Plumbing the depths: the dangers of DIY bathroom design

I’ve come across some primitive plumbing arrangements in my time: my grandparents had an outside loo with a splintered wooden seat and a 30 foot drop shaft.  Hung on a nail alongside was a wodge of torn up newspapers with that smudgy printers ink that comes off on your hands and … well I’ll leave the rest to your imagination!

I’ve also travelled extensively on the Continent and done battle with cantankerous geysers that clank, gurgle and spit gobbets of rusty water, when they work at all.  But having just recently viewed the DIY bathroom fails posted on Google and YouTube, I’ve decided in future to travel with my own tin bath and bed pan in the hope of avoiding plumbing that plumbs the depths.

At one end of the scale you have the whimsical and frankly comical.  I mean we’ve all seen knitted lady toilet roll covers and lavatory libraries – usually with titles like ‘Passing Time in the Loo’. But what about this, a loo with a road safety cone for a toilet bowl – presumably because it’s a ‘no go zone?

And then there’s this frankly potty idea (sorry, couldn’t resist!) of covering every available surface of the smallest room with toilet roll dispensers.

I can only assume the designer was an immoderate curry eater, or else had a morbid fear of being caught in extremis and having to signal for help to other residents. By way of contrast you have the absurdly impractical setup shown below where a hundred yard dash is guaranteed on every visit, unless you’ve got extending arms like the late Kenny Everett.

It has to be admitted though that there is a certain economy of effort built into the dual purpose examples of sanitary ware exhibited below. No need for a sign that says ‘Now wash your hands’ when the hand basin is positioned immediately above the urinal and drains directly into it. And locating the loo within the shower cubicle – so you can take a leak while having a rinse – is eminently practical, if rather decadent.

Of course whimsy is one thing, the positively dangerous is quite another, as the homemade Jacuzzi below illustrates. It’s powered by a dozen electric egg whisks, all trailing wires over the bath tub. It could prove to be rather more stimulating than its mad inventor had bargained for. ECT is best left to hospital technicians!

Anyway, I think I’ve said enough to make my point, which is be as whimsical as you like in your bathroom design, but make it practical, watertight and above all, safe. And call in the professionals to handle the plumbing and electrics. Disaster or death by misadventure is no joke!

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