01 June 2006

chamberpot: it's an option.

several things are different about this house search than those we have pursued in the US. make that many things. first, there are no high-pressure salesmen. good and bad there. we kinda miss them. there's something about being taken around to multiple properties, having someone tell you: oh, there's this place that might be coming on the market that's just perfect for you...that sort of thing. so it's about ego. but it's also about people wanting to sell. which they don't here so much. too laid back for high capitalism. upsides and downsides.

second, the parameters for houses are utterly different. in the states you can search by the age of the house. here, everything's either normal (ie old) or modern (in which case you can tell that from the picture). plus, people don't list square footage. it's number of rooms (hence the whole open-plan thing didn't so much catch on here). but what's crucial is that they also don't list number of bathrooms. in the US you can search for number of bedrooms (same in UK) and then number of bathrooms, to a very scientific quarter-bathroom scale in which one can have a one-and-a-half bath house (powder room plus full bathroom) or, as we did in Redlands, a one-and-three-quarters bath house (full bathroom plus bathroom with only a shower, no actual tub). We decided that for us, a one-and-a-half bath was perfect: less to clean than a 1.75 or higher, but enough so that your guests aren't checking out what toothpaste you use or what's in the medicine cabinet.

if you get more than one bathroom in the UK, it's bizarre and you praise whatever higher power you may or may not praise. if you are particularly lucky, your sole bathroom (often with wc separate) is on the same floor as the bedrooms. if you are particularly unlucky, your sole bathroom is on the ground floor, located behind the kitchen. we saw a house like this today. perfectly fine, workable otherwise. but really. I'm not tramping down in the middle of the night, past the front door, through the lounge and dining room, past the fridge (oo--could be an upside...) through the kitchen and into the loo.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Oh yeah -- the bath behind the kitchen. I've lived in a couple of houses like that. What was additionally charming was that in both cases the bath was clearly a kind of afterthought tacked onto a house that had originally not had one. So in one case, the room was infested by slugs from the garden; in the other, it was simply completely unheated. I mean, even more unheated than London houses usually are.

Just remember, as you hunt, the immortal piece of wisdom from the car world: "character is just an excuse for leaking oil."