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Common bathroom decor mishaps (and how to avoid them)
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2013

Redecorating your bathroom can be more complicated than you might assume. But if you make one of the many mistakes outlined by The Learning Channel, LamorindaWeb or other decor-oriented information resources, don't feel too badly. If these redecorating mistakes happen frequently enough to be considered "common" mishaps by numerous experts, you certainly wouldn't be the first one to take a wrong turn while redesigning what might be your favorite room in the house.

Here's a quick list of the most commonly cited mistakes people make when redoing their bathroom, so you have an idea what kind of actions to avoid.

Plan ahead, and get accurate estimates

TLC points out that many people go into the process of changing up their bathroom without a sound idea of how much what they're planning will end up costing, while Lamorinda Web says pretty much the same thing about how much time the project is going to take. Before you begin, you should talk to at least a few different decor professionals to get the most accurate assessment of what kind of time and financial commitment your project will require. Even the process of picking out and purchasing items you plan to add to your bathroom may eat up some time, according to Lamorinda Web.

Make sure you have enough room for storage

Both sources point out that if you don't take into account how much storage space you'll need under your bathroom vanity, you're certainly going to inadvertently cause yourself problems down the line. Double check that you're leaving yourself plenty of closet and drawer space. 

Make sure doors open without conflict

The last thing you want after finishing an elaborate redecorating project is to discover that your shower door can't be opened without smashing into the shower panels, which inevitably leaves marks that will have be to fixed before the home is resold.  

Think about resale

A few of the common mistakes pointed out by TLC basically pertain to resale value. The network advises against going too "trendy" or installing decor that may be too nuanced to appeal to prospective buyers in five-to-10 years if you're trying to sell your home by then. As for that bit of advice, let's let the individual be the judge. After all, even if it makes a house harder to sell to people with different tastes in decor, putting some personality into your home furnishings can liven up the bathroom for as long as you own the house.   

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Amid Hollywood's most glamorous yearly event, it's pretty crazy that overflowing toilets almost put a serious damper on the evening. At the very least, they did succeed in making the evening damper.

According to the New York Post and the Los Angeles Times, just under an hour before the big show on Sunday was scheduled to begin, a water pipe in the Dolby Theatre exploded, forcing six custodians to scramble to mop up the mess from an overflowing second floor women's bathroom. The Times explains that the custodians were decked out in black pants and suit jackets and used a pair of home-sized wet vacuums and what witnesses described as a "machine the size of a lawn mower" to undo the water damage in time for the show. This caused some additional confusion - The Times explains that workers who were in charge of locking a stage door nearby where the Oscar statures were to be stored were temporarily preoccupied cleaning up the flood. Luckily, no sources we could find say anything about Oscar statues being stolen. 

Apparently, the flooded bathroom prevented awards-show attendees from buying drinks at the second-floor bar. Luckily, the spill was cleaned up by the time the curtains were set to open.

Hollywood's elite reacts to Oscar toilet disaster

While it seems to have been a fairly easily-resolved plumbing malfunction, that didn't keep the entertainment media for doing some digging into what TMZ calls "The Great Toilet Disaster" of the 2013 Oscars. The website implies that the burst pipe was due to a clogged toilet, however only uses an unnamed source to support this information. Another source who spoke to the Daily Mail said the clogging was due to one toilet being repeatedly flushed. 

Grant Heslov - producer of the best picture winner "Argo" - told the news provider that he had to hold off relieving himself at one point due to the bathroom being closed off. 

PopStopTV.com pointed out that, considering that the Oscars is a three-hour long ceremony, anyone with an urgent need to use the toilet was probably wise to do so before taking their seat in the theater. 

It just goes to emphasize the importance of making sure your plumbing and toilet are working properly. While an average homeowner's dinner party or other gatherings may not have the cultural significance of the Oscars, it could still be embarrassing if a toilet malfunctions or overflows while guests are present.

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Some pointers on keeping your bathroom organized
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

At the end of the day, a well-organized bathroom is a happy bathroom. Seriously - how inconvenient does it make your day when you're going through a poorly kept bathroom vanity and can't find your disposable razors, toothpaste or other necessities needed to start the day fresh and well-maintained? Not only that, but numerous bathroom decor experts have pointed out that organization goes a long way toward making bathrooms look presentable and enhances the amount of space users have to work with when setting up decorations.

Several experts have cooked up lists of ideas for keeping bathrooms well-arranged, and we've plundered the best advice for your benefit here.

Throw out empties

It's hard to say exactly why this is - but some people tend to leave empty bottles of shampoo and other cleaning products in their medicine cabinet or shower caddy well after they've exhausted their usefulness, which is the first bit of advice offered by a new article from Better Homes and Gardens. An especially good tip the news source provides is for people who spend a lot of time in the morning fixing their hair. Hair products - gels, sprays, combs, curlers and hair dryers - could be kept in one big bin under the sink. That way, they're all in he same place, and won't be taking up extra space on the sink counter top or in the medicine cabinet. 

Think about towel storage

Both BHG and the official website of Martha Stewart encourage using a bit of creativity when it comes to storing towels. BHG notes that shelves above the toilet could make great places to keep those fluffy post-bath or shower necessities, while Martha Stewart points to a few off-kilter products that could save storage space and recommends putting bars on the bathroom door or installing cubbyhole shelves somewhere around the bathroom. 

Makeup organization

Both sources also offer pointers for keeping makeup - which can also result in clutter - arranged in a convenient but space-conscious way. Martha Stewart recommends putting drawer divers into shelves, so lipstick, mascara, and other makeup products all have their own designated storage spaces. BHG says something similar, except the BHG people are more keen on expandable makeup organizers that can be placed in a small drawer and keep makeup from scattering around a sink counter.

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As the Oscars have recently transpired, it brings to mind the role that toilets typically play in the movie-watching experience. Namely, that if you're the sort of person who likes sipping a beverage while you take in the latest Hollywood blockbuster of your choosing, you're probably going to be hurting for an opportunity to skip over to the bathroom without missing anything too important to the plot. 

Of course, there's a smartphone-related solution to virtually every problem these days, and the question of when to take a pee break during a movie is yet another question that new technology may be able to answer. 

The LA Times and other sources have reported on the RunPee app - which gathers information on current movies, and tells the user which three- to five-minute periods in the film may be the optimal times to skip out without missing anything. It also provides a summary of what happens during those stints in the film, so if anything happens that may have a slight effect on the story, you'll be able to find out about it while heeding nature's call.

But it appears the manufacturers of RunPee have grander aspirations for their product. The app can also tell the user about the first three minutes of the film in case you're stuck in traffic or late for another reason, as well as quick reviews and links to IMDB and RottenTomatoes.com.

New app may be more necessary than ever

It might not be coincidental that this product has appeared on the market at this time in entertainment history. Not that long ago, The New York Post noted that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson must strongly disagree with Alfred Hitchcock's motto that "The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."

Longer movies seem to be in vogue these days. The source points to several top movies from 2012, including the nearly three-hour long "Cloud Atlas" directed by the Wachowski siblings, plus acclaimed films like "Les Miserables" and "Zero Dark Thirty," which both break the two-and-a-half hour mark, as examples.

Some of these longer runtimes may be a result of high-powered directors demanding that they have the final say when it comes to how their films are edited, according to some experts the Post spoke with. On the other hand, many movies are three hours long simply because they deserve to be. 

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Tips for making your bathroom more manly
Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Some people assuming caring about your home decor isn't "manly," but we beg to differ. Think about the ultimate man's man - Clint Eastwood. Do you really believe he's satisfied seeing to his routine hygiene in a bland bathroom with no personality? We think not. 

With that in mind, here are some ideas for guys who'd like to make their bathroom one of the most macho parts of their house - and potentially impress visitors with their rugged yet stylish sensibility toward bathroom decor.

Have the right manly attitude

While the most obvious thing you could do to make your bathroom as manly as it could be is build it all yourself - along with the rest of the house - preferably out of wood you chopped down in fierce, tundra wilderness. However, that's not terribly realistic. Some more down to earth advice appears on Decor Interiorsus. Simplification is emphasized by the expert site. Just because you're the type of guy who likes the idea of having a fashionable bathroom vanity doesn't mean you have to make it obvious. "Attractive" and "subtle" are the words Decor Interiorsus uses to describe the ideal manly bathroom, and that seems like a sound direction to shoot for. While you might want to consider keeping the decor utilitarian yet mildly memorable, a few black and white photographs or other unassuming bits of art could be stashed around your bathroom, according to the source. 

Don't forget to keep you vanity organized, either. Some people think being messy is manly, but we know better.

A few examples for maximum manliness

If you're wondering where to find a visual cue for what constitutes a manly bathroom, take a gander over a Roomzaar.com. The first entry on its compilation of manly bathrooms is a case-and-point instance of a vanity for a man's man - it contains a simple grey- and white-spotted marble counter, square mirror with a black frame, and some inspiring words placed on the adjacent wall. "Be strong when you are weak, brave when you are scared and humble when you are victorious." Doubtlessly, any bathroom user who reads those words will be pumped up for whatever manly activities their day holds.

Manly shaving

Speaking of manliness - let's not forget about shaving. The Man Institute notes that shaving with a straight razor may be the most manly method of removing those daily whiskers - the site explains that every time you use a straight razor, it's a "near-death experience." While that's only half-true, a straight razor could definitely provide a clean shave. 

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Practically everyone's had a unique experience or two in a dive bar toilet. These are often the locations of events that may be horribly embarrassing the morning after, but turn out to be funny stories years later. With consideration for the oft-unspoken significance of dive bar toilets - especially in big cities - a proud Gotham resident by the name of Ian MacAllen started Toilets of New York, a Tumblr that was recently profiled in the New York Observer.

However, MacAllen explained to The Observer that he's more interested in graffiti and other decorative elements to these sometimes nefarious toilets than their back stories or stigma. 

"I realized someone was taking a whole lot of time on these bathrooms. They're really delicately curated, both the objects in them and the wallpaper," MacAllen said to the news source. "Some [bathrooms] have the classic New York City subway tiles, some have this black and white theme from the 1920s."

He also told the New York Observer that the toilets on his Tumblr generally happen to be from bars he's hanging out at, and sometimes he'll take a trip to the loo for the specific purpose of observing the toilet for his website. 

Oddly, most of the toilets featured on Toilets of New York are pretty much typical looking toilets. But a few really stand out - the black and white clown-themed wallpaper at East Wiliamsburg's Shea Stadium would surely make for a memorable adherence to nature's call, as would the epic amount of sloppy graffiti adoring the walls in the bathroom of Welcome to the Johnson's in the Lower East Side. 

Some far stranger bar bathrooms

While nine out of 10 bar bathrooms may be more-or-less interchangeable, Bar Whiz put together a compilation of the weirdest bar bathrooms in the world. Not surprisingly, a New York City bar tops the list - Bar 89, whose lavatory's stalls have glass walls that turn to a darker shade once the doors are closed. Meanwhile, Barcelona's Vampire Bar features a tiger stature that oversees and pours water into the sink. 

But those looking for a more outdoorsy drinking and bathroom-using experience need look no further than La Kiva in Texas. Number 10 on Bar Whitz's list of interesting bathrooms, La Kiva was forged into a cave near the Big Bend National Park in Texas. While vegetarians and others who are sensitive to animal rights may take issue with some of their decorations, undeniably, the bathroom may be worth checking out. How often does one get the opportunity to go to the the lavatory in a cave and still feel civilized? 

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The most expensive toilets in the world
Posted on Monday, February 25, 2013

What's a toilet worth to you? Well, to some people, it's worth quite a bit of cash. 

Take for example the toilets pointed out by The Most-Expensive Journal and CelebrityNetWorth.com. Many of the same toilets appear on both sites, which shouldn't be too surprising. While most millionaires aren't even willing to shell out thousands of dollars in order to relieve themselves at the height of opulence, these individuals are certainly out there, few and far between though they may be.

The International Space Station's toilet

The priciest commode on both lists isn't technically for sale to individual homeowners. However, should earthlings ever make their first contact with life from other planets, the aliens may get the impression that the average human is far more well-off than is, in fact, the case. That's assuming these E.T.s stumble across astronauts working on the International Space Station, where the toilet cost a gargantuan $19 million to construct, according to the sources.

The space station's super high-tech facilities haven't always proven to be worth the price tag, however. It's broken down a few times in recent years - in 2008 according to Fox News, and once again in 2009 according to AP. As if living in outer space wasn't stressful enough without having a comfortable place to heed nature's call. And the 2009 fiasco was a particularly sordid ordeal, as the space station was housing more astronauts than it ever had in past. A total of 13 people sharing one bathroom in such closer quarters certainly had to be extremely inconvenient. 

Dagobert toilet is literally a throne

Meanwhile, talk about taking an old expression literally - the French-made "Dagobert" toilet, also appearing on CelebrityNetWorth and Most-Expensive, looks quite a lot like it was pulled out of a King Arthur film or some other tale of medieval daring do.

The website of the manufacturer - Herbeau - elaborates that the toilet is adorned with Moustier Polychrome paintings and is advertised to "delight even the most jaded Royal."  

Most-Expensive explains that the more than $14,000 toilet was christened in honor of 8th Century Merovingian dynasty ruler King Dagobert, and it plays his unofficial theme song - "Le Bon Roi Dagobert" - whenever anyone pulls open the lid. Upon flushing, a ringing sounds alerts servants - should the owner have any servants - that they've got some extra work to do. 

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When picking out decor, think about your own personality
Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013

If you're thinking about remodeling your bathroom, before deciding on decor such as a modern bathroom vanity or a vanity with an antique style, you might want to ask yourself - what kind of bathroom decor would best reflect who I am as a person? 

A new report from the Deccan Herald explains that quite a bit of thought should go into an individual's choice of decor - and the more options for furnishings he or she has, the better. For an example of how far "out there" decor can get, the source points to some people's penchant for bamboo flooring. While it's hardly impossible to install flooring made of the South Asian plants, it can get pricey - plants and water don't necessarily mix, and extra precautions need to be taken to prevent problems such a floor breaking, and to make sure people don't slip. But for individuals of means who like the idea of exotic, naturalistic decor, bamboo flooring could be an option that's sure to impress guests. It would also almost certainly make a good conversation starter.

Feeling metallic?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Houzz.com offers metallic-style bathroom decor as another way individuals could express their personality through their selections of bathtubs, toilets and other utilities. Perhaps this is something fans of heavy metal music could consider, or fans of futuristic science fiction where the environments generally exude a sleek, shiny metallic sheen.

On the website appears a picture of a glass shower stall held together with corrugated steel. The look is described as "unexpected yet sophisticated" by Houzz, and certainly projects a modern aura onto the rest of the room.

What your bathroom really says about you

We're only talking about how bathroom decor can reflect your personality, but the KingsBathroom website takes that thesis to the next level and proclaims that you can tell quite a lot about a person simply by looking at the condition of his or her bathroom.  Some people might say Kings make a decent point. Someone with what the source calls a "romantic girlie" personality may make use of bathroom accessories like heart-shaped soap, while a "slick and shrewd" urban dweller might keep their bathroom a bit more organized and minimalistic and a bathroom shared by a family will reflect the hectic nature of a multi-child household. 

One thing KingsBathroom notes that we absolutely agree with is that everyone should put more care into their bathrooms. The solitude, comfort and opportunities for hygiene it offers every day clearly goes under appreciated a lot of the time. 

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Long-lost wedding ring recovered
Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2013

Normally, a person might think of their antique bathroom vanity as merely a means to store toiletries and cleaning products, and add some rustic or classic ambiance to their bathroom. But ABC News reported on an incident in which a bathroom vanity played a part in solving a four decade-long mystery with particular importance to a couple who has been married for 45 years.

"I was debating on whether or not to redo the bathroom because it's probably original with the house, but I thought I should go ahead," 63-year-old Rita Hellmich of Greensburg, Ind., who had only occupied the abode for 10 years, explained to the news provider. "One of the contractors took the existing vanity out. Literally, the ring popped out. It was that tight behind the vanity. It even made an indention on the plaster. It was in there that tight."

She continued to say that the contractor, at first, assumed it was her ring. But she immediately noticed the engraved initials and wedding date, and rightly deduced that this ring belonged to a previous denizen of the home. 

Through doing a little bit of detective work, she contacted Paul and Joyce Warner, who just-so-happened to preparing to celebrate their 45th anniversary. Within days, the couple drove over to pick the ring up. 

Joyce Werner described her reaction to the news that her wedding ring had finally been unearthed after 40 years as "speechless" to ABC News.

Other happenings in the world of antique bathroom vanities

While the odds of finding someone else's heirloom while remodeling a bathroom are, to say the least, less than terrific, HomeThangs recently pointed to other reasons why people may want to think about refurbishing their bathroom decor with an antique vanity. 

The source explains that modern bathroom decor has become quite fashionable in recent times, but those who prefer an "ornate" and "traditional" appearance in their bathroom have plenty of options.

Pictures of old school bathroom vanities abound on Houzz.com, including one with a brown and grey marble counter top, dresser drawers that appear to be from the Victorian era and brass-colored sink faucets that could even be said to have a "steam punk" aspect to their look. It's also possible for a vanity to have an antique look with a modern sensibility. For example, down the page there's a picture of a wooden vanity with an oval shape, with shelves and drawers arranged in an innovative manner.  

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Magazine calls for bathroom reviews
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's not as if no one's ever had the idea before, but a recent blog post on the website of Esquire Magazine makes a good point - there should be more reviews for public bathrooms, especially in New York restaurants.

Eric Vilas-Boas explains that he appreciates being comfortable with the sanitation levels of restaurants he visits and often has to relieve himself after a long subway ride across New York. Therefore, he wondered why a Tumblr like Table and Throne, based in San Francisco hasn't already appeared to cover his home city. Possibly, this could be due to how some people might find it a bit unnerving to read food reviews directly beside descriptions of toilets

However, the reviews on Table and Throne could be described as remarkably in-depth and detailed - certainly a must-read for any San Francisco-based restaurant frequenter. For example, bellow a write-up of the "uninspired" yet "functionally prosaic" food at the Italian eatery Pasta Pomodoro, appears a glowing review of the restaurants bathrooms. The bathroom decor is described as similar to the Italian feel of the restaurant, while the cleanliness is called "just about perfect."

The source notes that the Loring Cafe may be an especially attractive stop for fans of excellent restaurant bathrooms. The writer cleverly states that "If Gaudi designed a bathroom for a wealthy, Spanish version of Bilbo Baggins, this would be it," and went on to describe a iron pipe toilet paper dispenser.

Websites names its top public bathrooms

Perhaps the intent behind Table and Throne could be called a bit more practical than AskMen's list of the top public bathrooms in the world. However, that doesn't mean the online magazine's list isn't worth a glance at. 

Oddly, AskMen named the Dune 45 outdoor bathroom at the Namib Naukluft Park as the best public bathroom in the world, although it's possible the writer was taking its unabashedly gorgeous surroundings into account, as opposed to the specific characteristics of the bathroom. The source's second best bathroom in the world fits a bit better on a bathroom decor site such a this - Lam Sai-wing's Golden Toilet in Hong Kong. In the Kung Fu legend's former jeweled home, the bathroom collectively costs $3.5 million, as the space is plated with variously previous metals and historical artifacts. 

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According to an article that recently appeared in the Washington Post, race car driver William Langhorne and his wife applied a somewhat unusual attitude toward bathroom decor when they designed the lavatory of their mansion in Georgetown. 

"It's not for shy people," Langhorne told the news provider. "We wanted to maximize the openness and make it as sleek as high-end automotive design."

The Post goes on to explain that the entire bathroom can be seen from the stairs, the bedroom and the walk-in closets. While it doesn't offer much in the way of privacy by itself, the glass surrounding the decisively modern bathroom can be darkened with the flip of a switch. Longhorne's wife Samar said she's developed a particular fondness for being able to look at the TV and fireplace in her bedroom while she lounges in what The Post describes as a "sculptural" bathtub

Julia Walter, who works for an Italian company that produces luxury bathroom furniture, explained to The Post that the Langhornes' bathroom setup exemplifies a bathroom decor trend, where those with the means to do so are preferring to arrange their bathroom more like a spa than a closed off, utilitarian room. For couples like the Langhornes, luxury and relaxation take precedence over functionality. 

Celebrities and their many, many bathrooms

But for some members of the rich and famous, it's not a question of how stylish or how practical their bathrooms are. It seems to be more of a matter of quantity over quality. 

For instance, Xpose Entertainment lately reported on the sale of Christina Aguilera's mansion, which contains nine bathrooms. The abode originally belonged to the Osbourne family - noted for patriarch, heavy metal legend Ozzy and his wife, Sharon. In light of the fact that they used to share the home with children Jack and Kelly, it's fair to say the nine bathrooms made more sense during the eccentric family's residency.

If nine bathrooms sounds impressive, that's nothing compared to the bathrooms reportedly installed in the former Connecticut estate of Mel Gibson. Zillowblog states that 13 bathrooms are on the premises, while World of Female marks the bathroom count at 18. According to Greenwich Time, Gibson sold the mansion in 2010 for almost $24 million. 

But the more you look into the topic of celebrity bathrooms, the more the number of bathrooms per-mansion seems to go up. According to the U.K. news source Beat the Wolf, the house Oprah Winfrey purchased in 2001 include 14 bathrooms, while the estate of rapper 50 Cent has 37. 

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Things to keep in mind while using a public restroom
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013

When it comes to using public toilets there are two extreme personality types. Some people are so terrified of disease that they'll either behave incredibly squeamishly and finicky or simply avoid using public bathrooms all together. Then there is the other polarity of people who are such indifferent slobs that they may be inadvertently disrespecting other bathroom users. If either of those descriptions sound like someone you know, never fear. We've compiled some expert advice that should help members of both groups gravitate a bit toward the middle.

Ways to be more hygienic and respectful 

Some of the tips offered by Smosh.com for people to improve their public bathroom behavior might be considered obvious to the point of being comical - which is likely the writer's point. However, there are definitely a few good general rules perfectly reasonable people neglect to follow sometimes.

For instance, as Smosh.com points out, talking on your cell phone in the bathroom could be aurally intrusive for users who enjoy the peaceful privacy bathroom time provides. For men's rooms, it's best practice to avoid using an empty urinal directly beside one that's occupied. Oftentimes in crowded restrooms there aren't any other options, but some men get a little weirded out when a stranger is urinating directly next to them. Not only is it an outstanding idea to wash your hands after bathroom use, you could even consider cleaning up the sink a bit if paper towels are on hand. This would be a considerate act, whether or not future hand washers noticed.

Advice for germophobic public bathroom users

Meanwhile, if you're having trouble being comfortable in a public bathroom due to fear of disease, SymptomFind has put together a comprehensive guide to making sure your contact with germs is minimal, even in facilities that may not be at their cleanliness. 

It's not necessarily a good idea to use an ordinary flushing handle that's been touched by innumerable individuals who more than likely didn't courteously wash their hands before flushing. Therefore, SymptomFind advises that you cover your hand with toilet paper before pulling the handle, or use your foot to push it down, if possible. Don't be afraid to use toilet paper for a makeshift seat cover - this may provide more worthwhile germ prevention than you'd expect. And perhaps most importantly, everyone should check to make sure a stall doesn't need a toilet paper refill before they commit themselves to using it. 

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We've said before that maximizing your bathroom decor needn't be an arduous process. In addition to the easy, low-hassle methods of making going to the bathroom and even nicer experience that we've already pointed to, a handful of other experts have shed some light on kicking the state of your bathroom up to the next level.

More than a dozen quick hints are included on StyleAtHome.com, and its ideas are geared towards individuals who'd like a bathroom that looks nicer, but don't want to leave a larger carbon footprint in the process. They're almost all straight forward: new mats and towels or wallpaper might at least provide for an overdue change of scenery. The same effect can be brought about by a fresh paint job or a new shower curtain for those who are pressed for time and money.

The source also offers some somewhat more specific advice. Maybe you're considering installing a whole new bathtub, but all that might be necessary to make it feel like new is a round of grout cleaner. In terms of painting, StyleAtHome.com says that the color of the ceilings should be significantly lighter than the walls. This creates an ambiance that feels more like being outside, which would be especially great for small bathrooms that might feel a little cramped otherwise.

Other objects around the house could help beautify the bathroom

RealSimple's advice could be called a little more "outside the box." The first thing on that source's list includes taking a spare nightstand and using it as storage in the bathroom. If you've got a bed sheet you're not using, consider turning it into a sink skirt. You don't see a lot of those around these days, but admittedly, a sink skirt could discourage children and pets from getting access to cleaning products stashed under the sink. It could even double as a large washcloth, if you're so inclined. Objects normally found around the kitchen could also find a second life in the bathroom. RealSimple points to sugar bowls as containers that could also be used for soap and might be more decorative than typical soap dishes.

Both sites point out that scented candles never hurt if you're trying to cover up odors or simply create a more therapeutic atmosphere in the bathroom. Like many other online resources, both RealSimple and StyleAtHome encourage readers to keep their toiletries organized.

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Celebrities in the bathroom
Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Many celebrities use their notoriety and fame to draw attention to pet causes. Pamela Anderson has spoken out for animal rights. George Clooney has visited third world countries to document the struggles of their citizens. And Matt Damon - star of Hollywood smashes such as "The Departed" and "Good Will Hunting" - has done more than his fair share of charity work.

However, with his newest pledge, meant as part of a campaign against the global epidemic of toilet shortages, Damon may have one-upped the commitment of every other celebrities' humanitarian efforts put together.

"Two point five billion people lack access to toilets or basic sanitation. More people have cell phones than have toilets," he noted  at a recent press conference. "In protest of this global tragedy, until this issue is resolved, until everyone has access to clean water and sanitation, I will not go to the bathroom." 

When Damon, co-founder of water.org, was pressed as to whether he is simply declining from using toilets or has worked out another method of disposing of his bodily waste, he responded to a member of the media, "You're the reporter. You do the math."

Damon is encouraging people who share his concern to also boycott going to the bathroom until the rest of the world can safely enjoy access to a toilet. Or, they can simply donate $25 to his organization, and the money will go towards installing toilets in at-risk areas.

Former president documents his bathtub time

But Matt Damon isn't the most famous, and certainly not most significant person whose bathroom habits made news in recent days.

According to the U.K. Telegraph, former U.S. President George W. Bush was the victim of email hackers last week. Among the private information that was stolen by a hacker going by the alias of "Guccifer" - digital shots of a series of self-portraits Bush has painted of himself in the bathtub and in the shower.

One painting shows Bush's bare back as he stands looking at himself in a small mirror while showering, and another depicts his legs and feet while soaking in the bathtub. Both are tasteful renderings.

Putting some perspective of the presidential prints, New Yorker art columnist Peter Schjeldahl speculated that Bush could have developed a particular fondness for going about his business in the bathroom during his two terms in office. Throughout those years, it was the only time he ever truly had to himself. While Schjeldahl feels generally positive about the paintings, he decided Bush should be called a "besider" artist instead of an outsider artist.   

 

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Why you should overhaul your bathroom decor, plus tips
Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Much has been said on this blog about how improving your bathroom decor will make using your bathroom - for obvious reasons, one of the most important spots in the house - more enjoyable. However, it's worth remembering that a more stylish and modern bathroom will also make the next person who considers buying your home more impressed. 

According to Remodeling's Cost vs. Value Report, more than 65 percent of the money spent on a medium-level bathroom remodel will be reimbursed by future buyers of your house. As House Logic points out in a roundabout way, sometimes you've got to spend money to make money down the road. However, the news source continually states that you don't have to break the bank to have a luxurious bathroom. Improvements that will enhance the overall value of your entire home in the future could be made with a comparatively reasonable upfront price, and a lot less labor than some people might assume. 

Key strategies for remodeling

House Logic has also published a fairly comprehensive list of advice for people considering undertaking a bathroom decor overhaul. After all, despite the many long term benefits of replacing an out-dated bathroom vanity with a modern bathroom vanity, that's not to say it's the easiest task in the world. 

The experts at that website advise against redoing the size and plumbing of a bathroom. While not everyone would agree with that statement, House Logic points out that refraining from changing the "guts" of your bathroom saves you lots of money that could be spent on aesthetics. Unless your toilet or shower isn't working properly, doesn't it make sense to focus on turning your bathroom into a prettier place to spend time? 

However, there are some practical aspects to a bathroom remodeling beyond superficiality. Making the most of the space available to you is important, states the source. It might help to map out how much space there is under the sink, and of course, to reduce any clutter that may be needlessly taking up room. Those going through with a remodeling should look into how light is affecting the atmosphere of the room, as well as how easily and freely air travels through. There's lots of reasons to make bathroom ventilation a priority, as it keeps the room from getting too steamy and full of mildew.   

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The iPad toilet paper stand is a thing that exists
Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013

Modern technology marches on, and the bathroom is by no means exempt from our mass stampede into the future. Innovations from Japan have put a novelty spin on next generation toilets. Some smartphone applications have made it possible to control your toilet remotely. Now, a toilet paper stand that will secure your iPad by your side while you do your business is on the market. 

CTA Digital - a Brooklyn-based multimedia accessories company - has unleashed its "pedestal stand with roll holder for iPad" onto an unsuspecting population. A simple metal stand with a toilet paper holder at its midpoint and an iPad-sized rack on top, the device should make it possible for individuals to see to all their emailing, gaming, researching and even video-chatting needs while they sit on the toilet. 

iPad toilet paper draws fire from naysayers, praise from fans

Some commentators have had less than flattering things to say about this innovation. Meanwhile, others are quite enthused and amused by the concept, and rightfully so. From a decor standpoint, the pedestal stand may add a certain tech-savvy aura to your bathroom, and impress visitors with your reverence for new media and technology. Also, it will give them a place to put their iPads. 

Not everyone feels that way, though. In a column titled "We're Doomed," Claire Lawton of the Phoenix New Times questioned how the iPad stand may impact the sanitation of the iPad itself. 

"Hopefully [the device] encourages the user to do a quick wipe or two before tapping around on the germ-ridden screen," she wrote. "No word on a solution to mending the inevitable demise of your current relationship, or your own ego after pot-video dialing an acquaintance on Skype, but for for $45, we're sure you'll find it's worth it."

Meanwhile, while noting that some means of disinfecting the screen would be handy, Gizmodo stated that practically everybody uses their mobile devices in the bathroom these days. Which means it's probably much more sanitary to keep your iPad at arms length, as opposed to sitting in your lap while your use the toilet. 

Product-Reviews.net echoes Gizmodo's sentiment, and points out that the same company has already produced the iPotty, which is designed to help youngsters enjoy the use of their iPads while they're toilet training. Contrary to the Phoenix New Times's concerns about device cleanliness, Product-Reviews notes that the iPad has replaced newspapers and magazines for many people who enjoy having some bathroom reading material. 

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Advice for washing your hands
Posted on Friday, February 8, 2013

Almost everyone knows that the hygienic thing to do after a visit to the bathroom is to give your hands a thorough soaking. Some of us may blow off washing our hands now and again - perhaps while in a hurry or when simply not paying close attention to our surroundings. But according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cleaning your hands in a bathroom vanity sink is far more important than some people might assume. In fact, the agency states that lives could be saved. 

The CDC explains that hand washing halts many contagious diseases from spreading in typical environments - including the home and workplace. It's also recommended that hand washing occur in many instances unrelated to the bathroom, such as before and after food preparation, eating, touching a sick person, treating a cut, changing diapers and touching an animal or garbage. If soap doesn't happen to be on hand, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer could do the trick so long as its at least 60 percent alcohol and hands are wet when the sanitizer is applied.

News source points to best hand washing methods

With consideration for the importance of keeping hands clean, especially during flu season, ABC News conducted a study of hand cleaning products commonly found in drug stores.

In a trial overseen by chief medical editor Richard Besser, M.D., to see whether a natural hand sanitizer got rid of as much E. Coli bacteria off participating hands as an alcohol-based product, the alcohol-based sanitizer was shown to be significantly more effective. The E . Coli used in the study was a strain of bacteria that wouldn't cause illness, reported the news source. 

Interestingly, anti-bacterial soap did away with about as much bacteria as regular soap. But it was found that 20 seconds of hand washing is necessary for any of these products to be truly effective. A five second rinse, the report states, won't be enough. 

Even astronauts make sure to wash their hands

If you need more evidence that smart people make a point to wash their hands, look no further than International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield, who demonstrated how he and his fellow space travelers wash their hands in zero gravity during a Q/A. As reported by Geek.com, astronauts are supplied with with bags of soapy water called "No Rise Body Bath." Quite unlike the experience of washing hands in a sink, the floating balls of water must be grabbed out of the air once they're squeezed out of the bag. 

 

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Cop leaves gun in bathroom and other stories
Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2013

Most of us can relate - we've all left a phone or an umbrella or another accessory on a public bathroom vanity now and again. One unfortunate, nearly 30-year veteran of Massachusetts law enforcement has been penalized for absent-mindedly leaving his gun behind after a trip to the loo. 

According to Fox News, Capt. John Rogers Jr. has been suspended for 20 days, denied 30 days pay, and must undergo training sessions about the correct way to handle weapons.

“He has always presented himself in a professional manner and is a well-respected law enforcement officer in the area,” Chief Michael Botieri of the Plymouth Police Department said in an announcement. "Capt. Rogers has taken full responsibility for his actions and has never been disciplined over his entire career. He also recognizes that his behavior warrants severe disciplinary action."

Officer.com reports that Capt. Rogers's revolver - which was dropped in a Wareham Court House bathroom - was lifted by someone who was in court that day. It was recovered two days after its disappearance. 

Bathroom ceiling thwarts escape plan

We don't address bathroom ceilings too often during our investigations into bathroom decor, but maybe we should. News sources are reporting that one bathroom ceiling in Detroit may have helped prevent an accused law breaker from fleeing capture.

NBC News reports that a police prisoner who was being kept at St. John Hospital inadvertently trapped himself in a wall during an attempt to break through the ceiling and escape. A spokesman from the hospital didn't tell the news source what the patient had been accused of or why he had been institutionalized, but assured reporters that he male was "quickly located and apprehended by law enforcement." 

Ribbon cutting celebration for new school bathrooms

In a story that was surprisingly widely reported a ribbon cutting party took place in commemoration of the opening of renovated bathrooms at a Brooklyn public school.

According to a feature story from an ABC News, the bathrooms at P.S. 124 Park Slope were way behind on already-paid-for renovations as recently as October. At that time, the girls' rooms lacked doors on the stalls. Since then, they've been updated with new sinks and toilets that are low enough to the ground for kids to use them easily, which didn't used to be the case.    

"It's like winning the lottery. It sure is. We're very happy to have these brand new bathrooms for the children," the school's principal Annabell Martinez told the news source. 

 

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Much ado about bubble baths
Posted on Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bubble baths aren't just for babies...or celebrities. Many people might even remember "Transformers" star Megan Fox enjoying a dip in a bubble-filled bathtub in a commercial that aired during the recent Super Bowl. But you don't have to be an infant or a movie star to relax and soak in a delightfully foamy cleansing. 

These days, there are other advantages to bubble baths aside from their stress-reducing abilities. Wisegeek.com points out that some bubble bath mixes on the market include herbal oils and aromas that may even improve skin health. AltiusDirectory even reminds us that, unofficially, January 8th is considered Bubble Bath Day every year. But really, any day could be Bubble Bath Day, and the source offers tips for maximizing your experience surrounded by bubbles. 

These include turning your phone off, lighting up some scented candles, using warm water and dimming the lights. These might be better tips for adults, though. Children, it's said, should have their favorite bathtub toys on hand. 

In addition - unlike showers - it's easy to take in your favorite type of entertainment while taking a bubble bath. Ever try reading in the shower? Of course not. But you can curl up with a favorite book in the bathtub the same way you might on a comfy chair. Some of the more expensive waterproof versions of television screens are designed to be watched in the bathtub, and there are plenty of waterproof music players for the same purpose.  

But when did people first begin pouring bubble bath mix into their tubs?

Bubble baths: the back story

An account documenting bubble bath history appears on Hub Pages. It explains that the origins of bubble baths began when bath salts came into fruition during the early 1900s. The development of certain chemicals - including saponins and surfactants - played an integral part in making bubble bath soap easy to mass produce. 

A more comprehensive history has been put together by the company Mr. Bubble, although its focused on the organization's own product. The Mr. Bubble mix was created by Harold Schafer in 1961, according to the source, and was originally a powder instead of the liquid product it's currently sold as. The intent was to make bubble baths within the financial means of most Americans, and to make it available at common retail department stores. Marketing bubble baths to children, in particular, was a novel idea at that time, states Mr. Bubble.   

 



 

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Public bathrooms for pets now exist in China
Posted on Monday, February 4, 2013

In a public policy move likely to raise a few eyebrows across the People's Republic of China, officials from the Luohu District in the city Shenzhen have decided to install public toilets for dogs, according to the Nanfang.com. Originally, the Chinese Shenzhen Special Zone Daily broke the story. 

The Huffington Post explains that the pet restrooms will be located near parks and sidewalks and consist of approximately 10 square feet of sand. The news source reports that 80 of these de-facto bathrooms have already been implemented, and there are talks of installing 1,000 more. 

These doggie bathrooms are being set up as part of a larger campaign to improve civility in Shenzhen. Fines will be levied to those who allow their canine companions to relieve themselves outside of the new bathrooms without cleaning up the mess. Several other "uncivilized" public actions will also result in a fine under the new set of regulations, including spitting, littering and smoking in officially designated non-smoking areas. 

Nanfang.com compiled a handful of reactions Shenzhen residents voiced on the web. One commentator wrote that dog owners - not the government - are to blame for the excessive amount of pet waste in the streets, because dog owners are "selfish and immoral." Contrasting that attitude, a GlobalPost reporter stationed in Hong Kong said these new laws and facilities are showing that "China is, as in many other respects, becoming like the developed world in its intense - and widespread - fondness for pets."

Bathroom decor for cats

While some people might second guess the practicality of public bathrooms for dogs - we imagine only the most well-behaved and trained pooches would know to use the specially designated area - many cat owners would agree that not enough attention is paid to bathroom decor for cats. Specifically - improving the luxury and appearance of the litter box. 

Perhaps the majority of cats will be satisfied with a plastic bin full of fresh, clean littler. But for those felines with more expensive taste, Apartment Therapy compiled a list of favorite fancy litter boxes. One called "The Pet Loo" is meant to recreate the sensation of walking around on grass, and includes a material that's designed to reduce the often unpleasant aroma of cat urine. Other littler boxes resemble ordinary pieces of furniture, and could seamlessly fit into the surrounding decor. 

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Historically significant bathtubs
Posted on Friday, February 1, 2013

Many bathtubs have notable places in the history of the world. No, really! Be it American history, rock music or science - when certain individuals took baths, the course of humanity's fate was altered in major ways.

Of course, what was once thought to be one of the most important bathtubs in American history can now be considered significant for completely different reasons.

H.L. Mencken's imaginary bathtub history

According to Legal Underground and a handful of other sources, infamous Baltimore newspaperman H.L. Mencken wrote a story in 1917 that pointed to Millard Fillmore's bathtub in the White House as the first tub to be installed in the nation. Other "facts" included in the story pertained to how bathtubs were slow to catch on in the U.S. due to doctors' worries about health risks. Of course, bathtubs were around before Fillmore, and no members of the medical community ever expressed any worries about taking a bath. 

"What the actual history of the bathtub may be I don't know," said Mencken many years later, according to LewRockwell.com. "Digging it out would be a dreadful job, and the result, after all that labor, would probably be a string of banalities."

The source continues to explain how Mencken deeply regretted writing the story, as bits and pieces of his completely made-up but entertaining history of the bathtub went on to appear in other newspapers, textbooks and academic research papers. 

Archimedes's epiphany

It could be said that we have bathtubs to thank for our ability to use science to measure volume. As the legend goes, one of the greatest thinkers to come out of Ancient Greece, Archimedes, noticed that when he stepped into his bathtub, the water rose in proportion to his size. Upon realizing he could use the displacement of water to determine volume, he mythically shouted "Eureka!"  According to MentalFloss.com, he went on to prove the emperor's crown was not made out of pure gold by comparing its volume to an object with a volume equal to the amount of pure gold the crown was purported to contain.

Navy ship helps out FDR

MentalFloss also re-documents an instance from 1943, when the 32nd U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, needed a navy battleship to give him a lift to conferences in Cairo, Egypt and Tehran. Navy battleships at the time did not have bathtubs installed, but one was put in specially for F.D.R. One of the worst kept national security secrets of that era was that the President had lost the use of his legs. Therefore, he needed a means to get clean other than taking a shower. 

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