Bathroom Talk and Design

Aren't these pretty urinals?
Designers wear many hats; from carpenter, contractor, coordinator, creator, inventor to problem solver and MacGyver, designers dedicate themselves to seeing the project completed. They get their ideas and inspiration from everything around them.  I don’t mean in a “God created the world and it’s beautiful sort of way” because a) cockroaches are not beautiful and b) when I say “everything” I really mean it.  Just a minute ago, I was standing in the office bathroom, washing my hands and I thought, “that soap dispenser is really ugly” which led me to trying to devise practical ways to make it prettier. I concluded that anything, even the crocheted doily would be better than what’s there now.
I’ve found that bathrooms are a great source of inspiration because you’re usually stationary for a minute or two minutes or however long it takes AND people have beautiful bathrooms (seen here: seriously? and here: for real?).  The combination of those two factors creates a breeding ground for ideas (and germs) that is rivaled by very few places.  Somewhat but not really related: Why don’t commercial toilet seats go around the circumference of the bowl without interruption?  If you know, please share.  Anyway back to the subject, some design ideas come from the bathroom, but they aren’t crappy.

I’m honored to lead a team of wonderful and way-more-talented-than-me designers for our church design team.  We build production sets for plays, design conference backgrounds and deck the heck out of our massive lobby on a semi-regular basis.  One of my personal favorite design ideas came to me while I was getting my rinse and repeat on in the shower.  Our annual women’s conference was a few months out and I needed to start ordering supplies.  The first step to ordering said supplies is knowing what the design is going to be.  So, with lots of undue stress and angst, I set to brainstorming.  In my case, brainstorming looks less like a whirlwind of creative concepts and more like a tornado with remnants of ideas, research and budgets strewn across my kitchen table, bedroom, office space, car, purse, book bag, etc.   This time was different though.

I was in the shower, just minding my own when an idea joined me.  It was a little startling because I wasn’t expecting anything to enter my bathing session, but I’m not picky about timing so there it stayed.  The colors in my apartment (it was beach themed… a beach from the 80’s complete with shag carpet and wood paneling mind you) matched the color scheme of the conference we were planning for so I took cues from some of the colors I saw on the reg.  After developing the palette, I set to counting ceiling tiles and devising a way to fill the white space of our lobby with the pretty colors of a girly, summery beach vibe.  It all came together after a number of meetings, credit card reconciliations and fabric measurements.  I loved it with my whole heart because it was a piece of me.  From the very moment of its conception to the time when people streamed in the doors on the first night of the event, it was a labor of love.  My heart broke a little when it was time to tear down, but I know that this year’s conference will be even better.  I have no idea where the inspiration for that design will come from, but I hope it comes quick!  I’m on the look out everywhere I go!

Try this just for fun when you’re in a place you visit frequently, be it the bedroom, the bathroom, your kitchen, that place down the street that nobody knows you go to, look at it with fresh eyes.  What could be changed? How?  Disclaimer: once you start doing this, you’ll eventually do it everywhere and want to spend all your money to accomplish it.  I’m not responsible for that.   The fun part of these kinds of activities is that you can come up with creative and extravagant ideas and figure out creative ways to cut cost and make it personal. It’s really fun and it’s really challenging sometimes.  Small projects can be a solo mission while the bigger ones require dedication, a willingness to exhaust your energy and resources and an amazing group of people who are equally dedicated to the idea.  


  1. I've written my best music in the shower. No lie.

  2. I've read some of the greatest five-minute detective stories in the bathroom, myself!

  3. This is great! And so completely true! I love how yous said "exhaust your energy". I feel that it is only when we pour ourselves out that greatness in design and creativity is achieved.

    Lovin' the Daily Serge!