Ask Sinead: Is a standalone claw foot bathtub a sensible idea?
Q We are refurbishing our bathroom and making it bigger by knocking through into a small box room. I really want a standalone claw foot bathtub as I think they are gorgeous but wonder is this a sensible idea? They are certainly very expensive and I don't want to spend the money if it's silly. Its location will be in what was the bedroom, so there is plumbing extension required.
A Richard Sloan, Managing Director of Sonas Bathrooms advises: "Free-standing baths are growing in popularity again, whether it's a traditional claw foot style or a more contemporary design, and answering the question of them being sensible or value for money is dependent on a number of factors such as space, usage and budget.
"In most new bathroom designs or significant refurbishment projects, the ideal scenario will provide sufficient space for a bath and a shower enclosure. You mention extending the bathroom by knocking into an adjacent bedroom so let's assume you will have space for both.
"The cost of a free-standing bath does not necessarily have to be very expensive as prices will also vary greatly depending on the material it is manufactured from, e.g. Acrylic, Composite, Enamelled Steel or Cast Iron. Ensuring the necessary plumbing requirements are provided for is crucial, and in your application, you will require water supply to the taps and a waste connection to remove the water. Always get a qualified installer to provide a full survey when planning your bathroom design as this will help you determine the total cost of your project and identify any potential unforeseen costs".
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The Ryan Review
When banks were permitted to skirt around the loan-to-value and loan-to-income rules that apply to regular mortgage applicants in the re-drawing of the Central Bank's mortgage lending guidelines, most people thought they'd use up their limits in the first quarter of the year. After all, there are plenty of good quality, high earning potential borrowers out there, especially what the Central Bank terms SSBs (second and subsequent buyers). Why wouldn't banks be rushing to scoop them up?
But it turns out that lenders have been undershooting on their limits, which is frustrating for borrower and lender alike. Why? Well mostly because the rules are applied too rigidly and human nature, and mortgages being what they are, act against the implementation of the LTV and LTI derogations, making both too cautious.
From a borrower's perspective, they may be advised to make applications to more than one bank, for instance, then get an offer, and drop the financial house which may have been ear-marking them for the outsize loan. Delays in processing mortgages, which can tip into many months for legal or other reasons, mean a customer can go over a 'year', meaning the application goes 'off the boil' and the exemption is lost.
The answer is to ease up on the reporting requirement. If banks were allowed to even out the 15pc or 20pc over-and-above loans on a three-year rather than one-year basis, they and their borrowers could relax a little.
Sinead Ryan presents 'The Home Show' on Newstalk 106FM on Saturdays at 9am