No, a “shower body” is not what you think it is.


‘And, yes, it’s easier to find a unicorn than black and white tile’

I was almost a day late and a dollar short with this post. See, this little “coat-of-paint-and-new-appliances” project spiffing up the Ken and Barbie House is turning into a giant all-consuming time-sucking nightmare. Well, actually, it’s not technically a “nightmare” because I don’t sleep. If you don’t sleep, you can’t have a nightmare, now can you?

Also, I am technically a “dollar short,” actually many dollars, since everything costs more than you think it will. What do The Dude and I do when told an amazingly gobsmacking number for, say, ripping out the awful substandard ancient wood that was under the awful substandard ancient cork tiles so we can lay down a nice new floor?

An excellent example of a “cabinet” with “plumbing”. (See below.) I don’t dare ask how much it costs

We shrug and say “okay.” Our reasoning? This is our Last Apartment — at least the Last Apartment We Will Choose For Ourselves — so we might as well “do it right.” Even if we empty our bank account while doing it.

Today I woke before five thinking about how on earth to find a carpenter. I interviewed one last night who got very sniffy when I admitted that I did not have a “design” or a “plan.” He also smelled mightily of a strong men’s cologne. Deal-breaker, even if he hadn’t kept me waiting 45 minutes.

The night (er, morning) before it was this thing with the “shower bodies.” After a bout of googling, I found out more than I ever wanted to know about valves and diverters.

That’s a diverter. Or is it a valve? Whatever. It’s pricey

Last week it was The Great Black And White Tile Quest. See, once we (actually, our contractor) pried up those cork jobbies and the underlying icky wood, I decided a nice idea would be to “do” the whole apartment — that is, if a 500 sq. ft. apartment can be called “whole” anything — in black and white tiles. Very Parisian, I thought. (Versailles has black-and-white tiles.) Very Downton Abbey too. (The room where Edith does her telephoning has black-and-white tiles.)

See? Black and white tile. Not in Downton Abbey, but in Architectural Digest. Which is pretty close

Turns out that black and white tile — unless you are springing for marble black and white tile — is rare as hen’s teeth. Go ahead; I dare you. Google black and white tile and see what you come up with. Plenty of options in peel-and-stick, but in porcelain? Not so much. “It isn’t in fashion,” sneered one Showroom Showperson. (I think she must have been related to the uppity carpenter; she also wore too much cologne.)

Another gorgeous be-tiled room. Because why not?

After hours of fruitless prowling of the internet, The Dude and I decided to go on a mission. We piled in the trusty ’98 Toyota and drove to Southampton, where we hit each and every tile showroom we could find. We had vowed not to return to Amagansett tile-less, so it’s a good thing that Southampton Gallery of Tile had some in their, um, gallery.

We find some tile! We went with the “marble” version. (The ones with my foot protectively guarding them from escape)

We celebrated with a walk in the woods. Although at each and every step I was thinking about plumbing. Or cabinets. Or cabinets with plumbing. (See Adorable Vanity photo above.)

The Dude and I on a rare break from Tile-and-Valve Hunting

Next up in the Obsession Queue is The Kitchen. Though I do have a pretty good idea of what I want. Now I just have to find someone to do it. Any carpenters out there?

Black and white tile calls for a black and white kitchen. No, I don’t have any exposed brick. Not yet anyway

Now, instead of going on and on about tile and stuff, thus snaring you in my Nightmare Trap, I’m going to end with a little concert. The Child has acquired a Very Small Piano and has been sending us videos of choice performances. This one I call “The Apple Doesn’t Play Far From The Tree,” since I swear to You-Know-Who it features The Child playing Maple Leaf Rag.

You may recall from my story “Please Don’t Play It Again, Sam,” that this is a piece that The Dude likes to play. “Likes to play” as in every night of our 35-years-and-counting marriage — over and over and over again. And not only do The Child and The Dude both play Maple Leaf Rag, they both do the same Thing With Their Mouth while they’re at it.

Enjoy. And “see” you next week. If I survive the Shower Body Search, that is.

New York City. January 2020



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7 thoughts on “No, a “shower body” is not what you think it is.

  1. Makes me think of the soundtrack from The Sting–a record I played over and over as a kid. She’s good! And so’s black and white tile. We did that in our kitchen we re-did, and I loved the look. I had babies so it was a little more cleaning than I would have liked, but worth it. Now, are you laying it on the diagonal or straight? I wanted diagonal and the contractor did it straight–either way looks great, I think. Good luck in apartment re-do land, Alice!

    • Hey thanks for the design support! I really need it today. Have hit a wall (pun intended) with cabinetry. I hear you about the black-and-white tile cleaning challenge. We’re hoping that our choice, which has a “marble” look, will prove easier to keep clean — since it looks sort of “permanently dirty”! Oh — we are going for the diagonal look. Hoping it’ll make the space look larger (hah) xoxo

    • I love that you love them too, dear Melissa. My Favorite (and Only) Sister made sinks out of repurposed antiques at least a decade before designers did. She is soooo talented. (So glad she doesn’t write a blog) xo

  2. Ruth Meisenheimer

    I like Maple Leaf Rag a lot, and believe it or not, played it too along with other ragtime pieces. Enjoyed Samantha’s performance. XO

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