The “Jack and Jill” bathroom is just beginning to grow in popularity in the new UK’s housing market so it won’t be a surprise if the term is one that you haven’t heard before. The idea isn’t new though, although until recently it’s far more likely that you would have encountered it in an older property.
So What is a Jack and Jill Bathroom?
A Jack and Jill bathroom is one that has two doors, both of them coming from one of two bedrooms. So the impression given is that each bedroom has its own en suite, although in reality it’s shared between the two.
The reason the idea is more common in older properties is because it’s a neat solution to shoehorning in a bathroom where space is limited. You don’t need the space to make a coherent passageway to lead to the bathroom from the landing or hall in the conventional sense. As long as there’s enough room, an additional bathroom can be constructed in between two adjacent bedrooms, using a bit of space from each one.
Applications in Newer Housing
What we are beginning to see in the new housing market is the Jack and Jill bathroom being put into ‘town’ houses. The term town house appears to be used for a terraced house that spreads over more than two floors. This avoids using the word terrace which now seems to have downmarket connotations.
Lexical and sociological considerations aside, having three or more floors in a house means more bathrooms to serve the house as whole. It’s a bit annoying to go up two flights of stairs to find out that the family bathroom is occupied. But giving every bedroom an en suite would make the property very expensive.
Easing the Pressure on the Family Bathroom
Putting in a Jack and Jill bathroom helps to distribute bathrooms more evenly around the house without that extra cost. They can be installed on the top floor of town houses, for example, where there are often only two bedrooms anyway. For most of the time it’s only the occupants of those two bedrooms who would need to use that bathroom.
On the first floor there are often more bedrooms so that’s where the family bathroom would go. A door to the landing makes it more easily accessible from all of the bedrooms on that floor.
In order to give privacy the two doors in the Jack and Jill bathroom should be lockable from both sides. The idea is that when one person goes in there they lock the door to the other bedroom. This prevents the person in the other bedroom coming in, avoiding any nasty surprises.
The tricky thing is getting into the habit of unlocking the other door when you’ve finished, so that the bathroom can be entered from the other bedroom. Until this becomes a habit, the cry of “Mum, I can’t get into the bathroom” from two floors up will become a familiar refrain.
The reason for having a lock on the outside (i.e. the bedroom side) of the doors is so that the people in one of the bedrooms can stop themselves being interrupted accidentally by someone using the bathroom, perhaps someone who is unfamiliar with the layout. Or if you have guests, you can ensure that the bathroom then converts into an en suite, exclusively for the use of one bedroom.
Planning and Design
Although a Jack and Jill bathroom is easier to put in in some cases, because you don’t need to make a path to the landing or hall, there does need to be some nifty design work. Have a look around any bathroom and you’ll be struck by the fact that there’s unlikely to be much in the way of spare wall.
It’s all pretty much taken up with baths, shower cubicles, basins, radiators, toilets and towel rails, not to mention the door and the window. But a Jack and Jill bathroom design will need space for two doors, and they’ll need to be on the walls shared with the bedrooms.
So the best advice, when planning, is to start with those doors, then see how you can fit the major bathroom components around them. When things start to get tricky, try sliding the doors one way or the other along the shared walls. Eventually you’ll find a layout that works.