How our bathroom doesn’t work

1. The ceiling is too low. I’m 6’1″ or 185cm tall and I find it depressing brushing my teeth in here.

"Merry Christmas 2013"
“Merry Christmas 2013”

2. The lighting is ugly (but bright!) not to mention the bare compact flourescent bulb is so low I have to be careful not to break it with my head.

3. The wallpaper is peeling (and someone wrote all over the walls!)

4. The bathtub does not fill up very full and gets cold quickly (well, duh, it’s cast iron).

5. The linen closet is too deep–it takes up a lot of space and things get lost way in the back.

6. The floor under the toilet squishes when you sit down, making you feel much heavier than you are.

7. The toilet uses 6 liters or 1.6 gallons of water for every flush. That’s actually less than the older ones, but some can use even less and still work just fine.

8. Someone painted the walls an unpleasant light green (actually that was me) and then wrote all over them.

Why would anyone buy bathroom furniture that is made of particle board? What was I thinking?
Why would anyone buy bathroom furniture that is made of particle board? What was I thinking?

9. There is no lighting over the mirror, the mirror is bare and unappealing and the toilet paper holder will fall of the wall if you (or your child) leans on it, and the sink cabinet is made of particle board so it is falling apart.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: quit whining. That’s what my father-in-law said (he was a little nicer about it). We should be grateful that everything works and hey, he had to build their bathroom from scratch. Okay, these are first-world problems.

Here are the real problems:

10. The floor.

Old linoleum with gaps around the edges over the original 3/4″ fir floor boards. Combine that with years of water splashing over the side of the tub and I’m pretty sure those floorboards are rotting out. They may also be full of mould, but I think our BCIT Masters’ students may be able to tell us more about that when they test the air quality of the house.

I removed the quarter-moulding around the walls to get at the ants. That is diatomaceous earth in those gaps.

11. The carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants love soft, damp, rotting wood and the floor and walls directly under the bathroom are their paradise. After I went all Caddyshack on the ants a few years ago (I know, that was a gopher) I used three shower curtains to ring the tub so that we could shower and the kids could splash without sending me into psychotic episodes. It’s not really the most pleasant bathing experience, however.

12. The foundation wall. The wall behind the cupboard and bath is hanging over empty space. Oops!

13. The toilet uses, get this, fresh drinking water to flush. Crazy right? In Maple Ridge we have some of the cleanest tap water in the world and I’m using it to flush my toilet!

Lovely wallpaper. Do you know what that ceramic thing on the windowsill is? We found it in the attic.

14. Ventilation. There is no fan in the room and we are reluctant to open the window to let the humid air out because, you know, it’s January. The window is now even less easy-to-reach because it is behind the perimeter shower curtains.

15. The walls and ceiling are not well sealed. That means that warm humid air pushes up into the attic space and into the walls causing mould, rot and ants. And a lot of wasted heat.

The vent is now under the potty chair. That chair was used by Grandma, who used it in this house as a baby. Now it is the emergency toilet when the big one is occupied.
The vent is now under the potty chair. That chair was used by Grandma, who used it in this house as a baby. Now it is the emergency toilet when the big one is occupied.

16. Heating. The room is heated with a single forced air vent which was under the old sink cabinet. We improved that by putting in that new cabinet and exposing the vent, but it is still along the inside wall and does not spread heat around the room very well. Did I mention the furnace burns oil? Oops! What a waste of energy, money, and Greenhouse Gas emissions.

17. Hot water. We have a huge electric hot water tank that heats up all that water whenever someone so much as touches the hot water tap. I took a screwdriver to the temperature setting and lowered it and that¬† helped.¬† Now the kids can’t get scalded by the tap water and we don’t have to add cold to get a comfortable shower temperature. That means we waste less electricity, but the tub doesn’t hold heat well, so we end up having short baths (and wasting all that water) or adding more hot water (and wasting electricity). In fact, it’s hard to get warm taking a shower in that room.

18. There is no drain in the floor. That means that when we step out of the tub we try not to drip on the floor which is impossible so it just causes anxiety and nightmares about ants throwing parties below my cold wet feet. It also means that when the toilet over flows all that unpleasantness must be sopped up frantically before it makes it to the walls where it can seep into the gap, into the floorboards and wall and add a long-term new aroma.

No one really knows what is in the corner of the room under the bathtub. Spoooky!

19. The floor is cold. Our basement is unfinished and not well-insulated so that the floors of the main floor are cold. This makes us feel colder and turn the thermostat up. Slippers help, but after a shower or bath, a cold floor claws back some of the benefits of the hot warm water.

You can see why the bathroom is the last room in the house to be updated. We want to do it right.

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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