I’ve been assisting the volunteer team at a small country house near me. The house itself has been open a long, long time and it offers a rather snug but attractive reception rooms aswell as the bedroom of the last totally independent and very gracious tenant. I was lucky enough to be invited to pop up for a quick glance round the other week – as I’d arrived for duty earlier than planned. I was greeted with a rather under-whelming display of mirrored cabinets and doors, behind which were the bathroom fitments of the said gracious and immensely rich American tenant. I was really surprised at the lack of elegance – it wasn’t ugly but not at all the beautifully luxurious set up I had expected to reflect her handiwork downstairs and which allowed her to become known as a Doyenne of the English Country House style of home decor! Time for a bathroom studio refurb me thinks.
I have recently been involved with helping my somewhat aged aunt, who is also my godmother – and not the fairy kind. The dear lady has always been an absolute stickler for cleanliness. When I took her to lunch to celebrate her 90th birthday, she unwisely chose the fish main course – what seemed like hours and hours of the most appalling and distressingly runny tummy involved me having to experience the horror of her bathroom. A really small, grim and badly laid out loo, basin and corner shower, all crowded with mobility aids, stools etc. etc. I was horrified, particularly as the only loo is that one upstairs. I eventually got home and have since seriously revelled in my two fabulously modern, clean, stylish bathrooms. I have loved and cherished them all the more, even though I had them installed some 12 years ago after looking in a bathroom studio window when stuck in a traffic jam!
There really is something rather special about having a new bathroom fitted into any home. My own abode is a modern executive 4 bedroomed detached – usual estate by a well known developer. Of course these days they can’t build them quite as large – space and land being a premium now. So I thoroughly enjoy the fact my bathroom and ensuite were in a decent sized house to start with. The rooms themselves are only modest – the feeling in the early 2000s that more room for moving about downstairs and in the bedrooms was essential. Couldn’t swing a cat in my original bathroom. I had these changed though to incorporate a much larger kidney shaped double shower unit, and by sensibly rearranging the basin and toilet, have now got cabinets along back wall with these essentials nicely fitted in. I have downlights throughout too. It gives me a thrill each and every time I use my ensuite.
I have recently come returned after a few days out in the sticks. My word they have some luxurious bathrooms in the countryside – very fitting for the modern family that wants the history of the old building and makes best use of everything heritage has to offer – but wants the modern efficiency of the new bathroom! I had a wonderful time with steaming hot showers and the heat blasting out of the radiators was divine. The family bought a home with a special hot water delivery system that incorporates a pressurised tank next to the usual water tank. I know not how it works but I’d heard about the design from another pal who has a huge house that was always cold, and the showers were dreadful. Now it’s like heaven, with as much hot water gushing out as you can handle and warmth. Joy beyond belief!
Whenever I watch one of the many daytime lifestyle programmes, it’s invariably about houses. This could be the one where they show couples who live in sprawling suburbia but with neat functional bathrooms and shower rooms, but dream of moving to the country or they can’t decide whether to buy a holiday home in the UK or an apartment/villa in some sunnier spot abroad. The one that gets my gander up most though is where a punter buys a run down dump at the house auction and with all the skill of a navvy, manages to do it up sufficiently to sell on at quite a big margin, if they’ve got it right. I feel my hackles rising when the chaps put in those shallow shiny ceramic tiles on the walls that resemble public toilets. There are thousands of tiles out there to liven up a bathroom – just needs the expert eye of a bathroom professional!
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!