Friday, May 12, 2017

The Tiniest Room

The Toilets In Cottage - A History - part 1


It's funny where a country's way of life sometimes hide. In my previous post where I showed you some bathroom inspiration pictures, only one French reader noticed that there was a toilet in each of these rooms. "Why, of course," you think if you live accross the ocean. Well, you see, if your address is on my side of the ocean, it's not typical to have your toilet in the bathroom, it's more common to have it in a separate room that is about the size of a small cupboard.

C'est bizarre ces moments où les différences culturelles font soudain irruption. Dans mon article précédent, je vous avais montré des photos d'inspiration de salle-de-bains. Une seule de mes lectrices a remarqué qu'il y avait systématiquement des toilettes dans ces pièces. Les lecteurs vivant de l'autre côté de l'océan n'y ont pas prêté attention car pour eux c'est plus courant que d'avoir les toilettes séparés, comme c'est le cas au Cottage.
This is, obviously, the tiniest room in Cottage, though maybe the rotting front porch isn't any bigger, and this is my new project. It might seem weird to some people to tackle this room before the living-room or the bedrooom are finished. But if you have chronic intestine inflammation like I do, this tiny room turns out to be the most important room of your home.

Il s'agit, bien sûr, de la plus  petite pièce de mon Cottage, bien qu'à y réfléchir, la véranda d'entée soit guère plus grande, et c'est mon nouveau projet. Cela  va peut-être en étonner certains que je m'attaque à cette pièce alors que le salon ou la chambre sont loin d'être finis. Mais lorsque vous avez comme moi une inflammation chronique des intestins, cette petite pièce s'avère très importante dans votre maison.

Before we get to the decorating part of this project, let's do a little history lessons about Cottage's toilet...

Avant d'arriver à la partie décoration de ce projet, une petite leçon d'histoire est nécessaire...


When Cottage was built, at some moment of the beginning of the 20th century I believe, there were no inside toilets. There probably was a little shed in the garden for that purpose... I'm really glad this time is over, though I'm sure it had it's charm. I'm even planning on adding a toilet later in the garden shed... But I'll still have one inside!


Lors de la construction de Cottage, probablement au début du XXe siècle, il n'y avait pas de toilettes à l'intérieur. Il devait y avoir une petite cabane au fond du jardin... Je suis assez contente que cette époque soit révolue... Même si en fait, je réinstallerai bien des toilettes dans l'abri de jardin plus tard... tout en conservant ceux à l'intérieur !

Living-room the day I got the keys, with the door to the toilet.
 Then a toilet was added inside, under the stairs as it was typical. But then, the upstairs was only an attic and the staircase was in a separate corridor. When I visited Cottage, the corridor was long gone, making the toilet door a few feets from the previous owners' sofa... It was also facing the front door, which happen to be a glass door... I never used this room. And neither did my friends when I had company. Fancy telling your friend who's asking where the bathroom is : "It's just that door here, I can open it for you while still seating on the sofa and we can keep the conversation going while you do your little business"? Nah...

The previous owners loved yellow and orange.
 Des toilettes furent installés à l'intérieur, sous les escaliers, ce qui est l'endroit typique (c'est la même chose chez mes voisins). Mais à ce moment-là, l'escalier se trouvait dans un couloir séparé. Quand j'ai rencontré Cottage, il n'y avait déjà  plus de couloir et la porte des toilettes se situait à quelques dizaines de centimètres du canapé des anciens propriétaires. Les toilettes se trouvaient aussi juste en face de la porte d'entrée... vitrée... Je ne les utilisais jamais, mes invités non plus. Vous m'imaginez dire à quelqu'un qui me demande où sont les toilettes : "C'est la porte juste là, je peux te l'ouvrir tout en restant assise sur le canapé et on peut continuer notre conversation pendant que tu fais tes petites affaires"? Bof, bof...

 
When I remodeled the downstairs, this room just had to go... I remember this was not a very popular decision when I explained it on the blog, but I think people who can't understand that have never seen a small cottage. I don't regret it one bit.

Quand le rez-de-chaussée a été refait, cette pièce devait disparaître... Je sais que cette décision n'était pas très populaire à l'époque sur le blog, mais je pense que les gens ne se rendaient pas compte de la petite taille du cottage. En tout cas, je ne regrette pas. 

 
But if I was able to make that decision it's because the previous owners, even if I don't like their sense of design, had the great idea to add a toilet upstairs. Their not-so-great ideas were to make it part of one of the bedroom and to paint it orange with little bubly fish...


Mais si j'ai pu prendre cette décision, c'est parce que les précédents propriétaires, dont je n'appréciais pas trop le sens de la décoration, avaient eu une bonne idée, celle d'ajouter des toilettes à l'étage. Là où l'idée n'était pas si géniale, c'est que les toilettes avaient leur porte dans la chambre... et les murs étaient peints en orange avec des petits poissons qui bullaient...

 
Before I met Cottage, I had never hold a paint brush. I had redone two apartments, but I only had the ideas and had them executed by somebody else. I was both terrified and excited to try on my own... But what if I did a mess? So I tried my hand in this room, thinking I couldn't really do worse, could I?


Avant d'habiter Cottage, je n'avais jamais tenu un pinceau. J'avais bien refait deux appartements, mais je n'avais fait que donner des ordres exécutés par quelqu'un d'autre. J'étais autant terrifiée qu'impatiente de m'essayer à cette tâche. Et si je ratais tout? J'ai décidé de me faire la main sur les toilettes.

My transformation was enjoyed for four years and got demolished when the upstairs was insulated.


J'ai profité de cette transformation pendant quatre ans, puis tout a été démoli pour isoler l'étage.

During that part of the renovation, I had a roof window added to the room. To me it was very important to have natural light, thus transforming the cupboard into a real tiny room, so important that I fought against the city rule lady who first told me it was impossible... By "fought", I don't mean I rolled on the floor of the city hall with her begging for forgiveness under my blows... No, I just redid the presentation file...


 J'ai profité de cette phase des travaux pour faire ajouter une fenêtre de toit dans les toilettes. Pour moi, c'était très important d'avoir la lumière du jour, transformant ainsi cette sorte de placard en sous-pente en une vraie pièce. Evidemment, j'ai dû me battre avec la mairie pour obtenir l'autorisation. Enfin, n'imaginez pas que j'ai roulé sur le sol en donnant des coups de poing à la dame du service de l'urbanisme, hein ? J'ai juste refait deux fois le dossier !

 
When they rebuilt the walls, I realised the roof window wasn't centered in the middle of the room, which made me really mad as I had given them a floor map with all the measurements, but what could I do?


Quand les murs ont été remontés, je me suis aperçue que la fenêtre n'était pas centrée, j'avais pourtant fourni un plan avec toutes les mesures, mais bon, il était trop tard pour faire quoi que ce soit...


It was really fun going through old photos to get this post ready. Cottage has change so much! Now, in the next part, I'll be forced to talk a lot more about the upstairs to explain other choices I've made for the tiniest room in Cottage!


J'ai adoré regarder à nouveau les vieilles photos pour préparer cet article. Cottage a tellement changé. Dans le prochain épisode, je serai obligée de vous parler un peu plus de l'étage pour vous expliquer mes choix pour la plus petite pièce de Cottage.

See you next time,

A la prochaine fois,

Hasta la proxima,



PS: I'm sharing this project with:





38 comments:

  1. When we bought our farmhouse in Brittany there was still the old outhouse in the lane, which served us and the next little house! Thankfully there was a fully functioning bathroom within the house, built, I think, by the Commune for the elderly resident.

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  2. Ahhhh the good ole outhouse..as we here call it..i remember having one at our summer home..it came in handy while climbing trees or riding a bike..no time to run in the house..and i'm with you on the choice to get the one in the living room gone..an arm length away from the door..well that's just an arm to close for sure..surely your tiniest room is going to be fabulous..look forward to seeing what you do with it..

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  3. oh yes i remember the outhouse in the house in the country we had in the country until my father could make one in the house - we had it for only 4 months or so before dad and grandpa had the new one installed - they changed a downstairs bedroom into a bathroom/laundry room

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  4. Hello Magali, more like a coat closet than a toilet room. I don't remember the post, but I think having a bathroom on the first floor for guests and owners. But yesh, opening the front door and hello! Good choice removing it. Beadboard in the upstairs bathroom?
    Have a beautiful day, Kathleen in Az

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    1. The neighbours across the street still have their bathroom under the stairs... In summer, it's customary here to live with your front door open... And I can see her going in and out of her bathroom from my kitchen... I'm glad my bathroom is upstairs!!!

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  5. So cute! but I hate using them... What a big difference changing the toilet seat and painting the walls made to your tiny bathroom. Have a happy weekend!

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  6. Very fun and interesting post. The history of the toilet at Cottage is fascinating! When I was a child in southern Ohio in the early 1960s my grandmother still used an outhouse, as we call outdoor bathroom sheds. She kept a chamber pot under the bed for nighttime use. It was unusual as everyone else in the area had indoor plumbing. My sister and I loved to go stay overnight with her and pretend to be early American girls trotting to the outhouse or pulling out the chamber pot. No one else in the family was as excited about it as we were!

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    1. Oh, yes, I remember that my grandfather also had a chamber pot!

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  7. C'est bien le Top d'avoir 2 toilettes si possible séparés.
    J'adore prendre des bains dans lesquels parfois je m'assoupis, tu t'imagines si pendant ce temps quelqu'un a besoin de ces toilettes.
    Super d'avoir des toilettes avec une fenêtre même décentrée.
    Cottage a bien de la chance d'avoir une personne si dévouée que toi.és chats
    Caresses aux bébés chats.
    Bises et bon weekend

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  8. C'est bien le Top d'avoir 2 toilettes si possible séparés.
    J'adore prendre des bains dans lesquels parfois je m'assoupis, tu t'imagines si pendant ce temps quelqu'un a besoin de ces toilettes.
    Super d'avoir des toilettes avec une fenêtre même décentrée.
    Cottage a bien de la chance d'avoir une personne si dévouée que toi.és chats
    Caresses aux bébés chats.
    Bises et bon weekend

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  9. I guess we over her in the US take for granted the indoor bathrooms. With your cottages being built so long ago I guess having no indoor plumbing was the norm. Your tiny bathroom is adorable. I agree the downstairs living room bathroom had to go! Happy Friday.
    Kris

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  10. Magali, good choice removing the little room behind the sofa since it was in an unwanted place. What a change to just paint! Love the new window going into the little room upstairs. Cottage has come a long way with your help! Have a wonderful weekend........

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  11. We were just talking about outdoor toilets yesterday, and how our family farm didn't have indoor plumbing at all. We had electricity, but no indoor plumbing. In the winter it was horrible. Otherwise, it wasn't all that bad. Of course, as a pre-teen I was mortified that we were the only family I knew that had an outhouse and no indoor plumbing. It wasn't until recently I learned that all my city friends thought it was really cool and wanted to come and stay overnight so they could experience the phenomenon. My parents moved into town when I was 13 and at last we had what they called "running water" -- which means we had indoor plumbing. What a treat! I enjoyed your post, Magali. xo

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  12. Loved seeing your cottage's old pictures. Looking forward to seeing more bout how it all changed.

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  13. dans notre petite maison du Nord il y avait aussi des toilettes au fond du jardin, un petit cabanon de briques... nous les avons remplacées par un abri de jardin !!
    le déplacement de l'accès aux toilettes de Cottage et l'installation d'une fenêtre de toit n'étaient pas un luxe !!! je patiente pour découvrir les couleurs du petit coin
    monique59

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  14. You've made all the right decisions, so far; I'm sure the next one will be perfect, too!

    Poppy

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  15. How I love this Post! The much needed modern toilet, but no one wants to talk about it. BTW, that outhouse was darling. And, just for the record, I may have, peed in my garden once or twice. Usually by accident. Don't worry, it is very enclosed and private. Once when I was in ,my r teens, my boss had me walk a few blocks away to deliver his insurance payment to the insurance agency. It was a tiny old building and when I went in, no one was there. So, I said, hello? Well, a man's voice boomed from a closet door, "I'll be right there". Then i heard the flushing toilet and a handsome man appeared. It was the most awkward experience. I appreciate a not so obvious bathroom.

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    1. The neighbours across the street haven't changed their bathroom location and in summer, when we all live with our front door open (it's usual in Brittany), I can see when they go in and out of the bathroom... Very awkward!

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  16. Oh, I remember now, when I lived in Nice! The toilet was in a tiny placard, but I got used to it. And Cottage is getting spruced up for spring!!

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  17. So glad that you do not have that bathroom by the living room and I am sure that Cottage likes it better upstairs too.

    I can remember on the farm, no running water and we had an out house. When I stayed with my Aunt Hilda, you had to go through the chicken yard. There was one mean rooster there and he waited until you were finished and going out, he would get you good and then peck and try to spur you with his feet. He did that to my Aunt one day and she got so mad at him, she rung his neck and we had chicken and dumplings for dinner. Sure was cold in the winter. So glad that we didn't vacation in the winter time at the farm. Fun memories....

    Have a terrific weekend and wishing your mum a Happy Mothers Day.
    Mary

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  18. Franchement j'admire ton courage ! Faire, défaire, arracher du papier, peindre, puis tout démolir et recommencer, te battre avec les dossiers pour le vélux, et avec le menuisier, le plombier, l'électricien... Mais le résultat est tellement mignon ! Bon courage pour le prochain projet !

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  19. As we've been looking at houses recently, we've noticed that certain areas, particularly Florida, have separate rooms within the bathroom for a toilet. That seems to be something people like. I can understand why, but it's definitely not important to us and wouldn't be something I would do if designing a bathroom from scratch.

    All your decisions have been spot on Magali and I have no doubt whatever you do will be wonderful.

    xxx

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  20. Who would oppose getting rid of a toilet in the middle of the living room? I can not understand why anyone would think a toilet in the middle of the living room was a good idea.
    Also, I am THRILLED that we will be seeing more of the upstairs soon! Additionally, you are a master with a paintbrush now!
    Lastly, are you really going to put a toilet in the garden shed?
    xoxoxo

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  21. PS-NOW I see that there is a toilet in every picture of the previous post! So funny!!! Love the one where the toilet is just nosing in from the side! :)

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  22. I too am looking forward to seeing more of the upstairs.

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  23. It is such fun to follow along with you on this journey! Look forward to more. Jackie

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    1. Thank you, Jackie! Prepare for more dust in the next posts!

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    2. I have mentioned you on my blog and added a link. Your photos are an inspiration. I would love to restore a cottage someday so your story is fascinating.

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  24. rires, lorsque je regarde cottage avant et cottage après je me dis que tu as du avoir quelques aigreurs d'estomac le jour où tu t'est emparé de la phase déco et aménagement
    en tout cas je suis pressée de voir ce que tu as réalisé comme travaux
    Tu vas en faire un lieu cocooning de ce joli cottage
    Bravo
    Belle semaine

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  25. Cottage just gets better and better with every improvement that you do! Love seeing you transform cottage!
    hugs,
    Jann

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  26. I love that outhouse! I'm glad I was born to indoor plumbing, though...
    Amalia
    xo

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  27. Cottage just gets better and better! I love your old outhouse, but I'm sure you will really enjoy a charming new bathroom. Too bad about the window, but sometimes this makes things more charming - there is a story involved! I love your inspiration photos in your last post, too. xo Karen

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    1. I have to live with the non centered window, but as nothing is really even in an old house, it kind of works!

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  28. Cottage has come a long way with your help ... wonderful.

    My good wishes

    All the best Jan

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  29. I loved this post Magali! Having lived in Europe I came across several interestingly placed water closets. It just added to charm.

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  30. Having a separate toilet room is new to me. I guess in an old home you put it where it will fit!

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