls. I do have a set of tiny display shelves next to the mirror in the main bathroom. A clever way to utilise the space between mirror and wall mounted cabinet. I had the bathrooms totally gutted and updated a few years ago and I still love the modern clean feel – they haven’t dated at all – modern chrome fittings, pure white porcelain sanitary ware and very well constructed shower cubicles help to give the feeling of pure luxe quality in design and installation. It was not a cheap transformation but it’s proven to be the fantastic value for money over the years.
I’ve been the very proud owner of smart bathrooms and ensuites for some years now. I had a broken shower that somehow led to me having all of my facilities ripped out and replaced with amazingly modern cabinets; inset basins with press down plunger plugs and lever taps; press button flush loos; whirlpool bath . . . . and fabulous push button power showers in generous easy clean cubicles. I had first thought about going ‘wet room’ but I had expressly wanted the hotel style cabinetry to hide away all the gubbins you inevitably collect over time. The only drawback now is that my main ensuite basin plunger plug has packed up and although it was replaced with similar a few years ago, this one has also broken. I shall have to find an old fashioned rubber plug on a chain! But other than that, it’s been a most wonderful decision to upgrade and still fills me with joy every time I use one of the rooms – and even more so when I show guests or envious friends!
If ever there was a reason to keep one’s bathrooms and ensuite in tip top condition, the sudden arrival of the neighbour to look at your layout is it. We had this somewhat humilitating experience recently. Knowing our neighbour was seeing her architect about an extension project, we’d mentioned how our washrooms had been updated a few years ago and extended an invite to ‘pop round any time’ to look. . . . Well they did just that and of course, the house, particularly those very washrooms, was in dismally grubby and untidy! Anyway, tactfully not noticing this, our neighbour was in raptures at our still truly fab designs. The ultra slim but essential counter tops with inset basins and beautiful wooden cabinetry were very much in their plans – the walls and floors are fully stone tiled and my double shower unit is ultra spacious but not cumbersome. The shower themselves are operated by illuminated on/off push button and have separate pumps in the loft. It’s some years since our upgrade but it’s still a joy every single day we live here!
One of the soul destroying things about living in houses built on mass production basis – everything bought in bulk, so my house was originally exactly the same as two thirds of the rest of this estate. Immediately after a major upheaval some four years after moving in, two events converged . Firstly, stuck in traffic on my drive to work, I spotted massive Sale signs in a very smart bathroom/kitchen showroom. Intrigued, I strode along that lunchtime to investigate – instantly falling in love with fabulous gleaming white and shiny chrome . . . Spacious modernity captured me forever! Then the same week, my ensuite shower packed up and I knew not how to fix. I called a family acquaintance plumber/bathroom installer for advice. He came, inspected and having temporarily fixed the shower, asked if I’d thought about updating . . . I told him about my sorti to the bathroom shop and it went from there – I’ve been the constantly thrilled user of my own two cathedrals of sanitary splendour. The best investment I’ve made so far!
It’s funny how every few years there’s a very strong sea change when it comes to decorative themes and schemes promoted by the big diy superstores and magazines. I was looking at my long subscribed family orientated magazine and yes, they too are featuring a newly refurbished family bathroom with refreshingly bright and cheerful spring look. I note they all show romantic pstel and floral colour ways for walls, tiles and accessories. This is a most welcome change from years of hard chrome / grey / black and stark white clinical sanitary ware on offer. True the pure white porcelain does always look clean and safe, but it can be cold and utterly characterless. Adding an attractive set of cherry blossom patterned accessories instantly brings it to life. I note also that all the bathrooms feature a welcome trend towards smaller modern style baths – thus introducing the idea of cutting water consumption without shouting about it. Very clever and to be applauded!