The Herald Bulletin

November 17, 2012

Top-notch retreats

Utilitarian bathroom morphs into lovely hideaway

By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — If you could go back to any time period in history, what would it be? My answer to this favored conversation starter has never delighted friends or family. I simply won’t leave my indoor plumbing to visit any time or any place. Not even in my imagination.

Why can’t I abandon convenience for a simple verbal game? Maybe it’s because I shared my bedroom with a grandmother who didn’t have indoor plumbing until she was around 40. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard stories from my mother about how she only had one half bathroom to share with her large family.

Compounding the sentiment is my recent experience of a couple of months of renovation work in a home without running water. I may be spoiled, but I’m not so spoiled that I take for granted the ability to turn on a faucet to instantly produce water or to be able to flush the all-important toilet at will.

In two generations (or more honestly three, due to the 46-year span between my mother and grandmother), society had graduated from outhouses to five-piece ensuite bathrooms that rival the size of small bedrooms.

More than simply a space to wash up, bathrooms have become a retreat designed for relaxation and their styles are as varied as the individuals that occupy them. While I am often wowed by bathrooms as I visit area homes, they are difficult to photograph. Even when the perfect angle is available, the photo is frequently cut for space.

This week I wanted to share some of my favorite and most interesting finds from around the county in the hopes of inspiring those who are interested in transforming a utilitarian room into a lovely hideaway.

Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an email to emmagoldiemeyer@yahoo.com.