The design as well as the use of the bathroom has changed a lot in the last 30 years. When I asked my grandmother what comes to your mind when you think of a bathroom she said, “a small room with white tiles and running water that doesn’t always smell nice”

The bathrooms of my childhood were never that spare. My Aunt Hilda’s bathroom was the first grand bathroom I ever saw. Not grand by today’s standards, but it was my first experience in a bathroom than I wanted to stay in a bit longer than necessary. What I felt was that I was immersed in a colorful box filled with multiple colored tiles, golden looking fixture, and what I first thought were two toilets, one with a tank and the other without. 

It was instant fascination and I remember it as if it were yesterday. I stood in front of the ceramic basin uncertain of what it was. I recognized the hot and cold handles, which of course I reach out and turned on. To my disbelief, the water shot up, wetting me, the floor and the ceiling.

I was about five or six and in total fear of being found out. I grabbed the first towel I saw and started throwing it up to the ceiling trying to dry it. I did not discuss the incident for days. Then I finally approached my Aunt Hilda who explained what it was and showed me how it worked. I’ve had a love affair with the bidet ever since.

For those who are totally unfamiliar with it and have never encountered a bidet, please note that a bidet is a low plumbing fixture that is primarily used to wash and clean our private areas. This is a great solution when one does not have the time to take a full shower. The word Bidet is French for pony, this etymology comes from the notion that one rides a bidet much like a pony is ridden.

In all my years as a designer I think I’ve only encounter four bidets here in the States, but things are changing and more and more Americans are finally being exposed to this wonderful fixture.  If you are interested in one check out the local Home Depot or the local Lowes. They carry bidets on a regular basis.

In my opinion, a well designed bathroom is not complete without a bidet. Many people have been misinformed about its functions. The misconception is that a bidet is for cleaning after using the toilet. 

Trust me, this is not true. 

A bidet is for refreshing oneself without completely taking everything off. The water that runs down the drain is not the water that runs up. The idea that a bidet can contaminate us with dirty water is incorrect. In fact the opposite is true; women from around the world that use a bidet on a regular basis have less famine problems than American women.

I recommend that everyone try a bidet at least once. It is super practical as well as hygienic. I promise you that once you are exposed to this luxury you will never want to go back.

Marlene Pratt is the co-founder of Casa Latina, an interior designer and on-air television host on both English and Spanish-language television. Follow Marlene on Twitter at @CasaLatinaToday and Like her FB page

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