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Home Clinic: Is an en suite bathroom a complete waste of space?

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You can maximise space by choosing modestly sized toilets and washbasins.

You can maximise space by choosing modestly sized toilets and washbasins.

A compact bath and shower

A compact bath and shower

Architect's clinic

Architect's clinic

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You can maximise space by choosing modestly sized toilets and washbasins.

Q We are a family of four, two adults and four-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. We are planning a total refurbishment of our new forever-home and are tight for space. Is it worth installing an en suite bathroom off the master bedroom? And is it a good idea to splash out on a downstairs shower room?

A: I recommend thinking about the bathing arrangements for your house in the context of both the house as a whole and of the life stages of your family. Your needs will change as your children grow. For example, a bath is a must for children of pre-school and primary school age, while a shower is more important for teenagers. At that stage, you will be well on the way to being a family of four adults.

Two showers are a bonus for a family of four, especially at peak times. Teens can use - and clean! - the shower in the family bathroom. Fit a separate shower and bath, if you can. But if you are short on space, choose a large shower tray, with the same footprint as the bath. It brings the added advantage of eliminating the need for a shower door - a fixed glass screen prevents the water at the showering end of the tray from splashing into the rest of the room. Most shower doors, especially ones that slide or fold, harbour grime and quickly develop mould if not cleaned thoroughly on a weekly basis. A fixed glass screen is so much easier to clean.


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