Recently, I heard a fact that fascinated me much more than it ought to have.
It turns out that the actor Kit Harington, who famously plays Jon Snow in the HBO series Game of Thrones, is related to the man who invented the first widely-produced flush toilet. Oh, and Kit isn’t shy about telling the tale. It seems that John Harington came up with the first flushing lavatory, which he named Ajax, while he was exiled from the court of Queen Elizabeth I in the late sixteenth century.
The Queen forgave him for his predilection for risqué stories when she tried out his loo for the first time, and Kit has been dining out on this legend ever since. Seems sitting on a porcelain throne may be more his style than one made of iron.
Porcelain is a bathroom staple
The modern bathroom, just like those of Elizabethan times, relies on porcelain for the same reasons that John Harington used it to create his exceptionally popular water closet. Porcelain is hardy but easy to shape, and its natural white color serves as a backdrop for some of the most beautiful printed and painted patterns. Contemporary porcelain technologies mean that many new modern designs are possible.
In this article, we’ll talk about toilets, sinks, tiles, and all things porcelain. We’re going to focus in on the most modern bathroom options available today, and explore what might look best in your home.
Name: From the Italian porcellana meaning cowrie shell
Made from: Kaolin clay
Production: Kiln-dried at between 2,200 and 2,600 °F
Common color spectrum: Translucent white
Performance: Very dense and durable
All about the density: Choosing porcelain
Porcelain is a specific type of ceramic material that has unique features such as a very high density and durability. The reason that this is the case is that it is made from kaolin, which is a low-plasticity clay that can be fired at very high temperatures. The result is an outstandingly strong and hard substance that can be used indoors and out.
Modern porcelain products take advantage of this density, and bathroom products are glazed in order to make them easy to clean and resistant to staining as well. Although there are some matte-finish products out there, you may get a better result from highly glazed porcelain if you have a busy family. You’ll never have to worry about cleaning your sinks, walls, or bathtub if you invest in a glazed porcelain product as they are almost impossible to damage without a sledgehammer in hand.
A modern backdrop: Designing with porcelain tiles
Porcelain tiles are one of the best and easiest ways to modernize your bathroom. For example, Subway tile works well in bathrooms it’s a great backdrop for design. It provides a clean look that can read as retro when the tiles are stacked horizontally, and more eclectic and fresh when placed vertically. From a design perspective, rectified tiles, with their die-cut shape, will produce a more exacting look, while standard tiles may have a more natural or rustic feel, but both approaches will suit a modern bathroom.
Mosaic tiles can also look modern, despite the fact that they date back to Roman times. These miniature tiles have a variety of beautiful glazes that can match any design scheme, and now come in rectangle and hexagonal shapes in addition to standard squares. Try tightly-placed hexagonal porcelain tiles for a really modern approach to design.
Porcelain fixtures: Oh right, the toilet…
If you want a modern toilet, sink, and bath design, current trends point to an angular approach to your bathroom. Reflecting the straight edges of your porcelain tile, modern bathrooms benefit from a streamlined look and feel.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have some curves in your space. Rather, you aren’t going to see extra frills and colors in a modern bathroom. Try coordinating all of your porcelain fixtures and tiles in a single color for a sleek look, or think about installing rectangular fixtures. Toilets with rectangular tanks with sharp edges can look especially contemporary, as they are usually the last thing that people change in a bathroom renovation. Augment the space with a lot of glass lighting and decorative elements for a light and airy feel.
Porcelain isn’t always the most popular choice for bathroom fixtures; many new lines use plastics and cheaper enamel instead of porcelain. In my opinion, it’s worth looking at porcelain first. You’re always going to get a higher-quality product, and in most cases it won’t cost you any more than the alternative. It’s just a better option all round.
With so many porcelain bathroom options available to you, it is important to pick a style that will suit your home over the long term, and a modern approach may seem a bit daunting. More streamlined and simply beautiful styles have been increasing in popularity, however, for the last twenty years, so this isn’t a flash in the pan.
Just like Kit Harington, you can be proud of your throne, and the modern and stylish room you’ve built to house it.