A Room of One’s Own

A Room of One’s Own

Martha Stewart doesn’t talk about it. Your mother told you never to talk about. You have that one friend who always seems to talk about it, and you’d really rather your kids Seriously guys? Do we have to talk about this at dinner? Most designers, renovation experts and celebrity home rehab-ers would probably just as soon not deal with it, but I am not one to shy away from the difficult topics. Which is why today’s story is a tale of toilets.


It may come as a surprise to you that this is not the first time we’ve dealt with, shall we say, waste issues on this blog. But the last time, we discussed Porta-Pottys. Those happen outside of your house. This time, I’d like to focus on what happens inside your house, and specifically, inside your master bedroom.  Let’s talk about the poop room.


The concept behind the poop room, best I can tell, is to totally wall you off while you’re doing your business so you can theoretically share bathroom space without losing any privacy.  In theory, it’s not a terrible idea. And if you live in a 2,000+s/f home built after, say 1990, there’s a pretty good chance you already have a poop room, aka a water closet, in your master bath.


But while the poop room is built on good intentions (and maybe a little fear of embarrassment), it’s also not completely necessary. Most homes I renovate have a bare minimum of two full baths and often a powder room to boot. And that powder room, by the way, is basically the same concept as the poop room, except that it might be located off the foyer or kitchen or in back corner of the family room.


I mention that powder room because it’s an excellent (and far more practical) alternative to completely gutting your master bath with aspirations to put in a poop room. Because here’s the thing, folks: houses built before the end of the Cold War were not built to accommodate a master bathroom with a separate, walled-off, toilet fortress inside of it. To create enough space to make such a thing happen in your older home, you lose out everywhere else, from aesthetics to space and occasionally design integrity. Are you willing to sacrifice your already small (and if it’s an older home, it is small) closet so your bathtub will never be confronted with the sight of your bum? Would you like your master bathroom to extend out into the upstairs hall like a boxy tumor? Didn’t think so.


The bigger issue here (and one I’ll address in more detail next week) is that you can update and upgrade all day long but you can’t actually turn an old home into a new home. I won’t a put a poop room in your 1925 bungalow. And if you’re the kind of person who wants to live in a 1925 bungalow, you should be okay with that. I love older homes. That’s why I work on them. I find a plenty of charm in a poop room-less house. But if having a poop room of your own is really, really important to you, I’d recommend taking a good hard look at your priorities. Because maybe what you actually want is a newer home.

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