Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Eco Bathroom Project

The Village Green returns with some updates on what I've been doing to make my living space more eco-friendly and sustainable.

Welcome to the finished and happily lived-in eco-bathroom! As you enter the new maple-wood door (purchased from the ReStore, a wonderful source for recycled building materials), you are in a spa-like atmosphere that was created out of recycled materials with fixtures designed to reduce the use of water as well as provide a safe and healthy environment for personal day to day living.

I wanted my eco-bathroom to be a home to plants that would thrive under low light conditions. A philodendron grows up and over the glass block wall and hangs down into the shower. A Snake plant thrives in the corner on top of a recycled crate. Aaron created a custom built set of shelves for my towels, that fills the space between the shower and the corner wall. All lighting is LED. The blue recycled mosiac glass tiles on the walls was purchased on Ebay.

Inside the shower, the flower mosaics are made of barn slate purchased from a guy in Medina county who salvages barn and farm materials (the slate was $1 a piece -- approximately 1 ft by 2 ft in size), recycled glass and showercork, representing the three materials chosen for flooring, walls and shower stall. Waterpik EcoRain 2.0 and Waterpik hand-held shower head provide considerable water savings as well as ease in personal showering.

A corner seat convenient to sit upon while scrubbing feet or for perching on while washing the dog. A shower nook holds Dr Bronner Peppermint Soap and Aubrey Organics Shampoo. You can see the variations in color contained in the barn slate.

View of the Toto sink and Toto Neorest Toilet with Washlet seat. Purchased online at almost half price. The toilet has a fan to remove odors, washes fore and aft with varying temperatures and pressure modes, and finally dries you -- no more need for toilet paper! The Toto sink had a low flow faucet and a very modern shape. The medicine cabinet and light fixtures on either side are the only features retained from the original bathroom.

Instead of buying towel bars, we recycled an old ladder found in my garage left behind by prior owners. Above is access into the non-functional and previously non-accessible attic. We had to open it up to install a bathroom fan. Once there, Ilya, the Household Handyman, asked me if I wanted him to put in insulation as there was nothing up there but beams and a whole lot of coal dust from the early 20th century coal furnace. We went to Lowe's and found non-itchy and non-toxic eco-insulation. End result -- this year's monthly heating bill (gas) has been reduced almost in half!

The clothes hamper is a fair trade basket from The Market Path in Highland Square. The flooring is ShowerCork, and the most expensive material purchased for this project. However, I am glad I sprang for it -- cork is sustainable, anti-microbial and non-slippery when wet!

A closer view of the Neorest 500, ordered via National Building Supply online for considerable savings. The control panel for the toilet is mounted on the wall next to the window on the left.

Aaron's custom built tempered glass shower doors. The original plan was to use recycled windows for the shower door, but we couldn't find anything that fit the opening.

Found this old step ladder at the Hartville flea market for ten dollars. It functions as a plant holder and bathroom reading material holder. Zippy the Pinhead currently resides on the bottom rung.