Tag Archives: design

Double Sinks in the Master Bath – Must We Have Them? Really? Part I

Double Sinks in the Master Bath

Double Sinks in the Master Bath

Two Sinks: Now standard in new construction for Master Baths.   It’s another “must have” shown on the real estate shows.  Having previously written about the “Open Floor Plan” a commenter suggested I  discuss other popular real estate “must have” amenities.   There are  many, from walk-in closets,  stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops.    But here I’ll address Two Sinks in the Master Bath.   People just have to have these, according to many of the House Hunters couples on HGTV.   Some of these HGTV couples are so disappointed when the master bath doesn’t have two sinks, it’s a deal-breaker.  By the way, HGTV does a good job of showing same-sex couples on their shows, but the two sink thing seems to be proffered has a heterosexual couple “must have.”  I’ll address it in kind.

From what I understand, these are the reasons why this is so popular:

1.  We can get ready together in the morning! 

2.  I don’t have to deal with his/her mess in the sink, I’ll have my very own sink!  

3.  His and her sinks in the Master Bath means “I’ve Arrived!”     

Yeah, okay.  I get it.  I really do, but I’m not sure that requiring two sinks in the master bath  is the best use of construction dollars or should be a deal-breaker.

1.  We can get ready together in the morning! 

Oh, that’s cute, but think about it.  In this world when everybody has personal devices for everything, when people don’t share cars or phones or computers or even closets, why are high-end houses still designed so that a couple can share a bathroom in the morning?   The whole point, from what I understand, is that couples can both be brushing their teeth or whatever at the same time.  Really?   In a large home, especially a home that is new construction, or one that carries a price tag that starting at over a half a million dollars, or one  where each child, nanny, and guest has his/her own bathroom, why are the husband and wife supposed to brush, rinse, spit, and floss together?  Not to mention pluck, shave, or otherwise groom.  I don’t care what you say, HGTV, but most husbands and wives are not going to openly share their nasal maintenance.    And though I’m not completely sure what men do in the bathroom, I’m reasonably sure I don’t need to see it.

Let’s face it:  regardless of the existence of two sinks, some things will be done behind the closed bathroom door while the spouse is elsewhere — anywhere — but standing at the adjacent sink.

And for those couples who are completely comfortable sharing bathroom activities with each other?  They don’t need two sinks.

2.  I don’t have to deal with his/her mess in the sink.  I’ll have my very own sink!  

Even when couples won’t use the bathroom as the same time, they want their own space.   As I’ve heard repeatedly on HGTV, this breaks down to two concerns:

a.  Women want/need space for all their skin, hair, make-up products.

Carrie's bathroom in Sex and The City

Carrie’s bathroom in Sex and The City

b.  Men leave shaving stubble in the sink, and women don’t like to see it, clean it or use a sink with said shaving stubble.

Dude shaving.  I honestly don't see a problem with seeing this in my bathroom, but I digress . . .

Dude shaving. I honestly don’t see a problem with seeing this in my bathroom, but I digress . . .

Alrighty then.   Having two sinks will create two separate areas for two different kinds of messes, right next to each other. His and her sinks?  His and her mess.

Ew.  (Doesn’t anybody clean?)

I think we can safely say that both a man and a woman have the potential for leaving a mess in the bathroom.  Given  blow drying and flat-ironing of long hair, the skin and make-up products, it seems like the women would be more likely to be the slobs in the bathroom sink area, though on HGTV they are usually the ones to complain.    The complaint about the man’s mess seems to be mostly about shaving stubble.  It appears HGTV women are very put out about seeing shaving stubble in the sink.   Does having two sinks make it better?  Not really.   I doubt that the woman who is really bothered by the sight of beard stubble will be able to enjoy her adjacent sink  within view of said beard stubble.  Again, isn’t somebody going to clean the bathroom?

Anybody?

Having two sinks will only ensure that one is always surrounded by woman’s  mess/stuff and the other will be surrounded by a man’s mess/stuff.

Still, somebody will have to see and wash up next to the other person’s mess — and now there are two sinks to clean — or not.  It’s kind of like the Hoarder who, instead of throwing stuff out, simply rents a storage unit.

But I get it.  It’s a perk.

3.  His and her sinks in the Master Bath means “I’ve Arrived!”   (I really think this is the true reason why couples crave the two sinks.)  

But . . .  

a.  Not everyone is in a couple.

Yes, you’ve arrived, but uh  —  not all adults are coupled up.  Sometimes you arrive all by yourself (pun not intended — well, maybe a little).  It’s not always a his/her, his/his or her/her situation.  Sometimes it’s Just Me . . . heh heh heh.  I remember a scene from the movie “It’s Complicated” where the main character, a divorced woman, was redoing her bathroom and wanted to get rid of the second sink. It was just a daily reminder that she had no partner, which she was okay with, but the sinks apparently were not.    My single sister has a two sink master bathroom that came with her newer construction home.  She uses one sink, and the other holds her curling iron.  Seems a waste.

Two sinks in the Master Bath are just kind of stupid for single people, and a bit insulting.  I can almost see the existence of two sinks being a deal-breaker for a single person.    And if  person becomes single after having insisted on the double sinks?   Might as well tile “Failed Relationship” on the back splash.

b.  Not everyone aspires to be in a couple.

Having a second sink when single might invite a relationship where one is not welcome.   Remember vintage Barney in “How I Met Your Mother”?   When giving Lily the tour of his Fortress of Barnitude, he explained,  “I make it crystal clear to every girl who walks in here that this is not the place to leave a toothbrush, this is not the place to leave a contact lens case, this is a place — to leave.”   I mean, the guy has a king size bed with only a full size blanket and just one pillow.   As to the bathroom, Barney added,  “What? Only one towel?  What? No hair dryer?  You know where I keep that stuff?  Your place.  Beat it.”   Clearly, the Master (or Lady) of the house does not always have or welcome a guest planning to stay long enough to warrant a second sink.   Nope.  As Barney said, sometimes a person wants his or her home to say,  “Our work here is done.”

Barney's Bedroom in

Barney’s Bedroom in “How I Met Your Mother” Season 2. Barney would never stand for two sinks. Never.

The Solution? 

I know I can be a rebel, but I think that what I think people really want is  — wait for it —— their very own bathroom!

Why stop at the sinks?   I mean, if you’re loading down a house with all the must have stuff let’s go all the way —  I’m talking his and her separate, private bathrooms!   In the old days, many of the very wealthy couples had his and her bathrooms.  Let’s extend the royal treatment to suburban McMansions.

New Construction

You hear that, new construction designers?   You wouldn’t necessarily need that much more room, depending on the design and a bit of creativity.  Some of these high end master bedrooms have a separate seating area and his or her walk-in closets.  If there is space for all that, they could design his and her bathrooms, especially in those palatial homes and possibly even in more moderate homes.   It’s funny in these houses with every amenity imaginable and  the cars get their own room and guests have their own suites, can’t the Lady and Lord of the house brush their teeth alone?     And I’d bet it would be a huge selling point.  Huge.

Sunny Von Bulow's private bath, as depicted in the film,

Sunny Von Bulow’s private bath, as depicted in the film, “Reversal of Fortune.” Mr. Von Bulow described it as her sanctuary. She’d spend hours in there, especially after being drugged with insulin . . . but I digress.

Even for singles, we can keep that second bathroom on lock down and not within view, and only a privileged few could earn a key to this “executive washroom.”  It would be a “special guest” bath.  As an added bonus, it would serve a dual function of keeping  our guests the heck out of our stuff.   “No, I’m sorry, honey, you use that bathroom.”  heh heh heh

But I get it.  For most of us regular folk there might not be space for two completely separate baths connected to the master bedroom.

I’ll offer  another, less radical, suggestion.  When remodeling or buying new construction or house shopping, consider having only one sink in the Master Bath,  make the assumption that a couple will not actually be in the bathroom together, or if they are, they are not both using the sink at the same time.   Instead, use the money saved to install a larger, easy to clean counter space, creating an area that can accommodate all the products with great lighting and plenty of mirrors.   Or, better yet,  design personalized storage for all of those products and hair appliances so they can be used and put away (or left out)  while still hot.   And that one sink?  Make it and the  counter easy to wipe clean of the shaving stubble,  you could or even install a sprayer.    (Or get a maid.)

Let’s put a second (or third) sink where it belongs —  in the hall (children’s) bath.  It always amazes me when this is missing in a space that would allow it, especially in homes that are meant to accommodate more than one child.   It’s kids that  brush their teeth together while another small child is sitting on the toilet.   Kids aren’t concerned about modesty, have less products and consequently less need for counter space.   But trust me, you want them washing those grubby hands.  Any preschool teacher or parent will tell you kids tend to wash better and brush teeth longer with a buddy.   So let the kids live dorm style.  Just teach them to clean the sinks, all of them!

Aw, let the kids wash up together!

Aw, let the kids wash up together!

Just Me With . . . no master bath at all, so I’m talking, excuse my expression,  — out of my ass.   We are a family of six sharing one bathroom.  I would love to have another sink — anywhere!

Many thanks to the commenter David Travers, who inspired this post, and to HGTV, a channel that I watch, enjoy, and criticize frequently.

Maybe I’m just jealous.

See also:

Double Sinks in the Master Bath, Part II

An Argument Against the Open Floor Plan

and How to Unclog a Toilet While Under Sedation

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Mood Altering Paint Colors — Well, At Least That’s The Plan

Painting101_Lady-and-Paint_s4x3_al

I haven’t blogged in a while.  I’ve been painting.  Obsessively painting.  I wouldn’t quite call it manic on a clinical level, but yes, it had to be done.

Had to.

Be done.

Looking back, this has happened to me before.  I paint when something isn’t quite right.  The day after I had a miscarriage, I painted all of the hallway paneling in the old house.  I should have been resting.  I should have been crying.  Instead, I painted.

Then there was when my then husband went away on vacation with his club when we had many young children at home.  This, to me, was the perfect time to paint — everything– bold colors.  He came home to a purple kitchen, a hunter green eat in area and a bright sky blue play area.  I think I was jealous of his freedom, so, stuck at home, I changed my surroundings.  All while caring for multiple toddlers with open cans of paint around.  Perhaps not well-advised, but it had to be done.

Had to.

My Color Cry For Help!

My Color Cry For Help!

Later, after my husband left for good (or so I thought . . . but I digress . . . See Surveillance with My Mother and the When My Husband Moved Back Home — The Tale of Three Carries ) I  slapped beige paint over all of those colors in order to make my kaleidoscope house neutral for potential buyers.  My children didn’t help me at all.  They resented the change, hated  the beige.

We’re colorful people,” they said.

They were right.  We are colorful people,  but the HGTV gods told me I had to hide my crazy (Oops, I mean color).

Miranda Lambert, "Run and hide your crazy"  from the song Mama's Broken Hear

Miranda Lambert, “Run and hide your crazy” from the song Mama’s Broken Heart

Accordingly, all  the evidence of my color rebellion against my husband’s hobbies and freedom was –  neutralized.

Ready for Sale

Ready for Sale

I promised the children, however,  that when we moved to our new  house, we would bring color back.  As that little hoarders house smelled so badly, I painted right away, see That Hoarder’s Smell,  and I went bold: I had red living room, and the TV (family room) was a dark slate blue.

Not my house, but was my red.

Not my house, but was my red.

At one point I had an orange accent wall in my bedroom.

From the HP 033

The orange didn’t stay long, but it was there.

But lately, my little house had been pissing me off.  Well, everything has been pissing me off. The red was making me angry, I think. I’m already bitter, I don’t need to see red, literally. The dark blue was making me feel sad and closed in, like I was living in an elevator.

My home’s  overall darkness screamed despair and denial and hinted at failure, or maybe that was me . . .

Cell Block Tango, from Chicago

Cell Block Tango, from Chicago

I moved to this little hoarders’ house so that my kids could stay in the same schools.  I had to move, and it was all I could afford.  I was lucky to find it.   I’m fine with living small, but  I hate the neighborhood — which is on the lower end of the socio-economic scale — and it shows. Also, we are six tall people, and do our fair share of stepping over each other and our stuff.  But  I can’t move until they graduate, not even to a nearby neighborhood, unless there’s a big chunk of change in my near future. I’m still dealing with divorce debt.  Freedom ain’t free.

If I wanted to pull them out of school and move across country — well, I can’t do that either.  I’m divorced;  I’m not allowed to move without my ex-husband’s permission.  I’m stuck.

Parole Rejected, The Shawshank Redemption

Parole Rejected, The Shawshank Redemption

Until my youngest kids turn 18, my options are severely limited. Yes, I’m blessed to have a roof over my head, but sometimes it feels more incarceration than protection from the elements.

However, HGTV, the teachings of Feng Shui, and countless blogs suggest that if I change my surroundings I’ll change my life.

Meditation

I took a shot.

Had to.

So I’ve been painting, lightening up the color, lightening up my life.  It goes along with my constant search for non-medicinal treatments for anxiety and depression.

I have to say, the rooms do appear bigger, brighter, calmer.

Painting small rooms

Not my house, but similar room.

Still, I need color, so the plan is to get the color back through art and accessories.  That’s the plan anyway.

It’s a good plan.

Well, it was a good plan.

Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. An open floor plan with bright white and neutral decor couldn’t hide her crazy.

Now I’m on the other side of not quite clinically manic, back to the depressed side of things.  Suddenly I’m too tired.  I don’t feel like hanging my old pictures or scouring yard sales for something colorful, because, at the end of the day, I’ll still be here.  And whatever I do, someone  in my house will hate it and loudly voice his or her displeasure.    So why bother, right?

Shawshank Poster

It’s like hanging posters in a jail cell.  Sure, it helps, but the most important thing on the wall is the calendar, marking off the days until release.

Just Me With . . . a bright new look, but not complete.  Methinks the angry red and the crying blues are bleeding through a bit.   But, hell, I’m giving it a shot.

 Release date?  Sometime in 2017.

The Shawshank Redemption. Paroled.

The Shawshank Redemption. Paroled.

My Love Affair with Dunkin’ Donuts’ Bathroom

I love Dunkin Donuts.   I know it’s just a chain of low-end Doughnut shops, but  I go to Dunkin Donuts every day.   The baked goods and food are not so great, but I do enjoy the coffee.    When I moved, downsized, left the marital home, whatever you want to call it — I began a relationship with Dunkin’ Donuts that was very personal.

When the old house sold, the new “old” house was still being remodeled.  “Remodeling” makes it sound so pretty and exciting — so HGTV-like.   It wasn’t.  It was more a combination of Hoarders, Clean House, DIY’s Renovation Realities and Jerry Springer.   Oh, it was an adventure, but it wasn’t pretty.   Some of the details of the renovation will be in other posts, but for this you need to know that the kitchen had already been demolished to the studs, see  Toilet or Kitchen Sink  —  Who Can Tell?  and the home’s only bathroom was under construction to allow for an over the tub shower and for my boy to be able to stand in front of the toilet — like a man.   The tub and sink had previously been removed, only the toilet remained, temporarily, which looked like this:  Did you notice the duct tape on the toilet seat?  Did ya?   Can you imagine the germ fest going on there?   Although at least one of the prior owners wasn’t even using the toilet regularly, see Piss Puke and Porn,  . . .  that toilet was more than nasty.  It was a bio-hazard. This picture was taken almost a year before I moved in, when the prior owners were still living there.   Yet when I moved in, the same duct tape was still on the toilet,   now covered in plaster dust and construction dirt which had stuck to the urine stains on the commode like a weird kind of sand art.  Ew!!

We moved into this mess –  in Summer — and it was hot.  Wait for it . . . we moved into a true

. . . wait for it. . .  hot mess!

But at least we had a toilet to flush, assuming we could use it without touching it.    I kept a bottle of hand sanitizer on a bucket in the “bathroom.”  This held us over until we could use the hose — outside.    Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that since the bathroom ceiling and roof were being raised, there was no overhead light.  A desk lamp plugged into the one working outlet gave us some light — because you  need to see in order to use a toilet without touching it.  You need to see — but not too much, not too much, not in that house.   We were seriously roughing it.

Two days after we moved in the disgusting toilet was removed.  I was slightly relieved, not realizing that a simple plumbing fixture could actually scare me so much.    But this left us with no indoor plumbing at all.   Huh.   But when the toilet was taken outside and I saw it in the light of day?   Well, no indoor plumbing became suddenly acceptable, preferable, actually.

Still, I wasn’t alone.   I do have five children.    One kid was thankfully going on vacation with another family for a week.  That left four.  Four kids with nowhere to wash themselves, wash clothes or prepare food.    And the four kids left were girls, so going behind a tree — not so easy.

I schlepped the girls to and from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, along with our laundry.  But my elderly parents  also have only one bathroom as well and were quite distraught over our living conditions.   They were distraught?  Imagine how I felt.    I had to downplay the situation to keep my parents (who are Olympic level worriers) and my kids calm.    I pretended this was not that big a deal.  I deserve an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. I don’t want a SAG award, because I can’t get over the sound of that . . . but I digress.

Of course the bathroom construction was behind, though I was given reassurances to the contrary.   And, let’s just say my funds were not liquid at the moment, which severely limited my options. (This may be subject of another post.)

Our “Bathroom,” mid-construction

While the kids were at the grandparents or other activities (which I kept them in, so as to maintain normalcy and give them a place to go — literally — ha!) I stayed and worked at the house.   Professionals were doing the bathroom but I needed to be around to supervise, and continue my round the clock cleaning and painting, see That Hoarder’s Smell, and also try to organize our belongings —which were stored in stacks of boxes that could not yet be unpacked.  Of course, there was no need to unpack the kitchen because, well, we didn’t have one.   In addition, the house was not yet secure — broken locks and doors — someone needed to be around.

My morning routine was as follows:

I would get up, roll into my clothes or keep on whatever I’d slept in (because so very few of my clothes were accessible to me) and head to Dunkin Donuts.

Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan

Walking in quickly and giving the very hip  “up” nod to the workers, who knew me as a regular, I would head directly to the bathroom where, in addition to the normal thing to do, I would wash my face, dry it with a paper towel, grab the toothbrush and paste stashed in my purse, and brush my teeth.  When I emerged my coffee was ready for me.   The largely Pakistani staff expected me, remembered my order, and never gave me a hard time about my frequent and prolonged bathroom visits — even when I had the kids with me and we did it as a group, waiting our turn, usually at night, which brings me to—

The night-time routine:

Okay, kids we need to go and use the bathroom for the last time before bed.  Get in the car.

And we went to . . .  Dunkin’ Donuts.  The folks there would often give us free doughnuts, too!  Plus I made friends with one worker even though there was a huge language barrier and I later helped her with a very personal  issue — again something for another post.

I almost forgot that at one point there was a “Potty in the Basement” provided by the plumbers  — really it was like  an adult-sized training potty, except with chemicals.   Yeah, that didn’t work too well either, partly because there was no light down there in the oil stained, crumbling stone basement, and partly because the contents of that potty needed to be dumped–  not after every use because of the chemicals, but regularly.   This meant carrying it up broken basement stairs, through the house and outside (walking a plank which extended from the  back door four feet down to the ground, no deck or stairs yet) and then dumping it into the sewer line.

That potty overflowed once in the house.  Ew. I just shuddered a little, thinking about it.  Ew.

Damn, I’ve been through some shit, literally, shit  . . .  but I digress . . .  and this post is getting long.

Even Gabrielle on  “Desperate Housewives” has welcomed a Port-A-Potty when plumbing failed.

Realizing the bathroom remodel was going to take longer than expected, and when I finally had funds available (back child support was finally paid, on the very last day listed on the court order), I arranged for a port-a-potty to be installed in the back yard.   After all, it was a construction site.

Oh the Port-A-Potty — it gave us another round of adventures . . . since it was Summer and my children were and are very afraid of bugs and the dark . . .

Anyway, this is how my love affair with Dunkin’ Donuts happened, it wasn’t just about the coffee.

Just Me With . . . a fully functional bathroom  — now — though  I still enjoy my morning coffee from my friends at Dunkin’ Donuts. 

“Time to make the . . . Doughnuts?”

See, “She Asked For My Help”  for the issue with my Pakistani friend.