Start with the big picture. Where is the home located? How will the location influence the design of the bathroom? Location determines climate, telling you whether there are cold winters, hot summers, or long seasons where the windows might be open to the outside air. Will there be views of the ocean, a lake, mountains, trees, or a city skyline, to be captured in the design? Or does the location determine that the bathroom needs to be more inwardly focused, sheltered from things such as traffic noise or close-by buildings?
Location of the home can also give you a clue to your client’s lifestyle. A bathroom in an urban apartment, a large ranch home in a rural area, or a condominium in a resort community represent different types of homes as well as lifestyles, and thus different types of bathroom design needs.
Finally, different countries, as well as different regions of the same country, can have variation in design trends. Vernacular housing describes housing styles that are typical of, or common to, a region, and that have been influenced by factors such as climate, available building materials, and cultural heritage. Knowing something about the vernacular housing of the area of your client’s home may give you some ideas about style, color, or materials to use in the bathroom design.