Thursday, April 10, 2008

Eco-Friendly Bathroom Renovation

My new eco-friendly bathroom is almost finished! My brother has taken a short hiatus from his woodworking to do the construction. My house was built in 1964 and most of the bathroom was original. The toilet was permanently stained, the counter was brown, white and beige was pretty hideous.

Originally, the bathroom had a small window, but it leaked and was removed years ago. Now, it features two casement windows that together are 4' x 4' and take up most of the wall.

The bathroom is small. The toilet and sink area is 3' x 8' and the tub takes up an additional 3'x5' and extends the length of the bathroom. The window sits on the far side of the tub.

The messiest part of renovating is the demolition. The sheetrock dust gets everywhere and it is awful. My old Pug, Toast, just happened to wander into the bathroom when most of the demolition had occurred, but lots of dust remained. I found her in there and immediately scooped her up.

She began to cough and as the day progressed, it got worse. I took her to the vet and they had to give her antihistamines and kept her there to watch her. She also has a heart condition and that worsened as well and we had to increase her heart medication.

Fortunately, she got better and is now back to her sweet and adorable self. Thing is, I was careful--and I know better. Don't forget to keep your pets out of harm’s way when renovating!

Eco-Friendly Products
: We used river rocks that were came in one-foot square tiles, as they were glued to a mesh backing. They are eco-friendly because they only needed to be extracted from the earth; no further manufacturing was required.
Soapstone Vanity top and Door Saddle: Mined in Vermont, the natural products were delivered by FedEx , thus saving on transportation fuels.
Good Quality Products: faucets, toilet, tub, and accessories meant to last a lifetime and stay out of landfill.
No Voc Paint
Energy Star Rated Fan/Light Fixture with CFL bulbs
Low-flush toilet by Toto:
extra cool feature is 'softclose" lid--you simply tap closed the lid and it gently closes on itself!
solid wood from sustainable choices, no outgassing. as would occur from manufactured wood products like particleboard.

I'm waiting for "Sparky" (Australian for electricians) to come and install lights and switch plates and my brother to do the final touches and then it's done!

I want to put photos up, but can't find installation CD for my digital camera for my new computer. The best feature is the river rock tiles. They are dark grey with blue/green tints and they are on floor, in front of tub and halfway up three walls. My brother made them so they flow--it's really cool.

We painted the un-tiled walls white with a blue tone that matches the tiles exactly and picked out towels in a slightly darker shade of white with blue tone.

Also, there is only a hand held spray to rinse after a bath, so no need for a curtain or shower door of any kind. Consequently, you see out the windows to my backyard. The windows frame the bird feeders and hemlocks and it is a beautiful sight.

I'll add photos when I can.

The tub is a Bain Ultra "Hydro-Therma Massage" bathtub. What that means is that it is like a whirlpool, only air is forced into tub to create bubbles and massage. It is the same size as a standard tub, but deep. It has the added feature of chromotherapy lights.

One note about water. usage. I used to believe that water should be only be used conservatively. However, I now believe that water should be used wisely--when there is an abundance of it (ie. reservoirs are full) it is OK to indulge a bit. I live in the Northeast and we have plenty of water now. I also have a well and it is full. In fact, part of my lawn is covered in water.

if I lived in an arid area, I would not take baths, or I would invest in a grey water system. Likewise, if we were experiencing drought conditions, I would not bathe, but take quick showers instead.

That said, with lots of water, I can enjoy guilt free baths! Last night, I put the dimmer switches on low for the two lights on either side of the vanity and lit two lavender scented soy candles around the tub. I also put some natural lavender bubble bath and sea salts in. I put the yellow chromotherapy light on and sat back...Got pretty hot, so I opened the window a bit. The dark river stones glistened in the light and I felt as if I were in an outdoor natural hot mineral spring! It was really nice.


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