The OP was wondering why fairly large houses (4, 5 or even more bedrooms) built around mid-century had only one small bathroom for presumably a pretty large family. A lot of subsequent posters weighed in and said things like:
- people didn't bathe/shower or wash hair as often
- they washed hair in the kitchen sink and did grooming in the bedroom
- the bath was a place for doing the necessary, not a "retreat", you did what you had to and got out
- less hung up about privacy, more than one girl or more than one boy would often do what they had to do simultaneously (granted that boys have, shall we say, a certain anatomical advantage for one particular "what they have to do"! )
Now I think about it, they're right about washing hair in the sink and showering less often, I remember doing those once a week, then as my hair and skin got oilier I went to every other day, then daily, and now because of a skin issue I bathe or shower for 10 minutes twice a day, or more if time permits. (I probably don't need to wash the hair as often but as long as I'm in the shower I do so.) As for numbers of bathrooms, I don't see the need for a master bedroom suite with its own bathroom + more bathrooms, but one bath per floor sounds sensible to me (if only because my mom and I live in a small 1-bath house and if any kind of repair work would need to be done to the bath it might be out of commission for a couple of days; and we certainly don't use it as a "retreat", I don't get these people who read books in the bathtub: hel-lo, they'd get wet!).
So what do you do: Do you or your family need the privacy? Can you get by with bathing/showering/shampooing less often?
The house I grew up in (ages 3 to 14) was an old victorian, with one bathroom (upstairs), and one teeny bathroom downstairs. The downstairs bathroom was a closet under the stairs, and my parents put in an itsy bitsy bathroom. My parents added a shower to the upstairs bathtub when I was maybe 5 or 6. Even at fourteen, and my full 5'7" using the downstairs potty, if I stood up quickly, I'd bump my head on the ceiling. Men and teen boys to pee would have to sit, or stand with their head bent severely to the side. There was also a hair washing sink and chair crammed in the small space, as Mom was a beautician and worked out of our house.
My grandparents lived with us since I was 5, so there were four adults and two children, We moved to a slightly larger house my sister Ann was born.
It really isn't that difficult to coordinate bathing times. In the summer, we bathed every day. In the winter, I'd say about every other. Dad and Mom usually bathed in the morning. My brother and I at night. And my grandparents had sponge-baths down to a science (they couldn't climb the stairs to the bathroom upstairs). It wasn't unusual when we were small for us to shower with our parents. Hair styling, makeup, and dressing was done in our own bedrooms, and modesty was rather casual. Walking to your bedroom in a towel, or even being in the tub or shower when someone had to brush their teeth or use the potty (that would get major complaints) wasn't unusual (the bather would just make sure the shower curtain was pulled, and if they were showering would stand out of the spray of water during the flush).
You do what you have to do.
My Etsy shop (currently closed for the summer)
We have two and when the rest of the basement is finished there will be a third. Today...I think I would die with just one but when the kids were little the majority of the houses we lived in only had one bath and we survived. Everyone had their shower/bath every day. Honestly, it wasn't so bad. And if we had to go to one bath today, I think we would manage. I think it's just a matter of time managment, working around everyone's schedule.
Even growing up, I don't remember having two baths until I was a teenager and there was 8 of us! Don't remember much about how often I bathed, lol...but I was a clean child so...
We had 8 kids in our family and we had one bathroom until I was probably 14 or so. We had a big two-story house with 4 bedrooms. I remember getting up very early in the morning to shower. My mom bought me a make-up mirror to get me out of the bathroom in the morning when putting on make-up. We added an extra bedroom and bathroom shortly before my last sibling was born. What a luxury! I know I took a shower everyday as a teen because I had to dry my long straight hair every day (the 70's). I think we just worked around each other a lot.
I know when we were little we used to bathe or shower together. I do remember my mom washing our hair in the sink when we were little enough to lay on the counter. We looked forward to it on Saturday night. It always seemed so luxurious to have our hair washed that way. She always put our hair in those big pink plastic rollers that we had to sleep on (ouch) for church on Sunday.
We were a 5 member family with one bathroom. I REMEMBER getting baths in the sink, so that had be when I was 3 or 4. It was harder when we were older, but my sisters and I were close in age, so we all took baths together until we started going through puberty. We moved when I was 12, into another older house again with one bathroom and then a basement shower. Everyone showered except my mom so it worked out, but my sisters and I would get really annoyed with each other sharing the one bathroom in the morning to get ready for school. My parent's later added another bathroom, but we were all grown and in college by then with very different schedules.
If we think we had it rough, my grandma's family (they were immigrants) had 12 members (6 adults), 2 bedrooms and an OUTHOUSE. No bathroom at all.
This reminded me of something I haven't thought about in years! When I was youg...around the age of 6, we only had one bathroom. I remember a lot of times us kids, four of us, had to pee in a coffee can because dad was in the bathroom!
Thanks for that memory!
Most of my "child-teen-ager" life 4 of us kids shared a bath, don't recall it being much of a trouble...but then I was oldest and "THE BOSS" of my siblings!
__________________ As long as I live I will TESTIFY HIS LOVE!
When we traveled with eight kids, one of us always had to go. We kept a coffee can in the car for that purpose, although I think only the boys used it. One time my little brother asked to use it, but we discovered he had used it to go #2 instead when everyone started to complain about the "fragrance". We still give him a hard time about that.
I also remember standing behind the bathroom door putting on make-up in front of the mirror one time when my brother ran in, slammed the door and began to go before he even realized I was in there. Boy, was he embarrassed!
Thanx EX and Murph for reminding me what a pain it is having men in your life Or at least in your house.
There is me and my 2 DDs. I have a 2 bath house w/ rough ins in the basement. I want to convert the 2 baths upstairs into 1 bath w/ a separate tub and shower. All I have to do is cut out the wall, take out 1 toilet and replace the 2 vanities with a larger 1. But, first I'm putting a 3/4 bath downstairs to maintain the 2 bath class in the event of resale and to use while renovating upstairs. Also, we don't have to worry about privacy. This house is neked chick land most of the time.
When I was married we had 1 bath everywhere we lived plus we had a man. We all would watch whenever we knew he was going to the bathroom. If he grabbed to newspaper(it was a small town paper) we could relax. But.....if he grabbed 3 or 4 magazines, we would all 3 hop up and make a beeline to potty before he got there. We knew he would occupying for at least 45 min. and the room would be left unusable for atleast another hour after he got out. What takes men so long and smell SO BAD? They just sit there and wait for gravity to take over.
You know why all the laxative commercials are directed at women? Because, after having babies, there isn't time to sit and s**t for and hour. We push like **** and get done before the kids burn the house down around us while we're on the toilet. Is that what your what your obituary to read? Died while in the bathroom crapping!!!!
And yes, when my mom was still married to BioDad we had the coffee can in the car for the 1200 mi. trip to Arkansas. We also didn't stop at night and that was a 24 hr. or more trip with up to 5 kids(3 girls). First declaration Mom made after divorce was that we stopped at rest areas and at night we stayed in motels. God, I LOVED that woman.
Last edited by Operator265 : 06-07-2008 at 11:25 PM.
Personally, I think a bathroom is a place to get in and get out. I rarely take baths and I usually don't linger in the shower. I do wash my hair every other day because that is what it needs.
I grew up in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. My grandparents had a 2 bath, 3 bedroom house in which they raised 7 kids. One bathroom for the grandparents, one for the kids. Now we have a 2.5 bathroom house for just the 2 of us and each of us has our own bathroom. When we have guests, we will share the same bathroom and that should be interesting.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
Operator265, my son and I are cracking up reading your post.
My dad always took the newspaper into the bathroom too, but he also always took in matches. (They didn't help) Pity the poor person who went in there afterwards! My mom used to say to him "What crawled up in you and died?". I agree with the notion that women are far more efficient at this task. I don't know if it's because we need to get the heck out of there in a hurry or that our pelvic muscles are more "developed" for the job.
When I was a kid, my family lived in a funky little old house (2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom) way out in the country which relied on a septic system for its waste disposal. Well, the problem was, the soil in that area is all heavy clay, and when it rains heavily in the winter, it doesn't take long for the soil to be completely water-logged...and that means the septic tank stops working, as water does not process out of it. No septic system means that the toilets back up, the sinks back up, the bathtub won't drain...are you getting me?!
So every winter, my parents rented an outhouse that was parked in our driveway for 3 or 4 months of the rainy season. We had to wade across a flooded lawn in giant rubber rainboots to get to the outhouse and use it. In the long, dark nights of winter, this often meant grabbing a flashlight and venturing through pouring rain to get there, while holding nightgowns and robes above the inches-deep puddles.
And for baths, we heated up water on the stove in the kitchen (or on the wood stove that was the home's only heating source)...and then took it outside and poured it in a big galvanized aluminum tub. The tub was probably about 3 feet in diameter. I have to say, bathing outside on a cold winter day actually felt really nice--the contrast between air and water was wonderful. (Obviously, we were each only bathing a couple times a week, because this is a lot of work for a bath!)
The situation was not fixed for quite a few years, until my parents could afford to have a new septic system put in. I think I was in high school when it was finally fixed.
So for me, just having TWO full, working bathrooms for my family of five is a huge luxury. I definitely have a get-in, get-it-done, get-out kind of philosophy.
War Maiden, where do you live that it rains all winter?
During the floods of '93, we were without water for about 2 weeks when the water treatment plant was inundated with flood waters. The only way to flush was to pour a large amount of water into the toilet. Bathing was out of the question. We went to a suburban YWCA that was unaffected to swim and bathe. The only way to get water to flush the toilet was to fill large plastic containers like you use camping with water from stations the National Guard set up in certain parts of town and we obviously didn't flush with each use. I remember the first few days before these stations were up and running, letting the kids pee in the toilet, but don't poop. Whoever did that got yelled at. For that we drove a few miles to the Little League ball field, where I knew there were Kybos to use. It really made you appreciate indoor plumbing afterwards.
It was horrible in the hospital where I work. Linens had to be trucked 100 miles away to another large hospital to be laundered. Patients could only sponge off. No Sitz baths for new moms. Hands were washed with alcohol. Surgery was limited. It was miserable. Plus the first few days some people were without power too. Talk about rough. No power and no water!
Growing up it was just me & my mom, and I had my own bathroom. But it didnt have a shower. I had to use my mom's bathroom for the shower..and then I'd get dressed in my room. Our house had 2.5 bathrooms, and I got really used to the extra bathrooms, lol.
The apartment dh & I live in now just has one bathroom..and dh takes FoReVeR, so I'm usually stuck doing dances while he's taking his sweet time, lol. We're looking for a 2 bathroom place now. He needs his own bathroom, lol.
When my mom was growing up..there was 7 people living in the house and they only had one bathroom. She said the girls used to wash their hair in the sink and get ready in their bedroom. They had an extra bathtub in the kitchen too. But it was for the boys only, lol. And I swear to God..my grandparents still have that bathtub!! Only its a cute little flower garden now, lol.
"I'm beautiful in my way. 'Cause God makes no mistakes. I'm on the right track, baby. I was Born This Way"~Lady Gaga <3