The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 9

THE IMPORTANCE OF BATHROOMS
by IAN ELLINGHAM, PHD, FRAIC

rchitects should pay attention to the products of
housebuilders, because they reflect what developers believe the market is demanding, and
developers are often betting the farm that they
are right - or at least not too far wrong.
A few days ago, I saw an ad for "boutique stacked townhouses." The two-bedroom units are obviously small,
so they have been carefully considered. After deducting
the area of the stairs, each contains 85 square metres
of useable floor space. I noticed that even though the
bedrooms were small, and the living/dining/kitchen
area compact, these units included two full bathrooms
and one powder room, measuring about 12 square
metres in total - about 14 per cent of the entire useable
area of the unit. The developer apparently believes that
members of the target market for these small (but not
inexpensive) units will trade off larger bedrooms or other
living space for more bathroom space.
I was struck by the contrast between these new buildings and a unit in the same city, which I have, over
past decades, taken apart twice. It is a two-bedroom
1930s duplex of about 130 square metres. When I
first encountered this building, each unit had a single
bathroom that was clearly the smallest that the original
developer could configure - and, inconveniently, the door
swung into the bathroom. Although it was a reasonably
upscale building in a nice area, the people of that time,
80 years ago, preferred more generous bedrooms and
living/dining rooms.
Over the years, that duplex bathroom has grown,
first by moving the door along a corridor so it no longer
swung inwards. Why this was not done originally, we will
never know, but the original arrangement underlined
the unimportance of the bathroom for other than the
most utilitarian functions. Twenty years later, a bedroom
closet was relocated, making the bathroom considerably larger, but the second bedroom smaller. The
simple sink was replaced with a fashionable cabinet and
granite countertop.
In smaller units,
designers have to
allocate space carefully, anticipating what
purchasers or renters
want. It is apparent
that the relative value
of bathroom space
to other living space
has changed. Of
course, the marginal
Modern bathrooms and appliances. Standard Mfg. Co., 1903.
value of bathroom
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The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020

Water
Index to Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - Water
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 7
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Spring 2020 - cover4
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