Monday, May 04, 2009

A girl can dream

We paid a visit to my Significant Aunt in Shropshire last weekend, and a lot of fun it was too, although the main purpose of the visit, the initiation of Project Skirting, was shelved. I have never been able to get my sewing machine to run properly, it keeps clunking and jamming. It turns out that this is actually because there is something wrong with it, rather than because I am unable to RTFM. Which was disappointing, but also a relief. I don't like to fail with machinery. We discussed making it with her machine instead, which is many years older, many times heavier, and works beautifully, but it didn't feel like the right thing to do.

So we did other things instead, including consume rather a lot of Stinking Bishop cheese, together with the perry it is named for, following a walk of just the right Sunday length along the Shropshire Union Canal. We spent a lot of time in the kitchen, which is huge, solidly built, beautifully designed and stupendously clean. My favourite thing in it is the rubber gloves holder, which was constructed from the poles of two wooden kitchen roll holders sawn off at a slight angle and mounted on the same base. But I also like the Aga.

The reason the kitchen is so bang-on in every respect is that it was decades in the planning. My aunt and uncle spent many years living in married quarters on RAF bases dreaming of the kitchen they would one day build. And now they have.

As I thought about this, I realised that for years I have been doing the same thing, but not for a kitchen. There is a dream bathroom in my mind, which slowly evolves and may one day take shape. Not in this house though... my dream bathroom cannot be accommodated in a Victorian terrace with dodgy plumbing. I am not even sure it can be accommodated in Oxford, as the water here is hard hard hard, and my dream bathroom has a lot of glass to keep clean.

I already pretty much have my dream bath, which is long and narrow and deep and made of steel. But in my dream bathroom it would not have a shower over it and serious grouting issues. It would have space around it and a view out of a non-frosted window. There would be a big radiator with a rail over it for my big fluffy towel, a shelf or table for books, drinks, snacks etc, and some large potted plants oxygenating the steamy bathroom air. The floor would ideally be painted and sealed wood, with a deep pile bath mat one could wriggle one's toes in. The bath mat would have its own place on the wall (or maybe on one of those ceiling-mounted clothes airers with a pulley and a cleat) so it didn't stay on the floor getting manky. The lighting would be bright, I am not one of those candles in the bath people.

Baths are solo things, though we usually share the water to avoid enviro-guilt, but there would be a walk-in glass shower enclosure with two showers in it so two people could shower at the same time in the morning. This is the bit our plumbing could not cope with. Megaflos and power showers are even worse for the environment than baths, and also a maintenance headache, and electric showers are just a bit crap, so it would be a case of a decent boiler, a large hot water cylinder and a large head of pressure. Am sure it's possible.

The basin would be a classic, with two taps and a pedestal and a plug on a chain. I do not have this European insistence on mixer taps, I hate pop-up wastes, and I am fine with visible pipework, as long as it is elegantly done. It would have a normal mirror over it, plus one of those cool adjustable magnifying ones for detailed facial scrutiny, but there would otherwise be no mirrors in the room.

There would be two WCs, part of the bathroom but in separate alcoves. I am not squeamish about these things, but I like the idea of having my own toilet. If they're next to each other, with changing room-style swing doors, the plumbing wouldn't be overly complicated and there would be no arguments about who gets to go first or who left reading material about avant garde 20th century music all over the floor.

Finally, there would be a raised platform, ideally with a view out of the same window as the bath, which would be carpeted and which would have a couple of comfy armchairs and a small table for more books, a radio, snacks and drinks. This is where one would recline while waiting for the bath to fill, or to talk to the person who was in it, or to curl up afterwards wrapped in towels.

There would be lots of hooks on the walls for dressing gowns etc. And there would be lots of pictures on the wall. There would be minimal tiling, apart from splashbacks around the bath and basin, and lots of tongue and groove in seaside colours.

I have never seen this bathroom. I am rather hoping I never do until I get to make it myself. It would be very hard to appreciate my own bathroom once that had happened, and my own bathroom does its best with what it has.


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Blogger Beth said...

I read that twice and now feel almost as relaxed as if I'd actually had a bath in that room! I've never thought of his'n'hers toilets before, but it does make all kinds of sense.

The closest I came to the bathrom of my dreams was in a holiday cottage in Derbyshire....I've never been so clean... (the photos don't do it justice)

5:49 pm  
Blogger Jeremy Dennis said...

Have you ever been to the Relaxation Centre in Bristol? It's a hippy day spa, with some of the same feel as the sort of place you are describing.

6:52 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

Both these places look amazing! Have been del.icio.used for future planning...

Re: his'n'hers, when I was 22 my Significant Ex and I got to house-sit a *stupidly* large house for three months while its owners were in the US. There were his'n'hers basins in the master bathroom, and I could see the point (we could brush our teeth at the same time), but thought if you were going to have two of anything, it should be toilets. That was an amazing bathroom, though it did have a whirlpool bath and they are a big No.

10:18 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

The Ceaucescus had his'n'hers gold plated toilet brushes, but I suppose that may be one his'n'hers too far.

8:51 am  
Blogger Jo said...

If either of the Ceaucescus dealt with their own skid marks I'll eat my hat.

3:04 pm  
Anonymous jonathan said...

Hell Joella you really have thought this through haven't you? But then again, what with your hard-earned plumbing qualifications I doubt that anyone writing in the Western World right now is better placed to expound so authoritatively on the subject of My Perfect Bathroom.

I should also say that even before we got into raised platforms and dedicated bathmat hooks you already had me completely enthralled... the picture of your significant aunt and uncle dreaming of their dream kitchen while marooned in RAF quarters had me letting out an involuntary 'aaah'...

11:54 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

There's an extended bathroom dream, which covers the wood-burning sauna and all-weather outdoor shower area... not quite 100% thought through yet but getting close...

1:24 am  

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