Most people don’t seem to worry about trying out beds in showrooms but have an aversion to sitting on the loo in one. This seems a shame as you do want to buy a design that is comfortable. There are lots of styles and colours available, but the main choice comes down to
whether you are going to opt for an old-fashioned high-level cistern or the more conventional low-level one. Both have a cistern and pan separated by a flush pipe. Make sure your plumber fits it correctly: there is a minimum height below which it may not flush correctly.’ The more modern, close-coupled loo has a cistern which is attached to the pan (this is the type we fitted in the Toile Toilet), but you will have to ensure that you allow extra space for operating the flush lever.
Boxing it in
Discretion is assured with the back-to-wall pan: the cistern is concealed behind a false wall or duct, and the pan can even be wall-hung (so, in this case, check the wall can support the weight). The pan in the Portuguese Bathroom is a floor-mounted, back-to-wall type where not only the cistern but also half the pan have been carefully tiled into a two-tier box structure. What a throne a creative solution to lying in the bath and having to gaze at a boring old water closet!
On the subject of loo seats, I wonder if am the only person to have an aversion to tricksy painted ones? I know it’s witty to gold or marble the seat but I can’t help feeling that the humour is, well, a little lavatorial? Wooden loo seats are doubtless more upmarket than plastic ones, but unless you check carefully, they are more likely to have been made out of some composite material such as MDF with a veneered wooden seat. I go for solid English oak, a mighty timber to support a bottom.
There seems to be a reluctance to use bidets properly, but they are great for all kinds of uses; washing feet, soaking underwear and cleaning up semi-housetrained toddlers. If you have space, fit one. Choose between floor-standing or wall-mounted; tap-filled or supplied from under the brim. Make sure it is plumbed incorrectly and positioned so there is plenty of room for your legs.