A one-bathroom family

The house we live in is Tudor, basically, although it’s been altered a lot over the years, not least by my in-laws after they bought it in 1928, the year after they were married. It is timber-framed and, we’re told, originally displayed its half-timbered exterior before being brick-faced a couple of hundred years ago. There is also some Tudor brickwork and chimneys, and here is a very unseasonal photo (which I originally posted nearly a year and a half ago, so if you saw it then, gosh, haven’t we been friends for a long time?)

You will see, on the left of the picture, some new brickwork – they haven’t really weathered as much as we hoped although they are hand-made and will, I expect, blend in better in a few more decades. We built this extension because we were told by an expert in this sort of dwelling that the chimneys would never have been built at the end of the house and that there must have been a wing of it pulled down at some time, perhaps when the brick facing was done. This explained why the dining room was always slightly damp.

To create an extra bedroom, the Sage’s parents had divided a large bedroom into two plus a passageway and we decided to remove the partitions. It meant we’d only have four bedrooms instead of five, but it’s a lovely room and it was spoiled by being split up. Al agreed that he would sleep on his brother’s bedroom floor when we had guests. When we built the new part, we offered El the new bedroom. It would be reached through her old one, because the back stairs led into that, and then through Al’s room. It would be a big room, about 18 foot by 20 foot, plus built-in cupboards, so we suggested dividing it into a bedroom, a bathroom and a studio – at the time they both did stained glass work, Al was good at carpentry and El at art. And El would have her own ensuite bathroom.

Once the room was built, El came to us. “Why do I have to have a bathroom?” she asked. We said we thought she would like it. She pointed out what a beautiful room it was, and wasn’t it a shame to break it up? It was, and it was, and as long as she was happy to share the bathroom (because we didn’t want to lose a fifth bedroom before we had had a chance to use it) then that was fine with us.

Now that is Ro’s bedroom as El has long since left home. We have to have pretty easy-going overnight guests, as he has to go through the spare bedroom to get to bed.

It’s a funny thing though. The Sage and I leave the bathroom door open when one of us is in the bath, but our children don’t. And we always have our bedroom door open, but when they stay, they shut theirs. I have no idea if there is any significance at all in this.

21 comments on “A one-bathroom family

  1. The Boy

    What a lovely house. A good rampant whisteria adds so much to the look of a home. What a pity the timber framing was brick clad. Do you see any of it in the interior?

    Children are such shy and retiring creatures, I am sure that’s why they close the door all the time.

  2. PI

    Lovely house. Your roof looks in a far better state than ours. When we moved in in ’85 the surveyor suggested a new roof but apart from the sun room and the garage which have flat roofs there hasn’t been a problem. Touch wood!

  3. Z

    I was glad to see that Prince Charles doesn’t discipline his wisteria very much either. We had the house re-roofed in 1985, before we moved in. The peg tiles were in very bad repair and had already been taken off and turned over! They had been dabbed with mortar to give them some more stability, but when the builder started to take them off they all started to shift. We were very glad to have had them done before the ‘hurricane’ of 1987.

    The tiles were hand-made in Sussex and the Sage borrowed a lorry and went to fetch them. That’s a story in itself.

    Long enough comment, I’ll write about the inside in a post.

  4. Z

    I’d always lived in Edwardian houses previously, and it took me a while to feel I might be happy living here (that is, before we actually did, I felt at home right away). I was used to high ceilings and big windows. But this suits me now.

  5. martina

    Your home looks so welcoming and is much more architectrually charming than my home. Bet it looks gorgeous during the holidays. Wisteria is meant to be rambling and disobedient-it is just its’ nature.

  6. Z

    I don’t suppose the tendrils going under the tiles is a good idea, but I’m not too keen on climbing to the roof. And I like rampant growth anyway.

    The end chimneypots are Victorian, by the way and 6 feet tall.

  7. Dandelion

    The end chimneypots are Victorian, by the way and 6 feet tall.

    I think I’m going to have nightmares about this. I mean, what if they came alive?

    I like the left chimneypots that are hugging eachother.

  8. Z

    Think of them as 6 feet high, and they will lose their power. They are, in any case, very friendly chimneys. But the older ones are the best, I agree.

  9. Blue Witch

    I have first call on the Tudor chimneys if they ever fall off. I am very fond of them. I can confirm that all of the chimneys are friendly chimneys. But there is a presence in the dining room. A neutral one, but one none-the-less.

  10. Z

    My husband and one son are six-footers and they are not very scary.

    Dharma, of course. Just so long as you don’t mind Ro barging through your bedroom to get to the bathroom. Mind you, you’ll want to shower rather than bath so you’d find yourself barging through mine! Not while I’m there, I can reassure you…

    John, it was cut down to the ground when the roof was done. It does look wonderful when in flower, as long as there isn’t a late frost.

    BW, that’s my father-in-law. The dining room is full of him.

  11. mike

    God, I wish our sodding wisteria at the front of the cottage would sodding well bloom one of these sodding years. We follow all the rules! But nothing! Whereas the “unofficial” wisteria round the back, near the oil tank, which grows up through the roses, clematis and honeysuckle in a fairly inaccessible spot, and which we never touch, flowers quite happily. As does yours, including in the bits that you can’t reach. Maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere…

  12. Z

    Rules? I don’t do rules. I do shorten the tendrils when it has flowered, and cut back the bits that are in the way in the autumn. Unless I don’t, and then anyone over 5’2.5″ (how convenient for me…) has to duck.

    But you have to control wisteria a bit, or it takes over.

    Have you tried swearing at it? I find that quite eff*icacious.

    *Heh heh


    I am now manically depressed. I want your house – (as opposed to your children. What is this? The Blues Brothers?)

    Wanna swap? No? Damn.

    If some’at that big grew on my house you wouldn’t see the house at all.

    Now there’s an idea….

  14. Z

    Welcome, 4D. I’m afraid we’ve left it a little late for me to have your children…

    But you’ve got a splendid satellite dish next door. What more could you want?

    It’s a sprawling cottage, really. A lot of people have to duck to get through the doors. Even I have to bend double to get through one of the doors.


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