Archive for the ‘Blogfests’ Category

Service of Bathroom Blogfests Revisited

Monday, October 29th, 2012

blogfest-2012-tiles-sm-01

I’ve joined the Bathroom Blogfest again–this is my fourth year for the event that’s in its seventh. Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now LLC, is directing it as always and asks that we list the blogs of all the other participants so you can see additional interpretations of this year’s theme, “Still Climbing Out.” There are 19 of us this year, listed below the post.

Regardless of economy, nobody wants to climb out and dust themselves off from a disastrous bathroom remodeling experience and according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, [NKBA] there are more bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects than any other and since 2009, more bathrooms go under the knife than kitchens.

Before launching such a project, the first place I’d look is Google under “mistakes in bathroom remodeling.” Even if the information is self-serving, written by or for a remodeler or manufacturer, there is often valuable information there.

Based on common mistakes, the servicealley website suggested such things as to treat a bathroom remodel like your body [my words]-select a specialist contractor, not a generalist; make sure finishes and fixtures match; take care where you cut corners or you’ll end up paying plenty for cut-rate decisions; don’t install tile in a shower to the ceiling; put your money in the right underlayment, backer boards, sealant and hardware; replace shutoff valves; use a licensed plumber and invest in a bathroom designer.

Looking at results of the NKBA 2012 survey, my advice is not to fall blindly for trends. I was taken aback to learn that medicine cabinets are making a comeback.

Comeback? Where and why did they go? How could such an essential part of a bathroom, regardless of size, have been replaced by decorative wall mirrors?

According to the NKBA press release highlighting results, “However, as homeowners look for more efficient use of space, most designers are now turning toward medicine cabinets as an effective way to gain additional storage without having to increase the footprint of a room, attenuating the need for separate shelving, cabinetry, or other storage options.”

The “NKBA Reveals Top Kitchen & Bath Trends for 2012” Remodeling Market Index continues: “After being specified by 43% of NKBA member bathroom designers leading into 2010, medicine cabinets dropped to 36% last year. However, as we enter 2012, some 66% have recently incorporated a medicine cabinet into a bathroom remodel.” Spend all that money on everything else and skimp on the medicine cabinet?

I’m a fan of interior designers and always have been and hire them myself. But I don’t admire despot designers of any kind, whether of hair style or fashion or home fashion. The one way my way types exist in all industries including healthcare, diet advice, politics, PR and marketing-you name it.

I feel sorry for home and apartment owners who are bamboozled into bad decisions that will affect their lives and comfort, the look and function of their home because they think that they must bend to the advisor and to fashion. Have you seen or read about similar examples in bathroom design or in other aspects of life?

Name Twitter Username Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott susanabbott theIdeaStudio www.theideastudio.ca
Laurence Borel blogtillyoudrop blog till you drop www.laurenceborel.com
Bill Buyok AventeTile Avente Tile Talk http://www.aventetiletalk.com/
Jeanne Byington jmbyington The Importance of Earnest Service blog.jmbyington.com
Nora DePalma steamtherapy The Mr. Steam SteamTherapy Blog http://blog.mrsteam.com/
Mr. Steam noradepalma OR-DP POV www.oreilly-depalma.com/blog
Stacy Garcia kbtribechat kbtribe http://kbtribe.wordpress.com
Diane Kazan dkazan Public Bathroom Blog http://thekazan.blogspot.com
Arpi Nalbandian Arpi_Nalb Avente Tile Talk http://www.aventetiletalk.com/
Victoria & Shelley Redshaw & Pond scarletopus Scarlet Opus Trends Blog www.scarletopus.com
Sandy Renshaw sandyrenshaw Purple Wren purplewren.com
Bruce D. Sanders rimtailing RIMtailing http://rimtailing.blogspot.com/
Paige Smith none Tile tips from installation professionals http://neusetile.wordpress.com/
Todd Vendituoli TALV58 Thebuildingblox http://www.thebuildingblox.com/
Shannon Vogel cyswebsites From the Floors Up http://fromthefloorsup.com
CB Whittemore cbwhittemore Content Talks Business Blog http://simplemarketingnow.com/content-talks-business-blog/
Irene Williams crossvilleinc Elevate Your Space http://elevateyourspace.wordpress.com/
Linda Wright skiptotheloo Skip to the Loo! http://lindaloo.com/

Service of Climbing Out

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

buscarellobluebathoct20111

This is my third year participating in the Bathroom Blogfest which Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now LLC, directs. I list the blogs of all the other bloggers below, should you want to see additional interpretations of this year’s theme, “Climbing Out.” There are 33 this year!

“I’m climbing out of natural stone,” said New York interior designer John Buscarello, ASID. Interior Design magazine named him a kitchen and bath design leader. “This change of heart has nothing to do with economics. It’s practical. And it doesn’t apply to every stone. However, in the wettest parts of a bathroom, some stone doesn’t hold up well,” said Buscarello.

“In its place, I select porcelains and tiles new to the market that are light-years advanced, often more moderately priced than stone and as maintenance free as you can get,” added Buscarello, photos of whose work have appeared in The New York Times, House Beautiful and Country Living, to name a few venues.

Buscarello’s clients don’t restrict him to their baths and kitchens. He designs entire houses. He observes, “If someone hires me it’s not to have a beige apartment or house.” He combines colors creatively, like a skilled artist.

He subscribes to a five year rule: The test of both a well-designed space and a good interior designer is what a room or home looks like after five years.

buscarelloblueceilingFor those who find themselves climbing walls, for whatever reason, they’ll discover a surprise when they reach Buscarello’s ceilings. “I like to throw color on a ceiling–it’s an unused part of every room. In a bathroom with blue glass walls, I used a hint of yellow. A kitchen I designed with a porcelain floor that simulates slate has a gold ceiling. In the sitting area [Right] I chose blue. But you have to know what you’re doing,” he warns. “A green ceiling with white tile walls will make the tiles look green.”

John Buscarello designed all the interiors. Following are his answers to my questions.

Why is natural stone hard to live with on a bathroom floor?

Some characteristics of natural stone help disguise wear and dirt but because stone also has some degree of porosity, if there’s lots of iron in the water, you’ll get iron stains. Sprays, creams and other products you use in a bathroom can also etch and wear the surface. No matter what stone you use, within a given amount of time, normal wear and tear will have some effect on the patina. This wear is not bad: Europeans are more used to the look of aged stone and understand and accept how it looks over time, but most Americans interpret the effect as old and worn out.

In fact, I have dark stone in my bathroom that’s etching and driving me insane and I’m used to a distressed, worn look. So I’m moving away from specifying stone for bathroom and kitchen floors.

What about marble?

buscarellowhitebathroomI joined the luxury of Thassos marble on the bathroom walls with the durability of porcelain tile for the bathroom and shower floors [Left]. I like mixing elements, especially for a white-on-white effect. Further, walls don’t get the same kind of abuse that floors do.

I incorporated glass tile for the shower walls because it’s easier to maintain and marble, like stone, can stain.

What do you use to achieve the still-fashionable natural look?

Porcelain tile. Ten years ago porcelain tile looked generic. You’d see it dress the floor of a building lobby. Engineers have since learned how to re-fire the porcelain to make great surface textures. Porcelain wears like thick glass.

Five years ago, for the bath [Rightbuscarello5yrsago], I would have had to select Jerusalem stone or limestone. You see all porcelain tile.

In addition, porcelain tiles are made large, requiring less grout.

Is less grout a good thing?

With fewer lines you get a clean, modern look [Below, Left]. And there’s the maintenance issue. Newer grouts tend to wear a bit less as they contain polymer that adds density and they dry faster and are more durable. These grouts come in a wider choice of colors as well. Note: While easier to maintain, the polymer grout is harder to install than the traditional kind.

buscarellofewerlinesDo you match grout to tile color?

Contrasting the color of grout with tile is dated.

Install the wrong color grout and you’ll dramatically change the look of the tile so it’s best to test some samples.

Decorating tips for small bathrooms so clients don’t climb the walls

A small bathroom is like a jewel. Design it beautifully and don’t worry about its size because you’re most likely not going to change it. Use striking textures in interesting ways and surround yourself with colors you like. The tiles in the powder room, [Below, Right], are leather.

The concept that you must have a bathtub in a new or remodeled bathroombuscarelloleathertile is going out. Those who only use showers save space by eliminating the tub. I’ve noticed that people are moving away from tubs in any case. It’s easy to turn a standard shower into a steam shower and I do this quite frequently.

City Mouse vs. Country Mouse

Apart from style, which might be more sophisticated and contemporary in a city apartment, including geometric, linear patterns, where curlicues or florals might be more at home in the country, I think of location, lifestyle and wear and tear when specifying especially a floor.

Natural stone will react the same way anywhere. In the suburbs in winter, homeowners drive into a garage and walk into a kitchen or bathroom with clean boots, whereas in an apartment, a person can carry salt from the street into these rooms. This fact affects what surface I’ll recommend for a floor.

Do you have a question for one of America’s top interior designers? Have you regretted a remodeling, building or decorating decision because it didn’t pass John Buscarellos’ five year test? Are you a bathtub or shower person? If you could, would you climb out of your bathroom into a different one and what would you change?

bathroomblogfest_2011

Name Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott Customer Experience Crossroads http://www.customercrossroads.com/customercrossroads/
Paul Anater Kitchen and Residential Design http://www.kitchenandresidentialdesign.com
Shannon Bilby From the Floors Up http://fromthefloorsup.com/
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing http://bloombergmarketing.blogs.com/bloomberg_marketing/
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drop http://www.laurenceborel.com/
Bill Buyok Avente Tile Talk http://tiletalk.blogspot.com
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Service https://blog.jmbyington.com/
Becky Carroll Customers Rock! http://customersrock.net
Katie Clark Practical Katie http://practicalkatie.blogspot.com/
Nora DePalma O’Reilly DePalma: The Blog http://www.oreilly-depalma.com/blog/
Paul Friederichsen The BrandBiz Blog http://brandbizblog.com/
Tish Grier The Constant Observer http://spap-oop.blogspot.com/
Elizabeth Hise Flooring The Consumer http://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com
Emily Hooper Floor Covering News Blog http://www.fcnews.net/category/blog/
Diane Kazan Urban Design Renovation http://blog.urbandesignrenovation.com
Joseph Michelli Dr. Joseph Michelli’s Blog http://www.josephmichelli.com/blog
Veronika Miller Modenus Blog http://www.modenus.com/blog
Arpi Nalbandian Tile Magazine Editors’ Blog http://www.tilemagonline.com/Articles/Blog_Nalbandian
David Polinchock Polinchock’s Ponderings http://blog.polinchock.com/
Professor Toilet American Standard’s Professor Toilet http://www.professortoilet.com
David Reich my 2 cents http://reichcomm.typepad.com
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Blog http://www.trendsblog.co.uk
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wren http://www.PurpleWren.com
Bethany Richmond Carpet and Rug Institute Blog http://www.carpet-and-rug-institute-blog.com/
Bruce D. Sanders RIMtailing http://www.rimtailing.blogspot.com
Paige Smith Neuse Tile Service blog http://neusetile.wordpress.com/
Stephanie Weaver Experienceology http://experienceology.blogspot.com/
Christine B. Whittemore Content Talks Business Blog http://simplemarketingnow.com/content-talks-business-blog/
Christine B. Whittemore Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog http://smokerise-nj.blogspot.com/
Christine B. Whittemore Simple Marketing Blog http://www.simplemarketingblog.com/
Ted Whittemore Working Computers http://www.kinneloncomputers.com/
Chris Woelfel Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co. http://www.artcraftgmt.com
Patty Woodland Broken Teepee http://www.brokenteepee.com/
Denise Lee Yohn brand as business bites http://deniseleeyohn.com/bites/

Service of Nostalgia

Monday, October 25th, 2010

bathblogfest-2010-madmen-logo-v3This is my second year to join this blogfest which Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now LLC, directs.

I list Christine’s blogs and those of all the other bloggers below, should you want to see a smattering of takes on the topic and to meet some super bloggers.

The theme for this year’s participants in the Bathroom Blogfest “Still Stuck in the 60s?” is inspired by Mad Men. So the second thing I did after determining my approach was to Google “1960s bathrooms” figuring I’d not find much given that some 50 years have passed. I was surprised to see so many entries about remodeling ideas for 1960s bathrooms. Either buyers through the years have loved pink ceramic tile or they didn’t have the money to remodel or didn’t know how to go about it…….who knows.

Something else was clear: I found this information in a snap when goodness knows  how long it would have taken anyone in 1960 to learn much about bathroom design in 1910.

Chances are Don Draper and Pete Campbell, two of the Mad Men characters, would have  lined up in the morning to take a turn in the bathroom as houses and apartments had fewer of them then. The New York Times, October 22, featured a New Jersey modern classic that was listed as one of America’s 10 best in the 1960s and it had four bedrooms and two baths in 1,200 square feet on 10 acres.

According to the Kohler color timeline, the 1960s “was a decade of rule-breaking styles and colors. It was a time of rebellion as men burned draft cards and the sexual revolution was in full swing. Hot pink, day-glo orange, and acid green broke with conventions for color in dress and home decor. With its introduction of vivid accent colors – Blueberry, Citron, Antique Red, Coppertone, Expresso, and Jade – Kohler captured the energy of the times.”

On to more of my interpretation of the blogfest.

Richard & Greg from Hudson Home, www.hudson-home.com, a stunning shop and  interior design business in the Columbia County, NY located in midtown Hudson, listed some excellent tips in “Simple Changes for Your Bath,” most of which I agree with.

I’ve commented in green where I don’t or when I want to add something and when I can, I give a nod to the 60s in pink.

De-clutter – This sounds obvious, but it’s true. If you’re like most people you have a collection of products you no longer use; half empty bottles of shampoo, conditioner and hotel soaps. If you haven’t used it in a month then toss it out. I think a month is hasty. I’d make it a year. Some people like to change shampoos so they might have a few open at once and given the huge sizes available, why waste? Bathrooms in the 1960s were tiny in comparison with the spa-sized spaces in today’s leftover McMansions so being tidy was even more essential 50 years ago. Modest sized bathrooms today often have two sinks and a separate shower and bathtub.

homeforblogfest-007Paint – A fresh coat of paint can brighten a tired looking room like nothing else. Since the bath is usually a relatively small space it’s hard to go wrong. If you really hate the color when you’re done just repaint. We painted one bathroom a succulent, saturated orange. It cheers on the dreariest, gray day. But what about wallpaper, a product I represented for eons? It’s no longer as popular as it was in the 1960s and could be a lifesaver if you buy a house with horrendous bathroom tile colors and/or fixtures and you don’t want to live through the remodeling mess. To distract from the tile color, pick a busy, multi-colored wallpaper pattern where only the tiniest accent picks up the tile’s hue. Voila!

Scent – Scent is powerful and transformative. It can bring back fond memories, help melt away the stresses of the day and transport us to a better place. Stickwith scents that are light and fresh; lemon verbena, lavender and rosemary are all good choices. Buy the best quality scented candles, bath oil, potpourri or air essences you can afford. The better brands use pure essential oils, they cost more but the fragrances are truer and they last longer. Verbena is my favorite, but some people get tremendous headaches from scented candles so take care. A splash of a perfume from a sample [I may not care to wear] shaken into running bath water also works. We’ve gone nuts with scents in my opinion though I bet the Mad Men and their entourage would have adored it especially if they’d thought of it.

Towels. In the living room we tell people “invest in good upholstery”. In the bath, “invest in good towels”. If you’ve never had Egyptian cotton towels before you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Good quality towels get softer with each laundering and will last for years. You’ll thank yourself every time you use them. Anything would last longer than the bargain towels I buy. The edges begin to unravel in record time. Bet the Made in America cotton towels of the ’60s at all price points lasted too.

Shower curtain. After the walls, the shower curtain is usually the largest block of color in the room. This is a good place to add a splash of color or pattern to the room. Custom shower curtains can be made with just a few yards of fabric. Add a contrast border for added interest. Outdoor fabrics are especially well suited for this purpose. People weren’t so germ-phobic in the 1960s as they are now. Some prefer fixed shower stalls because of the potential of mold in plastic shower curtain linings so best change these frequently.

homeforblogfest-003Mirror and sconces. This is a good place to update an otherwise dated looking space. Find a mirror with an interesting frame and add some good lighting. Bad lighting is a sure way to make a bath depressing; good lighting will brighten and open up a space. While you’re at it, put the lights on a dimmer switch so you can adjust the light; bright light for hair and make up; soft light for a relaxing bath. To enhance the walls, along with sconces and a mirror noted in the subheading, I’d add decorative plates and objects that aren’t bothered by humidity. I don’t think much wall decorating went on in most bathrooms in the Mad Men era if only because there wasn’t much empty wall space given the small sized rooms. Further, my bet is that wall tile covered a lot of each wall making it hard to hang things. Today, plasterboard helps keep the price down and achieves a less shiny look.

Richard and Greg conclude: So as you can see, there are many simple changes you can make to transform your bath. Look through books and magazines for color and style inspiration and go from there. You’ll be surprised at what big difference small changes can make.

What would you add to Richard and Greg’s bathroom sprucing tips? Do you watch Mad Men? What would their ideal bathroom look like?

Blogger Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott Customer Experience Crossroads http://www.customercrossroads.com/customercrossroads/
Paul Anater Kitchen and Residential Design http://www.KitchenAndResidentialDesign.com
Shannon Bilby Big Bob’s Outlet http://blog.bigbobsoutlet.com/
Shannon Bilby Carpets N More Blog http://blog.carpetsnmore.com/
Shannon Bilby Dolphin Carpet Blog http://blog.dolphincarpet.com/
Shannon Bilby From The Floors Up http://fromthefloorsup.com/
Shannon Bilby My Big Bob’s Blog http://blog.mybigbobs.com/
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing http://bloombergmarketing.blogs.com/bloomberg_marketing/
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drop http://www.laurenceborel.com/
Bill Buyok Avente Tile Talk Blog http://tiletalk.blogspot.com/
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Service https://blog.jmbyington.com/
Becky Carroll Customers Rock! http://customersrock.net/
Marianna Chapman Results Revolution http://www.resultsrevolution.com
Katie Clark Practial Katie http://practicalkatie.blogspot.com/
Nora DePalma American Standard’s Professor Toilet http://www.professortoilet.com/
Nora DePalma O’Reilly DePalma: The Blog http://www.oreilly-depalma.com/blog/
Leigh Durst LivePath Experience Architect Weblog http://livepath.blogspot.com/
Valerie Fritz The AwarepointBlog http://www.awarepointblog.com/
Iris Garrott Checking In and Checking Out http://circulating.wordpress.com/
Tish Grier The Constant Observer http://spap-oop.blogspot.com
Renee LeCroy Your Fifth Wall http://yourfifthwall.com/
Joseph Michelli Dr. Joseph Michelli’s Blog www.josephmichelli.com/blog
Veronika Miller Modenus Blog http://www.modenus.com/blog
Arpi Nalbandian TILE Magazine Editor Blog http://www.tilemagonline.com/Articles/Blog_Nalbandian
Maria Palma People 2 People Service http://www.people2peopleservice.com/
Reshma Bachwani Paritosh The Qualitative Research Blog http://www.onqualitativeresearch.blogspot.com/
David Polinchock Polinchock’s Ponderings http://blog.polinchock.com/
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Blog http://trendsblog.co.uk/
David Reich My 2 Cents http://reichcomm.typepad.com/my_weblog/
Sandy Renshaw Around Des Moines http://www.arounddesmoines.com/
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wren http://www.purplewren.com/
Bethany Richmond Carpet and Rug Institute Blog http://www.carpet-and-rug-institute-blog.com/
Bruce Sanders RIMtailing Blog http://rimtailing.blogspot.com/
Steve Tokar Please Be Seated http://stevetokar.wordpress.com/
Carolyn Townes Becoming a Woman of Purpose http://spiritwomen.blogspot.com/
Stephanie Weaver Experienceology http://experienceology.blogspot.com/
Christine B. Whittemore Flooring The Consumer http://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com/
Christine B. Whittemore Simple Marketing Blog http://www.simplemarketingblog.com/
Christine & Ted Whittemore Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog http://smokerise-nj.blogspot.com/
Christine B. Whittemore The Carpetology Blog http://carpetology.blogspot.com/
Linda Wright LindaLoo Build Business With Better Bathrooms http://lindaloo.com/

Service of Market Research

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

For our third and last post in conjunction with the 2009 Bathroom Blogfest, we asked 15 people [16 if you count me] to respond to this question: If you could change one thing in your bathroom, what would it be?

Some asked if the change should be big or small, but for the most part, people replied off the cuff and without hesitation.

The largest number of responses–four–wanted a larger bathroom. One snuck in two additional druthers, saying that his was a run-on sentence. In addition to a bigger bathroom, he also wanted twin sinks and a Jacuzzi. Might we extrapolate from this that men think big? Hmmm.

One woman skirted the issue of big when she wished for more room between the door and the sink. She said that now, anything behind the door gets in the way. [In a NYC bathroom, behind the door space can be an important spot for towels, bathrobes and the like.]

The second largest number of respondents–three women–had issues with their vanities. One wanted to upgrade the top of hers from the budget beige version chosen 20 years ago when she and her husband bought their weekend house to something more interesting and attractive. A second wished to change out the 1980s style lights on her vanity for contemporary fixtures and a third hoped for a sink in a vanity, to add storage space, instead of the pedestal sink she has.

Double counting the last answer regarding a vanity gives “more storage space” two respondents–both women.

Three responses involved dreams of new plumbing fixtures–a deeper sink “so that water doesn’t splash all over the bathroom and an aesthetically pleasing one;” a deep-dish bathtub and a giant shower enclosure to take the place of the old fashioned tub-with-shower-coming-out-of-the-wall system currently in place.

Two wished for different tiles. One wanted a more conservative tile because she’d bought a bathroom’s worth based on a small sample and when surrounded by the design-in-full, the effect overwhelmed her. Lesson learned: To avoid such unhappy surprises, make sure that you see a photo of a pattern to cover a wall in any room in the house whether you are installing tile, wallpaper or textile. If there’s no photo, then put several samples together in the showroom so you have some idea of a pattern’s impact, even if it’s a marble that appears fairly tame.

Tile color, not pattern, was the problem for the second respondent.  He thought he’d bought a white tile but it turned out it was beige, and once installed, didn’t match the woodwork.

Color–the wrong blue–was what needed changing for one  participant and the last wanted a device that successfully  caught her hair and prevented it from clogging the drain.

What was my answer? I’d love to incorporate wasted space outside our bathroom or make a second one with that space.

We’d like to know: If you could change one thing in your bathroom, what would it be?

Service of Interior Design to Achieve a Spick and Span Bathroom

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Bathroom designed by Hale-Williams Interiors

Bathroom designed by Hale-Williams Interiors

For the second of three posts written in conjunction with the 2009 Bathroom Blogfest  [the first ran yesterday, October 26), we asked two prominent interior designers to lend their expertise on how they help their residential clients achieve immaculate bathrooms.

We selected this theme so as to participate in a promotion of the blogfest’s first sponsor. Unfortunately, the postal service didn’t cooperate and the sponsor’s cleaning product, that I was supposed to test and write about, has not arrived.

On to the designers’ important tips:

Florence Perchuk specializes in kitchens and baths. The New York-based CKD-accredited designer recommends that every bathroom have a hand sanitizer adjacent to the faucet. “Most people don’t wash long enough,” observes the owner of Designs by Florence Perchuk, Ltd. who admits she also has one mounted on her kitchen wall.

Florence Perchuk, CKD, Designs by Florence Perchuk

Florence Perchuk, CKD, Designs by Florence Perchuk

 

Perchuk admits that while they can be beautiful, she’s not a fan of shower curtains because they are unsanitary. “Most hang for years before anyone thinks to take them down to clean them.” She also nixes cheap shower enclosures because soap scum collects in the metal frames and you can’t get it out. “High-end custom enclosures use very little metal. I’m particular about the enclosures I specify because I don’t want to see a mess in a two year old bathroom.”

Grout is a challenge says Perchuk, who nevertheless loves tile. “Sealant can help for a year or two, to help prevent grout from disintegrating and staining.” She marvels at the many people who don’t think of using sealant with tile and warns that you don’t get around the grout issue with synthetics such as Corian and Caesarstone.

From Carmel, Calif., Tom Williams, of Hale-Williams Interiors, notes, “Most interior designers working on a bathroom design consider ease of maintenance and how the elements achieve a clean and healthy environment.” He recommends that you “avoid inaccessible corners and areas that are hard to reach. Moist, warm areas breed mold and mildew.”

You may think his recommendation is obvious–it’s not. Last year in one of the country’s most prestigious decorator showcase houses, I saw a bathroom the size of most master bedrooms with a wall of glass that zigzagged parallel to the wall to make a sculptural shower enclosure. Trouble was, it ended in a dramatic, impossible-to-reach point. On seeing it, the first thing I thought of was, “How could you ever clean the muck that collects in that corner after each shower?” Even with hot and cold maid service, the challenge would be insurmountable.

Williams  [Photo Below, right] and his partner Robert Hale [Photo Below, left] are the authors of the new book, “Starting Your Career as an Interior Designer,” [Allworth Press, Inc.]. They were chosen as the design team to fulfill their project on HGTV’s “Designers’ Challenge.”  hale-williams3

Speaking of service, the focus of this blog, Williams responded to my questions immediately, the night I first contacted him, even though a half an hour before reading my email, his house had been struck by a cypress tree felled by 45 mph wind gusts, breaking a corner of the roof and downing rain gutters.

Back to bathrooms and speaking of blasts of air, Williams recommends a powerful and quiet exhaust fan as a key piece of equipment for a bathroom to remove moist air and keep mold and mildew from thriving.

“In addition, we use baseboard moldings, or skirting boards, to minimize little cracks and crevices where germs breed.  The floor is sealed to the baseboard to prevent dirty mop water from running along the edge of the flooring and seeping into where floor meets wall. The baseboard should be the same as the flooring material.  If you use stone, make the baseboard the same or a contrasting stone or mix of stones.  Rubber flooring can also include a matching baseboard.

“Quartz materials for countertops such as Zodiac and Caesarstone are also a good choice for ease of maintenance and cleanliness.  The material is sealed and easy to clean with everyday household products.  Like granite and other natural stones, they feature few seams in which germs breed and the finish requires little re-application of sealers or special solvents.  These products, a mix of 93% crushed stone and 7% polymers, come in a variety of colors.

“For shower curtains, the expansive selection of outdoor fabrics, generally 100% solution dyed acrylic, is a perfect selection.  These are inherently mold and mildew resistant and come in a variety of colors and soft finishes in fashionable prints, colors and styles that weren’t available a few years ago.  Be sure to line the curtain in the same material and consider using button holes rather than grommets for the hooks to avoid discoloration or rusting.”

What have you found to help keep bathrooms clean as a whistle?

Here’s a list of participating bloggers in the blogfest:

Susan Abbott at Customer Experience Crossroads http://www.customercrossroads.com
Reshma Anand at Qualitative Research Blog http://onqualitativeresearch.blogspot.com/
Shannon Bilby at From the Floors Up http://fromthefloorsup.com/
• Shannon Bilby and Brad Millner at My Big Bob’s Blog http://blog.mybigbobs.com/
Laurence Borel at Blog Till You Drop http://www.laurenceborel.com/
Jeanne Byington at The Importance of Earnest Service https://blog.jmbyington.com/
Becky Carroll at Customers Rock! http://www.customersrock.net
Leslie Clagett at KB Culture www.kbculture.blogspot.com
Katie Clark at Practical Katie http://practicalkatie.blogspot.com/
Iris Shreve Garrott at Checking In and Checking Out http://circulating.wordpress.com/
Julie at Julie’s Cleaning Secrets Blog http://cleaningsecrets.greatcleaners.com/
Marianna Hayes at Results Revolution http://www.resultsrevolution.com
Maria Palma at People To People Service http://www.people2peopleservice.com/
Professor Toilet at Professor Toilet’s Blog http://www.professortoilet.com/
David Reich at My 2 Cents http://reichcomm.typepad.com/
Bethany Richmond at The Carpet and Rug Institute Blog http://www.carpet-and-rug-institute-blog.com
Carolyn Townes at Becoming a Woman of Purpose http://spiritwomen.blogspot.com
Stephanie Weaver at Experienceology http://experienceology.blogspot.com;
C.B. Whittemore at Flooring The Consumer
http://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com and Simple Marketing Blog http://www.SimpleMarketingBlog.com
Linda Wright at Lindaloo.com: Build Better Business with Better Bathrooms http://lindaloo.com/

Service of Paper Towels in Public WCs

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Photo 5: The winner, Millbrook Free Library, N.Y.

Photo 5: The winner, Millbrook Free Library, N.Y.

This is my first blogfest–the 2009 Bathroom Blogfest –where writers from around the world will post about all aspects of this subject between October 26 and 28. Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now LLC is directing it.

I joined for the fun of it and to meet 17 other bloggers-I already know three of the 20. I list them all below, should you want to see their take on the topic. This blogfest began in 2006 as the brainchild of two consultants to generate awareness for bloggers passionate about the bathroom customer experience at a time when blogging was more experimental. 

So here’s the first of my three posts on the subject.

 

Long before all the talk about the swine flu pandemic‑‑H1N1 virus‑-now a national emergency, I was aware of germs on surfaces of things such as ATM and public library computer keyboards; office building and subway swinging door bars and bus poles, to name just a few.

 

Years ago, my sister warned me to protect my hands when opening the doors to and from public bathrooms. She urged me to use a paper towel to turn a knob or pull open a door handle. I admit that it seemed a bit excessive at the time, but no longer. It has become essential.

Photo 1: Concert hall

Photo 1: Concert hall

I am amazed at how many business owners with public bathrooms still place their trash baskets miles from the door, even if there is room for them nearby. Others design the bathroom with either electric hand dryers–green, yes, but not the greatest to make a clean exit. And I’ve found most don’t dry my hands. I’ve seen many paper towel dispensers with built-in receptacles for garbage that are so far from the door that they might as well be installed on the moon.

If this trend persists, gloves in summer might come back in fashion, or handbags designed to hold moist, germy paper towels. Maybe jacket and coat pockets bulging with paper will become the rage.

I took Photo 1 [above, left], in a bathroom in a concert hall designed by one of the most famous architects in the world and built within the last five years. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t toss your towel into the used towel bin after pulling open the door.

Photo 2: Midtown NYC office

Photo 2: Midtown NYC office

Photo 2 shows the bathroom door in a midtown New York City office. There’s room for a wastebasket to the left of the door, but it’s actually across the room and not even that close to the sink.

 

Photo 3: Unisex restaurant bathroom

Photo 3: Unisex restaurant bathroom

Photo 3 features a unisex bathroom in an upstate New York restaurant. There’s space under the sink by the door for a can to capture used paper towels. The container is nowhere near.

 

 

Photo 4: Loo in Metro-North Railroad train

Photo 4: Loo in Metro-North Railroad train

Photo 4

captures a once‑in‑a‑lifetime site: A literally spotless bathroom in a vintage train on the Metro-North Railroad. It doesn’t offer towels, only a useless blow‑dry device. I wonder if the water even works. Hard as I try I can’t get my kitchen sink to look like this!

 

Photo 5, [at the top of the post], is smart–maybe because it is in the Millbrook Free Library, N.Y., and it’s the winner. It’s a cinch to open the door and you don’t have to be a basketball star for your towel to land where it belongs in the bin once you’ve opened the door.

What gets to you about public bathrooms? Have you participated in a blogfest? If so, about what?

List of participating Bathroom Blogfest bloggers:

Susan Abbott at Customer Experience Crossroads http://www.customercrossroads.com/

Reshma Anand at Qualitative Research Blog http://onqualitativeresearch.blogspot.com/

Shannon Bilby at From the Floors Up http://fromthefloorsup.com/

Shannon Bilby and Brad Millner at My Big Bob’s Blog http://blog.mybigbobs.com/

Laurence Borel at Blog Till You Drop http://www.laurenceborel.com/   

Jeanne Byington at The Importance of Earnest Service https://blog.jmbyington.com/

Becky Carroll at Customers Rock! http://www.customersrock.net;

Leslie Clagett at KB Culture www.kbculture.blogspot.com

Katie Clark at Practical Katie http://practicalkatie.blogspot.com/;

Iris Shreve Garrott at Checking In and Checking Out http://circulating.wordpress.com/;

Julie at Julie’s Cleaning Secrets Blog http://cleaningsecrets.greatcleaners.com/

Marianna Hayes at Results Revolution http://www.resultsrevolution.com

Maria Palma at People To People Service  http://www.people2peopleservice.com/ 

Professor Toilet at Professor Toilet’s Blog  http://www.professortoilet.com/

David Reich at My 2 Cents  http://reichcomm.typepad.com/

Bethany Richmond at The Carpet and Rug Institute Blog http://www.carpet‑and‑rug‑institute‑blog.com

Carolyn Townes at Becoming a Woman of Purpose http://spiritwomen.blogpsot.com

Stephanie Weaver at Experienceology http://experienceology.blogspot.com;

C.B. Whittemore at Flooring The Consumer http://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com and Simple Marketing Blog http://www.SimpleMarketingBlog.com 

Linda Wright at Lindaloo.com: Build Better Business with Better Bathrooms http://lindaloo.com/

Look for #ladiesrooms09 on Twitter.

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