Monday, April 18, 2011

Who Needs a Bathtub Anyways?

We decided to remodel the house we live in. Yes, I know…. remodeling can be a nightmare, and put a major strain on your marriage vows. However this is the fifth remodeling we have done together, so I figured it would be a walk in the park...

Personally, I have challenges envisioning a room before it is completed. This is why I usually defer the design to my wife, who is an accomplished Interior Designer (  I try to focus on the mundane things instead, like our budget... That division of labor usually works fine, till the bathtub almost did us apart…

Demolishing the original bathrooms
Redoing the downstairs bathrooms was not part of the original plan. But since we were already knee deep in the dust, we figured - why not? Frankly, I didn’t pay much attention to the plan. That is until the contractor was about ready to erect the new bathroom walls. “What’s this niche?” I asked my wife. “It was designed to hide the guest bathroom door from the dining area” she replied. “Doesn’t it consume precious space?” I provided my budget-minded point of view. “The niche keeps the design streamlined,” said the wife/designer. “Besides what would you do with this small extra space anyway?”

This was a good question, and it took me a few seconds to come up with an adequate response. “I would add a bathtub to the master bathroom” was my comeback.  “A bathtub wouldn’t fit in,” said my wife. “Of course it would” I replied and put my engineer head to action. “The minimal length of a bathtub is 140cm so it could fit right here in the corner,” I declared. “Plus the house would be more appealing to future potential renters with a bathtub”.  I felt I had a winning argument.

We told the contractor to hold the walls, while my wife juggled the design to fit the bathtub in. “This really isn’t working” said my wife. “Of course it does” I said, “look – it all fits in: a sink, a toilet seat, a shower and of course a small bathtub”. “But the design isn’t streamlined and it is going to be awfully crowded in the master bathroom”. “We’ll manage, and I am sure we’ll enjoy the bathtub as would future renters”. With those winning words I gave the contractor a go-ahead with the new plan.

We sprinted to the building supplies store and rush ordered a small bathtub. The only missing piece was a shower screen that should fit the new, albeit smaller, shower design. We started the quest for a shower screen, and it proved to be harder than I thought.  After a few stops we arrived at a well known bathroom and kitchen accessories store in southern Tel Aviv named “Speedy Meir” (מאיר המהיר) . Don’t ask me where they came up with that name…

As we browsed through the store, a sales rep named Udi approached us. “I have a few minutes before my next appointment” was his opening remark, “I’ll see what I can do in the meantime”. Not a very promising start. He showed us around the store, pointing at a few cabinets that didn’t quite fit our style or our budget. “We also need a shower screen” said my wife. “Let’s go sit down at my desk and I will show you some catalogs” suggested Udi.

We flipped through a few catalogs, and my wife explained that our shower screen is a bit more complicated due to our design. “Oh, you have a design”? Said Udi with a tone of surprise, “let me see it”. My wife took out the modified design and handed it to Udi. “What’s that?! It is a prison cell, not a bathroom!” Udi asserted after a quick look. “And who on earth is going to use this tiny shower? You?!” he said giving me a stern look. “Yes, I’ll use it too” I sheepishly replied. “No offense, but given your physical dimensions you are going to break the shower glass the first time you bend over to pick up the soap!” said Udi. “I can go on a diet, you know” I replied. Udi didn’t bother to answer. “And what’s this?” he asked pointing at the guest bathroom. “This is the guest bathroom which is facing the dining area,” replied my wife. “Oh my god! A bathroom door facing the dining area?!” sighed Udi “this is VERY BAD from  ‘Feng Shui’ stand point. But I won’t say another word!!”.

“The original plan had it a bit different,” mumbled my wife after a brief pause. “The original plan? Show it to me!” demanded Udi. My wife pulled out her original bathroom plan and handed it over to Udi. “Now this is a real plan! It’s perfect!” exclaimed Udi. “Why did you change it?!” he asked. At this point my wife couldn’t hold back her tears… “My husband wanted a bathtub,” she muttered. “A bathtub?! What do you need a bathtub for?!” retorted Udi looking at me. “A bathtub simply doesn’t fit in here. If you believe you need a bathtub, then buy an inflatable one and use it in the back yard!”.

At this point Udi said he had to leave us. His next appointment just arrived. "Sorry I couldn't help you find what you were looking for" he said. "Oh, yes you did!" I replied. It was a watershed moment. I realized the bathtub had to go. I could face my wife, and perhaps even duke it out with Udi. But disobeying ‘Feng Shui’? Who would want to take on a billion Chinese? I picked up the phone and called the supplies store. “Hold the bathtub,” I said. “We don’t need it anymore”. My next call was to our contractor. “We’re going back to plan A” I informed him. “Good, he said, I barely started with the walls, so changing it back wouldn’t be a problem”. Somehow I got the sense that he felt relieved too.

So here we are. The bathrooms walls are up by now. And as I step into the space I realize that a bathtub could have theoretically fit in. That is if you’re willing to bend over and walk sideways each time you enter the bathroom.  Honestly, I prefer showers to bathtubs. Especially spacious showers where you can bend over to pick up the soap without bumping into the glass screen. 

Future renters will simply have to use an inflateable rubber bathtub instead…


  1. Well,
    I hope that all that is now just a lot of water under the bridge...

  2. Maybe when you've renovated, you can put corner tubs on your bathroom once again when your blueprint adjusts to provide more space for the bathroom.