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Future proofing the bathroom

(160 Posts)
Doodledog Sun 31-Dec-23 17:39:27

My next house project is to revamp the bathroom. Currently we have a large cast iron bath, a freestanding shower and a washbasin in there, with a separate loo next door.

There is a large window at one side of the room, with the bath under it, and the door to the room is opposite. There is another largish window near the bathroom one in the separate loo space, and the door to that is similarly opposite. The two rooms together don't make a rectangle, as the loo is not as wide as the bathroom, so the door to that is set back from the door to the bathroom, if that makes sense. The space occupied by the loo has to allow for the door to open, which is basically lost space, so I did think about moving the shower to there and blocking off the door.

The main problem, apart from it all being a bit tatty, is that there isn't enough storage space. Oh, and it is the only bathroom in a family house, which is quite unusual nowadays.

My children say that now that there are just two of us living here we should knock the two rooms together (we have a downstairs loo), as this would create space and give more options. I can see the advantage of that, but I rather like being able to have my bath in an 'unpolluted' atmosphere, if you get my drift.

I am very much a bath person, and Mr D prefers showers. Ideally, I would like to keep the bath, but I have two arthritic knees, and realise that getting in and out is not going to get easier as I get older.

We have no plans to move, but who knows what life will bring, and the house is probably too big for one of us on their own.

The children also suggested getting a shower over the bath, but this seems to me the worst of both worlds. Yes, it will create more space, but if/when I can't get into the bath I won't be able to have a shower either.

So the question is, how should I proceed? Do I get another bath, knowing that it might not be a long-term possibility? Do I keep a separate loo, or knock them together? Do I make one big wet room, and get rid of the bath? Something different altogether? Oh, and is it worth thinking about getting the cast-iron bath re-enamelled? I'm not keen on getting disabled access things in yet, but nor do I want to spend a lot on something that might have to be replaced in a few years.

Has anyone made similar decisions lately? All bathroom-related thoughts are welcome, please?

Germanshepherdsmum Sun 31-Dec-23 18:32:07

With future proofing in mind I would definitely have a shower rather than a bath. Preferably a wet room - ours is marvellous, no step into the shower. I would also knock the wall down and have the loo in the bathroom/shower room. The separate loo is very dated and inconvenient - also unhygienic if there’s no basin to wash your hands in. Perhaps get a plumber round to advise?

AskAlice Sun 31-Dec-23 18:47:29

I'll be watching this with interest Doodledog. This is the next project on our "to do" list. We don't have a big bathroom and at present just have a mixer shower over the bath along with the handbasin a loo and it seems sensible, as neither of us bath very often, to just have a small walk-in shower. But I am prevaricating as the houses round here are all family homes and it might put off future buyers if we have to downsize in the coming years.

MerylStreep Sun 31-Dec-23 18:48:21

I envy you your cast iron bath. We had ours enamelled, it looked amazing. Being only 5’ I could lay down flat in it with room to spare.
When we moved here in 2014 everything had to be built or renovated, we took the decision to take the bath out.

Doodledog Sun 31-Dec-23 18:49:04

Thanks, GSM. I will get a plumber, or a bathroom company in to discuss options, but wanted to have some idea of what I wanted first.

I don't care about the separate loo being dated - it has definite advantages, IMO - but it wastes space because of the door. I quite like the idea of blocking off the door, knocking through and using the space for a shower, but I have no idea what that will mean for the plumbing. That's where the experts will come in, though.

I am planning to start this in the summer, as we've had a lot of disruption with bedrooms and the kitchen being overhauled lately, and I want to relax for a while before starting again with men in the house and no water etc. I want to use the time to consider my options. I think I would miss a bath, though.

MerylStreep Sun 31-Dec-23 18:50:08

Young families are very aware of the cost of water so prefer showers.

Doodledog Sun 31-Dec-23 18:52:56


I'll be watching this with interest Doodledog. This is the next project on our "to do" list. We don't have a big bathroom and at present just have a mixer shower over the bath along with the handbasin a loo and it seems sensible, as neither of us bath very often, to just have a small walk-in shower. But I am prevaricating as the houses round here are all family homes and it might put off future buyers if we have to downsize in the coming years.

I wondered about that too, AskAlice, as if we sell it would probably be to a family. As Meryl says, though, showers are cheaper, and many younger people prefer them.

I do love my cast iron bath though.

SueDonim Sun 31-Dec-23 18:54:36

My ds and dil knocked through their separate loo into the bathroom and my goodness, what a difference it made in size, definitely a case of the whole being more than the sum of the parts. Theirs was a 1930’s house so a common style. Have you had a bathroom planner take a look?

The ‘nasty niffs’ problem is easily solved by installing a decent fan into the room.

foxie48 Sun 31-Dec-23 19:00:48

We've recently revamped a bathroom. We knocked into a small bedroom and have made a huge bathroom with a free standing bath (which I love) a big walk in shower, loo and basin set into a unit. We have masses of storage space. However, if I didn't have room for a decent shower and a bath and it was my only bathroom, I'd definitely ditch the bath. I have an en suite bathroom and did that too, took the bath out and replaced with a decent shower. I had a shower over the bath but although I'm very fit and agile for my age I could see that standing in a bath to shower was an accident waiting to happen. If you are concerned about having the loo in the main bathroom, just get decent ventilation and add some lovely fragrances or just accept that we all have to "poo".

Doodledog Sun 31-Dec-23 19:27:59

There is room for both a shower and a bath - we have both in the existing bathroom - but I would like more storage, and can't decide between keeping a bath as I'm still well able to get in and out or ditching it as that is unlikely to remain the case long term.

SueDonim I haven't had anyone in yet, no. I will when I'm closer to being ready to do it, but meanwhile I want to think it all through properly, so I don't make rash decisions when the time comes.

Jaxjacky Sun 31-Dec-23 20:02:21

Doodledog the day I have any little problem getting in and out of the bath is the day plans are kicked in for a wet room. At present our main bathroom is bath, washbasin and toilet, ensuite is shower, washbasin and toilet.
In the next year or so I’ll explore options and get plans drawn up for said wet room, then the plans will go away until the right time, but we’ll have a draft poised.

TwinLolly Sun 31-Dec-23 20:24:28

We have a shower/bath combination only so are thinking re-doing the bathroom and having a separate walk-in shower.

I want to keep the bath as I love a bath in winter and soak for a good hour! (Luxury!)

So it looks like we will rip out the old bath/shower and tile the bathroom with non-slip tiles, build in a shower into one of the corners, and put in a new bath on the opposite side.
Fortunately there is enough room, just, without being too crowded, which includes a sink and toilet (which we will re-align to fit better).

Do whatever you think would be best for your circumstances Doodledog, and all the best! flowers

Fleurpepper Sun 31-Dec-23 20:47:24

A new initiative in France for next year, any one over 70, or over 65 if special needs- will be entitled to a free assessment of their house or flat, and large subsidy or even total cover, of any adaptations required, be it stairlift, ramps, replacing bath with walk-in shower, installing downstairs loo and shower, etc.

Brilliant, should happen here too.

woodenspoon Sun 31-Dec-23 21:09:59

We had a bathroom that we inherited with a weird shape bath, bidet, loo, shower with a corner door and a sink unit. No storage. It was very dated. All now ripped out and now a vanity unit, big walk in shower with a single glass screen, loo, but best of all a big cupboard to put everything in : towels, toiletries, loo rolls, duvet covers etc etc. best decision ever. I wanted a bath but found getting in and out very challenging when I tried them out in Wickes!

Trouble Sun 31-Dec-23 21:17:48

Our bathroom is too small for a bath and our house had been occupied by someone in a wheelchair and it was a wet room. Loved the fact of no step into a shower and haven't missed having a bath at all. It also had a grab handle which was brilliant for leg shaving!

We did have to replace the sink which was too low and the loo which was very high! Eventually replaced the wet room altogether and it is great. We didn't put another grab handle in, but could easily do so if we wanted.

My mum has a wetroom too. No way could she get in or out of a bath! That has a seat that can be folded down as well as grab handles everywhere.

Auntieflo Sun 31-Dec-23 22:23:43

Doodledog, I am another watching with interest.
I love my bathroom. It was refurbished a couple of years before I was diagnosed with bone cancer, so we still have a bath, with shower over. At the moment, I can get into the bath, with the help of steps from OT. But I can see that soon it may not be doable.
We also have a separate loo, which we are both loathe to lose, even though we have one downstairs.

denbylover Mon 01-Jan-24 02:53:55

Perhaps you could have a walk-in shower, but yes climbing in and out of a shower over a bath could be difficult in time to come, but then so could getting in and out of a bath with your arthritis. Loos in bathrooms here are not the norm, yes there are some,but it’s not the norm. Most have a small hand basin in the loo for handwashing. Keep it separate if you can.

Calendargirl Mon 01-Jan-24 07:29:49

but best of all a big cupboard to put everything in

In other words, an airing cupboard, which so many homes don’t seem to have now.

Franbern Mon 01-Jan-24 08:59:34

If people buying your house in the future have, or plan to have children, then they will want a bath for them. One of the best part of each day with small children is bath time!!!!

I am fortunate that my early 1980's 2-bed flat has a separate bathroom and an ensuite shower room, Had the bathroom completed refitted soon after I moved here, hopefully this year will update the en-suite.

See lots of discussions on kitchen, but few on bathrooms, etc. Have also found it much more difficult to get an idea of costs involved. I have plans for two different configerations and will need to get companies in the quote for both.

The separate loo which is very much an outdated idea now, always used to totally confuse any friends, etc. from USA, who would ask for the 'bathroom' meaning the loo.

Norah Mon 01-Jan-24 14:13:47

Perhaps you might take measures, sketch what exists? Many people have a very good eye for renovations but may not be able to understand your description to windows and openings.

Engineering a bathroom, with the correct measurements could be a doodle, for those inclined to mentally read spaces.

Doodledog Mon 01-Jan-24 14:40:05

I am not an architect, and definitely not an artist grin, but this is a rough drawing. It is not to scale at all, but you can see the position of the doors and windows, as well as the plumbed in items.

Doodledog Mon 01-Jan-24 14:42:57

There is a bedroom right next to the loo, and squaring off the bathroom and loo would impact on the entrance to that, so I don't want to change the basic dimensions.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 01-Jan-24 14:59:13

That’s really helpful. I would suggest that the wall (or at least half of it if you still want a partition) between loo and bathroom be removed, and the door into the bathroom blocked up. A large walk-in shower could then be installed where the existing shower is, and extending along the wall in front of the blocked-off door. It would be best, I think, to leave the loo in situ because the foul drain and stench pipe will already be there and re-routing would be an expensive and disruptive job. This leaves you with your bath but gives you the benefit of a level-entry shower, which with my knees I find invaluable.

Pittcity Mon 01-Jan-24 15:35:27

I agree with GSM. Keeping the loo door would open up a lot of space for cupboards. Build the sink into a cupboard unit and have more storage at eye level.

I would also suggest going away for a few days while the work is done. You can be kept updated via photos and videos and nobody will get in anyones way.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 01-Jan-24 15:42:42

Yes, definitely a vanity unit under the basin if you don’t already have one. A pedestal basin is a storage opportunity lost! We have drawers under all our basins.