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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Consider Your Bathrooms

I looked for bathrooms and found some more interesting bathrooms. Thanks to all the people who post photos on the Internet of beautiful, romantic, fun, shabby chic, retro, unusual, colorful bathrooms! I love seeing new ideas. It stimulates my creativity. I have done a previous blog spot on "Bathrooms" and "More On Today's Bathrooms".

My personal tastes can be described as clean and functional first, pretty second. Some people have gigantic master bathrooms. I saw some with not only powder room chairs in them but with whole couches in them. They are decorated with a fireplace, TV and maybe a "water feature". I don't know about you but I still like my bathroom to be private with no one but my husband sharing it. So why would I need a couch. I don't want to prop up on the couch and watch the latest movie. If I'm going to do that, I'll be in my bedroom or living room. I don't see my family sitting on the couch gossiping while I take a bath or worse... I do like having a TV in the bathroom so you can watch the news as you get ready.

I want a bathroom to function well for what we use a bathroom for - waste elimination (did I choose the best way to say that?) and cleaning ourselves. Some women use it as a dressing room and to put on their makeup. They now have items that we can use in a bathroom like a steam room/fancy shower and/or a sauna and whirlpool tub. If I had money, I could see adding those kind of things too. You need some storage area for your bath linens, backup bathroom supplies, makeup.

What I don't want is too much space to keep clean. A bathroom is one of the dustiest rooms in the house because of clothes and towels. Fabric breaks down with each cleaning and it puts fabric dust and fuzzies in the air. Talcum powder, face powder, hair spray will also add to the dust. So I want the bathroom large enough to be comfortable and functional but not so large that it's wasted space or additional space to have to clean. If you have a separate tub and shower, that makes 2 places to clean. If you add a sauna, it adds yet another place to clean. If your shower is big enough for more than one person to comfortably shower, then it's probably big enough to be a pain to clean. You get where I'm coming from? I have to clean it or pay someone to clean it. Either way, it's important to choose your bathroom size, fixtures and layout carefully.

Don't let something "new" and "trendy" sell you a pig in a poke. You think it would be so romantic to have a fireplace in the bathroom and you imagine candlelit nights with rose petals floating in the water as you and the man/woman of your dreams whisper sweet nothings in your ear. I hate to tell you but, "Wake up and smell the coffee!" How often would that happen? Is it worth having to clean it every week of the year for years to come? Do you know that those whirlpool tubs get mildew in their pipes? Etc. So functional and easy to clean should be first and foremost in your mind when you plan a bathroom.

Another thing I saw is a trend to either re-use antique furniture for a bathroom vanity or buy a vanity that looks like antique furniture.

This is very attractive and I can see why people like the idea. But please consider a couple of things before you make that decision.
* Is it so ornate that keeping it dusted is a problem?
* You don't want wood and water to mix. It NEVER works! So make sure you choose a marble or granite top and DON'T use a wooden top.
* Are you destroying a valuable antique? If you bought a vanity would you pay more or less than the antique you are about to destroy? If the value of the antique is more than it would cost to use a nice cabinet, you might want to reconsider.
* Can the antique handle double sinks? Do you need double sinks?
* How will you deal with the plumbing issue? Will you lose drawer/cabinet space by using an antique vs. vanity cabinet?

If you do use an antique, I like the idea of using a bowl sink so that it will look like the old bowl and pitcher that people had to use in the old days. You might even place a pitcher next to your sink.

At least this sink is big and deep enough with the water close enough to the bowl that I would think having a wooden top is OK in this case.

I don't really think this bathroom is decorated well. They used this antique buffet (with wooden top) so I wouldn't have used that tile work. It ends up looking a little too modern for the buffet. But that's my personal opinion. Using a buffet was probably a good idea (no drawers to work the plumbing around) for double sinks. It fits the nook perfectly. Just don't use a wooden top for a counter.

This is a good compromise. The large kitchen size sink is big enough to catch all the splatters. But they used antique cabinets on either side of the sink. I liked the end result.

This cabinet has been distressed to look like an old cabinet or piece of furniture. The top is marble which is good (although white marble can yellow with the use of cleaners, chemicals and age). I think I personally would have preferred bowl sinks but the box sinks aren't terrible. The mirror gives character but is it enough to be functional for shaving and such. The pendant lights are low enough to reach for cleaning but there are too many pieces for easy cleaning. Think carefully before you put a chandelier in your bathroom because it can be hard to clean regularly. Personally, I wipe down my light fixtures around the sink every time I clean the bathroom so you want it to be easy swipes and not windexing individual crystals. Notice the well placed TV?

Have you seen old advertisements of bathrooms? I love old magazines and it fascinates me to see what they found to be modern in those old days? (See my blog post on the "History of Hygiene" to see the development of the bathroom.)

Some people find themselves inheriting old bathrooms when they buy older homes.

This bathroom tile looks great! I would probably go with this and decorate around it. I wonder if they couldn't find a pink commode seat? That could be a problem and if you can't find a simple pink toilet seat then you are going to have to gut the bathroom. That's an expensive toilet seat but think of those things.

I've seen some bathrooms that are fantastically retro and some that are sadly dilapidated. If you inherit a bathroom that is horrible and very faded, cracked, broken, etc. then you might consider a total gutting and remodel. But if you inherit a bathroom where the tile is in pristine condition and the fixtures are working and pristine, then consider just going with it. I did that in our last home. We inherited great tiled bathrooms from 1967. They were in excellent condition so we kept everything except the vanities. We had new vanities installed with new countertops but re-installed the original sinks. We changed wallpaper and lighting fixtures and we had a wonderful "retro" bathroom. Even if it's those odd old colors, as long as it looks good, try to decorate around the colors. Go with the retro look.

This brings about another point... if you are building or remodeling a bathroom think carefully before you buy colorful fixtures like sinks, bathtubs and commodes. They will almost always look dated in the future and can make it hard to re-sell your house because not everyone will love your pink sink, blue commodes or yellow bathtubs. Also, color always shows soap scum and toothpaste splatters more so than plain white. So consider using colors on your walls, floors or accessories instead of in the fixtures.

This is a pretty shower but all I can think of is how much shower there is to clean and all that glass to keep shined up.

Here is your tub, shower and steam room all in one which makes cleaning easier.

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