Moving bathroom downstairs - is it really bad idea?

(27 Posts)
littlecrystal Tue 18-Feb-14 10:12:40

Typical Victorian house here with one bedroom serving as a large bathroom. So currently 2 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs.
I don't feel comfortable with the current bathroom as the floor is sloping towards the middle of the house, the bath tends to flex over the wonky floor, it may be my imagination but I worry that bath full of water + me (heavy girl) is not very stable!
More over, the sewage pipe goes through the corner of the adjoining bedroom, and even though it is boxed in, that corner is awkward, I cannot place furniture there.

I need my 3rd bedroom for my growing (and very different DC!).

Even though a loft conversion would be ideal, I absolutely cannot afford it. I am very tempted to build a small extension downstairs and move bathroom there, and reinstate the 3rd bedroom, leaving a small space between bedrooms for a cloakroom (toilet+sink).

I know it is not a common decision, but majority of houses on our road has this layout (3 bedrooms and bathroom downstairs) and there is one down the road priced 40k more than the 2 bedroom one.

What would you do?
Should I just do what works for me?

If it means gaining a bedroom then I would probably do it, especially if you can keep a toilet upstairs as well.

enriquetheringbearinglizard Tue 18-Feb-14 10:19:22

I think the main points are how long you're likely to live there and planning so that reinstating an upstairs bathroom wouldn't be a deal breaker when you come to sell. If you do have an upstairs loo this would be less of an issue.

Preciousbane Tue 18-Feb-14 10:32:23

We refused to look at any houses that had only a downstairs bathroom, no way you can convert in to the loft?

catpark Tue 18-Feb-14 10:43:20

If the floor is sloping in that room then you'll need a structural engineer to have a look first of all.

If you have room for a cloakroom/toilet then could you not make that into a small shower room en-suite for one of the rooms upstairs ? And have the main bathroom downstairs ? To give an idea of how little space you need, we have a downstairs cloakroom (Toilet/sink) which is 6'7' (Long) by 3'5' (Wide) but some people in the street have turned that room into a shower room.

Personally I wouldn't buy a house if the only shower/bath is downstairs and no-were to wash upstairs.

littlecrystal Tue 18-Feb-14 10:56:34

En-suite could be possible but I think would reduce bedroom space too much. I know a house where they squeezed a bathroom in the middle of front and back bedroom, but then they have 1 double and 2 small singles (instead of 2 doubles and 1 single).
I have always tried to do the "right thing" i.e. what everyone prefers. It is about time I do what is suitable to me.
Wonky floors and a dip in the middle of the house (ground and first floor) is common where I am.

BackforGood Tue 18-Feb-14 11:18:16

I think, if you are going to the hassle and expense of major work in your home, it should be to change it to what suits you, not what some buyers might prefer, some time in the future.
When we were growing up my parents put the bathroom downstairs to create a 4th bedroom for us. Never was a problem for us (they did squeeze in an upstairs toilet). When they came to sell some 12 or more years later, it sold within 2 days - yes, the next people put the bathroom back upstairs, but it was theirs to do what they wanted with then, and clearly didn't stop them wanting to buy the house.

Personally, I think I'd prefer an upstairs bathroom, but I would be quite happy with a downstairs bedroom to create the extra bedroom, but I know some people aren't so keen on that. You just need to look at your options and decide what works best for you and your family.

TheArticFunky Tue 18-Feb-14 11:24:46

We did the opposite we lost a bedroom to accommodate an upstairs bathroom.

Where will your new bathroom be will it be at the bottom of the stairs? We lived in a house with a bathroom at the bottom of the stairs and that was fine. My pet hate is when you have to walk through a kitchen to get to the bathroom that is not ideal at all.

Don't dismiss the ensuite idea without investigating it further I know lots of people who have managed to get a tiny little shower room without sacrificing too much space.

LEMmingaround Tue 18-Feb-14 11:28:33

I grew up with a bathroom downstairs - don't do it! When I finish in the bathroom I want to get changed etc in my bedroom. Growing up this meant having to go through the house wrapped a towel. Not great.

TheArticFunky Tue 18-Feb-14 11:28:45

Would a downstairs extension be cheaper than a loft conversion? In my experience that isn't the case.

Artandco Tue 18-Feb-14 11:29:57

I would move down but only if room upstairs for small shower room/ toilet also. I wouldn't want kids going down alone when just potty trained at night, or if someone's ill it's more likely they will be sick on stairs etc getting down.

Also if making extension downstairs I would make bathroom not too big ( bath with shower over and glass screen/ toilet/ sink), and leave space to have small utility room next to it if possible

Weegiemum Tue 18-Feb-14 11:34:31

I used to live in the Outer Hebrides where a downstairs bathroom is the norm, for some reason very few old houses and also very few newbuild shave upstairs plumbing, though they all have fireplaces! Never bothered us in either of our houses there. Though I have to say I do love my ensuite now!!

LEMmingaround Tue 18-Feb-14 11:44:30

Artic it would depend very much on the roof structure. A small extensiion could be about 15k average loft conversion about 30k.

littlecrystal Tue 18-Feb-14 11:51:17

Hm.. the point is.. if I squeze a shower room or ensuite (which is possible in my opinion), then why should I bother with downstairs bathroom at all? We normally use only shower anyway.
But obviously, only a small shower room for a family does not seem the norm.

Artandco Tue 18-Feb-14 11:58:05

I would have the two as if you are in need of the third bedroom ( or others is you sell), then I would assume 2 people per bedroom on average. A potential buyer with 4 small children wouldn't want only one bathroom. As they grow one will be showering and the others can go to he other to use loo/ clean teeth/ shower also

Indith Tue 18-Feb-14 12:00:54

Ours has a downstairs bathroom, Victorian terrace with the bog standard cheap downstairs kitchen/bathroom extension.

I don't find it an issue though it is a long way down to the loo at night! I tend to leave a potty in my 5 year old's bedroom which is tucked away in the loft conversion. We'd lose too much bedroom space moving the bathroom upstairs.

There are lots of advantages. Not disturbing sleeping children when getting up early for work. Being able to stick small children in the bath and wash up/cook/clean kitchen/tidy toys while supervising their bath. Laundry baskets in bathroom which is next to kitchen so children strip and put clothes in baskets and I don't have to lug the laundry downstairs to put it in the washer. I only shower once a day so the annoyance of walking through the house in a towel isn't a major issue. The only other issue with ours is the cold/damp soggy issue but I think that is due to the crappy extension, if you are building your own extension to modern regs then that shouldn't be an issue.

Yes, in an ideal world I'd probably prefer an upstairs bathroom and downstairs loo/futility room but that would mean losing bedroom space or buying a bigger house.

Underthemountain Tue 18-Feb-14 12:05:02

I thought you were moving littlecrystal?

littlecrystal Tue 18-Feb-14 12:21:33

Underthemountain I was up until few days ago. But the circumstances have changed. My marriage has just failed (bad coincidence in timing) and I am soon to be single mother. I am in the panicky mode rethinking my options which is 95% I am staying put (and will be that very bad person who will have to pull out of sale and purchase).

Underthemountain Tue 18-Feb-14 12:26:31

Oh crikey, hope things work out. We're currently panicking about our own potential purpose (but have sold our old house already).

Underthemountain Tue 18-Feb-14 12:27:19

Purchase, not purpose!

eurochick Tue 18-Feb-14 12:28:15

If you are going to live there for a long time and would contemplate reinstating it before moving then do it. It does make places difficult to sell though - watch any property programme and the first thing most people do with victorian terraces with the bathroom downstairs is find a way to move it upstairs to make the ppty more desirable.

Thurlow Tue 18-Feb-14 12:37:46

We have a downstairs bathroom, pretty standard where we live for the style of house. Hasn't bothered me remotely. In fact there are things I really like about it - it's off the kitchen, so DC can bath while I start preparing dinner and can still completely see her, for example, and I find it easier getting ready in the mornings.

In terms of selling it eventually, I imagine it would have a lot to do with the other properties in the area. As I said, where I am nearly all the terraced houses in a particular (and popular) area have downstairs bathrooms so anyone who wants to buy in that area knows they will have to have a downstairs bathroom. But if yours was going to be the only one, that wouldn't be great. A lot of people hate downstairs bathrooms.

mabelbabel Tue 18-Feb-14 13:46:39

We had a downstairs bathroom and I had no problem with it at all, and it also had no negative impact when we sold the house (that we could identify!). HOWEVER, having said that I wouldn't be sure that moving the bathroom downstairs would be a smart move. It sounds very expensive and disruptive to me. Especially if things are otherwise a bit turbulent and uncertain. I know you're probably only speculating at the moment (which is fine of course), but don't make any rash commitments until you're sure of your situation.

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Tue 18-Feb-14 14:00:48

If you still had a toilet and basin upstairs, and the downstairs bathroom was a good size and well-insulated, this layout would be fine for me.

I have never liked the sort of house you describe, but where the bathroom is very much a tacked-on, shabby, annexe, with the floor level different to the rest of the downstairs. Even worse when it is awkward to reach because you have to make your way through a narrow galley kitchen to get to it.

littlecrystal Tue 18-Feb-14 14:29:06

Thank you, lovely MNetters. No rash decisions, though I am thinking I will likely need an au pair and where will I place her if not 3rd bedroom? Living room?

In terms of disruption, I would have thought that this would be minimum disruption - quietly building a small extension at the back, installing bathroom, then dismantling the current bathroom and installing upstairs cloakroom/ensuite when possible.

Anyway, too much on my mind and how I will tell my agencies that I am pulling out and if they ask why? I will probably start crying.

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