A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

The Ol’ Toilet Switcheroo

Last Monday we decided it would be really nice to have a bathroom, or at least a working toilet, in the basement for the 14 guests we were having on Thanksgiving Day. Pete’s father will be 89 next week, so we certainly don’t want him to have to climb stairs, but with five kids in their “tweens”, we knew that we’d probably end up in the basement with the pool table and Wii.

To take you back, waaay back even before we moved into the bungalow, at one time the basement did have a fully-functioning bathroom, including shower. Unfortunately, the bathroom vent vented to nowhere, so the mold had to be removed before our bank would approve the mortgage.

The best (for the PO) and easiest (for us) solution was that we would tear out the bathroom before we even owned the place. Because of its condition we were going to tear it out when we moved in anyway, so for us it wasn’t a big deal, and it meant that we didn’t have to be delayed with the house-buying process.

Bathroom: beforeThe main (blue-and-yellow themed) bathroom had this lovely green toilet, which, apparently because of its flushing power, the PO wanted to take with him (I don’t even want to know). And while blue and yellow do make green, the blue and yellow of our bathroom would never make the green of this toilet, so I was happy for him to take it. One less thing to get rid of.

So the almond-colored toilet from the basement temporarily went into the main bathroom, until this week.

I’ve definitely known for a long time that I wanted a dual-flush toilet: one button for a .9-gallon flush and a second for a full 1.6 gallons. There’s absolutely no reason why many flushes, especially liquids, can’t be successfully evacuated with less than a gallon of water. According to one source, a dual-flush toilet can reduce water usage up to 67% over our almond-colored one; the old, traditional 2.9-gallon toilet.

Dual-flush toilets are becoming more popular in the U.S., finally. There are a couple of leading manufacturers: Caroma of Australia and TOTO of Japan, but many U.S. companies have also introduced them, including Kohler and American Standard.

Both Caroma and TOTO can be found locally at Green Depot, however we found the TOTO Aquia for a good price at Advantage Kitchen & Bath in Niles, for about $350.

While not the cheapest toilets around, I think the water cost savings and the water conservation aspect are well worth the price over the long haul.

The style choices in dual-flush toilets are limited, but I think the streamlined, understated look still works well with a more traditionally-styled sink. What I really like about the Aquia is the lack of contours at the bottom — which means no place for hair and other icky gross things to accumulate!

Later: Installing a toilet in five hours or less (fingers —— and legs —— crossed!)


  1. Why S? on November 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Why do toilets have all those contours? Another design by someone who has never done housework.
    Interesting information about the dual flush options. Thanks.

  2. Renate on November 29, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Ok Dahlink- I’m caught up. You left some stuff out when we spoke on the phone.
    Tschuess Liebschnitzl.

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