Tuesday, March 13, 2012

La Salle de Bain

Although it was not with hygiene in mind, the first records for the use of baths date back as far as 3000 B.C.

At this time water had a strong religious value, being seen as a purifying element for both body and soul, and so it was not uncommon for people to be required to cleanse themselves before entering a sacred area.

Baths are recorded as part of a village or town life throughout this period, with a split between steam baths in Europe and America and cold baths in Asia.

Communal baths were erected in a distinctly separate area to the living quarters of the village, with a view to preventing evil spirits from entering the domestic quarters of a commune.

 The third millennium B.C. was the "Age of Cleanliness." Toilets and sewers were invented in several parts of the world, and Mohenio-Daro circa 2800 B.C. had some of the most advanced, with lavatories built into the outer walls of houses. These were "Western-style" toilets made from bricks with wooden seats on top. They had vertical chutes, through which waste fell into street drains or cesspits.

Nearly all of the hundreds of houses excavated had their own bathing rooms. Generally located on the ground floor, the bath was made of brick, sometimes with a surrounding curb to sit on. The water drained away through a hole in the floor, down chutes or pottery pipes in the walls, into the municipal  drainage system.

Even the  fastidious Egyptians rarely had special bathrooms

Not all ancient baths were in the style of the large pools that often come to mind when one imagines the Roman Baths, the earliest surviving bathtub dates back to 1700 B.C, and hails from the Palace of Knossos in Crete.

What is remarkable about this tub is not only the similarity with the baths of today, but also the way in which the plumbing works surrounding it differ so little from modern models.

 A more advanced prehistoric system of baths and plumbing is to be found in the excavated town of Akrotiri, on the Aegean island of Thera. There, alabaster tubs and other bath fittings were found, along with a sophisticated twin plumbing system to transport hot and cold water separately. This was probably because of easy access to geothermic hot springs on this volcanic island.

Both the Greeks and Romans recognized the value of bathing as and important part of their lifestyles. Writers such as Homer had their heroes bathe in warm water so as to regain their strength; it is perhaps notable that the mother of Achilles bathed him in order to gain his invincibility.

Palaces have been uncovered throughout Greece with areas that are dedicated to bathing, spaces with ceramic bathtubs, as well as sophisticated drainage systems.

The Roman attitudes towards bathing are well documented; they built large purpose-built thermal baths, marking not only an important social development, but also providing a public source of relaxation and rejuvenation.

 Here was a place where people could meet to discuss the matters of the day and enjoy entertainment.

During this period there was a distinction between private baths, with many wealthy families having their own thermal baths in their houses.

Despite this they still made use of the public baths, showing the value that they had as a public institution.

The strength of the Roman Empire was telling in this respect; imports from throughout the world allowed the Roman citizens to enjoy ointments, incense, combs, and mirrors.

Although some sources suggest that bathing declined following the collapse of the Roman Empire, this is not completely accurate.

 It was actually the Middle Ages that saw the beginning of soap production, proof that bathing was definitely not uncommon.

It was only after the Renaissance that bathing declined; water was feared as a carrier of disease, and thus sweat baths and heavy perfumes were preferred.

 In fact throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the use of public baths declined gradually in the west, and private spaces were favored, thus laying the foundations for the bathroom, as it was to become in the 20th century.

However in Japan shared bathing in sento and onsen spas still exists; the latter being very popular.

In the United States, bathrooms are generally categorized as master bathroom, containing a shower and a tub that is adjoining to a master bedroom,

a "full bathroom" containing four plumbing fixtures: bathtub, shower, toilet, and sink;

and "3/4 bath" containing toilet, sink, and shower, although the terms vary from market to market.

This lack of a single, universal definition commonly results in discrepancies between advertised and actual number of baths in real estate listings.

The design of a bathroom must account for the use of both hot and cold water, in significant quantities, for cleaning the human body.

Water may be splashed on the walls and floor, and hot humid air may cause condensation on cold surfaces.

From a decorating point of view the bathroom presents a challenge.

 Ceiling, wall and floor materials and coverings should be impervious to water and readily and easily cleaned.

The use of ceramic or glass, as well as smooth plastic materials, is common in bathrooms for their ease of cleaning.

Such surfaces are often cold to the touch, however, and so water-resistant bath mats or even bathroom carpets may be used on the floor to make the room more comfortable.

Alternatively, the floor may be heated, by strategically placing heater conduits close to the surface.

Bathroom lighting should be uniform, bright and must minimize glare.

For all the activities like shaving, showering, grooming etc. one must ensure equitable lighting across the entire bathroom space.

The mirror area should definitely have at least two sources of light at least 1 feet apart to eliminate any shadows on the face.

The sky is the limit and the possibilities endless when it comes to creating your perfect bathroom.

  Websites like Pinterest and Houzz provide non-stop inspiration whether you prefer the streamlined look of fitted bathrooms,

 or traditional bathroom suites,

  you are sure to find a version of your dream bathroom!

*History of the bathroom-wickipedia


helen tilston said...

Hello Terri

Fabulous and this is one post I shall return to - you have so much wonderful information contained here.
Must run, wanted to say hi

Hugs and thank you

Helen xx

Karena said...

Terri I also will come back to peruse more!! You have featured so many fabulous baths; as well as fascinating history!

Do come over to visit, I have a New Giveaway I think you will love!

Art by Karena

Anonymous said...

SO LOVELY PICS:) I really like your blog ..there is so much nice inspiration.
I wish you a great and sunny week:)

LOVE Maria at inredningsvis.se

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

You did your homework! A good read, thank you.

Kathysue said...

Wow!Terri this is full of information. More than I have read in one article before!! You know bathrooms are my favorite room to design so all of the above images were pure eye candy for me, Happy Tuesday,
PS thanks for stopping by my blog today, always so nice to see your name there, xo

Acquired Objects said...

This is one of the best posts I've seen lately. Not only was it informative but the pictures of the bathrooms are amazing! Great job Terri!


Pamela Hunt Lee said...

After this post and a midnight bedtime due to a lengthy and energized visit with a friend of 55 years, I think I will now retire to a hot bath and soak away...delicious.

Jalon Burton said...

I just found your blog through The Good Life of Design and fell in love with this post! WOW - beautiful. Thanks for the great inspiration. Have a great evening - Jalon p.s. I am your newest follower!

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Terri, this is a fabulous post with so much wonderful information and so much beauty! You are such a creative spirit that it doesn't surprise me that you have given us this lovely post. The bathrooms are all exquisite! I also see that you have provided us with a few links so I am going back to visit each link. Thank you Terri, this is a beautiful post. I have a feeling that each time I go to my tub I will think of you and this exquisite post!!!
I hope you will be coming down this way soon.

Ivy Clad said...

What a beautiful and informative post! I thoroughly enjoyed it!


savvycityfarmer said...

oh my heavenly days

don't make me choose!!!

cjsullivan133 said...

So Beautiful. I have 3 favorites, one of them being the one with the bamboo chest with the paining of the girls on the beach above it. Lovely. I'm soaking in your blog this morning! So many beautiful images Terri!

cjsullivan133 said...

So many beautiful images. I am soaking in them! Great job Terri. I'm in awe of all your choices.