I wrote the answers to these questions from a journalist at Homes and Gardens magazine for London architect Gordana Mandic, based on her notes and using a tone of voice chosen to sound expert but at the same time warm and personable.Magazine article content for architect Gordana Mandic.
1) What is the most common mistake clients make when it comes to renovating their bathroom and how do you solve it?
Over-ambition. People produce a photograph of a freestanding bath, photographed in the bathroom of a French chateau, and want one in their Chelsea terrace. There will just never be room. Large showers are similar. Enclosures with entry at each end and two enormous shower heads need a lot of space, and even more water, requiring powerful pumps and huge water tanks that usually have to go in a cellar. If it’s in a flat the noise they make can cause outrage. As a rule, choose one or two special but appropriate items or features, and keep the rest simple.
2) Does the ease of moving fittings around depend on the type of flooring and position of the bathroom (ie are first floor space easier than ground floor because you can run pipe along floor joists or whatever)?
The important things are where the soil stack is, and how much underfloor depth there is. The WC has to be connected through the wall to the soil stack with a minimum of potential blockages. Basins, baths and showers only have to take away water, but if placed 4 metres from an outside wall need sufficient underfloor depth for a pipe to slope gently downwards for 4 metres while avoiding joists, which are not always running in a helpful direction. The sooner an architect or plumber raises a few floorboards, the sooner you know what your options are.
3) How difficult/costly is it to move a window in a bathroom – do you need planning permission?
It depends on the specific property, of course, but moving windows is generally less costly and far easier than people imagine. You need planning permission to do this only if your property is in a conservation area or, even more definitively, if it is a listed building. Whether or not permission will be given depends on many factors, and may vary from one area to another. The way to find out is to call the planning office at your local council. They should be able to give you a very good idea of what would or would not be acceptable.
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