The Bath

Photo by Sunsetoned on

Our bathrooms are perhaps the most underrated rooms in our homes. We tend not to really notice them unless they are unclean and we mostly think of them as being utilitarian rather than worthy of great effort in decorating. Aside from the kitchen there is probably no more important area in our domains. Anyone old enough to remember outhouses might even insist that our bathrooms are treasures. If you’ve ever been to a remote area in a national park you have experienced the horror of taking care of emergencies in a cramped space as you try not to actually sit over a foul hole filled with indescribably horrible odors. Modern day bathrooms of the kind we take for granted in our homes are in truth one of the marvels of invention. 

Some people take great care to present their bathrooms in a favorable light. I have entered such rooms and felt quite confident that I am in a healthy well maintained environment. I have often decided whether or not I wanted to eat in a home based on my experience in the bathroom. When the cleanliness includes plenty of soap, clean fluffy towels, and a nice scent I’m even more encouraged. If I also see interesting art and artifacts that tell me something about the owner I smile. What I do not want to see is dirt and chaos coupled with noxious odors. If there is not soap I really become wary of ingesting anything lest the person providing it has not properly washed his/her hands.

When traveling in Texas I grow quite excited whenever I see a Buccee’s. For the uninitiated these are combination gas and food stops which are famous for their many spotlessly clean bathrooms. There is always at least one employee meticulously cleaning the stalls and replenishing the supplies of toilet paper, soap and paper towels. Buccee’s is fun for other reasons but it is the bathrooms that bring me inside

I used to laugh at my friend Pat who introduced me to the most wonderful life hacks. One of her rules was to always keep one bathroom clean and kitchen counters wiped down. She insisted that nobody cares if you have dust on your furniture or a bit of chaos in the other rooms but dirty kitchens and bathrooms are major turn offs. She advised me to maintain those areas in impeccable condition so that I would be ready for even a drop in visitor. She also suggested keeping some frozen cookie dough at all times to pop into the oven for both a nice snack and a lovely smell while chatting up a guest. She was like the Heloise of my world. 

I now have three bathrooms and I have to admit that I have become lax in their upkeep since nobody has been to my home other than repair people during the past year. I clean those areas regularly and I use the huge store of toilet paper that I purchased in the early days of the pandemic but I have mostly lost my motivation to be the Buccee’s of homemaking. Nobody seems inclined to come my way any time soon. I mostly concentrate on disinfecting on the go and giving each of the areas a thorough cleansing once a week. 

In the past I have decorated my bathrooms with limited success. I actually like the guest bathroom the best because it features a glorious painting by one of my daughters. It is a room the size of a closet that is incredibly elegant and restful. It perfectly epitomizes by personality and my decorating style. it’s my go to bathroom for guests whether any come or not.

My en suite style master bathroom was all white when I first moved to the house. It has white tile, white marble countertops, a garden tub and a shower with the actual toilet area housed in an enclosed space. My first inclination was to use all white accessories but I soon grew weary of the colorless scheme so I painted the walls a deep khaki color and replaced the towels and bathmats with shades of turquoise. It feels like a much happier place now but I have to admit that it has so much wasted space. I wish that someone had created a better design. The tub is huge and I can count on one hand the times I have used it in the sixteen years since I moved in. I would have much preferred more storage space or even an area where I might have stored my exercise equipment. More square footage in the master bedroom to include a reading nook or window seat would have been a better use of real estate. Sadly the bathroom just looks like a long wide white aisle lined with utilitarian features. Nothing seems to soften its stark impression, not even artwork or plants or candles. I get the feeling that it was designed as an afterthought by someone with little imagination.

The third bathroom is very much a  stock variety. It resembles the 1950s bathrooms of my youth. It is just a long narrow area with a vanity and toilet on one side and a tub and shower combo on the other with a storage closet filling out the rest of the room. Surprisingly it is quite cute and much more user friendly than the huge one downstairs. I started out giving it a maritime feel for my husband but he did not like the seafoam color I had chosen and when I went to a neutral color it lost some of its charm. He loves but I’m still studying how to return it to the whimsy it once had.

We never think much about our bathrooms when we probably should. Our modern day bathrooms are the envy of kings and sadly there are still so many places in the world where what we take for granted does not even exist. I’m just feeling blessed that I have three of them that are working well. Those who lost water or had broken pipes during the winter freeze know exactly what I mean.