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Downstairs bathroom off kitchen

(92 Posts)
siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:04:12

Hi all. Apologies for long post!

My husband and I bought a house last year which we love - it's the middle of three Victorian houses that used to be two-up two-downs before they had extensions. Downstairs it has a really big open plan living room/dining room, an extension with a 15 x 9 foot kitchen in it, a little lobby with a door to the garden (there's also a door to the garden from the living room), and a small (4 x 6) downstairs loo/utility room.

The first floor used to have just two double bedrooms in it - front and back. But the back bedroom (which would be about 13 x 12) has been converted into a large bathroom and a landing area with the boiler in it and bookshelves. There's now also a fully-kitted out loft-conversion with proper staircase etc, and that room (which is our bedroom) is 17' x 12'. The front bedroom, also 13 x 12, is the same as it has always been, I guess. So we have two bedrooms and an upstairs bathroom + landing.

My husband has been offered his absolute dream job much closer to London, where I already work (I commute there - 1.5 hour commute each way and we have a 20-month-old DD and another baby on the way). There's no way he can pass this up as the opportunity just won't come around again. We can't rent the house (we'd lose £400 a month on the mortgage alone) and have 0% equity. When we were planning on staying, we always wanted to convert the house to 3 bedrooms, but had complicated renovation plans which would have been expensive and time-consuming.

So we have a quicker plan now for adding equity: simply to turn the downstairs loo/utility AND the little lobby area into a bathroom which would come directly off the kitchen (apparently it used to be this way - this would make the bathroom 8x6). And take out the upstairs bathroom, knock down the partition wall between it and the landing area, and thereby reinstate the lost bedroom. This would mean we had 3 double bedrooms and a downstairs bathroom off the kitchen. This is by far the cheapest option and we think it would add at least £20k to the value of the house, meaning we could sell, cover moving costs, and have a small sum left over to bank and begin saving for a new deposit. (We'll go into rented.)

My question is: does this sound like a sensible trade-off? All the rooms will be really good sizes, and I know downstairs bathrooms are pretty common in Victorian terraces of this layout, but downstairs bathrooms off the kitchen - how much of a drawback would that be to you if you loved everything else about a house? It's possible we could leave a toilet/sink ensuite in the back bedroom - would that make a difference?

ramonaquimby Mon 11-Mar-13 11:06:34

I would never consider a house with a downstairs bathroom, especially with young children. not what you want to hear I know

bequiasweet Mon 11-Mar-13 11:09:38

I'd say ask the experts - the estate agents; they'll know what works and what doesn't in your particular area.

My personal reaction would be NO, DON'T DO IT. I would absolutely hate to live in a house without an upstairs bathroom - I wouldn't even bother going to look at a house if that was the layout. Are you sure there isn't another solution? Maybe stealing a bit of the two upstairs rooms to make a bathroom?

SarkyPants Mon 11-Mar-13 11:10:17

I think you should speak to local estate agents.

I'm not convinced that your plan will add equity. And even if it does it could make it much harder to sell.

Taking out a bathroom is effectively undoing a lot of hard work.

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:12:28

Thanks. My project for tomorrow is to book as many estate agents to come round as possible.

I know some people hate downstairs bathrooms and others don't mind - really it's the off-the-kitchen thing I'm worried about most.

No way of pinching layout from the middle floor without creating a windowless bathroom in the middle of the house (so you'd also need soil pipes going out through a bedroom and an internal toilet, which is just as bad an idea as a downstairs bathroom IMO) and you'd only have a single 3rd bedroom instead of a double, plus we'd have to move the boiler which would ramp up costs ...

Gingersnap88 Mon 11-Mar-13 11:13:00

I'm currently renting a house with a bathroom off the kitchen- I would never buy one. It's horrid and really not practical with children. I also think it decreases the value of your home.

Would you have a lobby area between the kitchen and bathroom?

Mine literally open from the kitchen into the bathroom and is awful. However, I rented a house in Cornwall many moons ago where there was a lobby between kitchen and bathroom and that was okay.

Good luck though, sounds like a hard time for you.

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:15:01

ISWYM about taking out a bathroom undoing hard work.

But everywhere I look it says that adding a bathroom at the expense of a bedroom (which is effectively what the previous owners did) is always a bad move. It's essentially a large 2-bed property in a family area - two outstanding primary schools just down the road, beautiful parks, river close by, etc. I think most families are looking for a 3-bed home, minimum (as we were) and wouldn't even consider looking at a 2-bed, so that could be just as offputting?

Definitely won't do anything until we've talked to as many local estate agents as possible though.

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:15:37

No gingersnap - there's a lobby there now but we'd have to lose it to make enough room for a bath.

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:16:03

Hmmm ... overwhelming negatives at the moment.

May have to try to think of other options.

SarkyPants Mon 11-Mar-13 11:18:41

are either of the bedrooms large enough to split?

WeAreEternal Mon 11-Mar-13 11:21:01

I would never buy a house with a downstairs bathroom, especial one off the kitchen.
And as bequiasweet said I wouldn't even bother looking around a house if that was the layout.

Also I have been told in the past by a couple of developer friends that one of the quickest way to make money in the housing market is to buy a house with a downstairs bathroom and move it upstairs, making the kitchen bigger or adding a dining room or a utility room (where the bathroom was) and then making a small bathroom upstairs.

WeAreEternal Mon 11-Mar-13 11:25:26

What you could do is make the current bathroom as small as possible (by moving the wall), and then knock through the existing bedroom wall and rebuild it to make two smaller bedrooms.

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:26:23

That's true weareeternal if you don't lose a bedroom in the process.

Can't split the bedrooms because it's in the middle of a terrace so you can only have windows at the back of the back bedroom and front of the front. So either you'd have to have a windowless bedroom/bathroom in the middle of the house, or you'd have to have a bedroom that was about 5' x 13', and therefore too narrow even to put a single bed in widthways.

MN consensus is a big fat no then!

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:27:10

Also can't knock between the two bedrooms as the staircase to the loft now runs between them ...

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 11-Mar-13 11:29:10

I'm not sure you'd meet building regulations if the bathroom came straight off the kitchen

jammybean Mon 11-Mar-13 11:29:55

I wouldn't consider buying a family house where the only bathroom was downstairs, that might be just me though. It's not very practical.

Have you already applied for planning permission for your extension? How big is the garden? Could you sell with planning approval for a double height extension instead?

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Mon 11-Mar-13 11:31:07

If I was only going to have one bathroom I would prefer it to be downstairs, it is much more practical when your children are young, much more practical all round IMO. Ours is in the middle of the house though, not at the back. We sometimes think about converting the loft, but if we did we would want a bathroom on the first floor, as, two floors is too far to go at night, whereas one is fine. I also wouldn't be as happy with the bathroom at the back of the kitchen, ours is by the bottom of the stairs and really handy. I

I'd say no, too, on balance.

SarkyPants Mon 11-Mar-13 11:33:25

Selling with planning permission could be a good option.
Would be attractive for a family with plans to have children who can't yet afford 3 bedrooms in the area but would like the option to expand in a few years time.

Selks Mon 11-Mar-13 11:33:36

A windowless bathroom upstairs is preferable to one downstairs straight off the kitchen imo. Could the windowless bathroom possibly have a velux roof window instead, or even a couple of sun tubes?

janek Mon 11-Mar-13 11:38:40

The house would have 'originally' had the bathroom off the kitchen though, wouldn't it? I live in a two up two down and that's what my house is like. And i find it no trouble to have the bathroom downstairs with two children. In fact don't most people with children 'need' a downstairs toilet? I wouldn't have wanted to be running up and down our steep stairs when potty training, let me assure you!

The only thing i would say is that it would be an awfully long way from the loftroom to the toilet in the night - is there a way you could put an ensuite in there, or would that ramp up the costs too much?

I heard a rumour of someone near to me putting up a stud wall in each (original) bedroom and having a long thin toilet/showerroom through the fitted wardrobe, so running the length of one of the side walls in the house. It was accessed from both bedrooms. Would that be a possibility or did the fitted wardrobe go with the loft conversion?

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:39:13

That's a misconception about building regs - it is perfectly legal to have a bathroom off a kitchen. Old law which no longer applies, AFAIK.

We aren't doing an extension - it's already there (kitchen, lobby, downstairs loo/utility - we just want to convert the lobby and downstairs loo/utility into a bathroom). So no need for planning permission.

Windowless bathroom couldn't have a velux/sun tubes as the loft conversion that already exists is directly above it ...

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:41:39

Yes it would janek ('originally' meaning when the extension was first done and the kitchen/bathroom first existed!). Others have said that to me about a downstairs bathroom.

That was our plan if we stayed - to put a full ensuite with bath/shower and everything into the loft conversion, directly above where the bathroom is now (so just moving soil pipes up, etc). But that would require us building a new dormer window on the other side of the room to let light into the bedroom, and that would be facing the road so would require planning permission. Would be so costly it would only be worth it if we were staying long-term, I think. Still, I'll talk about it with the estate agents too. Need to get an architect round really, I guess ...

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 11:42:51

Downstairs bathrooms are very unpopular.

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:43:00

(i.e. about it being more rather than less practical when you have young children - you can pee or even have a bath without having to take them upstairs with you!) But yes - long way from loft to loo, and being 17 weeks pregnant I'm going to need my night-time loo trips pretty soon!

siluria Mon 11-Mar-13 11:45:01

I know they're unpopular on paper, but hundreds of thousands of people have them. My question is really about the bathroom coming off the kitchen, not the downstairs bathroom in general (it's a common layout in Victorian terraces like mine - and round here, you'd have the choice of poky new build with much smaller bedrooms and a tiny upstairs bathroom, or Victorian terrace with larger rooms all round but a downstairs bathroom, so it's what you're choosing between I guess).

The thing that really worries me is how gross it is to have people sitting on the loo on the other side of the wall where you're cooking dinner!

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