"JACK, it is perfectly lovely," said Mary inspecting for the first time the owner's bathroom in the house that Jack built. It was with fear and trembling that Jack had ventured to take entire charge of the fitting up of the bathrooms, for in spite of his long experience in building operations, he always liked to have Mary's critical suggestions. Even when she has little practical knowledge of the subject, her comments are always interesting and usually illuminating. And when work is not done to her satisfaction, she speaks plainly, even if Jack is the one to be hurt. So Jack heaved a deep sigh of gratitude at hearing her express such enthusiastic approval. He felt that the time he and Tom had spent at the showrooms of the maker of bathroom supplies had not been wasted. And he was especially thankful to his architect who had planned the bathroom so that Mary's built-in dressing table with drawers galore caught her fancy at first sight, and made her blind to several minor imperfections that otherwise might have caused her to unsheathe her pretty claws.
Plan of Mary's Bathroom.
"Such a dressing table I never saw," continued Mary, taking off her hat, and sitting down before it on a bathroom chair of simple, good lines and solid construction, fitted with rubber tips so that the feet did not slip or make a noise or mar the tiled floor, and finished in celluloid enamel that resists moisture and bruises indefinitely. (It cost $15.) "I knew from Mr. Joannes's plans what the shape of it would be, but I never dreamed the lighting of it would be so perfect," she added, lowering one of the window shades to equalize the illumination from the two sides. "What a heavenly mirror," she went on, adjusting the wings (each 1 foot 6 inches by 1 foot 2 inches) so that first one and then the other side of her coiffure was clearly revealed to her; "I'm afraid you paid more for it than you should, Jackie."
"It cost $50," replied Jack, "but it is the best of the kind made. The back is 1 foot 6 inches high by 2 feet 6 inches wide, giving you seven square feet of mirror space in all. The nickel-plated metal frame increases the cost, but will wear longer."
"It is simply perfect," said Mary, "and I only wish you had one like it to shave by. I wonder how it lights up by night," she continued, lowering one of the opaque window shades quite down, while Jack lowered the other, closed the door, and switched on the electricity. "Why, it's just like day!" she exclaimed, "and the light doesn't hurt my eyes at all."
"The lighting of this room caused me a good deal of worry," said Jack, smiling at the recollection of difficulties overcome. "Everybody agreed that the tiled floor and wainscoting, and the wall paper and ceiling above, as well as furniture should be in cream or white, and that there should be one electric outlet for the ceiling, one for the lavatory, and one for the dressing table, but nobody was quite sure how to place the ceiling light or how to light the mirror."
"Why, Jack, the room is light, from the ceiling fixture only," said Mary, drawing down the chain pulls on the two brackets.
"Yes," assented Jack, "the walls are so light in color that they reflect and re-reflect the light back and forth and save it. Dark walls would eat up the light and waste it. Besides, dark walls would make the bathroom seem small and narrow."
"But, Jack," said Mary, "the ceiling is darker than the walls. I thought the ceiling should always be lighter than the walls and the walls lighter than the floor, just as the sky is lighter than the earth."
"Not always," answered Jack. "The object of the stenciling on the ceiling and its darker tone, is to make it seem lower. And that's why the electric outlets are all so placed and the lights so shaded as to take the light off the ceiling and upper walls and concentrate it on the middle and lower walls."
"And also on the floor," commented Mary. "I could find one of your collar buttons here without half trying."
"That's why the floors of bathrooms should be light in color and brightly lighted," remarked Jack. "It leaves no opportunity for anything to disappear or get lost."
"I'm so glad the bracket over the mirror has such wide-spreading arms," said Mary. "Was that your idea?"
"No," answered Jack, "that was Tom's. He first called my attention to the fact that the way to light a mirror is not to light it at all."
"That's a funny idea," commented Mary, "and if carried out in lighting a whole house, ought to be a very economical one. How does he explain it?"
"Tom says," went on Jack, "that just as the way to light a room is to light the objects in it, so the way to light a mirror is to light the objects you want to see in it. The two lights over your dressing table are so placed that they illuminate your face and hair, but they are near the wall so that they send almost no light into the mirror."
"Why wouldn't one of the long slender lino-lite tubes be as useful here as on a piano?" asked Mary.
"Because on a piano the light is desired not on the face of the performer, but on the music. Still, I should think the tube might be turned around so as to throw the light forward upon the face.
"Of course it could," said Mary. "But I doubt if it would be as satisfactory as what we have. Let well enough alone."
"How do you like the tub?" asked Jack.
"It seems dreadfully low," responded Mary.
"Of course," responded Jack, "the finest ones are made that way now. Easy to get into and easy to get out of, with no open space beneath for things to roll under or dust to collect under. The bottom surface of the tub is level with the floor tiling."
"It is splendidly big," remarked Mary.
"Five feet 10 inches, by 2 feet 8 inches," said Jack.
"How much did it cost?" interrupted Mary.