One of the most popular artifacts at the Museum of the City of New York is the Dollhouse of Carrie Walter Stettheimer (1869–1944) which weaves together the fashion and style of New York’s Gilded Age in miniature form. Stettheimer (sister of artist Florine Stettheimer) worked on the 12-room dollhouse over the course of twenty-five years, from 1916 to 1935, creating many of the furnishings and decorations by hand.
Styles vary from room to room, yet the wallpapers, furniture, and fixtures are all characteristic of the period following World War I. The dollhouse is particularly notable for its original, miniaturized works crafted especially for Stettheimer by renowned avant-garde artists of the 1920s, including a 3-inch version of Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp. From the Limoges vases in the chintz bedroom to the crystal-trimmed candelabra in the salon, Stettheimer infused her artistic sensibility into every detail of the house. The dollhouse measures approximately 28 inches tall, 50 inches long, and 35 inches wide.
Take a video tour of the Stettheimer Dollhouse, where this Pink Bathroom can be seen at 1 minute 13 second mark, at This Link!
Designs inspired by nature form the largest group of more than 10,000 wallpapers in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Often, a wallpaper theme would tie-in with the room’s use: designs of food were popular for dining rooms and water motifs dominated in bathrooms. The modern bathroom. with a designated space indoors, running water and flush toilets, had been developed by the late nineteenth century. Given the concerns for hygiene and running water, ceramic tiles were the preferred wall-covering because of their durability and sanitary nature. For those on a budget, early wallpapers imitated this look with varnished tile patterns.
Around 1910, bathrooms shifted away from this sterile, hygienic look to become a more pleasant, decorative room that was harmonious with the home’s decor. Some moisture-resistant coverings were introduced in the early 1900‘s, but general-use wallpapers at this time were printed with water-soluble pigments and thus were unsuitable for use in bathrooms.
By 1934, the development of washable wallpapers coincided with a new array of decorative papers that had no hint of their sanitary past; rather, scenic designs featuring more panoramic views, as seen here, became popular, appealing to decorators and homeowners who wanted to bring the outdoors inside.
Sea Beauties Scenic Wallpaper (1920 – 35, Ideal Wall Decoration) seen here in this three-panel set, contains a lively underwater view of fish, shells, coral and plant life in their natural habitat. Multiple sets could be used to wrap around the bathroom, creating an immersive environment.
This early water-resistant design is printed in oil colors, so it could withstand the moisture and occasional splash from the tub, giving the wallpaper both a practical and decorative purpose.
Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Upper Manhattan.
There is no delicate way to put this: when you share a home with other people, maintaining the quality of the bathroom “atmosphere” is an ongoing consideration. It’s easy enough to light a match or spray some room fresher into the air, but when a solution that’s both discrete and longer-lasting is desired, I’ve got just the thing for the occasional malodorous situation: POTTYMINTS.
I discovered POTTYMINTS at the recent New York Now home show, when I was trawling the aisles for free stuff and was charmed by their attention-grabbing booth display, featuring a toilet with an extravagant bouquet of flowers extending from its bowl to the ceiling. Very impressive! I stopped to talk to POTTYMINTS representative, Matthew Grobman, whose sister and business partner Suzanna Grobman, invented the product after taking a vacation (my guess is they went to Mexico) with her then-boyfriend-now-husband. You can read an abridged version of what I assure you is an hilarious story here.
Matthew gave me a few sample packets of POTTYMINTS to try at home and here is what happened next.
Behold, the POTTYMINTS displayed on the seat of my toilet! Please note that correct use of the POTTYMINT involves waiting until after the flush (#theafterflush)!
After flushing, drop one POTTYMINT into the clean water and watch it go!
The POTTYMINT will effervesce and dissolve, leaving the air sweet smelling for, not even kidding, a few days! POTTYMINTSare sold in assorted sizes, including a small packet perfect for traveling or just keeping in your purse or bag. All packaging embraces a minimal-yet-elegant design aesthetic — like something you would find in the bathroom at a very fancy hotel and want to take home with you! POTTYMINTScome in two very appealing fragrances: Arancia di Capri (Citrus) and La Fleur (Light Floral). These varieties are effective and impart a fresh and enduring scent without becoming cloying, as some sprays or atomizers can be.
Find out more about POTTYMINTS, and get a 10% discount on your first purchase, at This Link!
This little gal was spotted in the vanity area of the bathroom in one of houses owned by my sister and her husband. As you can see, this fine soap dish is “too nice” to actually be used to hold the soap.
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s bold, irreverent work, America, skewers social complacencies and re-imagines cultural icons. On the occasion of the artist’s 2011 – 2012 retrospective at the Guggenhiem, which featured virtually every work he had ever made suspended from the oculus of the rotunda, Cattelan announced his retirements from art making.
Five years later, he returns from his self-imposed exile with a new, ongoing project at the Guggenheim Museum. For America (2016), Cattelan replaced the Toilet in one of the museum’s unisex restrooms with a fully functional replica cast in 18K Gold, making available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent.
The Seat Is Dry, Even Though It Appears to be Wet
Its participatory nature, in which viewers are invited to make use of the fixture individually and privately, allows for an experience of unprecedented intimacy with a work of art. Cattelan’s Golden Toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market, but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all — its utility ultimately reminding us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.
Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum, Level 4 Restroom in the Rotunda, NYC.