Boudoir blight – let's banish the bedroom bath forever

April 20th, 2023 3:01 PM

By Siobhan Cronin

Amanda Bone waxing lyrical about the bath in the corner of the bedroom with Hugh Wallace looking on. Siobhán Cronin thinks this is a design horror.

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Our editor is no fan of the increasingly common sight of a bath in the boudoir. Ban it immediately, she says, before it becomes a ‘thing’.

THE whole ‘bath in the bedroom’ debate has taken on new significance now that this boudoir blight has made an appearance on the visual bible for Irish property lovers – Home of the Year.

A recent episode of the programme saw this interior design faux pas make yet another unwarranted appearance.

You see some odd things on this show, not least of all the homeowner’s often-strange choice for the ‘red spot’ – their favourite viewpoint.

But imagine my horror to find my girl-crush Amanda Bone getting as excited as she can – so forcing out a gentle smile – when she spotted the aforementioned ‘red spot’ beside a bath which was – oh horror! – installed in the corner of a Co Meath bedroom.

The owners of this otherwise stunning home had made the fatal mistake of putting the tub just a few feet from the bed, obviously thinking this was some kind of nod to chic modern living.

Steam rose – not from said tub, but from my head – as I watched Ms Bone speak of ‘how calming and relaxing’ a bather would find their view of the sky at night, lying prostrate in this ceramic wash-cask.

‘I can understand why it’s their favourite place,’ she gushed, grabbing the big red spot and looking lustfully at the obtrusive bathing barrel.

From that moment on, my fantasy life with Amanda was banished from my daydreams. My imagined surreptitious tryst with this woman would never work, now that she had revealed her leanings toward such dubious design taste.

And as for the woman who made the gauche decision in the first place, well she had already truly irked me.

‘It’s so private, a space to come and relax in after work,’ said Vickie Nolan, whose husband, an architect like my formerly beloved Amanda, should really know better.

‘Private? PRIVATE?’! I screamed at the telly when she uttered this daftness, pointing maniacally at the screen which showed a large un-curtained window on the left, and similarly stark patio doors on the right. Private? Unless your house is on the Fasnet Rock and this is the middle of a hurricane then, no, this is not private! I can think of nothing more horrific than trying to grab a few minutes of well-earned downtime of an evening, than having no option but to sink myself into a tub of warm water – in a shared bedroom!

Would you put a bath in your bedroom?


Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a longstanding obsession with baths. I have, in fact, dismissed every potential home I have ever viewed if there was no tub involved.

There is simply nothing better than a long, bubble-some hot-water soak after a stressful day. I do not subscribe to the oft repeated theory that sitting in a bath is simply a means to stew in your own filth.

I see it more like a flashback to a far more extravagant time in history, when women were encouraged to bathe in everything from sour milk to crocodile faeces, and take their time at it too. They may even have had the tub filled by a bevy of nubile young men. Though needs must in modern times, so I find a large bottle of Radox, generously fed into the bath filled by my own fair hands, does the trick just as well, thank you very much.

Now, my research does indeed confirm that the bedroom was where the first bathtubs were housed. But in the 19th century, only the upper classes could afford bathtubs at all, and they didn’t have what we now know as the ‘bath room’.

But once humanity made the massive discovery that we could create a private space for the rather unsightly act of washing our nether regions, and more besides, then the bath-room itself became the new status symbol.

Further googling tells me that this modern grá of chamber tubs has been ‘inspired more by chic hotels than history’ and that the popularity of bathtubs in bedrooms has ‘grown over the past ten years’.

But why, oh why, silly humans? There is nothing relaxing about it.

Let anyone who shares a room with their partner or – worse still – an entire family of annoying humans – tell me that having a bath in your bedroom will reduce your blood pressure.

It’s difficult enough to negotiate 20 minutes in the washroom without the man of the house wanting to pee, preen or just locate his headache tablets in the same space.

Then there’s the various children who seem drawn – like magnets – to said bathing room, as soon as the lock clicks on the door, seeking comfort for a scratched knee, enquiring about a biscuit, or the location of a lost sock.

In our house we have the added complication of two cats who are mesmerised by the sound of running water and are instantly led, zombie-like, to the source. They love nothing better than sitting on the side of the tub, eerily dangling a clawed paw over the bubbles, usually in the vicinity of my vulnerable toes, like a deadly weapon, ready to detonate if I move too suddenly under the surface.

Then, add to this the relocation of said tub to the hallowed halls of the bedroom and you have a recipe for off-the-scale chaos, not to mention a husband who will no doubt synchronise his viewing of the Champions League with your evening dip.

So, no, my friends. I will not be plonking a large ceramic wash bowl anywhere in my bedroom, should this increasingly creepy trend gain a foothold in the homes of West Cork.

Bathrooms or bedrooms. But never the twain should meet.

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