Room for the Loo

As part of our renovation planning we've been busy drawing up plans for new bathroom, shower-rooms and WCs. One thing that strikes us is how the French love to put their loo in a little room all on its own. We keep drawing our bathroom and shower rooms with a loo included in the same room and every time we get our plans back it has been moved out and given a little room all of its own.

I am now considering the reasons of having a room for the loo:

a. In France, the loo is sacred such that it deserves it's own room?

b. French people like to sit in a small confined space and stare at a door (possibly wallpapered) to do their business?

c. French people don't like to look at the loo when in the bath/shower?

d. can you think of any others? Am I missing something?

Personally I'd rather have a more spacious room and include the loo in that room but is this terribly British?

If it hasn't been given it's own room, then it is stuck behind a random partition wall - I don't get this at all, it's not like anyone else is in the same room when you use the loo...(except for the kids of course but they don't count) so why does it need to be hidden away. There are some stylish discrete and unoffensive looking toilets out there so why must they be locked in a cupboard?

Mind you, I should mention that the current house does actually have a loo in a cupboard built into the walls between 2 bedrooms (which was an improvement on the loo which used to be outside on the balcony) so maybe the architects look at that and think oh well it's an improvement bringing the loo into the 19th century at least!

What do you think? Do you like your loo in a room or do you like to have room for the loo in your bathroom?

We're planning on having a cloakroom with WC on the basement (kitchen/living) floor, a bathroom with separate WC on the ground floor (which will initially have our bedroom and the kids bedroom on it but which will eventually be an office & a guest room). Then when we eventually migrate upstairs (funds permitting) we'll have a family bathroom and a shower room with/without WC on one of the other bedroom yet to be resolved!). So we would end up with 4 toilets probably and I DEFINITELY want a sink in each WC so I am thinking that given we have 2 loos on other floors (our house will be 4 storey) then it would be an idea to have a separate WC from the girls bathroom but to have a combined shower WC off one of the bedrooms.

I can't believe you're already at that stage Catharine...I'm going to resort to building a very high wall so the girls can't get out and the boys can't get in. We plan to stay for a long long for life is our idea at this point in time. Backup and bailout plan is we are putting some of the bedrooms with plumbing en attente so we could add en-suites later & sell the house as a Chambre D'hote.

Ok here are my thoughts :)

Several factors need to be considered, namely:

Resale value / how many loos / bathrooms you plan to have and how long you plan to stay there....

Resale value - you need at least one separate bog. (Preferably with a sink...!) Guests prefer using a cloakroom to a bathroom, plus there are all the family life practicalities to be considered.

Loos - you need at least two, three would be better.

Staying there - what works with small children will not work with teens whose boyfriends want to have a shower - trust me - this day comes around all too soon!!

Personally, I would go for 2 separate loos and one in the room.

With three little ones and living between the Herault and Canary Wharf you can't have much sanity left :-)

Thank you everyone, believe it or not though you have made us rethink.

I've come up with the solution, a sliding door between the throne room and the salle d'eau with washbasin. It must have a kickplate so you can kick it open with your feet whilst keeping hands away from door knob etc... Or perhaps taking a few ideas from some of the fabulous old hands free sinks I've seen in France - a waist high pushbutton to exit which you hit with your hip bone...or if we want to go state of the art then perhaps iris recognition or voice recognition door opening. This way we can avoid putting a sink in the throne room. Or we can just pay a bit more tax I suppose. I'll probably opt for the latter and send Mr Fitz to work for longer hours for the sake of our health and my sanity.

Ah good, Andrew. I've heard that before and had forgotten. My OH is expecting some kind of magic in order for us to be able to install a hand basin in the toilet but with the radiator on one side to just short of the throne and the door opening on the other without the space left, I need to discover something twixt a normal small basin and a dolls' house one!

Brian, it's a salle de bain if it has a bath, anything else is a salle d'eau ;-)

Questionable point, it appears that the size of the loo counts. I have been in houses where you could all but play soccer in the 'little room' and clearly see that putting in a wash basin may lead to redefinition. On the other hand, given the tiny little space most of us seem to have it does work anyway. However, it seems that if you have one of those 'bum bath things' (can't remember the English name, bidet in French) then you have a sink but it is NOT a bathroom. Who the heck contrived all these definitions defies belief for complicating our lives, dohhhh!

ah it comes back to taxes then. so if you have a room with a loo but no sink you pay no tax on it. imho this is less clean than having the loo in your bathroom or do people who have no sink in their loo not touch anything when opening the door to go to another room to wash their hands. no wonder gastro is rife. but if you want to be cleanest then you put in a sink and pay tax on your loo and on your bathroom. sounds like being clean is a luxury according to french tax law. I understand the toothbrushing point though. we have 2 sinks in the family bathroom one which we use and one the kids use for their toothbrushes, oh goodness I never thoiught there could be a tax implication of that. pleasse don't tell!

Perhaps I've been here too long but the idea of a loo in a bathroom is a bit bizarre, it's mixing "clean" and "unclean". A washing machine, yes, a loo, no! Also far easier for family life if the loo is separate from the bathroom/shower room but I agree about the sink, even if it's just a tiny one ;-)

On the sink question, it appears if you put a sink in the separate loo room then it counts as a bathroom and your taxes increase. Hence the yucky habit of separate loos in France not having a hand basin.

ok so its looking like a European norm then. I get your point about the girls Brian, we will have 3 teenagers in 12 years time. better have a rethink about those separate loos then. thanks x

I have only really known the single room loo bath in the UK. Indeed, my flat in Berlin had a nice modern shower but no bog at all. There was a communal one on the landing for four flats, each floor plus one in the basement mind. I have only had two houses of my own before this, both in England. One had a loo with, the other without and both houses I rented had separate. Various flats when I was studying had neither but usually a combo for at least two flats to share. On consideration I think separate is preferable. especially, and this is a biggie now, both of my daughters enthrone themselves with something to read or a DS and do not budge for ages. I usually want a shower at exactly the same time! Plus Swiss OH would not tolerate a combo to begin with, they do not have them where she comes from.

I have lived in many European countries and nearly always had the loo in its own separate room, sometimes with an itsy bitsy sink but not always. It is considered more sanitary than having it in the same room where you bathe and brush your teeth! I much prefer it that way, in fact, especially if there are others who would like to use the shower or tub.

We could run a competition on SFN - best small room with a loo and a view - show us your photos on here (dimensions of loo must be included) and the winner gets an extra special toilet roll as a prize.

A window, bien-sur would be advantagous, serving both purposes of ventlation and light. Room with a vloo one could say?........

Catharine - good rule - agree if only 1 loo it works as long as there is a sink in the same room (which weirdly at my Dr's surgery there is a loo in a room but no sink?)

Exactly Theresa - streaking across the hallway to get to the loo as the shower room was off the bedroom but ' the loo was in the hallway on one set of plans.

@ Gordon - I suppose I can see where you are coming from if only 1 loo...good ventilation would be needed though on a room the size of a postage stamp non? And should that room with a loo then have a window?

Being sensitive to the olfactory senses of others, I think it only right and decent for the loo to have it's own little room.

If the only loo in the house, it frees up the bath for someone who is showering and vice versa.

If more than one loo in the house, really no need for its own room.