Archive for October 2011


Bathroom Blogfest: Climbing Out – When You’re 90

Posted on October 27, 2011 by Nora DePalma

Is your bathroom ready for aging?

By aging, I totally mean you.

Since starting in the building products industry 20+ years ago, I can’t help but notice that we haven’t made a lot of progress towards accepting bathrooms that accept us at all stages and phases of life.

Which brings me to an interesting bathroom “climbing out” story.

My parents lived on their own until my dad was approaching 97 and my mom was in her 80s. My mom was doing everything she could to shield my dad from the embarrassment of having caregivers take over his daily routines.

On one of my usual visits, Mom couldn’t wait to tell me just the funniest darn story. “Arthur, tell Nora what happened to us in the bathroom last week!”

“Is this something I want to hear?”

“Oh, it’s funny! You’ll love this,” Mom is laughing. Dad is laughing. I wait expectantly.

“Daddy is in his bath and can’t get out!”

“I can’t get out! Stuck!” My dad is leaning onto my mom because he is laughing so hard. “Get it? I’ve fallen in and I can’t get up!”

So far, this is not funny.

“So he calls me in and I try to help. Guess what happens?”

I can’t imagine.

“I fall in with him!” Mom howls.

“Now we’re both stuck, absolutely soaking wet, and neither of us can get out!” Daddy can barely get the words out. They are having the time of their lives telling me this story.

I am not laughing.

My parents don’t want unknown caregivers helping them with their most private of functions, and yet they are unable to climb out of the tub. I have a full-time job and a family an hour and a half away. One of these days, the police will knock on my door to tell me my parents have been found drowned together in the bathtub.  We will be on the news.

No one has really figured out how to make an accessible bathroom that doesn’t look like an accessible bathroom. This is not a problem in itself, it’s only a problem because no one wants to install a bathroom that looks like they need an accessible bathroom.

•    We have developed all kinds of creatively decorative grab bars. But they are still grab bars.

•    We have safe walk-in tubs (the type my Mom actually wanted after she moved in with us as a widow) that can drain rapidly.  They look beautiful, as you can see in this story from the October 2011 issue of Fine Homebuilding. But they are still walk-in tubs.


•    We have zero threshold seated showers with handshowers that can easily replace an existing tub/shower and work for the whole family. But they are still showers with seats.

To climb out of the bathroom, I challenge our industry to keep working on beautiful solutions for safe, stylish aging-in-place bathrooms.

But I also challenge us, as consumers, to climb out of our singular idea of what makes a beautiful bathroom.

For me, a beautiful bathroom is one that keeps my family safe and independent. And dry.

What is Bathroom Blogfest? Brainchild of the uber-creative Christine B. Whittemore, Bathroom Blogfest originated in 2006, bringing together bloggers from around the globe to write about the importance of bathrooms in the customer experience. Their posts come from a wide range of perspectives that include sociology, marketing, research, psychology, environmental, customer experience, and user-experience design.  Read the other creative contributions from 2011:

Name Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott Customer Experience Crossroads
Paul Anater Kitchen and Residential Design
Shannon Bilby From the Floors Up
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drop
Bill Buyok Avente Tile Talk
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Service
Becky Carroll Customers Rock!
Katie Clark Practical Katie
Nora DePalma O’Reilly DePalma: The Blog
Paul Friederichsen The BrandBiz Blog
Tish Grier The Constant Observer
Elizabeth Hise Flooring The Consumer
Emily Hooper Floor Covering News Blog
Diane Kazan Urban Design Renovation
Joseph Michelli Dr. Joseph Michelli’s Blog
Veronika Miller Modenus Blog
Arpi Nalbandian Tile Magazine Editors’ Blog
David Polinchock Polinchock’s Ponderings
Professor Toilet American Standard’s Professor Toilet
David Reich my 2 cents
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Blog
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wren
Bethany Richmond Carpet and Rug Institute Blog
Bruce D. Sanders RIMtailing
Paige Smith Neuse Tile Service blog
Stephanie Weaver Experienceology
Christine B. Whittemore Content Talks Business Blog
Christine B. Whittemore Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog
Christine B. Whittemore Simple Marketing Blog
Ted Whittemore Working Computers
Chris Woelfel Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co.
Patty Woodland Broken Teepee
Denise Lee Yohn brand as business bites

Blogger Profile: Patty Woodland, Goat Publicist

Posted on October 24, 2011 by Nora DePalma

Goat publicist Patty Woodland blogs at Broken Teepee and The Maaaaa of Pricilla.

When Jersey girl Patty Woodland left the hustle and bustle of city life and moved out to the open country of Montana, she never expected to become a farmer, much less a goat publicist.  But the change of pace and scenery were both a welcome sight to Woodland and her husband after years of hard work building his law practice in NJ.

As a blogger, Woodland spends hours each day writing about farm life from her perspective on her Broken Teepee blog and from the perspective of her goat Pricilla on The Maaaaa of Pricilla. Yes, you read it correctly: a GOAT.

For this goat farmer, there’s no more honking cars, just the maaaaas of the goats she milks to make her Happy Goats Soap sold through Etsy. With the help of spokesgoat Pricilla’s witty blog, Woodland is able drive interest for her specialty craft product and, therefore, sales of the soap.

Pricilla the Goat on the farm in Maaaaa-ntana

Woodland, a.k.a. “the publicist” as Pricilla the goat calls her, finds one of the strongest traffic generators-and hence sales-is commenting on other blogs. She states that it’s a two-way road in the blogging world and bloggers must be active with their own blogs, as well as others. Helping the matter, her avatar is the face of one of her goats, which is sure to raise curious eyebrows as it stands next to human faces in comment sections.

The same approach is taken with Woodland’s personal blog, Broken Teepee, which is described as a collection of “product reviews, giveaways and life on the farm.” Through her interesting content and interaction on other blogs, Woodland’s Broken Teepee blog typically generates 9,000 page views per month from approximately 4,000 unique visitors.

How to Pitch Brands

Woodland frequently sends letters to brands, requesting to test new products that she needs for her home and farm.  She promises to write honest reviews on everything from books to new toilets or faucets that she offers to install in her energy-efficient yurt. When applicable, she even goes the extra step and snaps pictures of the product in use, as she did in this review for our American Standard client.

In Woodland’s eyes, she is no expert of book or product reviews, however, her remote location means that the majority of her shopping is done online.  Which combined with her influence among loyal readers, makes her fairly valuable to brands.

The days of living in the city are no longer a desire for Woodland.  Green Acres is the place for her and the goats. And for brands who want to reach the best personal blogs.


Hot! Hot! Hot! Benefits of Steam Showers

Posted on October 23, 2011 by Joel Williams

The Las Vegas Journal Review featured an article exploring how homeowners are increasing their home’s value with an affordable steam shower from Mr. Steam.  Read more here.


Hustle and Flow: Solar temperature and flow sensors

Posted on October 21, 2011 by Joel Williams

The Grundfos Vortex Flowsensors (VFS) are combined flow- and temperature transmitters ideal for residential and commercial solar thermal systems. Part of the company’s family of Direct Sensors, the sensors integrate micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) sensing technology with an innovative corrosion-resistant coating that enables direct media contact for faster temperature and flow response, even with aggressive media. In addition to temperature control, the sensors also monitor flow rate accuracy to within 1.5 percent of full-scale flow.

The new two-in-one VFS sensors are ideal for monitoring solar thermal loop systems. Stand-alone temperature and flow sensors result in slow and inaccurate temperature regulation.  With a stand-alone temperature sensor, intelligent boiler technology is able to compensate for changes in inlet temperature and efficiencies in the heat exchanger, but there is no link to the consumption/flow of water.  Conversely, with a stand-alone flow sensor, a system can easily regulate the volume of water, but cannot respond quickly enough to changing temperature demands.

By combining the two; the best of both worlds will occur: A fast and accurate regulation of temperature.  Learn more here.


A Pat on the Back: Celebrating Client Successes

Posted on October 21, 2011 by Nora DePalma

This week has been full of great news and good works, so we’re excited to give a shout out to three of our wonderful clients today and celebrate some amazing achievements.

First of all, we’re pleased to announce that Uponor’s Pro Site,, has earned the “Outstanding Website” award in the Web Marketing Association’s 2011 competition. Congratulations to the Uponor Team for this great win!

American Standard Brands also had some good news recently: their innovative FunBath tub conversion kit was awarded the Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval for Fall 2011. We definitely would’ve wanted one of those tubs when we were kids.

Last but certainly not least, we were thrilled that Mr. Steam raised over $1,000 for the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association’s scholarship fund through Hank’s Ride. Many thanks to everyone at Mr. Steam for their time and generosity, and also to Hank for the pedal power.

National Kitchen and Bath Association Public Relations Society of America: Georgia Green Earth PR Network