Toilet closet haters, unite!

may_flowersJanuary 24, 2013

Toilet closets seem to be gaining in popularity, but I wouldn't want one. I've only used them in hotels (a nice one at the Las Vegas Venetian), and I've want to get out of there ASAP! There's the noisy fan and the low light and the sheer boredom. And it's not like I hang out there for very long. Then there's the toilet niche. It gives you a view, but it still feels like you're wedged in.

Is it just a trend that your bathroom needs to be beautiful first and foremost, and then worry about your comfort?

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psg007

I dislike them too, for all the reasons you stated. The only way I would have one would be if it was large enough to be comfortable, with a handbasin to wash my hands without having to touch any door handles (yuck!) I would also want some natural light via either a window or skylight/solar tube. I think the only reason people have them is for "privacy", but that can be achieved by partially obscuring the toilet behind a wall or something similar, but personally, I don't really need the privacy, but that might just be me x

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:40PM
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crl_

My main concern with them is that my mom fell in theirs and it was nearly impossible to get to her to help her out due to the door swing and the limited space. (After an ambulance ride and a few hours in the ER she was sent home and is fine.)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:51PM
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terriks

I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I don't like the toilet in the wide open bathroom. I prefer a private "closet".

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:59PM
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mongoct

I'm the goldilocks in the group. Without the curly blond hair. Meow.

I personally prefer to put the toilet behind a ponywall of sorts. A little bit hidden. But a little bit open.

A funny thing, and at the same time a very weird thing, is that after all my years of building houses I can usually peg the couple for what they'll eventually ask for simply based on how they interact with one another.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 1:57PM
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sofla

I'm currently remodeling the master bath and was all for keeping the current water closet. Would not consider in the plan to eliminate it until the construction began and the wall was removed leaving just the pocket door up by itself.( putting in new dry wall etc). It opened up a whole new bathroom where the window and light in the water closet could now be enjoyed in the bath. We removed the pocket door and built a pony wall as you walk in for privacy. On the inside of the pony wall built a cubby to hold the cleaning brush off the floor and extra toilet paper. I will have to see how I feel about not being enclosed and missing the privacy. It helps that my husband and I do not get ready at the same time as the toilet is opposite his sink and I would not like that. I would never feel comfortable being all out in the open in a larger bathroom so I think the pony wall give me some enclosure.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:06PM
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sapphire6917

Please put me in the 'haters' camp. I have used several and I liken it to going to the loo in an elevator. A very small one. I tend to used the bathroom alone and leave others to their business when they are in there so I don't feel the need to give the toilet its own privacy. In both the upstairs guest bathroom and the master bathroom, the toilet is on the other side of the shower wall but that's about as much privacy as they're going to get!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:41PM
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treasuretheday

Our original masterbath was a big white box with all of the fixtures, including the toilet and a bidet, lined up around the perimeter. My husband especially hated it and always wanted to make a "toilet closet."

By utilizing some dead space and relocating a hallway linen closet, we were able to create a "toilet closet" with its own vanity and natural light from a Solatube.

It doesn't feel like a closet at all to me! lol We're now able to each go about our routines side by side with just enough privacy.

I don't shut the interior door when it's just me in the room... that would block my view of the TV! lol

This post was edited by treasuretheday on Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 14:52

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:45PM
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catbuilder

Treasuretheday, you don't have a toilet closet. You have a full half bath connected to your bathroom. If I ever felt the need to enclose the toilet, I'd do it your way, since I cannot fathom having a toilet without an accessible sink. (A sink on the other side of the door is not accessible)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:04PM
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palimpsest

Doors on enclosures such as this with a few exceptions should swing out, so the door can be removed should someone fall.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:14PM
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enduring

Don't like the closets either. I don't allow others in the room when using the toilet.

Like *crl* we had a family member that was stuck in the bathroom without easy access. It was a regular bathroom though, with an in swinging door. A potential problem that *Palimpsest points out. My Brother was 45 (not old) had a seizure and was found about 15 minutes later, still seizing by our mother. The EMTs had to cut into the room and transport him to the ER where they finally got his seizure under control. He had a brain tumor that was the cause. He is still alive 8 years later thankfully. But that was a very big ordeal when he was stuck and helpless in the bathroom. To think if it would have been in a closet :(

On a lighter note. The most favorite bathroom experience I have had was an outhouse. Years ago I lived in the PNW. I was visiting some people on the Olympic peninsula. They had built their little home and had an outhouse some yards away from the house. It was a large square, about 6x6 feet. It was like a gazebo, open all around, with an approximately 4' high privacy wall. The roof was hipped I believe. One could sit there and look out over the countryside, water, mountains, whatever, and take care of nature. It was wonderfully, private, beautiful, and peaceful.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:41PM
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gmp3

Okay, I really like the closet, keeps the hubby and I happy if we have to use the bathroom at the same time. However, I see the concerns of those who don't like enclosed spaces.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 4:13PM
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tuesday_2008

I have never had one and don't want one. However, I can see where they would be very convenient in large families, i.e. two parents, several children, etc. The average family does well to be able to afford two bathrooms, so this would allow more sharing.

The same applies to double vanities vs more counter space. Two people brushing teeth, washing faces, doing hair and make-up at the same time at the vanity can sure streamline the bathroom usage in families. DD and I did a lot of "bonding" at the double vanity when she was a teen. Otherwise, I would never have had any vanity time :).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 4:27PM
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treasuretheday

Crl and Enduring, I'm very glad that your loved ones are fine now. I had heard this caution before and it's worth the reminder. It's also one of the reasons that I don't close the interior door when I use the room alone (more important than the TV, obviously!) We also keep one of our cordless phones in the bathroom... just in case.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 4:39PM
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LauraNJ

We had one in our last house, it was within the master bath but tucked away in a corner with a full wall on 3 sides, not alot of width. When we first moved in (new build) I laughed at how funny it was that the toilet was isolated within its own little room. Our 4 yr old at the time said he didn't know that toilets got put in timeout. :)

I would not want a closet toilet again, a pony wall would be fine but honestly, the bathroom is my escape for a few minutes of peace and quiet from the kids. I really discourage them from following me in, although there have been many conversations thru the door.

Mongoct- How can you tell?

Love the outhouse story and for those of you with relatives with medical emergencies, I am glad your loved ones are ok. Very scary.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 5:08PM
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palimpsest

On the other hand you use toilets without a sink in the cubicle in public lavatories all the time, which are arguably not as clean as a residential bathroom. If the door to your home cubicle has a lever handle you don't actually have to touch it with your hands.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 5:20PM
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wishiwasinoz

I LOVE (well, love may be a bit strong) the toilet room. My first experience with the 'toilet room' was about 20 years ago when I was an exchange student in Australia. Back then, every house had it. These rooms almost always had a very small screened window to the outside, which was always left open, even in urban areas. The air was always fresh (maybe a bit brisk in the winter...brrrr), but I grew to love it during that year. I always wondered after that why this wasn't commonplace in the US, & I am glad it has taken off. Also, in Australia, that room is called "the toilet" & the place where you shower & wash your hands is 'the bathroom'. I always got so embarrassed in the beginning to ask, "Excuse me, where's the toilet?" If you ask someone where the bathroom is, you will get a funny look!

The boys in my home will sit on the throne for 20+ minutes. It would be so annoying to have to wait while this is going on. Plus, it keeps the stink to a minimum. I also grew up with 2 older brothers, & they always completely destroyed the kids' bathroom right before I would have to shower, etc., so for these reasons, it makes perfect sense!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 6:25PM
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cathie2029

I love the toilet room as well, providing that there's a sink in there, otherwise whats the point (and kinda gross). It's nice to have some privacy rather than being in a big open room.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:45PM
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weedyacres

Count me in the toilet room camp. Mr. Weedy and I share everything, but IMO bodily functions and their associated sounds and smells aren't something that benefit from openness. The door only gets shut when the other is in the bathroom vicinity, and I find a short period of claustrophobia is a small price to pay for that privacy.

I think those of you who say you close the main bathroom door actually belong to us in the toilet room camp, as you're saying you don't do your business in the presence of others (small kids don't count).

The comments about getting bored in the toilet rooms made me chuckle. Is staring at a sink or shower really that much more entertaining than staring at a door? :-)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:01PM
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island

If the bathroom is too small for a toilet closet I'm OK with it, but in a big bathroom...far away from the entry door I feel too exposed. Overall I prefer the toilet room especially if 2 people need to be in the bathroom at the same time. Where I live many bathrooms that are part of the master suite don't have a door between the bedroom and bath so the toilet closet is a must.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:33PM
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williamsem

I don't get the need for a sink in with the toilet if its within a larger bathroom. Ignoring the fact that it's your own home, you are literally 2 seconds and a few steps away from the regular sink. What am I missing? On the extremely rare occasion I'm having severe issues and can't manage to keep my hand pristine, I have a completely separate, clean hand to use the knob. What am I missing?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:04AM
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catbuilder

"I think those of you who say you close the main bathroom door actually belong to us in the toilet room camp, as you're saying you don't do your business in the presence of others"

Absolutely not so. I don't shower, or brush my teeth, or wash off the sweat, or anything of the sort in front of others either.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:42AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I'm not a fan of the toilet closet at all. There's only DH and I in the house so I'm sure it's different for larger families.

The powder room door is only ever shut if we have guests in the house. We tucked our pot behind the pony wall in the shower in our master bath so it is out of the way, surrounded on 3 sides, but not enclosed behind a door....As it is, our bathroom door is only ever shut to access the linen closet behind it or to keep the bathroom warm while we shower.

Part of it is we like a warm bathroom when showering and if the room is too large, it won't get warm. Most baths with the w.c. are much larger than we wanted to build.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:09AM
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wishiwasinoz

One other thing to consider. And this is going to get a little gross & TMI.

When you flush #2 (if you have the lid open, which I believe most people probably do), microscopic particles of BM actually come out of the toilet. I certainly would not want that floating anywhere near the rest of the bathroom area.

So people, close the lids when you flush, regardless of where your toilet is!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:53AM
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gin_gin

I currently have the worst of both worlds. The previous owner put in a toilet closet, but there's no door! So it's small & cramped with no extra privacy. I'm not claustrophobic and I wish we did have a door there, only because our closet is accessed through the bathroom. If I'm already in there and DH is trying to get dressed for work is the only time it's a problem.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:37PM
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palimpsest

The kitchen sink has been shown be be more bacteria laden than the toilet seat in some studies.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Fecal matter is everywhere....there's no avoiding it... only minimizing it and washing your hands so you don't ingest it.

There was a Mythbusters that tested tooth brushes for microscopic fecal matter and it was on even the brushes that weren't anywhere near the lavatory.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mythbusters toothbrush test

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 10:31PM
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palimpsest

Yes it's everywhere, including on parts of our own bodies. And yet we are not constantly sick or dying as a result of it.

The thing that annoys my about the sides chosen in these threads is that each tries to cement their position by accusing the other side of having filthy personal habits.

If you have a toilet compartment you must be touching the doorknob with sh*t covered hands. If you have the toilet in an open space the air is filled with aerosolized sh*t that contaminates every surface. Gimme a break.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 12:20PM
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treasuretheday

I don't think of it as choosing sides in this discussion but it's been interesting to see how many people do have a preference for either having or not having as separate room for the toilet. Each have their own valid reasons but I see no need to try to convince the others that their view is "wrong" because the reality is there is no right or wrong, just whatever you are comfortable with or what works in your space. Germs are all around us, whether they are in the air or on the next door handle that you touch. I'll continue to take reasonable precautions, clean what I can, and try not to think about what I can't.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 12:58PM
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may_flowers

Some people just express themselves strongly. I know I have had to learn to carefully word things on GW because I speak too honestly. It takes me forever to write a post to make sure I've filtered out all my emotions. lol

I think I'd like toilet closets that are as well designed as the ones here. I realized my powder room has all the features of a bad toilet closet. It's long and narrow, the toilet is at one end where there's no light and the sink's at the other. It has no heat vent, so you have to brace yourself before you sit on the toilet seat. So I go upstairs, where I use the guest bath that I clean. DH uses the master bath, which he doesn't clean. So the best solution is to have separate baths. There's just some things best left a mystery in a relationship, and toilet habits top my list.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Iowacommute

Im not very modest especially after my husband looked around the curtain right after my c-section. So I figure if I'm okay with him seeing my internal organs than I'm okay with him seeing me go to the bathroom.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 4:26PM
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wishiwasinoz

pal, if you are referring to me as slinging sh!t in this discussion, you have it wrong! I didn't intend in any shape or form to accuse anyone of having hygiene issues. I was just making a point that when anyone flushes a toilet (whether in a closet or an open area), you reduce the amount of fecal particles that shoot into the air by simply closing the lid when you flush. Everyone should get into this habit when doing #2, despite where the toilet is located.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 4:36PM
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autumn.4

wishiwas-I'm with you - close the lid and at least it will be help. Even though it's not 100 percent, better than nothing! Or at least that is what I tell myself, ha! I can't stand the lids up though and I live with 3 boys! I am totally outnumbered and it's ewwwwww when it comes to the bathrooms.

I prefer a half wall I guess or that is what I'll be shooting for when we build? Moderate privacy but door not necessary.

Our current toilet is in with the shower behind a door but I rarely if ever close it and neither does dh. It's off the master and normally no one else is in there. If dh is at the sink then I *might* close it. Sink/vanity is on the other side of the door.

Even if I DO close it - the little men of the house always try to barge in with some burning question that cannot wait...mom, can we have a snack???? Can mom get any privacy here???????

Interesting points of view.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 5:15PM
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palimpsest

No, I wasn't singling you out, wishiwas. This discussion has come up before and there tends to be two sides one of which thinks the enclosed room is gross because there is no place to wash hands and one who thinks the open is gross for various reasons.

Like anything I think it is a matter of personal preference and realistically, whether you have the space or not, but neither situation is necessarily more unsanitary than the other within reason. Each has their shortcomings, too.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:51PM
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wishiwasinoz

No worries, pal! Poop is gross, any way you slice & dice it. Especially when children are involved. At least we aren't pooping in the outhouse & wiping with Sears catalogs the way my dad & his siblings did for years.

So wash your hands, people!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:20PM
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Eyegirlie

I like having our "toilet closet" in our master bath. Ours has a frosted window and is a good size. It's nice that my hubby can come in and do whatever he needs to in the bathroom - brush his teeth, wash his face, go to his closet (our closets flank both sides of the bathroom), etc and not have to worry about him seeing me doing my business. Granted, we've only been married 1.5 yrs so maybe that will change with time..? I also usually keep the door open unless I hear him coming and then I pull it closed =)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:41PM
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gwlolo

For people who close the lid while flushing - do you wipe down the inside of the lid after? When you use it again, wouldn't your clothes touch the sh!t that hit the lid? Or do you lean forward or crouch like in a public restroom? Genuinely curious question.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:17AM
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wishiwasinoz

LOL! I never lean on the lid. Ever! I'm sure DH is in there, legs out, treating it like a sofa. I am in & out in 20 seconds so I don't have time to relax.

Don't get me started on public restrooms - eeeeekkk!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:00AM
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may_flowers

It's probably best not to even think about all the gross stuff our bodies encounter and ingest or we'll all become OC.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:31AM
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treasuretheday

Hahaha, wishiwasinoz...treating it like a sofa, that's funny! Definitely not leaning back here either!

One of the benefits of a soft close lid is that you can push it down from the top, without touching the inside. I just wait an extra few seconds for it to close before flushing...with my left hand because I haven't turned around to wash yet. ;)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:37AM
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lisaj1354

Count me in the anti-water closet group!!

When my parents moved into a 55+ community, both were in great health, time took its toll and Dad ended up having to use a walker.

He was unable to get into the water closet without help, and when he fell, Mom had to call an ambulance just to help him out of that tiny little room.

I will never understand why they build those homes with wheelchair accessible doors to the bedroom and bathroom, but not into the water closet.

I will never have a bathroom that is not wheelchair accessible.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 2:27PM
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enduring

Right On Lisa, about the wheelchair accessibility to all areas of a bathroom. And to other areas of the home too, if able to remodel.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:01PM
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autumn.4

GWlolo-I consider myself a professional squater, lol! My buns aren't touching a nasty public restroom. We have encountered a few doozies over the years that were almost not even squat worthy....ewwww!!!!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 7:06PM
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Lousbabci

I must be wierd because there is absolutely no bathroom sharing in my house. When hubby and I are getting ready, there is only one person getting ready or doing their business in the bathroom at a time. Not during showers or toothbrushing or potty. No sharing. Pure privacy. That being said, I have a partially enclosed toilet and I hate it. I am a big woman and it is extremely irritating to bump into the walls trying to take care of business. Not even mentioning having to climb around the toilet to clean behind it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 4:20PM
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ae2ga

@ Lousbabci that's what I was wondering - even if you like the enclosed toilet space, what about cleaning it? Seems like the space would be very tight for cleaning behind/around.

I prefer a little room and completely lack modesty - growing up in a one bathroom home with four girls all getting ready for school in the morning and bed in the evening at the same time prevented me from learning the need privacy as we routinely had one girl on/at/in each fixture with one poor soul doing the potty dance, singing the hurry up song outside of the door.

Now, on a quest to recreate my home for aging in place, I don't see how the enclosed wc achieves that purpose - maybe a pony wall if there is sufficient space for a potential future walker or wheel chair and turning around while holding onto the grab bar. That seems like it would make the enclosed space more like the size of a handicapped public bathroom stall, but the enclosed spaces don't seem that big.

Put me down as a closet hater.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:33PM
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may_flowers

You were the tie-breaking vote, ae2ga!! You win a week's supply of bargain brand TP!! Congratulations!

It really is 9-8 with haters in the lead, counting those who expressed a strong like or dislike. Then there's those who expressed a love of pony walls, who are in a class of their own. ;)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:49PM
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lee676

I'll even the score to 9-9. I am fine with clear showers and open tubs, but for the toilet I want privacy for myself, nor do I want to see others using it.

Sometimes I see bathrooms in plumbing-fixture adverts that I would *never* use if I encountered it in real life. This photo is from the Duravit website showing a suite of fixtures they call 2nd Floor. I would run to another bathroom in the house before using this toilet:

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:57AM
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lee676

This article captures my views exactly. I like a tub and shower open to the bedroom for all the reasons mentioned (especially if that tub is the overflowing, effervescing Kohler Sok in the room shown in the article, maybe my dream tub). But the toilet? I don't want to see, hear, or smell someone else using it (or them me), no matter how close I am with my SO.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:22PM
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lee676

...and definitely never would never use this toilet! (although I *love* the rest of the bed/bathroom, especially the shower)

although they missed a great opportunity to use the wonderful Duraplan hidden flush-with-the-tile shower floor, which would have been just perfect in this room:

along with a built-into-the-ceiling showerhead. That would be neat, just a shower in the bedroom with no apparent walls, water source, or floorpan. Just always there, hidden in plain sight, ready to be used whenever the mood strikes.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:30PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

More on cleanliness of bathrooms...it isn't the toilet seat you should worry about....

Here is a link that might be useful: toilet seat: cleaner than your desktop

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:19AM
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kirkhall

That shower pan appears as if it would be VERY slippery when wet.

I didn't vote, because this post was about uniting WC haters... but since someone is keeping track, I am a WC liker. :) But, the door has to be a pocket or outswing door. I would not buy a home with an inswing WC door (for safety, as pointed out above). And, whenever a WC plan comes up on the build forum for floorplan review, as often as I can, I remind people not to use an inswing door on their WC. Interestingly, most people have never considered the conflict there.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:39PM
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lee676

There's a very subtle on the the shower pan visible from close range if the light hits it right.

I think more people would like toilet closets if they were larger rooms, perhaps with a small sink in them (as I sometimes see) rather than tiny claustrophobic narrow galleys. There's a tendency, even in a large bathroom, not to allot much space to the separate toilet room to make the main room be as large as possible.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:18PM
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efs

just to clarify some issues...

what one typically has on their hands when entering a bathroom is far more dangerous than what is present in stool (poop). The bacteria that live in our guts are sometimes used as medicine as this flora is vital for our well being. Only when a person is sick, there are harmful bacteria etc in their stool. What we have on our hands form touching common objects- like for example door handles including WC door handles,, is usually way more dangerous than what can hypothetically be "spread" from flushing open toilet.

Here is a link that might be useful: fecal transplant

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:29PM
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Iowacommute

Sure no one likes poo being splashed on them, but I wonder about the people who have to close the lids before they flush. What do you do when you're in a public bathroom with automatic flush? Some of those flush quickly and may even throw a little 'liquid' on you. Still I worry more about touching the door handle or the credit card reader at the checkout.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 5:45PM
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may_flowers

Go at home. I don't leave home without it!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:13PM
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lee676

I guess the hot setup for germophobes is the loo in a separate room along with a small sink with a touchless faucet - either one that electronically senses your hands are near and turns the water on and off, or a faucet operated by footpedal (which are convenient in kitchens too btw). That way, your hands are clean by the time you open the toilet-room door. You could even put a push latch on the door, although a lever handle is inexpensive and easy to operate by pushing up with the top of your hand rather than downwards with your palm.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:38PM
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