A note from bill
bad, bad bathrooms!
This year, I have had the pleasure of traveling often, staying in many hotels and rental homes throughout the United States, as well as a quick trip to Ireland where I stayed in a stone castle. Sightseeing aside, I am an architect, so I am always on the lookout for design no matter where in the world I am. As I look back at the design-related memories of these trips, I remember all the ingenuity and beauty of brilliant design, like the New American Home at the International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. But design marvels are two sides of the same coin: just as much as one can marvel at good design, awful design choices can stop you in your tracks. In their own strange way, these bad design practices can burn into your brain even more so.
There are innumerable examples of bad design that I could reference but this time, I will limit it to one of my ultimate grievances: bad bathroom design. Take a recent example from my Ireland trip, where the toilet roll holder was installed behind the toilet itself...and four feet higher! Take a look at this photo and
that’s why an architect who thinks about the minute details is such a beneficial asset to a home design project.
Exhaust Fans: they aren’t glamorous, but they have an important job. Without proper ventilation, steam causes mold, mildew and water damage, and no one wants to risk those in their bathrooms. Today, there are units with whisper-soft fans and humidity sensors, a huge upgrade from the older 50 CFM special that does nothing at all.
too-smart shower controls
Luxury bathrooms are not immune from my grievances, either. You shouldn’t need a degree in “Plumbing Science” to figure out how to use one of those slick, overly designed shower controls. Sure, these types of controls work fine in a personal bathroom, where the primary user has gotten used to the controls, but it’s a big no-no for hotels, rentals, and even guest bathrooms.
Location, location, location; it’s important for more than just real estate! While not everyone can choose where their bathrooms and powder rooms are located, if you are considering a renovation or custom home, make sure to take it into consideration. The worst is when a powder room is in the direct line of sight of a common space; what a wonderful view of the toilet while you’re sitting at the table, right?
Wood toilet seats and carpeting in the bathroom...talk about gross! Enough said!
And last but not least: bathroom lighting. Most of the time it sucks! I’m tempted to travel with a 500-watt LED light to supplement the dim lighting usually provided. Good lighting is an art and unfortunately, it’s usually turned into an afterthought.
While I would consider these design “choices” to be some of the most egregious, I would love to hear what you all think. Did I miss anything? What strange design have you witnessed outside of bad bathrooms?
Until next time...
written by: bill styczynski
Bill Styczynski is the president of Studio21 Architects, as well as an architect in his own right. Every month, Bill writes an article for the Studio Pages newsletter about design topics that he believes will be informative, helpful reads for all of our clients, established and potential.