BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

Bathrooms Through the Years: A Story

Bathrooms through the years

My first home was the size of a postage stamp. Sounds impossible, but I swear it’s true.

The bathroom was a tiny corner of that postage stamp apartment, a space almost too small to be called a bathroom at all. The shower was a sliver of open area with a drain at the bottom. The curtain hung so close that it actually touched the body of anyone who was trying to get clean.

The toilet seemed designed for toddlers, and the sink was just over ten inches square. (Yes, I actually measured.)  The room was too small for a door and so had a folding screen in front of the place where a door should have been.

It was the kind of bathroom you would find in a dollhouse. I kid you not.

That bathroom was part of the reason I moved into a much larger place a few years later. This new bathroom actually had room for a tub — a big clawfoot tub, at that.

But it also had no shower, so baths were the name of the game. That meant washing my hair in the sink. The pipes were so old they creaked for a while before emitting rusty water, and it took another few minutes for the rust to disappear. Then it took another few minutes for the hot water to kick in.

But at least it had a door!

The next house had no less than two bathrooms, both of them with plenty of space. But I wanted more. The craving for room had made me greedy, and so I looked at the remodeling budget, the two bathrooms that were separated by only a wall, and decided that yes, I could manage with one bathroom after all.

One very big, opulent, magnificent bathroom!

I had visions of a large Jacuzzi tub, a shower with a bench in the corner, a double sink vanity and a mirror that covered one whole wall of the cavernous space. I had plans for fine marble floors. I even had dreams of a bidet. Why not?

The contractor looked it all over and gave me his estimate.

That estimate? It was more expensive than the house itself.

My dreams dashed, I learned to be okay with my tub-and-shower combo, the single vanity that had plenty of room on either side for toiletries, and my lonely toilet without the bidet to keep it company.

But I did upgrade to fine tile floors and an opulent mirror that really did cover one whole wall.

Now it’s years later, and I’m prowling the sale ads. I just found a house that boasts a master suite and “luxurious, spacious master bath.” I’m hoping for double sinks, a wide Jacuzzi tub and a shower big enough to park a truck in. I have visions of endless countertop space, miles of storage and radiant heating under the smooth tile floors. Maybe there will even be room for a nice couch in the corner — and while we’re dreaming, how about a dressing room off to the side?

It would be a great way to start my new year!


Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.


  1. Love the ‘story’ concept. Very interesting.

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