Excerpt for Feng Shui Tips: Bathroom Renovations by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

FENG SHUI TIPS: Bathroom Renovations

S. Lee Wright



Published by S. Lee Wright Ltd at Smashwords

Copyright © 2017 S. Lee Wright Ltd



Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s hard work.



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INTRODUCTION

Not for ourselves alone are we born.”

~Marcus Tullius Cicero

WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK

One day when I was very young, I realized that a driving passion in my life is to share my experiences in order to help others. Offering my insights, ideas and information on how to navigate towards a better life was a natural path for me. More than this, being an instinctive Pollyanna, I have always aimed to have a better experience on the journey, despite the often-challenging aspects of life. I wanted to share this approach with other people too.

For those who know me, I am a big talker. When you get me going about something I am passionate about, I can go on and on. And on. And on. Luckily for you, with the grace of age and a great editor, my books are a little less wordy and a little more to the point.

So, why did I write this book on bathroom renovations? Well, for a few reasons: first, it is my instinctive approach to help people to avoid the bad stuff that often surrounds the renovation process, and I have a ton of practical experience in the bathroom and kitchen areas. My Feng Shui Tips book series includes renovations in general, in the kitchen, and now the bathroom simply because of what have been the most requested areas for design help in my experience.

Feng Shui, another one of my passions, has also focused my attention on the element of WATER and its power that can be used for both positive as well as negative results. Given that the bathroom is where the Water element is most prevalent, and some of my own personal experiences with the destructive power of water in the home, I have a deep desire to navigate the bathroom in as conscious a manner for the most positive and healthy results.

My second reason for writing this book is the intense feeling that I am meant to write. This was not something I ever thought I would do—in fact this decision came to me quite late in life. After 25 years as a practicing interior architect and designer, I can finally allow myself the satisfaction of acknowledging that I am a pretty amazing designer. This is not my ego speaking so much as a fact. After having done it my whole life, being professionally educated and practicing for this many years, it is no wonder I am pretty good at being a designer. If you practice enough at anything, inevitably you end up being pretty darn good at it.

It was also through trial and error in my design business and life experience in general that I learned everyone sees the world differently - with a focus on verbal, physical or visual perspectives. My way of seeing the world is visual. Another way of saying this is that I see the world more through my understanding of space—which is what has made me a good designer; however, this is also what created the challenge for me to talk to those who are non-spatial—typically my clients—in a different language that they could more easily understand.

Another thing for those who already know me is that I adore pushing myself to live outside my comfort zone. I feel that if we are not expanding, we are dying, so I am continually striving to do, learn and experience new things. My desire to do things outside of my comfort zone combined with my desire to serve my clients in new and innovative ways gave birth to the concept of me writing about design.

As I said earlier, I am a great talker. That does not necessarily translate into being a great writer, but a challenge never deterred me. I knew that I had a voice and a message that was worthy of a try. So, with my willingness to start from scratch again, I humbly offer you my services and share with you the third book in my Feng Shui Tips series: how to design a mindful bathroom without having to become a designer yourself or learning how to think differently.

My incentive was that I felt the urge to share my gift in a way that many, many more can partake in it. This is my gift to you—my design books describing design in words and ways that everyone can understand and incorporate into their lives and spaces immediately.

WHY YOU SHOULD GET THIS BOOK

Love your home and it will love you back.

It has been my experience that people are often forced into a bathroom renovation because of circumstances. A leaky faucet, cracked tiles or worse make the need to renovate your bathroom more of a necessity versus a choice. Your hand is forced and you finally have to do something about it or suffer more water damage problems.

In other cases, perhaps you just got a new place or you finally noticed that your bathroom has not been renovated for years and years and years! It is the pink toilet and matching sink, the weirdly shaped bathtub or the antique fixtures you cannot quite turn off properly that finally motivate you to take the leap. You know this is your opportunity to do a bathroom renovation and you decide to take the plunge!

For others, perhaps you are totally aware of the importance of the bathroom and you have decided that you want to redo it to be a prettier and more functional part of your home.

Whatever the reason is that you are considering a bathroom renovation, it is important to be aware that it is indeed a big undertaking. Therefore, it is not something to go into without consideration and care.

Getting this book will help you to gain the expertise of a design professional’s experience right away. My recent approach of working collaboratively with my clients with my DIWY™ (Design-It-With-You™) services was inspired to help people just like you to make smart design decisions for the best results in your home renovations without the traditional full design service price tag.

You get the benefit of reviewing your options with the guided assistance of a trained design professional with decades (literally!) of experience in this specific room—the bathroom. This is simply a smart move. Reading this book is doing just that. Take your time, read this book, and make the best decisions for your life and your Bathroom Renovation project.

This book also guides you on the best way to manage the overall construction project itself. It helps you to clarify your exact design style and needs, plus it helps you to discover new ideas on how to make even the smallest of bathrooms into the most luxurious and functional rooms in a sustainable manner. It also demonstrates how you can do this all with less stress and without spending loads of money!

The bathroom is the space that encourages our self-care. Reading this book can remind you of this and explain why this room is so important, especially in today’s world. By the end of this book, you will understand why I consider the bathroom the sexiest room in the house.

HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM THIS BOOK

Your life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change.

Once you have decided to do your Bathroom Renovation and you have decided to get this book, I suggest you actually take the time to read this book first before proceeding with your renovation plans. Read it thoroughly. Take notes. It has a lot of information in it, distilled from decades of experience in the world of design, construction and renovation. I have been actively working in these industries for many years and have completed hundreds of renovations. Bathrooms are tricky. I have loved the challenges with this space so much that I have won awards for some of my best bathroom designs. Since this is not your area of expertise, I suggest you allow sufficient time for the information to be absorbed and digested so you can make the best use of it. Read it once; then read it again. Then take out a highlighter and make notes. I subscribe to this being a workbook for you to use for your best Bathroom Renovation. This book is a tool; use it as such.

I am not going to be providing you with the design itself. This book is about how to help you do that yourself or with the assistance of a design professional. Each chapter is about the journey of the renovation itself. In our world today, we are often focused on the end game. Many of us are literally running too fast to truly take the time and space to enjoy the journey. However, I am really serious here when I say that this is one of the times in your life when it is best to simply walk through the process and not rush through it. Slowing down, allowing your Bathroom Renovation to unfold the way it is meant to, and taking the necessary time for the design creation to emerge will reap so many benefits for you that you can only begin to imagine now.

Not only will you end up with a truly awesome bathroom that is a reflection of your best self, you will be proud of the creation itself. Beyond just the physical creation of it, you will also delight in the transformation that happens on the inside when you slow down during the renovation journey and make it an experience in and of itself.



Sometimes it is the journey that teaches you a lot about the destination.”

~Drake



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Chapter 1:
BATHROOM HISTORY

Necessity is the mother of invention.”

~Plato

HISTORY

The past causes the present and so, in turn, it creates the future.

The history of the bathroom provides us with insights into our world including who we are, cultural differences, and even to better understand world events and the continual change that is part of life. It is a glimpse into the past of why human beings are the way we are and why the bathroom is the way it is today.

Today we are obsessed with personal hygiene, and therefore with our bathrooms. It is one of the most common renovations done in our homes today, second only to the kitchen in terms of expense. Nowadays, many seek to have a Zen-like bathing experience with the highest standard of luxury bathing contraptions and gizmos to cleanse our bodies and minds in our own personal oasis. This, however, was not always the case.

Once upon a time, it was believed that people used to sew themselves into their undergarments for the winter season for warmth as well as ease since buttons and zippers were scarce. Whether this myth is 100% true or not, it is fully understood that personal hygiene was not regarded to the level of importance that it is today.

Though our bodily functions have always been a necessity, going to the loo was not always the private or pleasant experience it is today. For example, in medieval castles in England, the bathrooms—which were called garderobes because the ammonia from urine got rid of fleas from robes!—were often just a long row of benches with holes in them where your waste would simply drop into the moat below while you sat alongside a bunch of other people you were chatting with at the same time. The link between sewage, hygiene and disease was not made until the 1800s so the stench would have been unimaginable in today’s standards.

Not all cultures and experiences around the globe were the same. Apparently, the very first bathing area dates back 5,000 years ago in the Mohenj-Dara and Harappa civilizations. Then approximately 3,700 years ago, the first municipal drainage system for toilets was discovered at the Mound of the Dead in what is now called Pakistan.

Eventually, bathing became associated with religious rituals approximately 3,000 years ago. Personal hygiene was linked with the higher classes and became a social activity for the upper classes that had the luxury to enjoy the civil engineering feats of the day plus other social activities. The Roman baths included libraries and lecture halls, and some even had lovely gardens to stroll around in. The Romans spread their love of bathing to all of their territories, and the bathing rituals were continued even after the fall of the Roman Empire in the Middle Eastern cultures with the Hamman baths, which are still part of their culture today. Bathing was considered a luxury and something to be honored. Since the ability to bring water to a central place was quite an engineering feat, it demonstrated the cleverness of the society that had them so it was something to show off as much as possible. Thus, the central locations and social aspects of bathing made a lot of sense in these times.

The Asian cultures favored the steam baths and saunas, often seated. The bathing experience was typically a ritualistic experience, therefore being a more enjoyable and tranquil practice. Whereas the English took the bathing experience to a new level, calling them “Stews”, which included bathing and feasting. It was a social gathering for both sexes to do together. Depending on where you were in the world, your experience of bathing was very different. However, with the increase in population, especially in Europe, the difficulty to provide clean water for so many, and the increase in disease, bathing eventually fell out of favor as it became seen as a way in which disease spread.

The inspiration for everything comes from a need within. The need for better bathing experiences became necessary once it was understood that our health was linked to our overall cleanliness. It took the combination of the advancement in civil engineering, enhanced water purification practices, the invention of superior plumbing fixtures, and the focus on and faith in personal hygiene ultimately for bathing rituals to become a central focus again.

The bathroom has always been based on two bodily functions: removing our bodily waste and cleansing our bodies. As modest as some of us may be, these basic bodily needs are a fact of life and cannot be ignored. Trust me, it has taken me my entire life to get past my own embarrassment of these basic facts. However, as I got older, I realized that we are all the same and have the same bodily needs so it is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Bathrooms were originally two rooms, separating the two functions into two separate spaces. The need to poo was always kept outside or away from the other spaces. This made sense from the cleanliness standpoint, but in truth it was more because of the stink because the hygienic importance was not understood until much later. The place to clean, purify and dress the body was done in a separate space entirely. This would have been located closer to where people slept and kept their things as a matter of convenience. Function was the primary reason that the bathroom functions were originally divided into two spaces; however, modern plumbing has afforded the modern bathroom to combine these functions into one space for optimal convenience.

Originally, the only things that were included were the toilet, in whatever form they had depending on where they were, and a cleaning area where they needed access to water. Then there was a need for some form of storage for clothing and other items used for dressing. Today, the fixtures and fittings of the modern bathroom are much more varied and can include a toilet, sink, shower, bathtub, bidet, mirror, storage and sometimes even steam showers or saunas.

Of these, the most important architectural advancement of the modern bathroom has been the toilet itself. Though Thomas Crapper is often thought of as the inventor of the toilet in 1861, the first flush toilet was in fact invented much earlier—in 1596 by John Harington. Though the toilet was around for such a long time, it never became popular until the invention of the S-trap in 1775, which trapped the bad odors away from you! This one invention is what really allowed the two functions of the modern bathroom to be combined into one space. Before this, the smell was unimaginable, making it necessary and desirable to have the bathroom located as far away from the place where you spent most of your time.

The toilet is in fact the most important architectural feature in the modern bathroom.

Mr. Crapper’s real value was that he started the first plumbing showroom where plumbing fixtures became readily available for the average household in the mid-late 1800s, with his flagship store being opened on the King’s Road London in 1907. Now people could go see, touch and feel the modern plumbing advancements being made in the world of bathing. This really started to change things for the functional design of the bathroom.

Modern toilets are often wall-hung and dual flush
because they are easy to clean and save water.

The creation of the modern bathroom developed into the BILLION DOLLAR business it is today from these early roots. Advancements in civil engineering for indoor plumbing to be the norm, waste disposal innovations, progression with filtration systems, and an emphasis on our own hygiene and health have all inspired the need for the bathroom to be a focal part of our interior spaces and how we design them. The ability to take care of our bodily needs in an easy and pleasant manner has become a fascination in our world. We may not be able to stop these (nasty) bodily functions, but we sure can make them as pleasurable as possible. Designing our bathrooms with pretty fittings, loads of clean water, and fresh smelling spaces in order to witness our waste disappear effortlessly, these are the things that have contributed to the explosion of the bathroom industry today.

Modern bathrooms are actually a result of plumbing and cost decisions, not necessarily ones made for the true needs of the human being. Toilets are too high, sinks are too low, showers and tubs are dangerous, and the whole water-based system is both unsanitary and wasteful. A new way is needed, for sure. Design needs to be formed from a holistic perspective, including our health needs now and in the future. Harming our immediate environment does not meet these basic terms. Think about these things when you are designing your own bathroom and how you can adjust the norm to be a better functioning and sustainable space for you and yours to enjoy and thrive in.

SYMBOLISM

The bathroom is a symbol of WEALTH. This is easy to recognize from a historical perspective because of the fact that the civil engineering feats and access to clean water was and still is a real achievement. Therefore, the symbolism of water being one of abundance and wealth is still quite powerful.

Water is also the symbol of PROSPERITY in many cultures, so bathrooms are also seen as a sign of prosperity, given they are the spaces that are designed around water. If you are having problems with water in your home, it is a good idea to look into your health, as it is considered a sign that something may be amiss.

The bathroom is also a metaphor for SELF-NURTURING and SELF-CARE. This too is easy to recognize as it was and is a place where we must attend to our most basic bodily needs as humans. Our bodies are our vessels. The more we care for them, the better they will respond. Taking the time, energy and effort to ensure our bodies are cared for, clean and in good condition demonstrates a sense of self-worth and importance.

Historically, the bathing experience was a very social aspect of our lives, similar to feasting as the English did, and was a place to meet, talk and exchange ideas. Today, the experience of the bathing ritual is more private. It is therefore symbolic of PEACE, SERENITY and TRANQUILITY. Bathing is a time to slow down, reflect on oneself, and get grounded again. Water has a natural rhythm to it. This is where the meditative aspects of water come into the symbolism of the bathroom as a modern space.

Our own perceptions come into play a lot with the bathroom. It is important to ask yourself first whether you consider the bathroom to be a place of tranquility and self-reflection or only a place of necessity and function. Dreams are always a good way to understand the way we feel about things, and the symbolism in dreams in which the bathroom or bathing experiences are featured is no different.

Having bathrooms or bathing experiences in your dreams is generally seen as an omen for JOY and HAPPINESS, as long as the water in the dream is flowing and clean. If the space is cluttered or dirty, it is often a sign that you are not being truthful in your own SELF-EXPRESSION. The meaning of a bathroom in your dreams often highlights the aspects of inner cleansing and can symbolize the need to check whether you are being honest with yourself about your INNER FEELINGS.

The most important and challenging thing in our lives is to learn to be honest with ourselves.

Carl Jung believed that poo dreams meant you needed to purge, let go and remove unwanted things in your life. Freud, on the other hand, believed that poo dreams often mean that money was coming your way. Dreams in which poo plays a role have one of two theories behind them. Again, I suggest you first ask yourself about your inner feelings towards the bathing experience, as this will help guide you as to which one of these is the right one for you.

CULTURALLY

Bathrooms and our connection with self-care and personal hygiene vary hugely from one culture to another and are deeply rooted in the historical context of each location, often being associated with the geography and socio-economic structure of each place. This book is written from the perspective of a Westerner who has designed many bathrooms and is quite well traveled; however, it will still be tainted with my own cultural perceptions of the bathing experience as it is impossible to remove this from one’s own writing entirely. I personally enjoy the private space a bathroom allows and have spent many happy hours soaking in a bubble bath with candles and oils, allowing my inner reflections to surface naturally. My own self-care has increased over my lifetime; therefore, the bathroom has become more and more of a sanctuary for me. Given that I believe that bathrooms help people nurture themselves and are very healing spaces, I have designed many award-winning bathrooms over the years for my clients to enjoy these life-enhancing experiences.

It is important to think of these differences culturally, as well as personally, when you consider your own Bathroom Renovation and what you may want to focus on and include.

Every culture calls the space where we do these personal things something different:

- Bathrooms or Restrooms in USA

- Washrooms in Canada

- Toilet or Public Toilet in UK

- WC (Water Closet) in Europe

- Lavatory in UK

- Loo in UK

- The John, Gents, Bog, The Crapper

- Comfort Rooms in Africa

- Bathing is what the Basques call swimming! (nothing to do with a bathroom!)

Though we are all human and have the same basic bodily functions, there are many aspects of how this can be done that are intriguing to consider as you embark on the creation of your own personal bathroom.

- Bidets are considered a very important aspect of the European bathrooms, though most Americans have no idea how to even use them!

- Until recently in Spain, the squatting toilets were common and are becoming more popular again today as health concerns related to the design of the modern toilets are being researched. Balancing is quite important here!

- In New Zealand and the British Commonwealth, the separation of the toilet from the bathing aspect is still popular when designing the bathroom.

- In Japan, they do not typically allow shoes into the home. They will specifically have a pair of slippers for the bathroom that are not allowed to be worn elsewhere in the house. They are very particular when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness.

- The modern toilets being designed today include a variety of innovations such as heated water (a form of a bidet), air dryers to dry your bits, and so forth.

- Historically, the public bathrooms in Japan didn’t have toilet paper; now sometimes you can only find it in vending machines.

- In China and the Middle East, the idea of standing in a shower is considered weird and bad for your chi. Bathers tend to sit and wash themselves with buckets of water.

- The idea of a wet room—a space that is designed entirely to get wet, with the toilet, sink and shower fixtures all within close proximity—is very common in other parts of the world; however, it is just being introduced into the West now. For example, I have designed wet rooms in small apartments and lofts that have limited space using a very functional simple design.

- In other countries, like India for example, they do not have toilet paper as they consider it unsanitary as well economically unviable to manage. Their bathrooms come equipped with a water spout and small bowl for the purposes of cleaning yourself thoroughly after doing your business. Once when I was travelling in the Middle East, the public toilets all had hand-held water spouts and drains so you could wash yourself after each visit to the bathroom.

- The British, who are the most well known for their bathroom humor, also designed a public toilet outside the Tate Modern that is a glass box, wherein the glass is one way (apparently) so you can look out while on the loo, though no one can see into the cube! Definitely the king on his throne.

Having a sense of humor and honesty about our bathrooms and the fact that we all have bodily needs is key to a healthy society, both inside and outside. Think outside the box and trust your own instincts concerning what is right for you, your body and our world in a truly holistic way.


“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.”

~Charles Eames





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Chapter 2:
BATHROOM FENG SHUI

You cannot make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable.”

~Deepak Chopra

FENG SHUI BASICS

If one starts with the goal of a healthy, balanced, safe place that will function at its best for the purpose it is intended for, then it will very often be a good design, have positive Feng Shui elements, and include many sustainable design features in it automatically. This is just a fact.

Feng Shui is simply the way one culture—the Far East namely —described good design many years ago before writing and formal education was common. The Feng Shui consultant would advise the locals where to place their new home or a new structure of any kind for optimum results. This would include checking the landscape, knowing the geography, and understanding the elements of the surrounding environment as well as understanding the needs of the people and the desired functions for the space. This was a HOLISTIC approach to how to design and build along with the fact that once upon a time to build any structure was a complicated endeavor that required a lot of thought and planning, since it was not something to be done or changed easily. In our knockdown society today, this foundational principle of Feng Shui is not something we may recognize at first.

BATHROOM FENG SHUI MYTHBUSTER

I do not subscribe to the idea of bad Feng Shui. Though in today’s hectic world we often seek a set of black-and-white rules to follow, this is not often the best path for great results. Everything has an ebb and flow that we need to monitor in order to maintain a positive balance, which requires being mindful.

Bathrooms apparently have a very bad reputation in the world of Feng Shui. Historically, bathrooms were complicated and could be even dangerous places; therefore, it makes sense that from a Feng Shui perspective, these spaces were treated with special care and concern. Today with modern inventions and advancements with indoor plumbing and sanitation, this is not the same as when Feng Shui first started.

One of the biggest errors I witness when others are using Feng Shui principles is to be too hard and fast with the rules. My Feng Shui philosophy is one of a more flexible approach, recognizing that things change and, therefore, our system of beliefs must change too.

FENG SHUI = GOOD DESIGN + SUSTAINABLE DESIGN

Feng Shui is an ancient practice of the MINDFUL design of our built environments to provide safety and security for a healthy and prosperous life within and surrounding the structure. Despite its long history, I support utilizing modern knowledge when applying these principles to your Bathroom Renovation and home designs.

With this being said, the bathroom is by far the most dangerous zone in the house and needs to be designed with focused attention and care towards your overall health and well-being. Placing your attention on these and designing with safety in mind will add positive Feng Shui to your bathroom.

FENG SHUI SCHOOLS

As with all schools of thought and practice, different approaches eventually evolve as to how to implement them. Feng Shui is no different. As time progressed, there came to be different ways of achieving and using the tools of Feng Shui for the purposes described above. Today, there are at least 10 different schools ranging from the Compass School and Flying Star to the original Form School, to name a few of the more commonly known ones.

This book is based on the tenets of Black Sect Tantric Feng Shui. I had the honor of studying with the late His Holiness Grandmaster Thomas Lin Yun and his disciples in the BTB Masters Feng Shui program in New York City. Learning from a Grandmaster is quite special. Professor Lin Yun spent his entire life learning and sharing the secrets of Feng Shui in a manner that the Western mind could absorb and utilize to his students’ benefit. His vision was impressive, and I am proud to be a part of his realistic and holistic approach to how to share this knowledge for the betterment of our world. It is with the continuation of this intention that this book has been written.

ART NOT SCIENCE

Feng Shui is an art. Though often called a science, it is only in the very early stages of being measured to our standards today. As with many holistic and alternative practices, they are just now being tested with scientific methods. To this end, the international publication The Academic Journal of Feng Shui was started in 2005 to specifically promote the academic research in all areas of Feng Shui.


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