A New Cabin Bathroom Sans Bat Poo

Let’s review:  during The Awakening, in which I make a list of all the things that make me uncomfortable at the cabin, I notice that I look up at the ceiling before I sit down on the toilet;  I am well aware that I share this bathroom with a colony of something that is pooping in my cabin tub. And members of that colony could easily swoop down from the ceiling and get caught in my hair while my pants are down. Pants down makes everything worse.

The bat poop tub had to go. The peeing was just too stressful.


Several weeks later, I arrive at the cabin and see this at the top of our long ass driveway:



YES!!!!  I did a little car dance because I knew the bats had been evicted. See those black flecks? That’s not an outdated design element, that’s the last vestiges of feces. Years of it fermenting and petrifying in my tub, waiting for the day when I lower my naked body into the water and bathe in it. It’s like a sacred spa treatment; I’d like the Fermented Bat Guano Bath for $200, please. I love you, bats, for your mosquito control and sonar abilities but please find your own damn house! Outside!



We replaced the tub with this kickass shower and built-in shelving, hand-built by the Finnish Carpenter (who builds saunas on the side. For more info on Finns and their saunas, click here). The tile is tumbled river rock grouted within an inch of its life by the Finnish Carpenter’s cousin, a man whose demeanor tells me that he prefers tile to people. Which works out well for me and my bathroom.

photo 2     photo 4


It’s sort of a slapdash design that feels appropriately rustic but adequately clean and fresh. The combo of cedar walls and smooth rocks underfoot invokes a sauna atmosphere that vibes well with this forest-y, Scandi-infused locale.


The sink is Ikea’s teeniest option, allowing us to sit down on the toilet without wrapping our legs around the sink.




At the expense of getting a little theme-y, the fish mirror works for a family of various heights. Thanks to puberty, I just recently became the shortest person in my family which causes some disagreement when hanging mirrors. If left to Mike and Liam, all mirrors would be hung so that I can only see my carefully sculpted eyebrows. On my tiptoes, I might be able to see that break in my nose where I got hit in the face with a frisbee. But with the new fish mirror, everyone gets their own fish of appropriate height. It’s so egalitarian.

photo 3



The most dramatic part of our cabin reno project was the removal of the Motel 6 toilet paper dispenser.

photo 1


As Mike removed it from the wall, Liam and I stood next to him and clapped importantly for the statement that this made. Nothing says cheap hooker like motel fixtures, am I right? Plus, a family of three in an 800 square foot cabin does not require an industrial grade “dispenser” for toilet paper; I’m guessing this artifact had been dispensing the same roll since the Clinton era.

Not only was this removal exciting from a Motel 6 perspective, it also gave me the opportunity to shop for an alternative. This should’ve been another make love to the internet situation, searching for something perfectly elusive, but instead I took the immediate gratification route and drove to the nearest (ha!) big box store……..and………I’m not kidding when I tell you that I’m pretty sure I saw Jessica Biel’s mom at the Shopko.

For those of you who don’t watch the news (aka Entertainment Tonight), Jessica Biel was born in Ely, Minnesota, gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and home of the nearest Shopko.

My toilet paper holder options were so limited at the Shopko that I couldn’t even muster the motivation to take a photo of my choice. But it’s still better than the cheap hooker-influenced design. And I saw Jessica Biel’s mom.  Maybe.  Well, I saw a motherly looking woman with Jessica Biel’s face and I got excited.

So…..is this a fantasy bathroom? No. But it’s a great example of simplicity and efficiency, form and function, authenticity and crisp workmanship, in the tiniest of spaces. When this cabin was built, no one peed inside. A shower was something that rich people took on Sundays. So to the original cabin owners, this would be the ultimate in luxury.

And the bats can suck it.




Featured image credit: Tim Flach

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