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Bathroom decor tips for hippies
Posted on Friday, March 29, 2013

Not everyone phases out the cultural trends that were popular in their youth, and why would they want to? If you grew up in the late '60s or early '70s and you still hold true to the "hippie" values and lifestyle, perhaps you'd be inclined to make your bathroom decorative theme filled with tie dye and psychedelic patterns. You wouldn't be the first, as many examples of "hippie"-themed bathrooms appear throughout the internet.  

Some of these hippie bathrooms require a bit of a time an energy investment, while others are as simple as installing a new shower curtain or getting yourself some tie dye bath towels. 

Hippie bathroom accessories

There's a whole bunch of interesting hippie-themed accessories on various off-kilter sites offering quirky bathroom decorations. For example, one on VisionBending depicted a heavily-bearded hippie sitting in an Indian-style pose that encompasses almost the entire shower curtain. A similar product displays a massive smiley face wearing sunglasses with purple lenses and a flower next to its peaceful grin. 

The same can be said for Squiddo.com - which features numerous bathroom accessories including shower curtain and waste baskets. You don't necessarily have to have lived through the hippie movement to appreciate the message and visual aesthetic of a peace sign, after all. There are also tie dye towels on the site, if you enjoy a little visual stimulation when you're drying off after a shower.   

Full-scale bathroom hippie make overs

But if a simple accessory or two isn't going to satisfy you hunger for peace and love, Houzz.com offers some more substantially made over groovy bathrooms.

One that a caption describes as a "mud room" features wooden-themed decor, including a substantially-sized wooden basin, along with a wooden shower curtain, walls and bathroom vanity. At a glance, it almost looks like a bathroom from the Flintstones cartoon show, but it's natural ambiance recalls a camping trip where much granola was consumed and nature was gotten back in touch with. 

Meanwhile, the first bathroom on Houzz's list is probably the most in-keeping with the idea of being psychedelic. The wooden design of the bathroom vanity and sink has a little bit in common with the so-called "mud room" we just mentioned, but the color scheme in the mirror frame seems to fit the more traditional idea of being groovy. The blue and grey scheme of the shower stall is also visually engaging enough to evoke fun times had during Woodstock. 

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It's been said that healthy behaviors extend to all aspects of life. Of course, for better health, there's eating right and exercising regularly. But it's also a good possibility that many steps you can take during your regular bathroom use could reduce the chances of getting certain diseases. Here are a few of the easier potentially illness-preventing things you can do.

After you use the toilet, close the lid!

Multiple sources - including PopSugar Fitness and Fox News - note that flushing the toilet with the lid open may expel germs from the toilet into the surrounding air. So after you've done your business, make sure to drop the lid. This may also be a helpful step to take for men who don't always remember that making sure the seat is down is a considerate thing to do for the sake of any female members of the household. 

Reconsider where you're keeping your toothbrush

This tip is has also been plugged by FitSugar and and Fox, although it should be noted that it's not the best move for the purposes of keeping a bathroom organized. Both sources advise readers to store toothbrushes in your bathroom vanity instead of in a cup or other holder specifically designed for toothbrushes. It's stated that germs from the toilet may find their way onto toothbrushes if they're kept out in the open, which sounds pretty unsavory. 

Avoid drinking from the shower head

There's a good possibility you don't usually do this anyway, but FitSugar explains that tons of bacteria can be found in the water coming from a shower head, partially because the hot water heaters we have to thank for those cleansing, relaxing showers may also add some bacteria to your water. There's chlorine in the water that comes through many showers - so you probably don't need to worry about shower water harming your skin - but think twice before you drink it.  

Consider what to do with your shower curtain

It would seem that there's some conflict about the most healthful thing you can do with your shower curtain. FitSugar states that mildew and mold tends to gather in the shower, so keeping the curtain closed when you're inside the bathroom, especially if you're prone to asthma, might be a good decision. But Fox News says - for the same reason - the shower curtain should be kept open in order to air out the mildew. 

So, let's compromise and say if you're inside the bathroom, keep the curtain closed. On your way out, feel free to pull it open. 

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How to prank your friends in the bathroom
Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013

Perhaps you're just feeling a little bored and want to spice things up a bit with a good natured prank. Consider making use of your bathroom! While you might assume that bathroom-based pranks have to be overly gross or mean spirited, such is not the case. There are plenty of harmless but humorous ideas for bathroom-based pranks. 

Food coloring in the tank

Take for instance this joke imagined up by the folks at Prank Ideas Central. As the source notes, it would give anyone using a toilet a shock if, after relieving themselves, the tank cleaned the bowl out with what appeared to be blood. This one's an easy prank to set up, too - Simply fill a toilet tank with whatever food coloring you think will give your victim a good hearty fright. 

Colorful towel prank

This prank - also on the list compiled by Prank Ideas Central - works more-or-less along the same lines as the aforementioned one. If you have access to powdered food coloring, you're instructed to  cover a towel with dye of the same color. For example, pink dye should be applied to a pink towel. Then, when your victim gets out of the shower to dry themselves off, they'll find themselves suddenly turned a different color. 

Always room for Jell-O?

This is a weird but harmless prank recommended by LOLPranks - and it's recommended for office buildings, where there's a good possibly the toilets won't be used over the weekends. Simply wait until the end of a Friday when it's doubtful that the toilet will be used again for at least 24 hours, and pour several packets of Jell-O into the bowl. Mix the contents with whatever's available to use as a stick - we're thinking the handle end of a plunger - and cross your fingers the toilet remains untouched for at least 24 hours. 

The next person who has to relieve his or herself will discover that - you guessed it - the toilet is filled with Jell-O. 

Forced cosplay!

This one from Prank Ideas might be the most brutal we've listed thus far, but it's too funny not to include it. When a roommate is taking a shower, the prankster must sneak in, steal the victim's clothes and all the towels (leave the wash cloths), and replace them with a costume of some kind. The victim will be forced to wear the costume, and the prankster will have a great opportunity to take a picture of their hilariously attired friend moments later. 

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News source publicizes plant-based bathrooms
Posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bathroom decor isn't simply limited to utilities such as bathroom vanities and other objects that may serve mostly practical purposes, depending on the design. The website Care2 recently published a set of its favorite bathrooms that have been transformed with floral adornment. These bathrooms originally appeared in the news source Gardenista.

Taking a glance at the pictures, it appears there's a handful of different ways to go about adding plant life to a bathroom's atmosphere. The first picture on the site shows a large bathroom that appears to be in the center of some arboretum. The spaciousness of the bathroom that gives it an outdoor-like feel as much as the plant life itself. The designers of the third and fourth bathrooms Care2 displays seemed to take the opposite approach to adding plants to their bathrooms. The third one is practically packed with different varieties of plants, while the fourth goes as far as to hang a moss-like flora on the walls, in the manner of a picture. 

But a large bathroom isn't always necessary to make the best use of whatever plant life is available for decoration. The next bathroom on the source's list simply arranged green leaves around the mirror hanging above a modern-style bathroom sink. 

More ideas for setting up plants in the bathroom

There are benefits to keeping plants around apart from how they can make a room look prettier. Suite101 points out that plants can help keep carbon dioxide at low levels in a room, while adding to the amount of oxygen in the surrounding environment. 

Meanwhile, Houzz.com displays several other bathrooms that apply some creativity to the placement of plants around bathrooms. The first keeps its plant placement minimalistic - there's a pot of flowers on the rim of the bathtub, and tiny trees placed in the windows. There's also a greater variety of exotic plants scattered throughout Houzz's collection of bathroom pictures. The purple-flowered plant sitting on a bathroom vanity in a later picture looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, while the trees out of the window are an example of how floral decorations don't necessarily need to be inside a bathroom. As for the other pictures, they make it seem as though sometimes a single potted plant or flower can put the background of the bathroom over the top. 

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A few off-kilter bathroom themes
Posted on Monday, March 25, 2013

It takes different strokes to make the world turn, as the old saying goes. While some people presume decorating a bathroom can be somewhat of a chore, others have realized that any process that requires some creativity can be a good opportunity to channel their passions into.

Think about it - virtually anything a person is interested in could be incorporated into their bathroom decor. Take, for instance, some of the crazy bathrooms on display on Houzz.com. 

Beach-themed bathrooms

Fans of relaxing afternoons at the beach could consider giving their bathroom a beach theme. It's clearly been done before. On Houzz, there's a bathroom with a breezy, blue- and tan-colored pattern happening with the walls and accessories. One circular mirror hanging above a different bathroom vanity looks like it was made of sea shells, while the tiles in another bathroom depicted on the site have been colored in such a way that a giant fish appears to be looming over the vanity. 

Water-themed bathroom

This one might seem redundant - after all, every bathroom is water-themed, in the sense that water is incorporated into almost everything that happens therein. But if you find the image of flowing water, or simply the color light blue soothing to look at, you wouldn't be the first person to use water as an overarching theme for your bathroom. One room includes an "infinity tub" that appears to encompass the entire floor. Arguably, calling it an "infinity tub" could be a bit of an exaggeration, but nonetheless, it appears to be a profoundly relaxing place to take a bath. 

Subway bathrooms

On Walyou's list of crazy bathrooms, there are certainly some real doozies. Among these is one where the tile pattern is designed to look like a New York City subway map. However, the bathroom doesn't look much like the interior of most subway stations. While it depends greatly on what city you live in, a graffiti-themed bathroom on the site may reflect bathrooms you've encountered during subway trips more closely. It's not a "theme" exactly - it's more like the owners of the pub where this bathroom was found allowed their customers to scribble whatever they felt like on the walls. Such a bathroom might remind some of us of our younger years, when we weren't as concerned about keeping our bathrooms presentable. Luckily, these days we all have a much more refined definition of bathroom decor.

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Toilets aren't in the news that much. As intimate objects, there's only so much they're capable of doing that reporters and information aggregators would consider newsworthy. Nonetheless, these cornerstones of every great bathroom do occasionally find their way into the news.

Take for instances an essay recently published in the Orlando Sentinel. Staff photographer Gary W. Green wrote about an instance in which, shortly after the paper brought home an American Society of Newspaper Editor's Freedom Forum/ASNE Award for Distinguished Writing on Diversity award, he was sent on an assignment to photograph the Comfort House of Orlando - which specializes in portable toilets.

While he was initially a bit downtrodden about going from having a glamorous day to getting what he initially considered a less-than-favorable assignment, his attitude changed when he was struck with the visual versatility and surprising appeal of the port-o-johns. He ended up taking 400 pictures of toilets, and it seems like he might be quite proud of one shot in particular - a row of green portable toilets. He notes that he probably would've been too headstrong early in his career to appreciate the assignment, but it seems the beauty of toilets won him over.  

"Before I knew it, I was lost in a world of beautiful light, repeating patterns of toilets, reflecting water and mist, and all the access I could ever want with subjects oblivious to my presence," wrote Green, who also works as an editor and multimedia producer at the Sentinel.

Toilet accident leads to destruction of historic tree

Meanwhile in Maryland, the senseless destruction of a pair of portable toilets led to the equally senseless destruction of an 87-foot-tall oak Swamp White Oak - which the Baltimore Brew describes as a "Maryland Champion in its day." 

The source continues to explain that the mutual annihilation of the tree and the toilets occurred following a soccer game on August afternoon in 2010, and the details of the situation were explained in a blog called "Friends of Herring Run Parks." Apparently, after the soccer game, hot coals were thrown away into one of the portable toilets near the tree. In hindsight, this was a terrible idea. The coals combined with the substances in the toilets and created a substantial fire. By the time the local emergency workers could douse the flames, the nearby tree was too burnt up to be salvaged.

Let this be a lesson to all of us - It might be a bad idea to dispose of flammable objects in portable toilets. 

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Some fascinating toilet trivia
Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013

Let's face it - no one really seems to put enough thought into toilets. These fascinating devices have played a central role in the sanitation and daily lives of literally billions of people throughout the globe. Surely, there must be some interesting factoids out there surrounding the creation and evolution of these crucial devices. 

Behold - the Huffington Post put together one of its trademark lists - all dedicated to interesting facts about toilets. Perhaps it could allow us to better appreciate our toilets, and even provide some education about other aspects of world history. Here are some of the most interesting entries the source provides. 

The origin of the toilet brush

Right at the top of HuffPo's list is a curious fact about toilet brushes. As it turns out, they were originally made from materials that are typically used for very different purposes than scrubbing bowls. The plastic used for molding artificial Christmas trees was also applied for the fostering of toilet brushes.

Toilets = cleaner than you may imagine

In addition, the famous Myth Busters have applied their experimental wizardry to prove that toilets are, contrary to what you may imagine, one of the cleanest places in the bathroom. The seat in particular could be even cleaner than your shower. 

Germany lagged in toilet upgrades

It might not surprise you that Hitler, apparently, wasn't quite as concerned about sanitation in his country as his ramblings might indicate. According to Villeroy and Boch, many German homes throughout the 1950s still didn't have toilets. It wasn't until the nation started to recover from the significant damage done to the country by their erstwhile Nazi rulers in the 1960s that most German citizens started going to the bathroom in the same way as the rest of the industrialized world.

1.6 gallons needed per flush

Time magazine explains that in 1994, with concerns for preserving water and other natural resources throughout the U.S., the Energy Policy Act was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton. The source reports that among other provisions, the water use of standard toilets was cut to - 1.6 gallons - less than 50 percent of what it was before.  It took a little while for engineers - some of whom were based in Japan - to create the low-flow toilets necessary to keep bathrooms as clean as they used to be. 

As they've continued to change and improve throughout the ages, who's to say what might be next for toilets? 

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With video games being one of the biggest entertainment industries going these days, it's funny how we don't normally discuss what the best bathroom decor is out there for video game fanatics. Sure enough, a handful of news providers have found some of the most impressive video game-related bathroom designs from around the world. Here's our personal "best of" list from the lot of them. 

Super Mario-themed bathroom

Mental Floss wisely begins its compilation of video game bathrooms by pointing out that the age of video game nuts being shut-ins who live in their parents' basement is long over. Video games are in the mainstream these days, and even many homeowners are avid gamers. However, if they're old enough to afford their own house, odds are outstanding that their early memories of playing video games revolve around Mario, who is often thought of as one of the original video game heroes. The top bathrooms on the source's list includes a paint job on the wall of giant green pipes, with a toothed fly trap raising out to bite Mario, and there's also a tissue dispenser that looks like one of the power-up mushrooms Mario eats in the game. 

Classic Nintendo bathroom

Follow Mental Floss's link, and you'll find yourself on the Technabob blog with numerous pictures of Gregory Pinzone's elaborate celebration of old school Nintendo in his bathroom.  Above the bathroom vanity, the mirror frame depicts images from early Nintendo games like "Super Mario Bros." and "Donkey Kong" and the overhead light is set up to look like one of the glowing question mark boxes Mario would hit to gain gold coins. A massive rendering of a scene from "Pac-Man" adores the wall next to the door. Pinzone's bathroom is basically "Super Mario 3" in comparison to the first Mario-themed bathroom we talked about. It's the same general idea, taken to vast new places and ambitions.

"Tetris"

It might be a little easier to envision a "Tetris"-themed bathroom. After all, many bathrooms already have square and rectangular tiles along the floors or walls. In fact, there's a name for a specific type of colorful bathroom tile called - you guessed it - Tetris tiles. But some "Tetris" enthusiasts have taken the concept of fitting colorful blocks together to a whole new level. On Trendhunter as well as Mental Floss, a handful of "Tetris"-themed bathroom decor designs are on display. It's often used as a background for the shower and has sometimes been seen as a theme for the sink. 

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An alternate case is made for squat toilets
Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013

Although public health officials in Thailand recently went to work removing squat toilets from their country due to concerns about users developing arthritis in their knees, an article that has recently been published in Rocket News, curiously, makes the opposite argument for these devices. Or, at least for their continued use in Japan.

While the source explains that Japan is internationally known for technological advancements and novelty value when it comes to toilets, not everyone realizes that traditional squat toilets can still be seen frequently in Japanese homes. Instead of worrying that chronic squatting may have the same effect on legs that long periods of typing have on wrists, the source says that it is thought in Japan that squatting instead of sitting may offer health benefits. Supposedly, the squatting position is a more natural angle for the organs designed to evacuate waste from the body. Rocket News attributes the notion that squat toilets could lessen the odds of the user developing colon cancer to an Irish surgeon named Denis Burkitt. It cannot be surmised how Burkitt would respond to the actions and findings of Thai health officials, as multiple sources say that he passed away in 1993.

On an interesting note, Rocket News also explains that Japanese toilets and bathing areas aren't usually kept as closely together that they traditionally are in the U.S. This is thought to improve sanitation and efficiency.

The latest in Japanese toilet innovation

On the other end of the Japanese spectrum of toilets we find a new novelty toilet that's in the mold of a remote-controlled car. The company responsible has made no bones about their motivation for creating such an odd product. 

"Why? Because this is Japan. That's why!" the manufactures proudly proclaim.  

A follow-up report from CNet goes into greater detail. It notes that the "Remote Control Japanese Style Toilet" - not unlike previous innovations from the Land of the Rising Sun, including a toilet that doubles as a soccer goalie and another that resembled a motorcycle - isn't intended to be used in the same manner as a real toilet.

On the other hand, the source notes that it could be used for purposes like moving 8 oz cans of beverages from one side of a room to another, or to give dogs and cats something to play with. It just goes to show how bathroom decor and innovations can sometimes cross over into fun gags for party guests to wrap their heads around. 

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Some of the most insane sinks in existence
Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013

While it's easy to dismiss the sink as an installation that's only has practical implications, this is not always the case. Many bathroom decor designers have thought of new and interesting ideas for creative ways to redesign bathroom faucets. For instance, take some of the lists appearing on Kolher Sinks Reviews and Oddee, which are loaded with options a person interested in installing a zany sink could look to for inspiration. Or, even if you have no interest in replacing your sink, they're good for a little quick entertainment. 

We've put together a list of our favorites from the two lists. 

"Waterfall Sink"

Oddee provides some info on this sink, which is designed to look like it's overflowing all over the room. Considering that it's made by CBD Glass Studios, it might not be the wisest purchase if you've got little kids running around to worry about. Not to mention, it certainly demands some care. After all, if you had a sink this awesome, you'd certainly want to put some time into cleaning it.  

"Foglio Sink"

This one looks unabashedly cool. Oddee points to this sink, which almost resembles a large, slightly crumpled piece of paper, on its list of most interesting bathroom sinks. The source explains that it comes from the Brascor Countertops of Brazil Company, and is made out of a solid substance known as Corian, which is made exclusive by DuPont. 

"Roller Coaster Sink"

Kohler Sink Reviews looks at this Roller Coaster Sink as a potential problem for moms, as kids might see it as a possibility to race toys (or this may not be a problem!). However, it has practical applications as well. The water doesn't drain in the basin, but goes down a spiral path into a drain in the floor. This could make it less likely that the sink will ever clog. So there could be more to this "Roller Coaster" sink than just a wacky design.

"Toilet and sink combo"

The source points to this somewhat odd pairing, in which the sink is attached directly to the top of the toilet, as a more well-thought-out idea than the Roller Coaster sink. The sink review website stated that, this design makes it impossible to forget to wash your hands after you use the bathroom. While there may be some truth to that idea, you'd also have to be worried about hitting your head on the faucet if you sat down in too much of a hurry.

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Some of the sexiest showers in the world
Posted on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Virtually everyone has a different definition of "sexy," as one could surmise by taking a quick look at the varieties of showers that found their way onto the internet's various lists lists of sexy showers. Some people think the future is sexy. Others might have that same opinion about exotic locations. There are even individuals out there who consider historical reenactments sexy.

What does that mean for bathrooms? That shower panels find their way onto all sorts of stylish locales. 

Multi-head futuristic shower

Weburbanist points to a shower with numerous heads - so as to ensure that every inch of a person's body will get thoroughly clean - on its list of the most off-kilter showers it could find. It's called the "SilverTAG" shower unit, and it runs on computers. There's even a blast of water that shoots up directly under the user's feet. The source notes that Gizmodo has stated that it costs $100,000, and it looks like the experience of using it would be somewhat like taking a bath and a shower simultaneously. As far as it being "sexy," that might depend on how much an individual enjoys new technology and futuristic designs.

"Viceroy Anguilla"

Not surprisingly, Travel And Leisure focuses its list of sexy showers on those found in hotels. Near the top of the list, it places the "Viceroy Anguilla" shower design used at a huge resort on what the source calls a "sophisticated Caribbean island." The shower is located outside and is closed off from prying eyes by surrounding walls. While it certainly seems to belong on a list of sexy showers, there's something to be said for the fact that just about anything that happens during an expensive trip to the Caribbean will seem sexier than everyday things.

Rain-emulating shower

Meanwhile, the "RainSky" from WebUrbanists' list is designed to recreate the experience of taking a shower outdoors by making the stream of water falling on your head reflective of a deluge of raindrops. Not unlike the multi-head futuristic shower, the "sexiness" of this device depends on personal preference. If, for example, you like the idea of experiencing what it would be like to take a shower before modern bathrooms existed, this could be your kind of shower. After all, when cavemen got dirty, cleaning themselves in the rain might have seemed like a good change of pace from washing in whatever nearby river or lake they normally used. 

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Perhaps humans sometimes take gravity for granted. Sure, it's unfortunate that we can't all enjoy the pleasures of flight without the use of an airplane, but it's nice that we don't all fall off the earth and get sucked into space. Having plenty of gravity also makes it a lot easier to go to the bathroom. This raises the question of how do toilets work in space?

Recently, National Geographic blogged about an exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum, titled "Moving Beyond Earth," which is set up to educate the common man about how astronauts relieve themselves in space. The display cost $30 million to put together, and includes a $5000 replica of a toilet used in one of NASA's five space shuttles - Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery and Endeavor, according to the Smithsonian.

The source continues to explain that toilets have to be as "maintenance free" as possible during a space mission, as astronauts have more pressing matters to concentrate on. The toilets appear more-or-less similar to toilets commonly found in people's homes, except with a bigger base, smaller bowl and a tube for urination. Solid waste is compressed and ejected from the ship through the roof, while liquid waste gets sucked into the tube. Somewhat contrary to what a person may expect, women seem to generally have an easy time learning how to use the tube. 

The public's fascination with space toilets

Michael Hulsander, a staffer at the museum, explained that the reconcilability of toilets makes this exhibit especially popular among museum attendees. 

"It is truly universal," he told the source. "The first thing he thought when planning the exhibition was "oh my god, we need a toilet."

Tom Jones, an astronaut, also spoke to the Smithsonian about his experience with space toilets. He explained that it's impossible to "hold it" for more than two weeks, therefore the system needs to be as efficient and foolproof as possible. 

"You've got to be able to use the system. And you want to be efficient at it, because it takes time away from what you really should be doing," he told the information provider. He also shared an anecdote about a crew mate who mastered the art of zero gravity peeing, and preferred to urinate upside down. 

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Here's something you probably weren't aware of: So-called "squat" toilets in Thailand have been thought to cause arthritis in the knees from repeated and prolonged periods of time awkwardly squatting. Therefore, according to the International Business News Times, the nation's Public Health Ministry is getting plans together to remove the uncomfortable johns in favor of more conventional sit-down toilets

"Prolonged periods of squatting have been found to cause arthritis. It is hoped the new toilets will save a few more knees and boost tourism," a nameless source told the International Business Times. 

The source also explains that in the Ministry's estimation, more than six million Thailanders are suspected to have developed arthritis from using squat toilets, and all but 15 percent of Thai households still have the devices. The Tourism Authority of Thailand announced to the source that it thinks the new prevalence of sit-down toilets will boost the amount of vacationers by as much as six percent this year. However, amount of people enjoying downtime in Thailand has already made strides in recent years, as it jumped up to 22 million people - more than 15 percent higher than the the previous year - in 2012.

Indian students punished with janitorial duties

Meanwhile in India, one teacher and the primary administrator of a Mumbai school garnered themselves some unexpected attention from police officers after they allegedly forced a trio of students into a "chain gang" like situation and bathroom cleaning. For the crime of fighting in the classroom, three boys were sent to walk around while chained together and forced to clean the school's toilets, according to the news source PostNoon.

The source continues to explain that police learned of the incident when one of the children's fathers called them to complain. He said that he had, at first, attempted to get the school to take action on its own, but they brushed him off when he told them that parading students around in chains in order to set an example for the others was going too far.  

Dhananjay Kulkarni, the deputy commissioner of police told the source that his department registered a case against the parties thought to be responsible in accordance with the Juvenile Justice Act, however he wants to get the students' side of the story before taking the next steps. 

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No nonsense advice on redecorating a bathroom
Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013

There are plenty of wonderful reasons to update your bathroom decor. Perhaps you could just use a slight change of scenery to spice up your life, or maybe you're hoping to sell your home in a few years and want to upgrade the amount of money you can expect to make back. Then again, maybe you just like the idea of having a truly outstanding bathroom. 

But this leaves the question of what are the best ideas a person could use for a bathroom upgrade? Do improvements need to be as potentially time consuming as installing a new bathroom vanity? Or could simply purchasing new shower curtains or towels do the trick? Many experts have chimed in on the matter. 

New tiles

Both Elle Decor and Good Housekeeping advise readers to think about putting new tiles on the walls and floor of bathrooms both large and small. The latter source calls tiles "trendy" and notes that they're an easy way to add various colors to the room without being too overt about it. That isn't to say getting a color theme going with your bathroom accessories is necessarily a bad idea - but such a color scheme may be a little less subtle than tiles. Then again, subtlety isn't for everyone, especially when it comes to decor.

Rethink your shower

Some people don't necessarily put much thought into how their showers are designed, but there are plenty of interesting spins many experts have put on shower heads, as pointed out by Elle Decor. Decor professional Darryl Carter told the source about his fondness for "time honored" styles, such as European-style exposed showers. Another idea would be to implement a hand-held shower head. While it might be a bit more work to use, you'll also probably be able to aim it at areas of your body that may need a more precise cleaning. 

Bathtubs could also be more interesting

Decorative creativity for the shower also applies to bathtubs, as Elle Decor knows well. Specifically, the source displays a traditional claw-foot tub. Many people assume bathtubs and showers need to be one-in-the-same, but designs like the claw-foot tub are meant to be bathtubs alone, and placed in the center of the room when possible. Whether or not it's a convenient method of design is a matter of subjectivity, but an antique bathtub in the middle of the bathroom may surely add some class and panache to the scenery.  

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Bathroom decor never has to be boring - it can convey whatever aesthetic the homeowner decides.

Anyone who doubts that statement should check out a penthouse bathroom recently reported on by the U.K. Daily Mail. Just walking in, users will see a modern bathroom vanity, red tile on the walls, and the toilet. It all seems quite normal. That is, until they happen to glance down. Hopefully, someone warns them in advance that this particular bathroom was installed over an abandoned elevator shaft. Because the floor just so happens to be made out of glass, making for a vertigo-inducing trip to the bathroom for anyone afraid of heights.

"A characteristic feature of the project is that a volume that was originally intended for a second elevator, and was never installed, becomes a powder room with a glass floor that looks down all the 15 levels," said the architects, as quoted from the website ThisisColossal.com, according to the U.K. Mail. 

Some of the cutest bathrooms found on the web

However, many people might be more interested in making their bathroom charming, rather than let guests briefly think they're about to fall to their doom. The I Heart Shabby Chic blog compiled a fairly extensive collection of cute bathroom pictures, that could provide ideas for anyone seeking to add some adorableness to what's certainly one of their favorite rooms in their house.

The first picture has a rose-themed decor arrangement - with red and pink flowers used as patterns for the window curtains, a nearby bathrobe, floors and towels. For an addition of a little authenticity, a few actual flowers are on display on a nearby table. 

Live flowers actually show up quite often on the blogger's list of cute bathrooms, for reasons that don't take much mental fortitude to figure out. The image of flowers is often connected with romance, and what's cuter than romance?  

One of the source's most unusual picks is a bathroom with a purple decor theme. The standalone bathtub in the center of the room is purple and white, as are the towels and some of the flowers. It goes to show that sometimes, unconventional choices are the way to go when it comes to redesigning a bathroom. You would think that using as much purple as you could get away with would seem tacky, when in fact, this particular bathroom looks quite suave. 

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Bathroom history on display
Posted on Monday, March 11, 2013

While it's certainly on a much smaller scale than the massive Restroom Cultural Park in South Korea, an exhibit called "Behind Closed Doors - American Bathrooms Through the Ages" at the Blennerhassett Island Museum of Regional History in West Virginia is paying tribute to toilets

According to the Hurd Herald, the collection of historic johns will be on display through 2013, and a lecture series will be conducted by state park historian Ray Swick. Pictures included with the Herald article include a wooden chair with a hole drilled in the seat - designed for a child, judging by the painting of a happy bear decorating the back of the seat - and one toilet that more closely resembles a record player than what we've come to think of as a conventional toilet. 

However, instances of historic toilets and other common bathroom utilities being displayed in the same way as art or any other artifact aren't as rare as some people might assume. There's also the Plumbing Museum based in Watertown, Mass.  Arguably a bit more earnest in its tone than the Restroom Cultural Park, the more than 30-year-old site is intended as a tribute to engineers and plumbers, and all the advances those in these fields have made for sanitation and convenience through the ages. While it was situated in Worcester until 2008, the renovated museum is now located in the Boston suburb.

The Historic Bathrooms Society is a thing that exists

Turns out, there's a litany of people with interest in the rich history of plumbing and bathroom-oriented technology. Just look at the Historic Bathroom Society - an entire network of people who, according to the organization's website, document narratives revolving around "our nation (sic) greatest human waste facilities." 

Though apparently it only came into existence fairly recently, the website already contains a pair of articles from photographer and lavatory fanatic Michael Schwarz.  He reports on the Logan Country Museum, which contained numerous old time toilets. 

It just goes to show that there's reasons aside from sanitation and your own personal sense of comfort to maintaining your bathroom. For all you know, it could end up in a museum someday. So make sure to keep it clean, and update any utilities when they aren't working as well as they should be. 

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Hopefully it's never happened to you, but it's happened to many of us - after or during a relaxing trip to the toilet, an errant flick of the wrist or an accidental jostle of a pocket leads to a smartphone flying into the john. With so much of our lives and leisure connected to mobile devices, it's a real nightmare scenario. 

If you want to avoid this ever happening - or want to stop it from happening again - here are some tips to keep in mind.

Keep your smartphone away from the bathroom

While this may be the obvious way to dodge a smartphone-destroying bathroom incident, it may not be the most realistic. After all, many people enjoying using Twitter and e-mail while attending to their bathroom business, and it's hard to remember to take your smartphone out of your pocket every time you head to the loo. Nonetheless, the website Bleeping Technologies explains that smartphones should be kept out of the bathroom, even during showers due to the damage steam can potentially cause to electronic devices. As a recent list of smartphone-protection tips offered by CNN states in regards to bathroom-based smartphone usage - "just don't."

However, sometimes accidentally bringing your smartphone in the bathroom isn't such an easy mishap to avoid. Therefore...

Consider storing your smartphone in a jacket pocket or purse

Regardless of how your usual bathroom rituals work out - odds are, you don't tend to bring jackets or storage accessories such as purses into the bathroom. It would be hard to make a habit of taking your smartphone out of your pocket every time you head to the bathroom, but if you always keep it elsewhere anyway, this could help lessen the likelihood that your smartphone will ever fall victim to bathroom-based water damage. 

At least avoiding taking calls - especially business-oriented calls

If the threat of water damage isn't enough to stop your from using your smartphone in the bathroom, at least learn from the mistakes of CBS writer Steve Tobak. A few years ago, he wrote about a story in which he was engaged in a business call while on the john and accidentally grossed out a coworker by flushing - which gave away his location. 

But don't forget - if worse comes to worse - you can always submerge a wet smartphone in a bowl of dried rice after you've removed the battery. This is one method that's been proven to salvage water-damaged phones. 

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Best bathtub scenes in movies
Posted on Friday, March 8, 2013

While many of the most memorable bathtub-based scenes in film have learned a bit too heavily on subject matter that may not be particularly wholesome, others have either been exceptionally humorous, innovative or been points where the plots of classic movies underwent a pivotal turning point. It just goes to show that when it comes to time in the tub - anything can happen ... At least in the fictional world of cinema. 

"A Nightmare on Elm Street"

It's never a good idea to fall asleep in the bathtub, but this is especially true when you're being hunted by a homicidal ghost that attacks his victims in their dreams. Time magazine's list of the all-time favorite movie scenes that revolve around bathtubs includes the occasion in which the protagonist in the 1984 horror classic Nancy Thompson - portrayed by Heather Langenkamp - gets dragged underwater during a stress-relieving hot bath. The source explains that some inventive special effects were required for director Wes Craven to make the scene as scary he wanted it to be - a swimming pool was made to look like a bathtub. 

"Groundhog Day"

When he realized there was no apparent way out of having to live the same day over and over again into infinity, television reporter Phil Connors - played by Bill Murray - attempted to electrocute himself by dropping a toaster into a full bathtub. Of course Connors' plan to stop his February 2 from repeating, just like many others attempts throughout the course of the film, only leads to more hilarity. Film School Rejects tossed this scene from one of Murray's most acclaimed films on its compilation of bathtub scenes. 

"Scarface"

Not to be confused with a shower scene from the film, which we need not mention here, but Time magazine points to occasions in the 1983 landmark crime drama when Al Pacino's Tony Montana lounges in a bubble bath. Time explains that there was something about Montana's swagger that made virtually everything he did in the movie look tough, including lounging in a massive bubble bath. 

"Psycho"

Okay, technically Marion Crane's taking a shower in her iconic death scene at the hands of (spoiler alert) Norman Bates, but it's kind of hard to write a list such as this without acknowledging that perhaps one of the most memorable movie scenes of all time just-so-happened to include a bathtub in the background. 

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Some of the most extreme bathrooms known to man
Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013

When many people hear the word "extreme" they may think of risky sports like skateboarding, snowboarding and the devil-may-care attitudes associated with athletes who participate in these activities. However, a few local governments and businesses decided to apply that "extreme" mentality to designing their bathrooms. Reporters from the Travel Channel - globetrotters that they are - put together compilations of the most extreme bathrooms they could find from across the nation. Maybe if you're feeling daring, you could consider applying some of the bathroom accessories featured here to your own bathroom redesign.

San Fran's J.C. Decaux

According to TTC, these French-made portable public bathrooms take cleanliness, hygiene and disease prevention to the extreme. While pricey - San Francisco implemented 25 J.C. Decauxes for the same price that would've brought in 500 normal porta-potties - these innovative toilets clean themselves and come with a sink system that uses motion detectors to make sure no one has to touch a faucet handle to clean their hands.

A major downside of these toilets is the time limit. After 22 minutes, the door opens automatically. One doesn't have to think too hard to imagine a scenario where such a regulation could lead to extreme embarrassment for a user.

The bathrooms at the China Grill in Las Vegas

The so-called "Sin City" may be well known for flaunting all kinds of extreme tendencies, and the bathrooms at the China Grill on the Vegas Strip are no exception, notes TTC. The source describes the glass windows as "mysterious" for their ability to obscure what's going on inside the unisex facilities, and there's even the option of watching television while you go about your bathroom business.    

Environmentally friendly bathrooms at the Habana Outpost

For those who'd like to avoid leaving a substantial carbon footprint in any aspect of their daily lives, the Habana Outpost in New York City provides environmentally minded meals, and the same philosophy applies to the experience of using one of their bathrooms. Four thousand gallons of water a week are said to be conserved through its rainwater system for toilet flushing and sink usage. The source also explains that the bathroom serves a double function - as a functional greenhouse. Part of the goal of the bathroom - and the green atmosphere it encases - is to remind users that steps can be taken to protect the environment at virtually all times. 

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Bathroom decor for superheroes
Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Perhaps bathroom decor for Batman and the Hulk isn't exactly a practical line of thought - after all, they don't technically exist. But these days, when superhero films have become popular enough to make spandex-clad do-gooders celebrities in their own right, isn't it worth wondering what kind of bathroom decor would work for these iconic characters?

And we're not specifically talking about superhero-themed bathroom decor, because let's face it - the corporations that own the copyrights to most of the major superheroes have already merchandised everything that exists. Not that we're complaining. After all, it's nice to know that whenever we want to add a curtain with the Man of Steel's signature "S" emblem to our shower, we can do so.

We're thinking more along the lines of those presented in the Alternate Bathroom Blog, where the writer contemplates how his favorite heroes would go about redecorating his bathroom if they were assigned the task. Oddly, the writer comes to the conclusion that all his favorite characters wouldn't be as great at arranging a bathroom as they are at fighting crime. Batman, he supposes, would model a bathroom after the gloomy Batcave, Spider-Man would make a big webby mess of the room and Wolverine would just wreck the place. 

This leaves it up to us to answer the question - which superheroes would we put in charge of a bathroom remodeling?

Iron Man

Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark isn't just a guy in a metal suit - he's a master engineer who puts a futuristic spin on everything he creates. If Iron Man had a shot at redesigning a bathroom, he'd surely use his genius to turn it into a ultra hi-tech lavatory of convenience, beyond the imaginations of even the most successful Japanese novelty inventors. Ever wonder what it would be like to fight crime, do your taxes and take a bath all at the same time? Iron Man could probably figure out a way to arrange that.

Magneto

While not usually a hero, the X-Men's arch nemesis decides to be a good guy every once in a while, so we can include him on this list. While it's hard to say whether he has any knack for design, he is the master of magnetism, which makes him a handy guy to have around if you're working on any project that involves metal. Having trouble arranging that sleek, steel modern bathroom vanity just the right way? Magneto's your man.

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Building a toilet after a disaster
Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We've all thought about it - if ever there was some massive-scale catastrophe in our communities, such as a natural disaster or perhaps even a zombie apocalypse, what would we do about a toilet if the plumbing shut down along with the rest of society's infrastructure? Never fear - a few forward-thinking sources have already put together lists of suggestions for building an emergency toilet.

The Salt Lake City-based Desert News noted that in a disaster situation, sanitation may be as crucial to an individual's survival as anything else. Therefore, in case an earthquake or other event destroys the functionality of area plumbing, the source explains that a five-gallon bucket and plastic toilet seat are the first two things a person needs for the construction of an emergency toilet. Other items on the checklist include boxes of eight-gallon garbage bags, cat litter, hand disinfecting products and, of course, toilet paper. The garbage bags are meant to line the inside of the bucket, and should be thrown away after more than a few uses. A little bit of litter should be poured into the bucket after each use to cover up the odor that's bound to be unpleasant after not too long.

Additional advice for emergency toilet use

Disaster Stuff's instructions for putting an emergency toilet together don't diverge too much from the former source's. But it does provide some more specific tips on how to use the DIY john safely with regards to cleanliness. For instance, the garbage bag lining the inside of the bucket should never be allowed to fill more than halfway. It also instructs readers to use lime - the calcium-oxide compound, not the fruit - instead of kitty litter. The pet product might cut down on the smell, but lime will actually dissolve the waste, as it is known to do to other organic matter. Just be sure to wear gloves in this post-disaster scenario.

As for disposal of an emergency toilet bag, it should be buried in a hole that's at least a foot and a half deep. The location of this hole should be at least 50 feet away from where anyone is currently living, water supplies, any type of food supplies and any areas known to be populated by animals. After the bag is in the ground and covered with dirt, some form of marker should be used so any passersby know to keep a safe distance. 

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While some people looking to improve the ambiance of their bathroom may decide to invest in a new bathroom vanity, others might think that a simple organizational change up may be the best path to take. For example, Jennifer Burnham of South Park Magazine recently published her personal set of tips for how she goes about organizing her bathroom "by function and then letting the style follow suit." She recommends keeping a tally of what is generally done in the bathroom - showering, hair drying and teeth brushing for instance - as well as what kinds of things need to be stored in the bathroom. These may vary from person to person. Bald people, for example, won't have to worry about shampoo storage or other necessities related to hair.

After that, individuals should consider ways in which these things could be made easier and storage more efficient.  She encourages making the best use of wall space - presumably by installing towel hangers and shelving - and focusing efforts on arranging cabinets and drawers with an eye towards maximizing efficiency. 

Making pragmatic bathroom decor decisions

Meanwhile, a piece appearing in the Wisconsin-based La Crosse Tribune recommends keeping practical matters in mind when redoing a bathroom. For instance, the source notes that even web personality Nicole Curtis, noted for her interest in renovating historic houses, emphasizes the necessity of making sure that plumbing and other ground floor basics are up to code. 

Practicality could be even more important for individuals who are getting up in years, according to an expert the news source spoke with. 

"Most homeowners prefer to stay in their home as they age," Miles Wilkins, owner of Board Store Home Improvements, told the news source. "The bathroom is often one of the areas of difficulty as people struggle getting in and out of an old tub and/or getting up and down if they prefer bathing to a shower."

While the source recommends installing walk-in showers, other steps people getting on in years could take to make their bathrooms safer include planting safety rails along the walls of the shower, and even in the rest of the bathroom. Mats can help, too, since tiles may become slippery when wet. While bathroom mats require more frequent cleaning, they could still be a means to help prevent falls. 

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