Bathrooms: Beauty vs Functionality
When remodeling, ideas of beauty change or fade but bad functionality seems to be forever
Upon first glance, the beautiful bathroom at the Prague Hilton had many problems just to use it. The Viking cruise ship’s bathroom seemed so small that we might not fit, but functionally was the best designed that I have ever seen. Our bathrooms at home do not quite meet designer standards, but are as functional as Viking’s, with a lot more space.
When traveling, it may take up to three days to fairly assess a location or facility. By the third day, the bathroom design was not quite as useless as first thought. However, we would not put one idea from that bathroom into our house.
Minimum shelf space. The sink was surrounded by a 3-inch shelf, with a 3-inch shelf at the base of the mirror. Nothing fits well.
I include a 4x6 inch basket so that everything stays together and can be moved easily. The basket hung over the edge! If I stood my electric toothbrush in front, the whole thing would fall onto the floor.
So, I crowded everything onto the ledge. I knocked my razor onto the floor while moving my toothbrush the first day, and medication into the sink on the third.
The large, almost flat sink didn’t drain well with just running water. It required extra effort to clean to the edges.
Bad towel location. The hand towels were pretty hanging in front of and below the sink’s shelf. To dry your hands, however, you had to bend over and nearly touch the floor to reach the towel!
As for wet wash clothes, no place for them. Bath towels hang, sometimes, from a small chrome post, and other times, fall off to the floor.
No shower door. The left half, next to the showerhead, was enclosed in glass, but the other half wasn’t — no curtain, nothing. Water splashes off of your head and body, straight out the opening onto the floor.
Then, you must stand under the shower and turn it on to adjust the water temperature! It always starts out cold!
They did provide cloth slippers for walking around in the room.
Toilet by itself in a closet. This was done better than most houses. They added a small sink so you can wash your hands before leaving, which was a good idea.
On the minus side, the single small chrome post for the hand towel had the same results. I managed to get the towel to stay on the post for the picture.
For what I suspect was safety reasons, the hotel had a wall phone installed in such a position that I accidentally knocked it to the floor twice. It was a good idea but in the wrong place.
There are pluses and minuses about having the toilet in its own room, as long as you don’t gain too much weight. I wouldn’t put it in my house.
The design looks like they spent a lot of money to upgrade with copper-colored mosaic wall tile, high-end fixtures, and black countertops and walls. Next time, they should put more thought into easy-to-use functionality.
Viking river cruise ship
With limited space on a ship, this bathroom was a little larger than the toilet room and about half of the sink and shower section at the Hilton, but managed to do everything well with less than 40% of the space.
Plenty of shelf space. The shelf space around the sink held both baskets, plus a travel bag, the quart bag allowed by the airlines, and two folded wash clothes.
There are three more 5 inch wide shelves above the sink counter as needed.
The sink, itself, is easy to keep clean and is probably the best possible for that amount of space.
A place for towels. The towel rack and towel bar hold all towels and wet wash clothes at an easy-to-reach level.
Shower doors. The shower stall is not rectangular, but wider under the showerhead, and narrower at the far end to allow more space in front of the sink.
Floor. They warmed the floor in case you walk in barefoot!
Appearance-wise, the Viking designers did a good job. The walls and floors match perfectly.
In comparison, our master bath, after deducting the closet space, is probably 30% larger than the two Hilton rooms and as functional as the Viking bathroom.
It has at least ten times the countertop space as the Viking. Even trying to compare countertop space to the Hilton makes no sense.
We installed light-colored quartz with faint highlights for the countertop and shower walls. Quartz is the easiest to clean. Black shows water marks more frequently than light colors.
We found that a shower curtain worked much better than glass doors and walls. The prior glass door cut the amount of space for getting into and out of the shower by 50 percent and was harder to keep clean. The shower curtain can go into the washer.
We bought an older house. When we remodeled the master bath, these were the criteria:
- Functionality. Everything works well.
- Easy to clean.
- Cost. Purchase and maintenance.
Always remember, good programs work, bad ones don’t, and some barely function or are difficult to use. Make sure that your bathroom is not difficult to use, otherwise you will be irritated every day.
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