Bathroom Renovation

My apologies for the desultory and inconsistent bloggery exhibited here at antarcticiana over the recent seasons. In the brief few months of this year my personal life has gone from dismal and unfocused, even ruined, to completed, ordered, and joyous. This swing of the pendulum has taken its toll on my blog output. At the one end, I was too depressed and distraught to really see any point to it. And at the other, the exciting revelation that I had found my life partner made all that time spent online seem a waste of moments possibly spent with her.

She, however, has a job, so I can't blame all my lack of output on romance. I still do have much time to sit around and write things of little importance, during the day. So the rest I blame on a long-overdue renovation of the petite bathroom here at the homestead. Although I didn't do anything like the lion's share of the work myself, I have fussed and fidgeted enough to fill the days, making countless trips to Lowe's to purchase bits of this and that. In fact, there are still some days left to go. Bathrooms take time, like fine wine.

Although one of the many sub-themes of this eclectic blog is the  "greatest outhouses of the world," until now we have not given any coverage whatsoever to interior bathrooms. But on a (comparatively) recent trip to Louisville we were able to use a bathroom of such magnificence that it seemed appropriate to, in the vernacular, "go there." Off to be spectators at the famed Kentucky Derby, we stayed at the invitation of a dear friend in his Louisville manse, a spectacular residence now on the Kentucky state registry of historic homes. Each and every room was charming and well-appointed, but none so remarkable, perhaps, as the Delftware guest bathroom.

This is, you will have gathered by now, not my bathroom, and not my renovation. (I promise to post photographs of my own water closet soon--I sense a new theme developing.) In Louisville we washed and relieved ourselves using appurtenances decorated by the late ceramicist and artist Mary Alice Hadley. According to the Hadley Pottery creation myth, Miss Mary Alice in 1939 combined her artistic talents with the clay-tile glazing expertise of her Kentucky antecedents to create some dishware for the family houseboat. Her whimsical plates proved so popular that Hadley was urged to go into business, and the pottery bearing her name still operates in Louisville. To judge from the current Hadley Pottery listings on eBay, the company made rather a specialty of what are for my taste overly cute prancing ponies and childlike floral motifs. Her personal bathroom is a different matter.

The famed claypits of Louisville were not only useful for producing teacups and coffee mugs. In the days when the United States manufactured things, Kentucky was a source for toilets, sinks and baths. As the story goes, Hadley, when renovating her own powder room, shut down the assembly line at the local toilet factory long enough to custom-decorate her own bespoke crapper. Entering the john at the Hadley house, one is transported to the aqueous depths of Atlantis. One dives, hopefully not literally, into a world of starfish, bowl-swimming snapper and waving blue kelp. The tub is ruled by Neptune himself, together with a mermaid concubine.

Ms. Katherine Dixon, my lovely fiancé, in Derby finery, in front of the lovely Hadley House.


Mark said...

simply awesome...

Herb Koguchi said...
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