The Ensuite Life: Traveling the World and Avoiding the Toilet at the End of the Hall

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  1. Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design | Life and style | The Guardian
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And instead of edging it with a border tile, she substitutes polished aluminum trim by Schluter to hide unglazed tile edges.

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DeLuca added that it pays to ask about closeouts at any remodeling store you happen to visit. They will be happy to sell display models at steep discounts — everything from vanities to toilet bowls. You can also go as big as the room will support, so the space ends up looking bigger and more grand.

This was perhaps the greatest, but now undervalued, convenience. Instead of carrying water, suddenly everyone had as much as they could use, all the time, with the turn of a tap. Not surprisingly, according to Abby Rockefeller in Civilization and Sludge, the average water use per person went quickly from three gallons of water per person to 30 and perhaps as much as gallons per person. But it became incredibly convenient to just to wash the poop away.

Except now there was more faecal effluence than anyone knew what to do with, overflowing the cesspits and flowing into the gutters and sewers originally designed for rainwater that all led to the Thames. The result was even more cholera and disease. The environmentalists of the day tried to stop this; they promoted earth toilets that would keep human waste separate, that would treat it as a resource. The believers argued in favour of 'sewage farming', the practice of irrigating neighbouring farms with municipal sewage.

The second group, arguing that 'running water purifies itself' the more current slogan among sanitary engineers: 'the solution to pollution is dilution' , argued for piping sewage into lakes, rivers, and oceans. But they never really had a chance to debate the issue; it was a done deal as people rushed to install convenient flush toilets. But it was really just going with the flow instead of thinking about the consequences. Inside our houses, the architects and homeowners of the late 19th century were as confused as the engineers about what to do.

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Since the early adopters, then as now, were the rich with a few rooms to spare, they were often lavish, with all the fixtures encased in wood like the commodes they replaced. As germ theory became accepted at the end of the 19th century, the bathroom became a hospital room, with fixtures of porcelain and lined with tile or marble. These materials are expensive; as the bathroom became mainstream and accessible to all classes, it got smaller.

Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design | Life and style | The Guardian

The plumbers lined everything up in a row to use less pipe. By about the bathroom is pretty much indistinguishable from the ones built today. Nobody seriously paused to think about the different functions and their needs; they just took the position that if water comes in and water goes out, it is all pretty much the same and should be in the same room. Nobody thought about how the water from a shower or bathtub greywater is different from the water from a toilet blackwater ; it all just went down the same drain which connected to the same sewer pipe that gathered the rainwater from the streets, and carried it away to be dumped in the river or lake.

It is hard to find something that we actually got right in the modern bathroom.

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The toilet is too high our bodies were designed to squat , the sink is too low and almost useless; the shower is a deathtrap an American dies every day from bath or shower accidents. We fill this tiny, inadequately ventilated room with toxic chemicals ranging from nail polish to tile cleaners. We flush the toilet and send bacteria into the air, with our toothbrush in a cup a few feet away.

Next, they worked tirelessly to find the ideal angle at which water should spray from the wand that extends from the beneath the seat. After asking TOTO employees to test various positions for optimum comfort and cleanliness, they found what is now called the "golden angle.

It turns out, 43 degrees is just right. The TOTO takeover. The Washlet wasn't an overnight sensation, but it found a high-end clientele. By initially focusing on selling Washlets to golf courses, TOTO targeted businessmen who, before long, were hooked. Flush executives installed Washlets in their homes, and when traveling on business demanded accommodation with a TOTO. By , 10 million Washlets had been sold and, by , TOTO toilets were becoming common in public places -- restaurants, shopping centers, schools.

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Shihohiko Takahashi, an urban designer and professor emeritus of Kanagawa University, explains that department stores and supermarkets used Washlets to entice shoppers. You'll never encounter a nicer highway restroom than in Japan. In short, the Washlet has become the ultimate washroom status symbol.

How Japan's high-tech toilets took over the world. A shrine to the lavatory. Just as the vacuum cleaner became known as a Hoover and the hot tub a Jacuzzi, the "smart toilet" is now often simply referred to as a TOTO. Not that other brands haven't tried to muscle in.

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But only TOTO has the cult status to warrant its own toilet museum. Located in Kitakyushu, southern Japan, the TOTO Museum has been visited more than , times since opening two years ago, far exceeding its operators' expectations. Japan makes some of the world's fanciest toilets, and now smart toilet manufacturer TOTO has opened its own museum in Kitakyushu, southern Japan. As you'd expect, some of the exhibits are slightly tongue-in-cheek, such as The Neo, a poop-powered toilet motorcycle, which TOTO used as a marketing device as it traveled Japan a few years ago to promote its green agenda.

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  6. Takahashi explains that TOTO has become so special to Japanese people -- to the point where they will travel to a museum that pays homage to it because it both addressed the nation's "shame culture" while also promoting Japan as a high-tech innovator. With the Washlet, "these problems are solved" as TOTO developed the "equipment to remove the smell" and cover the sound.