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The allure of bathroom video games has grown exponentially over the past several years, as bars and restaurants are looking for new and innovative ways to bring new customers in the door. Seeing a huge opportunity, Billboard Magazine, by way of its Brazil office, recently installed a series of new bathroom games called Guitar Pee in several Sao Paolo establishments. The toilet itself is set up with six individual sensors that respond to a user's stream by playing a few face-melting guitar licks and recording each user's session. According to Time Magazine, these tracks can be downloaded from the manufacturer's website in "MPEE3" form, and can be shared later.


This bathroom video game was originally commissioned by the owners of the Billboard Brazil and installed in their own office, but in an effort to promote the product and the publication, they decided to start setting them up in bar and restaurant bathrooms throughout in Sao Paolo, reports UberGizmo.com. A small camera has been set up above the urinal (with an obstructed view) that has been used to record the facial expressions of users who encounter the device for the first time.


The look of the Guitar Pee urinal is striking enough, and has helped to improve the profile of many public establishments around the country. The side of the urinal has an electronic pickup that a guitar would have, as well as a standard electric guitar neck that is built into the top of the device. Finally, a large amplifier is placed at eye level with the user to give him a front row seat to his very own musical performance, controlled by his stream of course.


The new urinal video game system has been a major hit throughout the country of Brazil, and ironically ties in with Billboard Brazil's motto, "Music. We know it comes from everywhere." While there are no plans to bring this device to the United States just yet, the warm public response that Guitar Pee has received in Brazil may force the manufacturer to explore new markets where the device could be a major success. For those who own a bar, restaurant or other form of public establishment, these kinds of quirky bathroom accessories can go a long way toward improving the place's profile in the community.

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As one of many home design companies presenting at the recent Hawaii Home Expo, the Japanese toilet manufacturer Inax found a way to stand out from the rest of the crowd. The Japanese are known for their high-tech commodes, but recently home remodeling trends have tipped in the favor of sustainable options, and Inax has been working to be at the forefront of this revolution. According to KHON2.com, Inax's new line of toilets is one of the most energy-efficient options available, and comes with a slew of potential features like deodorizers, sound systems and heated seats.


In the past, toilets used between three and four gallons of water per flush, which could certainly add up after time. The new Inax commodes will use a combination of a vacuum effect while utilizing the smallest amount of water possible.


"So if you take the amount of time that you do number one and you take the average of how many times you do number 2, put that together take an average, we have a flush now that averages less than one gallon per flush," industry insider Bruce Okimoto, told the news source.


In addition to being good for the environment, Inax and many other toilet manufacturers are making a commitment to bathroom products that can resist the build-up of grime, bacteria and other materials. The company has added a glazing on the surface of the toilet itself that contains trace amounts of silver oxide, which makes it far easier to clean and can last far longer than its predecessors.


Low-flow toilets like Inax's new design are part of a new wave of bathroom technology that embraces efficiency and sustainability in one package. When homeowners are looking for one of these thrones of their own, TLC.com recommends looking for a "WaterSense" label from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This will ensure that the toilet will use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush, but prospective buyers must also be sure that it can clear out waste effectively while reducing water usage. While these new designs may be a bit more pricey than their predecessors, the long-term cost savings will make them a worthy investment. It is the best choice for homeowners looking to limit their impact on the environment and give their washrooms a decorative twist.

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As one of many home design companies presenting at the recent Hawaii Home Expo, the Japanese toilet manufacturer Inax found a way to stand out from the rest of the crowd. The Japanese are known for their high-tech commodes, but recently home remodeling trends have tipped in the favor of sustainable options, and Inax has been working to be at the forefront of this revolution. According to KHON2.com, Inax's new line of toilets is one of the most energy-efficient options available, and comes with a slew of potential features like deodorizers, sound systems and heated seats.


In the past, toilets used between three and four gallons of water per flush, which could certainly add up after time. The new Inax commodes will use a combination of a vacuum effect while utilizing the smallest amount of water possible.


"So if you take the amount of time that you do number one and you take the average of how many times you do number 2, put that together take an average, we have a flush now that averages less than one gallon per flush," industry insider Bruce Okimoto, told the news source.


In addition to being good for the environment, Inax and many other toilet manufacturers are making a commitment to bathroom products that can resist the build-up of grime, bacteria and other materials. The company has added a glazing on the surface of the toilet itself that contains trace amounts of silver oxide, which makes it far easier to clean and can last far longer than its predecessors.


Low-flow toilets like Inax's new design are part of a new wave of bathroom technology that embraces efficiency and sustainability in one package. When homeowners are looking for one of these thrones of their own, TLC.com recommends looking for a "WaterSense" label from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This will ensure that the toilet will use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush, but prospective buyers must also be sure that it can clear out waste effectively while reducing water usage. While these new designs may be a bit more pricey than their predecessors, the long-term cost savings will make them a worthy investment. It is the best choice for homeowners looking to limit their impact on the environment and give their washrooms a decorative twist.

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Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker are considered royalty in the entertainment industry, whether he is performing on Broadway or she is strutting her stuff on the red carpet. Broderick is known for his many movie roles in films such as Ferris Buehler's Day Off, Glory, Election and many more. Parker is well-known for her memorable performance on the HBO comedy Sex and the City, and a variety of other television and film roles. Like any true American celebrity couple, the two have their own getaway in the Hamptons in Long Island, New York, and they recently opened their doors to share how they decorated the bathroom in their beachside retreat, reports ElleDecor.com.


The couple's bathroom featured a series of classic American design elements that blended with a series of modern amenities. Parker and Broderick opted for a beach-inspired theme in their washroom and opted for two sinks with a baby blue linen cabinet separating the two. The cabinet sits on wheels and provides a helpful surface for everyday tasks.  The perimeter of the room is wrapped in decorative wainscoting and the whole room is balanced with small pops of blue décor that are scattered around the room.


This series of decorations is continued in between the two mirrors that sit above each sink, where the celeb couple has added butterfly artwork and a series of toiletries on matching glass floating wall shelves. While the design of the washroom is quite simple, the symmetrical nature of the room helps to create a sense of balance that works for a beach house aesthetic.


As bright and cheery as Broderick and Parker's choices were in their Hamptons retreat, they also managed to seamlessly blend a series of different design schemes in the room. A series of galvanized iron buckets were used as trash bins in the room, and it gave the room an industrial twist that pairs well with the exposed sink fixtures and other silver elements in the space.


Last but not least, the couple finished their bathroom with two matching wall sconces to complete the versatile washroom. This kind of beach-inspired decorative scheme could be a wonderful option for homeowners looking to revamp their bathrooms. A few modern bathroom accessories, a new coat of paint and a few fresh linens are all one needs to create an impressive washroom that's fit for an A-lister.

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A freak accident caused 14-year-old Kendra Muller to lose her ability to walk and enjoy many of the activities that normal teenagers do. According to KSL.com, the teenager endured a painful accident last May when she piled into a hammock with friends and was injured after a brick structure supporting the hammock crumbled on top of her. For the first few weeks, Muller was on a ventilator and couldn't speak, but slowly but surely she was able to speak and begin her road to recovery.


After recovering from a broken neck, spine, ribs, collarbone and shoulder blades, she has persevered with a positive attitude. She has become such an inspiration to the town of Riverton, Utah, that community organizations pitched in to give her a remodeled bathroom with accessible bathroom accessories and features to allow her to live a normal life.


Muller, who is now in a wheelchair, found the most trouble in the bathroom, where performing daily tasks became extremely difficult in a wheelchair. According to The Republic, the Riverton Precinct of the Unified Police Department, as well as a smattering of local businesses, came together to raise $15,000 for the redesigned bathroom and it has helped dramatically to improve her quality of life. Along with sinks that are compatible with her wheelchair, grab bars and other devices, Muller believes the open shower is the best benefit.


"Before there was a big lip so I couldn't roll my wheelchair in and take a shower," Muller told the news source. "I couldn't be independent in doing a normal thing that everybody needs to do."


Muller's positive outlook has been an inspiration for the community and felt it was their duty to do everything they could to give something back. While the accident may have been a tragic event, the people of Riverton are doing everything they can to turn it into a positive for the future.


"To see how she's been able to overcome adversity, just with life and things she has ahead of her, it's just inspiring," detective Ed Malm, a police officer in Riverton, told the news source.


With each passing day, Kendra Muller shows just how resilient certain individuals can be, even when they've been dealt a bad hand. This outpouring of support from the community shows just how easy it can be to touch someone's life, and how powerful the human spirit can be when faced with impossible odds.

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Decorating a master bathroom can be a tricky experience for any homeowner, but if you have an abundance of space, then you should use it to your advantage. There are countless areas in your washroom that could use a repurposed item or a cozy spot to relax, so if you're looking to give your room a quick face lift without a full-scale remodeling project, replacing a few furnishings here and there can go a long way. Here are a few tips to consider.


1. Add a small couch. If you have the space to work with, any bathroom can benefit from the inclusion of a small chair or loveseat. This is a wonderful spot to relax after a shower, put on makeup or simply wait for your turn in the shower. While you could put a lot of thought into the fabric color of the piece, you can save a few bucks and use a slip cover instead. This will provide a neutral backdrop that can be used to display seasonal throw pillows and other decorative accents.


2. A new bathroom vanity. Your vanity is the focal point of your bathroom, so if yours has seen better days, it may be time to incorporate a new furnishing into the space. There are countless options out there that can adhere to your design scheme and can help improve your storage space and the overall visual appeal of the room. You can even finish off the aesthetic of your washroom by adding a vessel sink or a series of attractive bathroom accessories to improve the room's utility.


3. Linen cabinets. If you're looking for a way to clear out your linen closet and add another piece of freestanding furniture to the room, a linen cabinet can work perfectly. You can find a furnishing that can match your vanity beautifully and it can be a great spot to store towels, toiletries and other bathroom accessories that you may want to keep out of view. Conversely, you can find a cabinet with open storage to give your bathroom another spot for decorative accents.


Your bathroom may not be due for a remodeling project, but it may need a breath of fresh air. These beautiful furnishings can make a real difference in the overall flow and utility of your bathroom and will pay dividends for the foreseeable future.

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All over the town of Keizer, Oregon, residents have been spotting a particular purple toilet on lawns and front yards. At first glance, it may seem like a strange prank is being pulled, but it is actually a strange fundraising trend that has gained steam in the small town. According to the Statesmen Journal, Whiteaker Middle School students Brendan Van Voorhis, Griffin Gosling and Travis Holt and other National Honor Society students have used the commode to raise money throughout the community. For only $20, the students will drop off the purple toilet on residents' lawns featuring a "Flush Away Cancer" message on the front that shows their support to defeat this disease.


"It's a good way to earn money to help a cause," Gosling told the news source.


Purple is the official color of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and signifies every type of cancer. The event is a fundraiser for a variety of cancer charities and is a community-wide relay event that brings together cancer survivors and supporters, according to RelayForLife.org. The purple toilet idea was envisioned by the students as a way to complete their community service time and help a good cause, and the public response for the toilet has been overwhelming.


The bowl has already made appearances at 14 homes in Keizer and has an extensive waiting list. The students are raising money to improve the children's activities at the event, and the money raised will pay for a dunk tank, bounce house and obstacle course that are sure to keep kids busy while parents are walking in the Relay for Life. The students' goal is $500, and they are well on their way to completing their goal.


"Somebody always wants it," Mary Holt, Relay for Life children's activity chairperson, told the news source. "We had kids' activities last year [for the first] time, and I wanted to keep it going."


The hope for the middle school students is that their purple toilet will help to improve the public exposure of the event and hopefully improve the turnout. What started off as a small-scale initiative to earn money for a worthy cause has now become a small town phenomenon that may just become an annual tradition. With only a few hundred dollars left to go and a packed waiting list, the students should be able to exceed their goal.

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One of the most unsettling sights in your bathroom is the build-up of mold and mildew, and this can be even worse if you suffer from seasonal allergies. This can also lead to increased wear and tear on your shower stalls, mosaic tile and other bathroom accessories if you allow it to continue unchecked. If you've recently completed a bathroom remodeling project and would like your improvements to stay brilliant for the foreseeable future, use a few of these tips to your advantage.


1. Air circulation. One of the ways that mold and mildew is given a chance to form in your bathroom is through the humid air remaining in your bathroom long after you've completed your shower. MNN.com suggests opening up both your windows and door to create a cross-ventilation effect, or keep a ceiling fan running throughout your shower. This can help dissipate the heavy volume of moist air that is produced during each shower and make it more hospitable for the next person that uses the room.


2. Wipe down your walls. After each shower, take an extra minute to wipe down both your shower door and the internal surfaces of the shower. Most mold and mildew will begin to form when moisture is left unchecked in the shower stall, so wipe off these surfaces after each use. You should also do the same thing around your sink and on your countertops, as pockets of water can lead to unsightly mildew or water spots.


3. Light filtration. According to ApartmentTherapy.com, light filtration is just as important as proper ventilation. Ample light is the natural enemy of mold, which typically grows in damp, dark places. Consider leaving your lights on for an addition 10 to 15 minutes after you shower and make sure that you have light-filtering shades on your window treatments. You'd be surprised just how big of a difference a well-lit bathroom can make when trying to prevent mold.


It may not occur to you on a regular basis, but the inevitable cleanup that comes with mold and mildew make it worth your while to go the extra mile to keep your washroom clean. What cleaning tips do you have for homeowners who are looking to prevent the formation of these unsightly growths in their bathrooms?

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Celebrity Bathroom Spotlight - Ralph Lauren
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

As one of the most recognizable names in the fashion industry, Ralph Lauren has built an empire that spans all over the world. He is best known for his Polo Ralph Lauren clothing, fragrance and accessories and is considered as one of the most wealthy individuals in the world. When he's not collecting ultra-rare cars and designing the next revolution in men's and women's fashion, he is also an avid interior designer. While he has countless homes and properties all over the world, Lauren's Manhattan apartment may be one of his most breath-taking.


While the living room and kitchen areas are prime examples of Lauren's view of modern style, ElleDecor.com reports that his bathroom is one of the most impressive features of the home. The narrow layout is dominated by a large glass window that takes up an entire wall and gives a dazzling view of the Central Park reservoir and the Manhattan skyline as a whole. This influx of natural light is also put to good use with a myriad of mirrored surfaces on the walls, as well as a floor consisting of Thassos marble, to maintain the room's clean and streamlined look.


There are certainly more than a few cutting-edge style elements in Ralph Lauren's washroom, but there are many features that could work in the standard home as well. The designer incorporated a dual-sink bathroom vanity that was accented with chrome faucets and dials, as well as energy-efficient overhead lighting. The vanity itself was decorated with a series of fresh-cut flowers, bath oils and other small items that were placed within easy reach. The room also contained low-flow toilets and other energy-efficient improvements to help make the space a bit more sustainable.


Finally, Lauren added a large mirror to the space behind the vanity to enhance the beauty area for anyone using the bathroom. The piece also helps to make stellar use of natural light during the day, and helps to visually increase the size of the room. All in all, it seems that Lauren embraced many contemporary style elements when putting together his bathroom with clean lines and shiny surfaces dominating the space. Whether you're designing a washroom in a small apartment or decorating your master bath for the first time, a few of Ralph Lauren's interior design interests could help you put together a dynamic retreat in your own home.

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Sega launches "Toylet" urinals throughout Japan
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2012

While urinal toilet games have been tried out in Europe and America in bars and other public facilities, Japan always seems to be one step ahead of the game when it comes to bathroom technology. According to Joystiq.com, Sega, the creator of the video game consoles Genesis and Dreamcast, has now introduced a home bathroom video game called the "Toylet." The products are not cheap by any means, coming it at around 140,000 yen or around $2000 and has a limited selection of games that cost about $125 each. However, with the overwhelming popularity of the "Toylets" all over Japan, many citizens simply can't wait to get their hands on one.


Before the product even went on sale to the general public, bar, restaurant and owners of other establishments reported that the "Toylets" had other benefits besides increased business, reports GameTrailers.com. The game helped to keep restrooms cleaner and sales at the businesses rose steadily because people stayed around much longer. Quirky products like these always seem to hang around in Japan, and the product already seems to be catching on.


So how does it work? Users will first have to mount the screen above their existing toilet, which is ideally at eye level. Another sensor is placed at the base and measures pressure, which then transmits a signal to the game itself. The games are short and sweet, but it's undoubtedly the biggest revolution for the urinal in recent memory.


As for the American distribution of these products, Sega doesn't have any plans on the drawing board to bring these toilet video games to the states, but a few of them have made their way to foreign countries by questionable means. The product also has the immediate shortcoming of only working as a urinal, and one has to beg the question whether the product itself would start functioning if a user sat down instead. While this would certainly lead to its share of hilarious moments, American fans of bathroom video gaming may have to book a ticket to Japan to experience the phenomenon firsthand.


Sega has transitioned from being one of the biggest video game companies in the industry to a much more specialized niche market. However, sales of their new "Toylets" are steady throughout Japan and may just find their way stateside very soon.

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If there is one trend in interior design that has gained a lot of traction in recent years, it's been the use of open furnishings and those that add and create the illusion of more space. This is especially handy in the bathroom, where your furnishings see a lot of action on a daily basis. As the focal point of your washroom, your vanity sets the decorative scheme for the rest of your room. Better Homes and Gardens recommends an open style that offers exposed shelving and a refreshingly modern look. Here are a few ways to pull off the look in your home.


1. Frosted glass. If you need a large amount of space and don't want to feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have in the room, the news source suggests linen cabinets with frosted glass. This will give you plenty of space for toiletries and linens, and will help the room feel more spacious and bright.


2. Stacked linens. Without the benefit of a full-scale linen closet, you may not have enough space to accommodate an additional cabinet in the bathroom. Instead, use your vanity as a fixture in the room's design by stacking up towels underneath the sink. This will improve the utiliy of the space and provide a surprisingly touch of color that will boost your interior design.


3. Decorative containers. While baskets have held sway in the bathroom for years, there's no need to hold back your imagination when thinking of methods to hold small items in your washroom. According to HGTV, one way to add your personality to the room is to decorate a few mason jars and display them on the shelf. However, if you're not interested in the repurposed look, keep your eyes peeled for a few antique tea jars, glass decanters or other more opulent pieces that can improve the appeal of your vanity shelves. These are ideal for small toiletries like soaps and bath gels, as well as everyday products like cotton balls and hair clips.


Whether you're remodeling your bathroom or trying to simply trying to de-clutter it can feel like there's never enough storage. An open bathroom vanity can help you to streamline the room's appeal and give you plenty of flexibility. What decorative tips do you have for homeowners with these open furnishings?

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Most people don't give a lot of thought to the idea of taking a shower while standing up, as bathroom space constraints and a little thing called gravity certainly call for it. However, a German company named Dornbracht looks to revolutionize our conception of the modern shower stall with the world's first horizontal shower designed for home use. According to the New York Daily News, the $35,000 device is now on display at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City as a exhibition during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and it has already drawn rave reviews from attendees.


"This system allows an individual to personalize the shower experience and set the controls for whims, moods and needs," Dornbracht CEO Andreas Dornbracht told the news source.


The cutting-edge shower panel system is designed to have the user lying down on a stone slab, and six overhead water bars can be controlled independently to give each user a unique experience. Gizmag.com reports that the system will come with a minimalist control panel that is placed in the wall next to the device that will allow the user to control water temperature, intensity and quantity settings, as well as controlling the choregraphy of the showerheads themselves. The sleek design will certainly give any bathroom an aesthetic boost, but is it really superior to a vertical shower?


While the device does give users the ability to recline slightly, they are still seated on a slab of stone which can't be the most comfortable thing in the world. The device puts an end to slips in the shower, but it's certainly not meant for those looking to conserve water or create a sustainable bathroom. Additionally, the horizontal shower will require a very large bathroom with adequate drainage, so it's certainly not meant for budget-savvy consumers or those with significant space constraints.


Time will tell whether or not the horizontal shower will catch on in American households, but the device is certainly piquing the interest of interior designers at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. While the designers at Dornbracht feel that they have reinvented the wheel and found the perfect balance for their horizontal shower, they still have a few major kinks to work out and it looks like we'll all have to remain vertical for a little while longer.

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While self-cleaning toilet seats may seem like something you'd find in a Japanese bathroom, one engineer who recently graduated from Purdue University is thinking on a much grander scale. Nick Bradford and a group of fellow student researchers have created an automatic toilet cleanser called the Poseidon IV, without the benefit of electricity, chemicals or rotating seat sleeves. According to the Chicago Tribune, the device uses water pressure from the restroom's plumbing itself.


"Everyone has had that feeling," Bradford told the news source. "The public toilet either looks unsanitary or you don't know who used it the last time. It's gross."


Instead of using potentially-wasteful seat covers or rely on a system that will further sap the power grid, the Poseidon IV acts like a mini car wash that will descend on the toilet seat when the lid is lowered. Water is then diverted from the restroom's plumbing and is enclosed in a lid that wraps around the toilet seat. High-pressure sprays are connected to three robotic arms and are then wiped clean with tiny wipers that are attached to each one. The result is a sterilized toilet seat that will assuage some of the fears that many individuals will have when visiting a public bathroom.


While the device sounds space-age and extremely expensive, the Poseidon IV was built from the ground-up to appeal to strained local budgets. In addition to using an existing power source, the device does away with expensive motion sensors and cuts down on waste significantly produced by toilet seat covers and other sanitary devices.


Bradford and his team are hoping to capture a government contract at O'Hare International Airport, reports CMMOnline.com. Since the current system uses a system of rotating plastic sleeves that cover each toilet seat, Bradford and his team believe that the Poseidon IV will be able to cut down on the costs associated with the current system and decrease the carbon footprint of the airport overall. He estimates that the device will cost about one fifth of the price of his competitors and could revolutionize the industry.


While the device is only in the prototype stage, the device looks to solve one of the most common problems associated with public restrooms - cleanliness. While it may look like a space-age invention right now, the product may be sprucing up your toilet seat in the near future.

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The town of Lucas, Kansas, contains a little more than 400 residents, but the community isn't short on character. The town is home to the "Garden of Eden," a collection of strange sculptures created by S.P. Dinsmoor, a Civil War veteran who created a series of religious and political figures out of concrete in his yard. When this feature isn't stopping travelers as they make their way through the town, perhaps the giant new toilet in the downtown area just might. According to WIBW.com, what started as a $100,000 public restroom project has allowed the town to create a massive building that looks like a huge toilet, with a colossal 14-foot mosaic lid. Oddly enough, the town has started an eBay campaign to sell the first flush of the device, and they already have a few takers.


Currently, the bid is only up to $110, but the hope is that this will provide a unique funding opportunity for the town's strained budget, reports The Kansas City Star. The project grew out of a desire to add public restrooms to the downtown area, but soon grew to become a showpiece of Lucas that reflects the artistic and quirky vibe of the community.


"The Garden of Eden has none and there were no accessible public restrooms on Main Street, except in the arts center," Rosslyn Schultz, the Grassroots Art Center director.


Instead of creating a run-of-the-mill public facility, the town's residents opted to create a wholly unique building in the shape of a large toilet. The sides of the bowl are sunken slightly so people can sit on the outside and talk with one another. The giant toilet's lid is always up, and is festooned with colorful lights, bright paint colors and other distinctive decorations.


Lucas' giant toilet was also a great example of grassroots fundraising. All but $3,000 of the facility's construction was funded by donations and its design was chosen with significant impact from the community at large. While residents don't know how the structure will relate to the community a few decades down the line, at the moment they are very impressed with it.


"We are hoping that it floats around on the Internet as one of those weird toilets you need to see," Schultz told the news outlet. "That is our ultimate hope. We want people talking about it."

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Celebrity Bathroom Spotlight - Ellen Pompeo
Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2012

As one of the leading ladies on the hit ABC show "Grey's Anatomy," Ellen Pompeo is one of the most recognizable actresses on TV. The show has been Pompeo's big break, after gaining roles in movies like Old School and Catch Me If You Can, as well as small parts in TV shows like Friends, Law & Order and The Job. Pompeo's jump from small-time actress to full-fledged star has afforded her the opportunity to create a dazzling modern bathroom in her new home, and ElleDecor.com recently featured this space in a feature about celebrity washrooms.


Pompeo's style can be considered rustic chic, with a series of modern bathroom accessories used in tandem with repurposed items. Her washroom was put together by designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, who started by adorning the floors with antique terra-cotta floor tiles. The mixture of rich tans, browns and copper floor coverings help to set the color scheme for the room and make it far more adaptable with wooden furnishings. Set against cream white walls, these small decorative touches have a distinct feel and presence that amplifies the layout of the room.


The main focal point of the space is the large vintage bathtub that is accented with beautiful chrome hardware mounted in the middle of the piece. To keep with the rustic theme, the bathtub is accented by a large bamboo ladder, which helps to accent the large wooden beams in the room and give visual interest to a bare wall. Next to the tub, a zinc garden school gives a decorative boost to the bath area, and Pompeo uses this as a place to display potted flowers and candles that add an intriguing pop of color to the room.


Finally, storage space was a major consideration in this bathroom, and the bathtub is adjacent to a series of backless shelves that contain various storage baskets and stacked towels that can be reached easily from the tub. Last but not least, Pompeo chose to put a large framed black-and-white photograph on top of the stack of shelves to add to the room's lived-in feel. All in all, the designer took into account many of Pompeo's most important style elements and created a space that is wholly adaptable to her everyday needs, while still featuring timeless vintage elements that give the room a character all its own.

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With the advent of water-saving toilets and other eco-friendly designs, landfills and other waste facilities around the country have been looking for ways to get rid of these old appliances. To encourage people to switch to new low-flow designs that save water and energy, waste planners have had to find an equally sustainable method of getting rid of the old commodes. According to 11Alive.com, Gwinnett County, Georgia, has now begun an extensive toilet recycling program to take care of the piles of porcelain eyesores.


Every bit of the old toilets are broken down and can be used to manufacture new products. Bill Hallman, with the county's Department of Water Resources, has commissioned several public workers to begin the satisfying task of breaking down the toilets with a sledgehammer. Then, the small bits of porcelain and plastic are sorted and recycled into new products like counter tops, porcelain chips and many other consumer products.


"Recycling it, it's going to be be used constructively, so everybody wins," Hallman told the news source. "We're looking to save the county money. We're looking to make good usage of our water."


The influx of recyclable toilets is due in part to the county's toilet rebate program, which deducts $100 from a resident's water bill in return for the ability to recycle their toilet. The program, which is only a year old, has already recycled more than 3,000 toilets and the community has added nearly 11,000 new commodes. All in all, this energy-saving venture now saves the county more than 200,000 gallons each day.


While Gwinnett County is doing the right thing for the environment, your community may not be following their lead quite yet. GreenYour.com suggests calling your city's recycling center first when you want to recycle your toilet to see if there is a program set up for your area. If not, then it may be wise to contact your solid waste service provider to find a sustainable method of disposing of the appliance.


With the countless new low-flow toilets that are being installed all over the country, you may be the next person who needs to recycle an old john. Thankfully, there are many new recycling programs popping up across America each day to give your throne a dignified death.

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Whether it takes up an entire wall or is framed by an ornate frame, a mirror is one of the most important investments you'll make in your bathroom. However, aside from adding to your interior design and being able to see your reflection, they haven't really evolved much in the past. According to Recombu.com, a new product was recently debuted at the Japanese Smartphone and Mobile expo that took many of the attendees by surprise. The Japanese electronics manufacturer Seraku debuted its Android-powered mirror, which will be fitted with a powerful tablet computer that will able to respond to a user's hand signals.


The fully-digital screen is one of the greatest advances to happen to the bathroom in years, and it could change the common routine for anyone getting up in the morning. The device will be compatible with the home's internet connection and will be able to access diverse information like the weather forecast and news, as well as important tidbits that you'd like to know while in the bathroom. For instance, when fitted with a scale on the floor, the mirror can tell you how much weight you've gained after a meal, and it can tell you what the temperature and speed of the water is as you wash your hands.


While this device has plenty of potential in private homes, Seraku is far more excited about its commercial applications, reports The Daily Mail. The company believes it could be a useful tool for barbers and hairdressers to make each haircut a more interactive experience. Additionally, the company will also be testing out the device in restaurants and bars for client survey purposes, but this could certainly lead to a few awkward bathroom trips.


Perhaps the best, and most futuristic, aspect of the product is that it uses a series of radio sensors that respond to the user's hand movements to switch between information screens. This is not only quite enjoyable, but it helps to keep the mirror itself clean from fingerprints, smudges and other forms of grime.


While Seraku has not yet released details explaining when the product will hit the market, the Android-powered glass vanity was one of the most popular products at the Expo and may have a future in the modern home. What do you think of the potential of an interactive bathroom mirror?

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Mother's Day bathroom gifts to avoid at all costs
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day is only a few days away, which means that you may be grasping at straws when it comes to finding the right gift for that special lady in your life. One way to help narrow down your gift choices is to pick a room in the house that could need a touch-up, and finding a way to improve it. The bathroom may seem like an obvious place, but there are also more than a few bathroom accessories that you should avoid at all costs. The following is a list of bath products that may work in theory, but should come no where near your shopping list.


1. A cushioned toilet seat. No matter how cracked or aged your mother's toilet seat may have become, this is the last time of year where you should pick out that fabulous bidet seat or seat with optimal back support. Mother's Day is about showing your mother how much you care about everything she's done for you, not finding ingenious gifts. Even if you find one with lumbar support, do yourself a favor and leave it on the store's rack.


2. A bathroom scale. If your mom has decided to take an interest in fitness in her golden years, investing in a bathroom scale may seem like a no-brainer. First and foremost, this is something that you mother should pick out herself, and secondly, there are countless other products that can help out her fitness plan other than a scale. A scale simply has a bad connotation and isn't something you should give your mom on her special day.


3. A spa package. While it may seem wise to give your mom everything she needs to turn her washroom into an at-home spa, most people would like to be pampered than pamper themselves. Skip the gift basket of bath oils, soaps and lotions and give your mom a gift certificate to the spa instead. This will give her a relaxing day to unwind and you won't have to watch your gift collect dust in your parents' bathroom for the foreseeable future.


Mother's Day is a time to show just how much your mom means to you, so don't think too hard about your gift. Appeal to your mother's interests, create something yourself or simply give her a day to relax. She will appreciate that far more than one of these questionable gifts!

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Though it was once seen as a temporary trend in response to the recession, it seems that the home remodeling boon is here to stay as Americans continue to make frugal decisions about their spending choices. With the housing market in its current state, many homeowners are avoiding the time-consuming nature of updating and putting their home on the market in favor of remodeling projects that can improve their current houses. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), American homeowners are putting their focus into kitchens and bathrooms more than any other spaces in the modern home and it has provided a noticeable boost for the construction industry.


"Homeowners are repurposing spaces and making more efficient use of their home's square footage, " NAHB chairman George Moore Jr., told the Los Angeles Times. "Whether it be young families or couples aging in their homes, people want to let their house adapt with their needs as they change over time."


According to AGBeat.com, requests for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects are up 17 percent from two years ago, as homeowners look to add products like modern appliances, bathroom vanities and other pieces of decor that can help them craft a contemporary aesthetic. Unlike previous years where home remodelers would go for these updates as a means of increasing their home values, those surveyed in NAHB's data said overwhelmingly that these projects were meant to take care of components that needed repairs as well as a desire for upgraded amenities.


"As the priorities of homeowners shift, remodelers have to adjust to the needs of their clients," Moore told the news source. "And while the motivation behind a homeowner's decision to remodel may have changed, their desire for quality, professional results have not. Professional remodelers remain committed to the highest industry standards."


These new trends are a hopeful sign for the American economy, as consumer investment has finally changed from remodeling that fulfilled a specific need to pleasure spending. It remains to be seen if these trends will hold up, but over the past few years, the desire to remodel and improve existing homes has never been stronger. Better yet, homeowners are finally putting their focus on efficiency, expanded amenities and convenience that will not only make their homes more appealing in the long run, but will help to put money back into their pockets.

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What are the world's most opulent bathtubs?
Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012

While the standard of luxury in most modern American homes is an elegant whirlpool bathtub with a bevy of modern features, for some people, this simply isn't large enough of a status symbol. Bathtubs play a variety of roles in the contemporary bathroom, but there are some individuals who will put an exorbitant amount of money into these features. The following is the list of bathtubs with price points that are somewhere in the stratosphere, with only the ultra-rich being able to consider these elegant bathroom features.




1. "Le Grand Queen." According to HomeDit.com, the world's most expensive bathtub was sold in late 2011 with a price point of more than £1 million. The bathtub is sculpted out of a rare stone called Caijou, which is renowned through many Eastern cultures for its healing properties. The stone can only be found in certain volcanic regions of Indonesia and was carved from a solid piece of the material. While the jury is still out on the stone's healing properties, it certainly played a large role in its price and its status as the most expensive bathtub in world.




2. Baldi Rock Crystal bathtub. Designed by world-renowned designer Luca Bajola, the Baldi Rock Crystal Bathtub is actually a three-person design. The stunning piece is carved from a single piece of Amazonian rock crystal and measures more than eight feet in diameter. Only a handful of these pieces were made, and one made its way into the famed London department store, Harrod's. The tub sold for more than $850,000 at auction and is truly one-of-a-kind in the world of bathroom design. Ironically, those who missed out on the tub's auction could bid on one of Bajola's rock crystal basins meant to accompany the bathtub.


3. Baldi Malachite bathtub. Another Bojola gem, the Baldi malachite bathtub is made from turquoise malachite that has been hand-carved into the perfect shape by skilled artisans. The stunning appearance of the tub is accented beautifully by its beautiful 24k gold claw feet. According to Most-Expensive.net, the products comes in at more than $200,000, so only the super rich will be able to put this piece in their penthouse, summer chateau or beach house.


These are just a few of the examples of some seriously elegant bathtubs that have a distinct market among the ultra-rich. Would any of these incredibly expensive tubs appeal to your sense of style?

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A cat-owning couple from Clausthal-Zellerfeld near Göttingen, Germany, are the subject of comical coverage throughout the country after losing one of their three cats, and finding out he was buried behind the bathroom wall. According to TheLocal.de, the couple was installing a bathroom vanity, and performing a full remodeling project on their washroom that required the drywall to be replaced. Soon after the project, they began to hear faint meowing and clawing sounds throughout the night and initially thought that their house was haunted. Luckily for these absent-minded cat owners, the local fire department was around to help.


When the owners finally realized that one of their three cats was missing, they sprang into action and called the fire department, which was a bit skeptical at first. The firefighters simply couldn't believe that the owners and remodeling experts that put together the bathroom could have completely missed a cat wandering into an open wall.


"We didn't believe it at first and had a team of five search the entire house," fire chief Thomas Bremer told the news source. "You don't really want to destroy a brand new bathroom unless you have to."


To spare their new investment from damage, the cat owners borrowed a camera endoscope from a local plumber to see if the cat was really behind the wall. According to UPI.com, the camera was lucky enough to spot the feline's eyes in the dark. After removing the newly-installed shower and carefully pried open the gap in the wall, the firefighters were able to free the cat and give him back to his owners. All told, the rescue took about three hours to complete, ending up requiring heavy machinery and destroyed much of the new bathroom in the process. While the much of the owners' investment went down the tubes, they finally figured out the source of the late-night scratching and meowing.


Remarkably, after four days of being inside the wall, the cat was unharmed but noticeably shaken after the experience. The feline emerged from the experience exhausted and extremely hungry, but hopefully his owners may have finally gotten the hint to watch after their pets a bit more closely.


How would you have handled this situation if your cat ended up becoming lost behind one of your bathroom walls?

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The ever-changing world of toilets has seen the arrival of deodorizers, LED lighting and music, but very few of these commodes will tell you anything about your overall health. According to the Huffington Post, an engineer named Lucy Jung with YankoDesign.com has created a toilet that will take an automatic urine sample and create a detailed health report based on that sample. The hope for this new line of bathroom accessories is to make life easier for nurses and doctor's assistants working at medical facilities, and it may be a great option for those who constantly have to transport urine samples.


The GP Toilet is a low-profile device that is like having a general practitioner in one's home. The product is used like a standard toilet, but a small nozzle sensor is lowered during operation to gather a sample. After the user is finished with the toilet, they can check the dazzling digital screen behind him or her to read a detailed health report. This will show if there are any abnormal products in the urine, such as sugars, protein and other nutrients. The product can also perform on-the-spot pregnancy tests, which is a huge change from the applicators of the past!


While this toilet isn't going to do much for the aesthetics of a bathroom, it is a groundbreaking development in the world of home medical technology. In the past, those who needed frequent screenings would be forced to provide their own sample and have to drive to the doctor's office to bring it in or produce one on the spot. The GP Toilet will allow these individuals to print out a health report directly to keep stock of their health and give their doctors the information they need to perform a full analysis.


The product is obviously meant for individuals that take frequent trips to the doctor's office for urine analysis, but it has also received interest from those who like to take daily health checks. The toilet has been reviewed as one of the best new "gadgets for hypochondriacs," by Walyou.com, and it certainly seems like it. While the toilet doesn't look like it will receive mainstream application anytime soon, it shows the versatility of the toilet and the many public health benefits that are still being discovered in the trusty product.

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Jolene Van Vugt is a professional motocross rider who holds the world record as the first female rider to backflip a dirt bike and the longest backflip, according to Sky News. Her expertise recently came in handy when she went faster than any human being has before - on a toilet. The new "porcelain princess" broke the toilet speed record with a jaw-dropping speed of 46 miles per hour. This shattered the previous record of 42 mph, set by Edd China in Italy during 2011, reports The BostonChannel.com.


"I've broken Guinness World Records before but I never thought I'd be the fastest toilet rider in the world," Van Vugt told the news source.


Van Vugt is the star of the extreme motor vehicle stunt show Nitro Circus, and was built by the show's team of engineers. Her record-breaking ride was one of the first events to kick off the show's 2012 Live Australian Capital City Tour, which features a slew of extreme motoring and sports events. Part dirt bike and part go-kart, the contraption features a toilet mounted on top of an aluminum structure with handlebars, and a go-kart engine. The engineers had to overcome the obvious weight constraints of the the device, while trying to balance the engine, the commode and controls to make it as safe as possible.


The Guinness Book of World Records requires the rider to take the average speed of two runs together to capture the record. Each of the runs was only over the course of 100 meters, so the toilet offered surprisingly acceleration  so Van Vugt's average speed on both ride was more than enough to give her the title, reports MNN.com.


"I flew into Australia yesterday and came out here to jump straight on the toilet," Van Vugt told the news source. "That was so fun and I'm stoked to get the record."


While there are no clear contenders for Van Vugt's crown on the horizon anytime soon, Van Vugt hopes that a new wave of restroom racers will contend for the record in the future. In the meantime, the world's fastest toilet has been a major boost to the viewership of Nitro Circus. The show's engineers have yet to say whether or not a new prototype is on the way, and may be content to let the record stand for now.

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What are the world's scariest bathrooms?
Posted on Thursday, May 3, 2012

A feeling of fear upon entering a bathroom is usually not the emotion that interior designers want homeowners to feel when laying out a space, but sometimes a dramatic touch can help a room stand out. Bending the conventions of the standard bathroom is a trend that many affluent homeowners tend to go for, but very few go for a downright frightening aesthetic. According to the Huffington Post, one homeowner in Guadalajara, Mexico, may have created the world's scariest bathroom by situating his commode on top of a 15-story elevator shaft.


For those who are afraid of heights, being forced to go to the bathroom in this home could be their worst nightmare. The bathroom is suspended on a glass floor that looks down onto the vacant elevator shaft. The designers, Hernandez Silva Arquitectos, remarked that the bathroom exhibited "concepts of transparency and the simplicity of materials." The rest of the bathroom features a long and slender vessel sink, a sleek bathroom vanity and a wall-mounted toilet, so users are literally the only part of the room that will be situated on top of the glass. The space is truly one of the most remarkable pieces of bathroom design in the world and will certainly scare more than a few of the homeowner's guests in the near future.


While this bathroom is certainly one that will wreak havoc with those with a fear of heights, the bathrooms on Mont Blanc in the Alps may give the aforementioned washroom a run for its money. According to Der Spiegel, local authorities in France have installed two public bathrooms at the top of the 4,800-meter mountain, which is the tallest in Europe. With more than 30,000 mountain climbers ascending to the peak each year, something had to be done to improve the area's state of cleanliness. Each of the toilets cost $200,000 and are meant to endure the extreme conditions of the area. While the toilets themselves are enclosed, it is certainly a harrowing trek to reach the summit and be able to use them in the first place!


Going to the toilet should never be a frightening experience, but creative interior designers and unique locations sometimes call for extreme measures. While instilling a sense of fear in your guests probably isn't something you should strive for in your bathroom remodel, if done correctly, it could be a remarkable twist for your home.

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While most people look at a roll of toilet paper and see little else than a material that will be soon flushed down the toilet, one budget wedding website has been calling on artistic brides all over the country to create wedding dresses in this unconventional medium. The "Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest," sponsored by Charmin and created by the website Cheap Chic Weddings, will hold its eighth annual event, which has seen some absolutely remarkable dresses over the years, reports the South-Bend Tribune. The grand-prize winner will receive $2,012, as well as bragging rights as a toilet paper fashionista.


"Each year, the contest gets better and better," Laura Gawne of Cheap Chic Weddings told the news source. "We are all excited to see the fantastic entries."


Over the years, brides-to-be and artists alike have created truly astounding designs that could almost pass for real wedding dresses. Last year's winner, Susan Brennan of Orchard Lake, Michigan, created a strapless design that featured a series of floral embellishments and feathery accents on the bodice that looked like it belonged in an upscale bridal boutique, reports the Huffington Post. The 2009 winner, Ann Kagawa Lee of Honolulu, Hawaii, went for the gusto by designing a full-length dress and a hat using delightfully-textured origami, according to New York Magazine.


While these gorgeous designs aren't meant to be worn on a woman's wedding day, it isn't the first time that the material has been used to create a dress in a pinch. Pippa Middleton, the beautiful sister of the current Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has been caught wearing one of these homemade creations in the past. According to The Daily Mail, pictures of Pippa have emerged in the British press of the royal sister wearing a frock made of toilet paper at a dinner party during college. It seems that before she turned into a style icon, she also realized the untapped potential of a few rolls of toilet paper!


The homemade wedding dress is just one of many do-it-yourself bridal designs that are all the rage these days as ladies try to cut the exorbitant costs of a wedding celebration. Each year, the "Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest" churns out some dynamic designs that seem to be getting better year after year.

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Top 5 wackiest bathrooms in the world
Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Whether out of necessity, eclectic design or simply a flair for the dramatic, bathrooms can take some rather strange forms when some individuals are allowed to decorate to their heart's content. From picturesque outdoor commodes to urinal shapes that leave little to the imagination, you can cross one of these facilities off of your bucket list and tell your friends that you've made it to one of the wackiest bathrooms in the world.


1. The Fujimoto toilet. The Japanese are known for their reverence for the toilet, but even this design outdoes most people's perceptions of what an outdoor bathroom should look like. According to the Huffington Post, the Fujimoto toilet, located in Chiba, Japan, was designed by architect Sou Fujimoto and is a 2,150 square-foot outdoor restroom. The toilet is surrounded by a garden of peach and plum trees and is meant to give users the experience of being one with nature - while they relieve themselves of course.


2. The Three Sisters Pub. Located in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the Three Sisters Pub is known for its gargoyle-shaped urinals, according to WebUrbanist.com. Stranger still is the animation of an alluring female that plays at eye level that entices the male user while doing his thing. The bathroom has become so popular that even women sneak a peek inside to take a look.


3. Glass Lounge. This trendy New York night club is known for its stellar use of glass furnishings from the bar to the lavatory, according to the news source. Its most unique feature is the two-way mirror that peers out onto Tenth Avenue. While bathroom users can't see outside, pedestrians on the street can watch patrons primp in the mirror before venturing back into the club.


4. Marius. This Rio de Janiero, Brazil, eatery is known for its eclectic decor, but its bathrooms aren't to be missed. The news outlet reports that the men's bathroom has rocks on the floor and the sink, as well as packed ice inside of the urinals. The women's bathrooms are equally strange, and certainly aren't the easiest to navigate when wearing heels!


5. Mumin Papa Cafe. This is one of the only restrooms in the world that is built into the side of an aquarium, according to NotVentures.org. The Akashi, Japan, restaurant's women's bathroom will allow users to watch exotic fish swim by while doing their business. Unfortunately for the guys, they are stuck with a standard bathroom and can only hear the glowing reviews from their female counterparts.

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