After nearly a quarter century in the same house, I marvel at the functional efficiency of my downstairs powder room. The plumbing works. The lights and fan still come on. There is plenty of space to store extra rolls of toilet paper and whatnot.
Alas, others in my household don’t seem to see this cozy space quite the same way. They fixate on two (tiny!) missing tiles, the occasional peel of wallpaper, the spot of rust in the sink bowl, and the toilet that sometimes continues to run if you don’t jiggle the handle just so.
I successfully turned a deaf ear to such quibbles for years, but then my neighbors decided to rehab their powder room and I realized the jig was up. Resistance was futile.
Which is why I’ve begun a little project.
It didn’t take long to discover how much the home improvement game had changed since I fixed up the bathrooms and repaired the toilets when we first moved in. Like so many other things, the Internet has upended everything.
For starters, in the past I would always head first to the library to borrow any do-it-yourself book targeting the problem at hand. Next, I would go to Border’s or Home Depot and buy up a batch of magazines with the latest design ideas.
This time, I never had to leave my couch. My wife had conveniently sent me a link to her Pinterest page, where she had curated all her favorite flourishes. (Who knew you could mix and match toilets and seats?).
Armed with a mandate, I headed to Home Depot, where I was surprised to see how much the hardware giant had embraced showrooming: The idea that shoppers now visit stores to see what they like and then buy it cheaper on the Internet.
Everything I liked said “Online only.”
Soon I was doing just that, shopping online. I waded through inventory and read up on the reviews. I found myself bingeing on YouTube videos offering tips for installation.
Finally, it was time to take the plunge.
A few days ago, two large heavy boxes arrived at my doorstep, parts of my fancy new commode.
Shipping was free.