An American Mystery I Need Help Solving

So, when I’m in the States my mom and I watch House Hunters and House Hunters International. If you don’t know, they’re shows about people who are, well, hunting for a house. You follow them as they’re shown three homes, and then at the end they tell you which one they’ve chosen.

I find these shows fascinating. I love hearing their wish list for their new home, and then watching them choose something that’s exactly the opposite. My mom and I love guessing which one they’re going to pick. We yell at the screen as if it were a playoff game. And who doesn’t love peeking inside people’s homes – especially overseas?

In my previous post I alluded to this show in wondering about the trend of granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. But, there’s one thing neither my mother nor I can fathom: The obsession of the double vanity.

A double vanity is a fancy term for two sinks in one bathroom. And for many house hunters, it’s a deal breaker. They could be shown the most fantastic house, and when the realtor asks them what they thought, they’ll say, well, it was great, but I wish the bathroom had a double vanity.

I have three questions about this that I’d like answered by my faithful readers:

1. Why is this a deal breaker? Go to Home Depot, buy two sinks and a counter, and stick ’em in there.

2. Why on earth would you want to share your bathroom time?

3. You’re shown a home with 115 bathrooms. You can’t finish getting ready in one of them?


14 thoughts on “An American Mystery I Need Help Solving

  1. That is weird especially as a lot of US houses have more than one bathroom. So, surely if the husband was shaving and the wife was putting on her makeup -or vice versa 🙂 -they could just use different bathrooms? Anyway our family of 3 seems to survive just fine with 1 bathroom and one bathroom sink although our 2 year old does usually wash her hands in the bidet since it’s the perfect height.

  2. “Double Vanity” even sounds wrong, like God will punish them for this sin some day.

    That said, we have who sinks in one bathroom. Why there are duplicates, I’ll never know. You seldom break one.

  3. Honestly, I think it’s implied that the guy is a sloppy pig who will leave whiskers and toothpaste in HIS sink and the princess can wash her dainty face in a sink that’s as clean as heaven. However, I think it’s more complicated adding a secong sink because then the plumbing has to be redone to accomodate the water and the drain. I think it also has something to do with the fact that in the US both members of a couple are going to be working full time and will need to get ready in the morning to get to work and two sinks allows them to avoid knocking into each other.

    These are just my theories, but I know what you mean when watching HH and HHI. They walk into a bathroom with two sinks and the couple always, ALWAYS, give each other a knowing look and nod.

  4. I have never once ever in my life washed my hands in a residential bathroom alongside anyone else, nor do I ever want to. What’s then point of 2 sinks? I’d rtather have the extra counter space. I would never choose granite countertops or stainless steel applicances, either, so I guess I’ll never be invited to join the hipster club. I’ll have to deal with the grief of that. OK, I’m done.

  5. Growing up, I shared a bathroom with all three of my brothers. We had a double vanity which made 4 kids to 1 bathroom bearable. When one kid was washing hands, two others could be brushing teeth. When one brother was shaving his face, another could be brushing their teeth and doing hair. It was a life-saver because there were so many of us using a cramped space…and we all had to be out the door at the same time.

    If I had the chance to design my ideal bathroom, it would have a double vanity for two big reasons:
    – I married a woman so both of us need mirror time in the well-lit, can-handle-spills-and-provide-water-to-fix-mistakes room.
    – We really like giving feedback and helping each other get ready while having the space to do so.

  6. What fascinates me the most about House Hunters (when I see it in the States) is the amount of space that people think they need. A family of three (Mom, Dad, and kid) are moving from, oh, 1,500 square feet, and want a house no smaller than 3,000 square feet.

    I’d really like to know what they’re going to do with all that extra space. I once house sat a house that was nearly 3,000 square feet for a family of five — and while I was there there were sections of the house that I would visit only once a week — while watering plants.

  7. I too love these shows and am amazed at how a double vanity or ugly paint/wallpaper can be a deal breaker. I personally love the double vanity if you both need to get ready at the same time (I’m currently living in Germany so don’t have one) but they’re easy to install so I also don’t get why a single sink is a deal breaker.

  8. I so agree with bathroom time being sanctuary – Jerry and I wonder the same thing about the double vanity. That is the ONLY time and space guaranteed to be yours alone; why mess with that?!

  9. Picture this, Christine:

    A couple of DINKS (double income, no kids) getting up in the morning having to take the 7:50 train into NYC. It make a load of sense that ‘He’ can shave while ‘She’s’ puttin on her mascara!

    It saves a load of time in the morning- no one wants to miss that train. The next train is much more crowded and you might not get a seat.

    First things first!

  10. I do agree that two couples do not want to be spitting toothpaste in one sink at the same time because they’re going to work at the same time. The best solution is a house with two separate bathrooms on two ends of the house. That’s what my husband and I have and it’s perfect. He uses the bathroom associated with the guest room unless we have guests. Of course, we have a very small house, too, so my husband doesn’t mind taking a shower and trucking back to the bedroom to get his clothes.

  11. HA. My husband and I spent many evenings wondering the same. I’m an American and I have no idea. I suspect the same reason that couples will walk into a house, hate the carpeting and walk out. They have no vision.

    We are in Sao Paulo and I miss House Hunters immensely. You can sometimes catch the international version on one station here, but with my fancy cable system, I could fill my addition on-demand in NYC.


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