Walt and I both keep mentioning on our blogs that we are having a new tiled-in shower built in our bathroom. Here are some photos of the bathroom as it was just a few weeks ago. This room is one of the features that attracted us to the house when we first saw it in 2002, because it was so much bigger than any other bathroom we had ever seen and used in France over the years.
The shower stall we are replacing is not very old — we had it put in 11 years ago. There's a second, small shower stall down in the utility room, and we bathed down there for the first two years we lived here. The problem was that the utility room is not heated, and it was pretty cold in wintertime. While the work is being done, we are showering down there again. Seems like old times...
The plumber who did a lot of work for us a dozen or so years ago, fixing leaks and replacing the faucets on nearly all the kitchen and bathroom fixtures, recommended this pre-fabricated shower stall as a good solution, since we had room for it. He said it would be as good as a tile shower. The corner of the bathroom where it stands was empty when we moved in. Now the time has come to replace it — recently the plastic started developing cracks. And I've never found the shower to be quite big enough. I'm all the time banging my elbows on the glass or the built-in shelves in there.
In 2005, when he installed the shower unit, the plumber (now retired) said we might also consider having the bathtub taken out. He said that's what local people were doing more and more. We decided to keep it, and we are keeping it still, even though we never use it for its intended purpose. I do use it however, as a good place to wash down and water big potted plants when they get dusty and dry. I also use it to wash bushels of collard and kale leaves when I get a big harvest. So it comes in handy. Someday I might want to take a bath in it.
Like the bathtub, the sink and the bidet are staying. Both were here when we moved in 13 years ago. I assume they were installed in the late 1960s, when the house was built, but I'm not sure. Maybe the bathroom was completed later. I'm not even sure the house had running water back then. The place was never occupied full-time, or if it was, it was for a very brief period. The couple who had it built were involved in a terrible car accident in 1976 or so, and the woman was killed. The man lived here alone for a while, I think, but when he remarried 10 years after the accident he and his new wife moved into an apartment in Saint-Aignan, three miles distant. This house was their place in the country, where they spent a month or two every summer, until he died in 2001 and his widow sold it to us.
Here's the bidet, and we're keeping it too. It serves as a second sink in the bathroom, and it's so French that we don't want to give it up. The plumber has now put new hardware on it — new robinets (would you call this a faucet?) and a new drain plug so that it now holds water.
If I haven't mentioned the toilet, that's because it's not in the bathroom. It's in a room all to itself. That room is what we'd call a half-bath in the U.S., with the commode and a small sink.