Part 5 of the Bathroom Chronicles.
It has taken me about 20 years to realise something fundamental about our bath. The reason it fits so perfectly into the slot behind the door is probably because the bathroom was built around it.
It’s an odd size – 70 cm wide by 167 long – and built-in with tiles running from the floor up the open side before continuing on their journey up the far wall to the ceiling. If you sat on the floor at exactly the correct angle, the bath would disappear – which it is about to do, permanently, when the renovation starts.
There will be no tears shed for it. It’s about as unprepossessing as a bath could be, and prudish too, with taps jutting out of the wall at one end to suppress any wild romantic ideas of shared bathing that might spring up.
It’s hard to be romantic when you have to hold a forward 60-degree lean to avoid being branded by the jutting end of a hot spout. Great for the core, I’d imagine, less so for the love life.
S wants a free-standing bath to replace this Presbyterian relic, with tapware at the side, thank-you very much (rose petals not included). Newsflash: there are no free-standing baths that fit that space in any actual bathroom store in Australia.
I say “actual bathroom store” because we find one bath on the internet that would fit perfectly – square against the back wall but curved at the front.
However, I may be prepared to buy books, clothes, shoes and even a bike over the internet but I draw the line at baths. I need to try it for size before I buy it: sit before you commit, that’s my motto.
In its favour, the internet bath was cheaper than its nearest equivalent and would have fitted perfectly. However, we had conned ourselves into thinking that, to maximize the benefit of the new bath, it had to be at least the same dimensions of the current one. Anything smaller would be going backwards, obviously.
So we looked at back-to the wall (shaped at the front) baths, and corner baths that butted against the wall on one side and along the top, with the free front side and bottom end shaped. Nope!
We looked at moving the bathroom door or hingeing it on the opposite side to accommodate a bigger bath. We even considered a sliding door. None of these things were going to work or, if they did, they’d blow our budget.
We toyed withthe idea of a sunkenbath but the downstairs neighbours wouldn’t have a bar of it. Some people are so selfish!
Then we discovered something remarkable. Built-in baths have a lip around the sides so that they can sit in a frame (which is usually concealed by tiles). Modern free-standing baths don’t have that lip so you can gain 10 cm in internal width, and even more in length and still fit inside the available footprint.
It’s like Dr Who’s Tardis – the outside is smaller but the inside is much bigger.
Now, we were warned against putting a free standing bath in a confined space. “Cleaning round the back is a pain,” one shop assistant said. Cleaning round the back? Where no one can see, anyway?
Not a major concern, especially after a friend suggested we bathe with a mop nearby and give the floor “a quick sloosh around before you get out.”
So the slightly smaller (but internally bigger) free standing bath has been ordered, although there is one problem – now that the lip has gone, where do I rest my G&T.
As ever, Chris the builder has a solution: “I’m building you a niche, mate. You could have a cocktail bar there.”