My great grandma used to say to me, “Katie, working for your bath is good for the soul.” I’m not totally sure what that means (I never asked) but I gather it has to do with not relying on mod cons. She was always one for applying a little elbow grease, and I have vague memories of her getting me to carry water into the kitchen in a bucket for her to heat up over the fire. She’d then pour this into the bath.

My soul seems to be doing okay, so maybe she was onto something. I guess working for your bathwater was just the norm for her generation, and being a little kid I didn’t question it. Now I’m enough of an adult to be thinking about investing in a bathroom renovation, and I’m faced with the choice of embracing contemporary comforts or going with a throwback to great grandma’s era.

Something is telling me that the old-fashioned way of doing things is just about to make a big comeback in domestic interior design. I know it sounds weird, but what with the fossil fuel crisis everything, I really think I could be onto something here. The question is whether I’m bold enough to choose it for my own custom bathroom renovation. Melbourne readers, what are your thoughts? Would you be brave enough to forgo conventional hot water systems?

I’d like to think I could in theory, but honestly, I’m not sure how I’d fare in practice. Even if I could, what about the rest of the house? I’d still be running on contemporary conveniences in the kitchen and laundry, not to mention the home office. I’d be surprised if there’s even a company that would be up for doing a great grandma-style kitchen installation. Melbourne might even have laws around that; who knows.

What I do know is that there is something satisfying about putting in elbow grease. I’m just not entirely convinced that I’d be able to manage that way of life while maintaining my career and staying onside with the kids.