Great bathroom reading: Deborah Schneiderman's The Prefab Bathroom (book review)

The Prefab Bathroom
© The Prefab Bathroom/ Bishakh Som

Regular readers of TreeHugger will know that I am obsessed with bathrooms and prefab. So when I learned that Deborah Schneiderman had written a book called "The Prefab Bathroom" I had to have it. Deborah is an associate professor of interior design at Pratt and previously wrote Inside Prefab, which I reviewed here.

Deborah covers a lot of the material that we covered in TreeHugger in my 8-part History of the Bathroom (our interests clearly overlap) but she takes a huge leap into the world of the graphic novel, or should I really call it an illustrated history, with wonderful illustrations by Bishakh Som. Because that is what it is, a romp through the history of the bathroom and the challenge of making it into a machine. Promoters of prefab anything have faced the problems that Bucky Fuller did:

bucky problems© The Prefab Bathroom/ Bishakh Som

TreeHugger has covered many of the designs covered in the book, including Bucky Fuller's in the Perils of Prefabrication and Joe Columbo's Total Furnishing Unit.

reading the bathroom book© The Prefab Bathroom/ Bishakh Som

She devotes a couple of pages to my hero, Alexander Kira, and his Bathroom Book. She covers so many of my favorites, like Kieran Timberlake's Cellophane house.

I have been trying to write my own History of the Bathroom book, and disagree with a few points in her first section on the history of the bathroom as we know it today, about why the 5x7 bath became the North American Standard (My version here) But it is a really minor quibble with an introductory part of her book.

Columbo total living unit© The Prefab Bathroom/ Bishakh Som

There are so many other milestones, so many designers and bathrooms and ideas, all wonderfully drawn by Bishakh Som The graphic format is wonderful; it's funny, it's easy to read, it's a romp through what many would think is an obscure and boring subject, making it fascinating and fun. It's terrific bathroom reading!

From McFarland

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