I spent the first few days looking online, trying to educate myself quickly about what there is to learn about these things. As Mum was with me (someone to watch the rampaging toddler while I try to talk to people), we drove to Swindon to visit the very many bathroom showrooms so that I could see and feel some baths, shower trays, sinks and toilets etc. This was successful and unsuccessful in equal measure. Now that I have seen things in person and talked to the numerous sales people I feel more confident that I can discriminate between the thousands of very similar items for sale!
CLD gave me dimensions and specified a stone resin shower tray and a steel enamel bath. All good but, as I discovered, this is not the norm - which is what all the showrooms cater to. Could we find a stone resin tray - no! Everything was acrylic, which sales-people assured me was perfectly acceptable. We did manage to find a couple of steel baths but not the ones I wanted to see. At the moment I have a preference to not have acrylic, but the budget may dictate it in the end (would it be so bad? i change my mind with each passing day). Choosing stone resin and steel enamel considerably narrows your choice within the marketplace (not necessarily a bad thing), but you are unlikely to be able to see and touch before purchase.
The first step for me was all about determining my aesthetic preference-I like a very simple look, fairly contemporary but nothing fancy or trendy (as is typical this tends to inevitably be more expensive "I'll charge you extra for your simple taste!"). After Swindon I progressed to the second step and now scrutinise the functionality. It seems that this will be a process of negative selection (I don't want x, I don't want y), which hopefully eventually leads to the holy grail...beautiful, functional, yet reasonably priced!
The biggest decision in the family bathroom is the bath. I'm trying hard to stick to my pernickity preference for a steel enamel bath as far as budget will allow. It will be the only bath in the house so needs to accomodate the children's sluicing as well as my theraputic soaking. As the children get older I imagine they will probably shower more, so the main function will change. I would like the shower end to be a spacious as possible within a normal bath shape, so ideally it will be angular rather than curved . There will also have to be the least ugly shower screen that I can find, down that end as well, which can be moved out of the way when bathing 3 small ones (not an easy task, they are almost universally hideous - the screens, not the children!). I am now checking where the waste will drain out from, no one wants to sit on it while having a bath. I have to think about how the taps and bath filling will work - i'm thinking a control plate on the wall with the bath filling from one of those overflow filler things which can be either in the middle or down the shower end (I've realised that it will never be a two person bath, as who wants to sit under the cold dripping shower head?). It's all about the details - who can make these types of decisions in just 7 days! Not I...
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The shortlist is a Kaldowei or Bette bath, whichever I can source at a reasonable price - cross your fingers for an ex-display. You can have a look on my pinterest board for pictures. If anyone knows any other suitable steel enamel baths please let me know. I am also happy to be educated about the merits of acrylic if you are so inclined.
(p.s. although I am not interested in monetising this blog, I am open to some overt promotion if I'm offered massive discounts - hint, hint!)