Sketching a Hot Bath

I have yet another cold, only five weeks since my last cold. That makes four major colds for the year, unless we might be extra-dreary and call this one a touch of flu? Golf balls in my neck, hurty pits... could be. (Not that anyone wants to hear about it at this point. I'm just a delicate daisy on a bent stem.)

Being congested and cranky now has its merits, though - negative sick leave and mounting marking aside - because it means I'll have the latest bug out of the way before end-of-term break begins on Friday. Perth Royal Show, here we come! (This year's hopes are all being pinned on the rabbit agility events.)

Since last I muttered, Mike and I had our pre-start meeting for the house, which is allegedly the "fun bit" where you pick out all of the colours and fittings and realise that nothing that you want is in the standard (i.e. "included in price") range. Our meeting was three hours long despite having chosen most items in advance. We had many, many changes to the electrical plan plus a fair amount of "please adjust the floor plan back to what we said we wanted and not to whatever was misinterpreted along the way."

(In other words, the walk-in pantry has drawers and a cupboard under the bench with shelf heights as I originally described them to the sales rep, and the 900 things that we had said to make exactly like the display home will now be exactly like the display home, and we're only being charged for 450 or so of them.)

A couple of days later, we were told that they couldn't give us our bath (on sale at a shop down the street) because the builder doesn't deal with that store. Luckily we were off to Perth that night to pick up Mike's custom uggies. (Note the lowercase "u." "Ugg boots" has always been a generic term in Australia, no matter what a certain opportunist company is the USA would have its trend-hopping customers believe.) A few photos from that Friday night:

Thanks to an upgraded room at Crown Metropol, we briefly had a mad taste for spas when we went bathtub shopping the next day. (This idea was ditched when I found out that you can't use oils and salts in spa tubs unless their jets are air-only.)

We did find a gorgeously large tub though, much bigger than our previous selection (not to be confused with the original selection, which wasn't standard, either). 1160 mm wide! I still don't do much metric, but this tiny bit of pre-house building has taught me to throw around the word "mil" like a native. Unlike a native, I always wait for headpats afterward.

Finding a large tub on display that one can climb into is tough. And "They" say you shouldn't buy a tub without getting inside it first. So it was disappointing when, a week later, our pre-start liaison said sure, we could have the tub, but did we really want only 850mm between the tub and the vanity?

Erm. Yes? No? Let the second-guessing begin!

And that's how we ended up picking another tub from the same manufacturer that's "only" 930 mm wide and actually seems much prettier. (We're not so into contours.) Will it be a disaster? Maybe! But it couldn't be worse than our current bathing coffin (570 mm across the inside top), so in the end, it's hard to go wrong.

Back to baths in a moment. I need to throw in a few more photos from what was a particularly nice overnight away. Crown casino reminds me a bit of a lighter, much brighter, Luxor:

Perth skyline behind ducklings and swan at Lake Monger:

One of several examples of waterfowl art at a Belmont park known for its Pikachu spawns:

Pokémon-nabbing was also an excuse for our first visit to Point Peron in Rockingham on the drive home.

There's an incredibly useful forum over at for new home builders (and renovators) where I've learned so much about what to expect and what to brace ourselves for when building. Many forum participants start a "build thread" where they chronicle the progress of their house from pre-start o handover, and I'm already getting addicted to these - much as I used to read every Disney World trip report or every cruise report in a ship/itinerary I was due to sail. Who can resist a new fandom?

I'm not going to start a build thread of my own - partially because I can't guarantee regular updates (as we know from here), and partially because I don't always have the time/fortitude to answer comments (as we also know from here). But seeing as how I do already have this little life-nattering space here, I'll try my best to relay the - I hope - once-in-a-lifetime house construction journey without more than the usual number of irrelevant asides.

So, back to baths!

Below is our ensuite plan. ("Ensuite" = "Master Bathroom" for my fellow Americans.) It reflects the new tub (Lanark Cazbar) but not the change in tub spout or in sink.

It also doesn't reflect that the shower window was removed entirely. There was some miscommunication where Mike kept thinking I was talking about the window above the bath, not paying enough attention - that's my version - to realise there was a second window. He was horrified, and that's when we discovered that I wanted a crystal palace of natural light and he wanted a "comforting" closed-in cave. ("But that's what the guest bath is!" wouldn't sway him.)

In the end, I didn't like the window they'd put in anyway (short, bisected, obscured), so out it went, and in came the extra LEDs. I'm kinda-sorta regretting not researching skylights more, but they sounded expensive and fiddly at the time.

(Now I'm much more used to hanging out with my new pals Expensive and Fiddly. We'll probably be getting together soon to find out if the window above the bath can be lengthened to fit the new, longer bath without having to go back to the shire for approval of a structural change.)

The usual ensuite option is two sinks, sorry - basins, but double basins didn't really appeal to us when all we do there is spit toothpaste or wash our hands. Mike shaves in the shower, and the only face I have to put on is a brave one.

I'm hoping that the window over the bathtub and the long mirror opposite it will increase the light beautifully - no matter how much greenery we plant in the skinny space outside - and open up the room further. I expect that all of the basin-free vanity space will quickly become an apothecarial row of bath jars and dainty washcloths. Maybe a medicine cabinet at one end, but I'm picturing that above the (wet) towel rack if anywhere. Do we even need to keep cold tablets, pain pills, Pepto, and the thermometer in a bathroom? How about a nifty box somewhere instead? (Says the still-46-for-a-few-more-days person who takes no prescription meds.)

I don't know where clean towels will go. (We do have a lovely walk-in linen closet, but it's inconvenient, and that's a post for another day.) Right now we use a small cart that holds 5ish towels rolled into logs, which can look nice, but I think we can do better.

It was fun picking out the tiles. Here's a poor glimpse:

Yes, we're on the grey bathroom train that will soon be dated and tired, some say. Toot toot. Here we have the darker grey square tile that will be on the floor and up/around the tub. The rectangular marble in the back is for the skirting, the shower, and behind the bath and vanity. The "feature" marble strip will be in the shower, vertically, where the window is now (but only 400 mm from the right).

We almost went with small hexagonal tiles for the feature strip, but we were told that our builder wouldn't cut them so, instead of partial hexes along the side, it would just be more grout. I'm including the pic anyway because it does more justice to the floor and marble tiles.

The swatches pictured are Laminex Basalt, for the vanity top, and Laminex Silk Polar White for the cupboards. I was twitchy about the dark bench top (Madame Light-n-Bright vs Monsieur Cave again), but I'm also kind of intrigued by the dramatic contrast between it and the basin. Oh, and here be the basin:

Or, for a professional photo and specs: Caroma Gem Inset Basin.

The sink tap and mixer will be wall-mounted. All of the mixers (shower, tub, basin) are Vito Bertoni/Alder's "Kali" line. (Pre-start rep pronounces this "Callie". We say "Kali-mah!" Because Indiana Jones.) I honestly can't remember now if we ended up with the mixer/tap mounted on a plate or not. It will be a surprise!

The bath spout is Vito Bertoni's Becco and will be mounted on the side so as not to press into one's back if one wants to face the shower and toilet instead of the wall. I have learned to call the side of the bath the "hob" instead. (I have not learned to resist saying "one", pinky in the air.)

That's it for hobs, though, as the shower will be hobless. For any newbies like me, that means no tiled speed bump to step over as you enter the shower. Aesthetics aside, we've tried to keep future accessibility in mind throughout the house, and going hobless can only help.

The ceilings are high and Mike is tall, so we've raised the shower screen height to 2300 mm (from 2000) and raised the tiling and the shower rose as well. (Ours is the Alder Fresco Shower Rail. We were all set on a rain shower head, but too many people dissuaded us, saying we wouldn't like the pressure.)

We've managed to completely horrify all but one Australian with our ensuite plan because, deep breath, THE TOILET IS IN THE SAME ROOM. Yes, Aussies, THE SAME ROOM AS THE SINK.

Okay, so there are reasonable compromise options that could've increased the ensuite's privacy/multitasking options while maintaining good hygiene practices, but in the end, there are only two of us. If one of us needs to shower and the other wants a poo, there's the so-called guest bath down the hall. Meanwhile, we get to enjoy all the glass in the shower and enjoy all the space around the toilet. (I did ask them to have the door swing left so, one, you don't see the toilet right away, and two, if you're on the toilet when the door opens, you have time to yelp before being fully seen.)

Anything else? Oh yes, the towel rail. Alder's Alto: double-barred, 900 mm, height of each rail slightly staggered, no heat. We have a heated rail now and its appeal remains a mystery a me. Oh boy, a hot stripe in the center of my towel. (I know I must be doing this wrong.)

Finally, the paint will be Solver's Designer White. Seems a safe choice until we know more. Shade on the window, probably also white. (We still have to adjust a few of the included window treatment colours. We wanted the same colours as the display home, and the builder accidentally advised us on the wrong ones at pre-start because the file on the model home was wrong.)

I can't picture a bit of it, but I'm pretty excited. (Even if we're now 12 days away from the settlement due date and only just finished the pre-start variations today. Just keep blinking!)


21 September 2016 |