Those of a certain age may relate to the image of a long line of children and adults waiting anxiously to use a bathroom. The ritual includes a strong pounding on the door usually followed by a primal yell: "Get out NOW! I need to GO!" Rush hour not only consists of a drive to work or school; it also includes strategic timing to get in and out of the facilities.
It used to be that homes of up to three bedrooms were designed with only one bathroom. As home standards have evolved, the prescription now seems to be one bathroom per bedroom. However, there are still some circumstances in older homes, smaller homes and multigenerational homes where bathrooms are shared by more than one person.
In homes where sharing a bathroom is part of daily coexistence, the best solutions can be accomplished architecturally when designing the bathroom. Although counterpoint to the contemporary trend of open floor plans, the most efficient bathrooms are divided based on all the functions of the bathroom. This can be accomplished in three or four compartments. Your fixtures are: the vanity/sink, the shower and/or tub and the toilet. Here are some tips to maximize your use of each area.
Forego the pedestal sinks in favor of a vanity with one or two sinks and faucets. This enables two people to use the sinks at the same time. This area should also be outfitted with multiple drawers, or shelves with bins, so that each person can have their daily products at hand, including equipment such as hair dryers, brushes, combs, toothbrushes, dental water pics, etc. In addition, there should also be one or two medicine cabinets for daily medicine and small equipment like shavers and water cups. In cases where little ones are around, a stable footstool or small ladder will help their reach. Shelves or a small closet for towels are a must.
The bathing area is one that can be divided into two components if there is a shower and a tub. Showers are generally favored by most with time constraints because of their ease; turn on the shower valve, and half of your task is almost done. Showers are also great in small spaces as almost any 3-by-3-foot corner is a viable space. Although tubs preceded the showers, today, tubs are considered places for those with the luxury of time, as they take time — and a lot of water — to fill. So, it turns out, tubs are the perfect place to relax at the end of a long day and a fun-filled place to bathe children. Even though tubs require more space, many tubs today are fabricated and installed with a showerhead above so the space does double duty. Of course, if you have both, placing walls with doors in between them will allow more than one user at a time.
Finally, the toilet should be placed in its own area with a door. This area, more than the others, requires privacy and should be outfitted with proper ventilation for the consideration of others. Sharing a bathroom is quite an act of intimacy, but it can be accomplished graciously if some careful consideration is given to avoid the hallway scenarios of yesteryear.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is www.josephpubillones.com. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.