Saturday, 18 February 2012

Things I DON'T Want In My House

In a 'fortunate for me, not so great for them' fashion I've been noticing items in other people's houses that would drive me up the freaking wall.

I say 'not so great for them' not because my displeasure will rain down upon them like the wrath of the gods but because these are usually permanent features of their freshly built or bought homes.

Maybe they don't notice the features I'm referring to or if they do, they don't bother them or maybe they like them*; I just know they're not for me.

In any case, these items are on the 'not if I can help it list' for inclusion in my imaginary 'some day' house.

Push Plug Sinks

In case you don't know what I meant by push-plug**, I meant this.

I dislike them.

These drive me inordinately nuts.

You have to push them down to lock them in place and push them down again to release them.

Seems easy enough except for when they break and then you can't seal your sink or if they get stuck and you can't let what's in the sink drain away or if you have something fall down the hole that you could have hooked out if you could see what you were doing or if you get a build up of gunge in there and using a plunger doesn't work properly because every time you try to suction the gunge up with the plunger, you accidentally press the stupid button and seal the sink.

In short, they're stupid and in no way as efficient as a plug.

Sure, plugs aren't attached and I guess in theory they can get lost but they're not prohibitively expensive and they work without hindering functionality.

Novelty Basins Of Any Description






God, no. (And really, watermark thingie? House beautiful? Is that a claim you're willing to stand by?)

Sinks should be set in the countertop, they should be a certain depth and the tap should be positioned and designed in such a fashion that if you need to get your head underneath it you can.
Quickly and comfortably.

You get something in your eyes that you should not have gotten in your eyes are you going to want a strangely shaped basin that more often that not is so poorly designed that it has you splashing water everywhere but the sink? Or do you want a sink you can get your face into so you can wash anything dangerous off as quickly as possible without hurting yourself?

And cleaning around those amazing unique sinks looks complicated and unnecessary.
It's just a bunch of new crevices for mold to grow in and areas to bang or scrape your fingers on as you try to access them.

Angled Shower Bottoms

I don't have a photo for this one yet but essentially the floor of the shower is raised in the centre, sloping outwards and downwards to a channel that runs around the outside edge of the shower and encourages the water towards the drain.

I guess this is supposed to discourage stagnant water that might sit around being gross, encouraging the development of soap scum, and harbouring pubic hairs.

What it really does is turn the shower into a hazard that risks turning an able bodied person into a disabled person and a disabled person into a dead person.

News flash, geniuses! Shower floors are slippery! And when you angle them... people slip! And when they try and regain their balance... they stub their toes in your dumb water channels which you engineered to solve a problem that no-one ever has ever complained about.

Covered Shower Drains

Ditto with the photo thing for now.

The idea here is that they've placed a little raised cap over the shower drain so the water goes in without you having to look into the gross yucky hole!

It also means you can't clean the gross yucky hole which after a year probably has a Rapunzel-worth of hair hanging down in a long, mold clogged tail of disgustingness that allows the shower water to drain away in a slow fashion that won't startle it or allow anything else washed down the drain the chance to slip away too quickly before being gathered into The Collective.

I'm pretty sure The Collective will give you some kind of disease.

Plus if you like stubbing your toes, here's another charmer!

Certain Surfaces In Bathrooms, Kitchens And Laundries

Namely, fake marble or fake anything else counters made from synthetic materials.

Synthetic materials that are easily scratched, may discolour when you put a hot pot down on them and after a relatively short amount of time look completely beat up.

My bathroom counters will get splashed and shouldn't be made of something that will warp from the damp or develop little tide marks no matter how quickly you clean up after said splashing.

My kitchen counters will have hot pots put on them, they will have meat mallets used on them, they will have pasta makers clamped to them.

They'll take a beating and I intend for them to be made of a material that will survive this intact, looking OK and won't cause me health problems.

If a stone counter top - entire or compressed - has issues that would render them too expensive or too impractical then they're off the list.

If the wooden one would prove a health hazard if improperly cured or cared for, I may even get one with a hard-working boring industrial kitchen veneer over the top.

Whatever it's made of it'll be in a colour and style where it won't matter or show up if it scratches, won't dent and I won't give a tinker's cuss about spilling food upon.

Counter's are for using. Not for fussing over and protecting.

Floor-To-Ceiling Windows

Every second house built or renovated on Grand Designs seems to feature or be primarily composed of floor-to-ceiling windows.

They have a lot of drawbacks.

They transmit heat too readily making a house hard to cool in the summer or heat in the winter without the heat effect you're trying to achieve and maintain leeching away.

If you put up curtains to counteract this effect, and have to keep them closed for a goodly portion of the year you may as well not have floor-to-ceiling windows at all.

They'd be a bugger to clean and you'd have to clean them regularly to keep them from getting scummy or making the place look untidy.

It would be simplicity itself for a ravening horde of zombies or post-apocalyptic cannibal humans to just smash their way into your house unless you spring for reinforced magic glass which very few people do.

I'll admit that if you have a particularly gorgeous view they may be warranted in one room of the house, that's one, but let's not go crazy.

Recessed Down Lights

These are so poorly designed.

Even if you get the right size and intensity globe for your fixtures, often the heat from operating your light - a not unreasonable thing to want to do - will warp and discolour the housing it sits in.

I've been in houses, brand new houses, where the down lights are dangling out of the ceilings on their wiring because the heat of operating the down light weakened the glue or whatever held it in place and caused it to drop out of the roof.

If anything goes wrong with them or you can't get the globe out because they're recessed and impossible to get hold of, you either need to remove the entire housing or call an electrician.

Mounted down lights may be fine if done properly but recessed ones are a terrible pain in the arse.

Inappropriately-Designed Toilet Windows

I flat out refuse to look for a photo for this one but the example I give you should draw a clear enough picture.

At a brand new house designed by architects wanting to stretch their options, the tiniest room was designed with a big old window that reached all the way from ceiling to about hip high.

You know, exactly the right shape and size to show the entirety of whoever was on the toilet to whoever was looking in the window.

And this being a new house in a shake and bake community, the people next door were so close that their windows were oriented to look at your toilet.

So the only way you could have any privacy was to have the horizontal blinds closed at all times.

This meant that if you had the window open for fresh air, you would be slapped in the leg and other body parts by a horizontal blind being battered about by the wind.

It also meant that you needed to use the light switch during the middle of the day because horizontal blinds don't allow you to leave a section at the top open to let in natural light.


Laundry Nook


Yes, I know we don't spend anywhere near the amount of time we used to have to on doing laundry and we don't need anywhere near the paraphernalia or the space but I reject laundry nooks.

They seem to imply that laundry is something that should be hidden, denied and ignored, as if the clothes and sheets and whatnot just miraculously clean themselves and that implying otherwise is distasteful.

Either that or is just says 'we can't be bothered devoting a room to cleaning activities and supplies because we're designing houses poorly and need the room for something else because we're trying to shoe-horn a living space onto a postage stamp with no garden'.

I want a room with a decent sized counter, a couple of deep sinks and a decent amount of storage space for cleaning items and linens.

I want somewhere to leave my sheets and towels and clothes if I can't or don't feel like washing them straight away. Somewhere they'll fit without having to be crammed out of the way.

I also want somewhere I can clean other household items that might need cleaning.

You know, things like shoes with dog poop on the soles which I strangely don't want to wash in the bathtub I bathe in, the shower I stand in or any of the sinks I wash my hands, face, food or crockery and utensils in.

Laundries are useful and versatile dammit.

There's probably a few other things but that's more than enough ranting to get on with for now.

More than enough.

*Oh the horror!

**Americans etc, you say 'sink stopper', Australians say 'plug'. This is because it can be used to plug up the drains of both sinks AND baths and saying you need a sink stopper for your bath confuses us.


Erin Palette said...

Actually, in my house we just say "stopper" or "plug".

And for the life of me, I cannot conjure how that first sink is supposed to work, or even drain. And that curvy bit at the end frightens me! Did they attach a urinal to it for added value?

In conclusion, this is precisely the kind of thing I enjoy reading on your blog: amusing rants about things which, were it not for you, I would never have noticed.

Carry on.

Ricochet said...

I tried to buy one when I was in California and after blinking blankly at the shop assistant who was blinking blankly at my query about bath plugs, I said "You know when you fill up the bath and you want the bath to stay full so you put a thing in the hole so the water doesn't drain away..." and they said "OHHHHHHHH! A sink stopper!"
As that was what the label on the plug said as well, I assumed that was the standard name for all sizes and incarnations.
I guess now I know differently!

If you look closely you can see the weird sink drains into the curvy bit and then into a grate on the floor...

My original assumptions about the purpose of the curvy bit had a lot to do with it being an innovative new bidet for executive butt-washing.

Fortunately ranting plays to my strengths so I can promise it will always be a feature :-D

I'm glad you liked it :-)

Erin Palette said...

I hadn't even noticed the grate! I suppose I was too frightened by the executive butt-washing attachment.

Speaking of language! I notice you say "butt," like we Americans, whilst in the UK they say "bum." Is this indicative of all Aussies or has your time in the States and on the web changed you?

Ricochet said...

I didn't notice it myself until you mentioned drainage. I too was too busy reeling in horror and wondering what the designer was thinking.

Butt's a funny one.
I say 'arse' instead of 'ass' because if I say the latter I find myself putting on a terrible fake US accent.
But I say 'butt' when talking/typing to adults and 'bum' when I'm talking to kids about whether they've just fallen on said body part.
I guess 'butt' sounds funnier to children and 'bum' sounds adorably juvenile to adults and I cater to that :-D

So yes, individual preference and travel/web corruption play a part I would say.