Cartoonists have a crazy streak. They can’t help themselves; it’s how they are made. As a cartoonist-inventor, I sometimes cannot resist the temptation to illustrate a concept even while knowing it is crazy, stupid or at least poorly conceived. For instance, I have invented silly toilets solely to keep myself amused. I have also spent time pondering whether there might be non-traditional locations within the home where a toilet might be placed. Is it merely for reasons of tradition that toilets are consigned to bathrooms? Could toilets be placed in hallways, in dining rooms, or in the middle of the living room? Why not outhouse-like facilities (of modern design) on the porch, deck, or in the garden?
There are likely many good reasons for not locating a toilet in the middle of a kitchen. I understand that. But why not locate a toilet inside a shower stall? In fact, I can imagine extreme situations where water and space are so scarce, as on a submarine, where toilets might be incorporated into showers. But admittedly that is not the case in a home or apartment. But to see what it might look like, I drew a toilet inside a shower and I succeeded in amusing myself. I admit the concept is somewhat disgusting and disturbing given that dampness is the perfect medium for the spread of disease, contamination, smells, and so forth. I will give my idea an F for practicality but an A for whimsy.
Where else in a home might a toilet be placed? In 1983, I proposed The Living Bathroom, a space-saving concept for small apartments and cabins. I like my cute and clever execution of the idea, though I worry that the issue of odors was not addressed.
In 2007 I revisited my Living Bathroom concept, making it more stylish and adding a chimney. The chimney contains a built-in fan that sucks vapors from the toilet toward a roof vent. Both the chimney and the toilet come in polished stainless steel and look very modern. Note how the Toilet Concealment Chair slips over the toilet. It rolls forward on wheels when there is urgent need to use the toilet.
I have also pondered the practicality of freestanding toilet cabinets or closets. A Toilet Cabinet might be placed anywhere, assuming plumbing connections could be attached from below. In this design floor drains are shown. Optional toilet seat heights are offered, allowing the user to select between the thin (standard) and thick (elder) seat lid. The weakness in this design is the lack of a fresh air vent. I do not, by the way, consider the claustrophobia-inducing design objectionable though some users might.
This month I revisited my earlier designs for the Living Bathroom and created a modified concept that offers a vent pipe and a mini-sink. The entire unit fits stylishly in the middle of a living room. I can’t see many flaws in this design, though an objection might be that there are noises attendant with toilet use. The noises I refer to are not just those made while flushing or washing one’s hands. Music or white noise could be broadcast out to the living area while the bathroom is in use. The masking sound would commence at the moment the “occupied” latch is set in place.
If there are good arguments for why the toilet should remain where it belongs – in the bathroom – are there ways of integrating it into the design of the other typical bathroom furnishings? The studies above show some possibilities. Notice how these designs, though seamlessly integrated, seem to conflict with a person's need for privacy and modesty!
Yet modesty is such an outmoded concept. Is anyone modest anymore? Do TV programs, movies, magazines or newspapers show concern for adhering to old standards of modesty? No! Perhaps the time has arrived for promoting my Duplex Toilet for home use. Think of the advantages of a Duplex Toilet. Consider the high cost of adding an extra bathroom to the home and how much space is saved within the home by these designs!
Of course, there might be some issues initially with use of the Duplex Toilet because of ingrained habits of personal modesty. There might be problems between a brother and a sister who just aren’t comfortable being in the bathroom at the same time. But looking far into the future, I can imagine the Duplex Toilet becoming popular. It could even contribute to a melting of a present-day taboo against communal toilet use. Admittedly, just as swimmers frolicked modestly at public beaches in the 1890s while nearly fully clothed, there might be a step in the acceptance of the Duplex Toilet when users will feel the need to don a concealing, tarp-like covering over their knees, allowing them to modestly hide their bare legs, dropped underpants and trousers. Eventually, however, no one will feel the need to use the draping accessory! There will be Duplex Toilets in your future, and you read this prediction first in Neatorama!
Visit Steven M. Johnson at his website.