My book "Rules, Britannia" (see left) came out in 2006. As with most traditionally published books, it was actually finished a good 18 months beforehand, meaning that the information therein dates back almost 8 years now. Although that information is mainly about the British people, habits, customs, language etc. there are obviously a few more tangible discussions of houses, schools and the like.
My how some things have changed.
I wrote then, that many Brits still had carpet in their bathrooms. (Don't forget, I don't stay in hotels when I'm in the UK, but travel round the place visiting friends and family. I probably see more examples of houses that most Brits do in a year, and I travel the length and breadth of the country!) The reaction from most American readers was a resounding "Eeuuww", and a few gasped "That's just flat out wrong" - mainly Americans who lived in London and had never ventured outside the M25. Admittedly, in 2004-5 there were more tiled bathrooms in that region than around the country but I did warn my readers that the book wasn't a guide to London.
Now, when I'm over there, apart from one older relative who still has carpet, everyone's now gone over to tile or laminate. There's something really warm and cozy about thick carpet in a bathroom, but the reality is that you have to rely heavily on bathmats, which then have to be hung over the bath to dry out, and there are huge tellings off if someone puts a wet footprint straight onto the carpet. (Come on - we've all been there.) My mother did mess around with carpet tiles for a while in the early 2000's but with four grandsons that's just shifting the furniture around on the Titanic really. (I drafted this before seeing the Russell Brand documentary on addiction, where he uses this phrase BTW.)
More and more people are going for sumptuous under-floor heating, but I would imagine unless you're gutting your house or being able to build one from scratch, it's not very cost-effective or easy to install in your average British house.
Anyone out there still doing the carpeted bathroom floor thing?