Bathroom blues*

The first rule of renting seems to be that the bathroom will always be the grimmest room in the house. If anyone begs to differ on this and share stories of great bathrooms they have known, then I’m sincerely happy for you. It’s just that in 22 years of living in rented accommodation (with, by the looks of it, another 30 or so to go), I’ve never had a decent bathroom. Much as I love the cottage, the bathroom is full on, fifty shades of horrible.

Amongst other things, it suffers from:

  • Disgusting linoleum, which never looks clean. I didn’t realise you could still buy lino. I thought it stopped being made some time in the 1950s. (That’s certainly what should have happened, and when I am Queen of the Universe and can travel in time, it’s what will have happened. I will also take care of Artex ceilings for you all. You’re welcome.)
  • A phenomenally crappy shower-over-bath affair. You know the kind of thing: the shower head swivels to precisely that direction and angle that you don’t want, and when you try to correct it, falls out of the holder and resolutely dribbles water straight down the wall. The water pressure is laughable, of course. That’s part of the standard spec.
  • One of those shower rails that curves round the top third of the bath only, because the landlords were too cheap to tile the full length of the bath. This provides daily opportunity to be mummified by a clammy shower curtain. Who doesn’t love that experience?
  • An horrendous shower curtain, that is now lacking a couple of rings (ok, mea culpa, I could sort this. It’s on the list for the weekend.)

All right, so there are a few things I’ve been living with, which have only just now got the point where I can’t stand them a single day longer. But it’s not down to me to tile or re-floor (and if I was going to pay for new flooring, I’d do the kitchen), or install a real shower. Or rip the whole thing out and start again. So by and large I have to make my peace with the awfulness.

But one day, my pets, when I am a grown up and have saved up for a house… on that glorious day when hell does freeze over and unicorns sport joyfully in Christchurch meadows… I will have the Bathroom of Wonder.

One word: hypocaust. What the Romans did for us was to introduce decent plumbing, which we then promptly forgot all about. If a 2,000 year old villa can have under-floor heating, then so can any damn house I live in.

Which will lead nicely to the tiled floor. Call me a traditionalist, but I do like the old black-and-white chessboard tiling. Also, if I had a big enough bathroom, I could lay out an outdoor size chess set on the floor, and then play mental chess from the comfort of the bath.

Or, as I should more accurately describe it, the free standing, deep, claw foot tub that is big enough for two and has an endless supply of hot water and bubbles to encourage wallowing. Somewhere within easy reach is a dry resting place for wine or tea, a book and a radio or docking station. Somewhere else within easy reach is an enormous, warm, fluffy towel. There may well be champagne truffles. I haven’t decided.

I’m fairly sure there’s a big window to let in lots of natural light, but with good lighting and well placed candles for gentle evening radiance. There is ample, yet discreet storage space so that the room is uncluttered, but not Spartan.

And above all? There are never, ever any spiders.

*(Chapeau to DS for the idea for the post)


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I've run out of books. Again.

5 thoughts on “Bathroom blues*”

  1. In general, I completely agree with your post. However, our bathroom in our current rented apartment is bigger and better than any bathroom we’ve ever owned or rented. Tiles, big bath, lovely walk-in shower with proper pressure. No underfloor heating. We installed that in our house back in England and enjoyed it for about 2 months before we moved out. I hope our tenants appreciate it!

    Spiders don’t bother me, though. I’d rather have them than flies.

  2. Emily – I really must come to Maine, and not even primarily for the bathroom, although it does sound wonderful. I’ve lost track, so tell me: did you guys by The Chair?

    Sam – thanks for commenting! I’m glad you are enjoying the exception that proves the rule, and I’m very jealous of your English tenants.

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