Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Scent Crimes Series: No 13 - Suggestive storage in bathroom showrooms

A few redeeming points for colour coordination
I am in between work projects at the moment, so as is my wont in such circumstances, I thought I would conjure up a domestic project instead, to wit refurbishing my bathroom. For I have a scratched cast iron bath that is 104 years old at a conservative guess, an extinct model of lavatory that had the local plumbers merchant poring over their catalogue of 'archived designs' to locate a compatible loo seat, plus the bathroom is painted an aggressive shade of peppermint topped off with a mood-disturbing ceiling of bottle green.

Since formally embarking on the research phase associated with all my renovation projects, I have learnt all manner of new arcane vocabulary pertaining to sanitary fixtures and fittings. Would you believe there are such things as 'comfort height close coupled slow close WCs', as well as the disconcerting 'wall hung' variety?  Then there are 'flat bottom bottle traps', 'pop up wastes', 'slipper baths', 'offset quadrant showers', 'sail panels', and my personal favourite, 'rigid risers with concealed elbow'.

In addition to studying styles and materials on the Internet, I have been visiting a number of bathroom showrooms (five so far!), because I am compelled to subject all potential bathtub contenders in my price range to the Bonkers 'knock' test, ensuring that even the near ubiquitous acrylic models are sufficiently reinforced so as not to sound cheap and flimsy.  I have also been - quite unselfconsciously! - lying in quite a few baths, in order to figure out the optimum height for reading and drinking wine while having a good long soak.  (This is all predicated on a new boiler, I should perhaps mention, for the benefit of readers to whom I have historically bemoaned my erratic hot water output and associated poor reading rate.)  The ledge of the bath must also be able to accommodate a wine glass.  So many things to consider - I tell you, baths are not unlike beds on the comfort front.

They may be empty (and partly J-Lo) but there's a principle at stake!

And in the course of my research - both in showrooms and flicking through brochures - I have been shocked and concerned to see legions of perfume bottles posing in bathroom cabinets, perched on the shelves of vanity units, and sitting pretty on the corner of baths - they are simply everywhere!  Admittedly some of the bottles were empty, but even if 'no actual perfume was harmed' in the staging of these product shots / room sets, it is sending out completely the wrong message to the public.  Anyone would think this is precisely where you should keep your perfume bottles, but of course we know better...

Niches of steamy doom

A few redeeming points for this bottle of Angel being in its box

It is over four years since I wrote my opening post in the Scent Crimes series about the evils of bathroom storage.  I am sorry to report that it has only had 110 page views in all that time, so in terms of the task of convincing the public at large to keep their fragrances in their boxes in a cool dark - and dry - place, I fear our perfume community has still got it 'all to do', as they say...

Brochure behaving badly

Another brochure - a few redeeming points for having a sliding door

It just remains to wish everyone a Happy Easter weekend - I am off to Sidmouth again for a few days, and will be back next week with any fragrant observations from my trip, plus a review of Vero Kern's Rozy edp!


Carol said...

Scent crime, indeed! Although I must admit that I do have a few scent bottles in my bathroom - some cologne waters that I add to my bath.

Have a great mini-vacation, Bonks! xox

Blacknall Allen said...

How many houses have I been in lately where the Chanels crowd the bathroom? It's appalling.

On the other hand my extended family no doubt refer to me as "the crazy aunt who stores perfume in refrigerators and wine cellars." Okey dokey, just so long as the fumes don't turn:-)

Undina said...

My most recent perfume resolution (not a NY one - just because) was: no matter how much I want the perfume being sold, if it doesn't come with the original box I won't buy it. I wouldn't care if the box wasn't in pristine condition - as long as it holds together. Because if somebody didn't care enough to save the box, who knows how the bottle was stored and why exactly the owner doesn't like it any longer? I even have a theory that some non-perfumista consumers mistakenly think that they fall out of love with the perfume that spent a couple of years on their dresser next to a window and decide to sell it off when, in reality, they don't like that perfume because it started turning. We, perfumistas, should keep educating the public! :)
Enjoy your trip!

annemarie said...

You make me feel very pampered! My shabby old place does actually have a lovely bath, and ample ledge space for glasses of wine, cups of tea etc. But here's a question - I have just re-located my Youth Dew bath oil from bathroom to bedroom. For ages I had assumed because it's an oil (and because it's Youth Dew and therefore surely indestructible?) it will be immune to changes in temperature and humidity. But what if I'm wrong? It's been there for about FOUR YEARS. Hell, have I been really stupid? It still smells fine, but belatedly I realise that I have broken the first rule in the perfumista book, ie NEVER leave perfume in the bathroom.

Anyway, we owe you thanks for exploring a hitherto unknown aspect of mainstream perfume culture, as revealed by brochures and showrooms. It's a painful sight. Not that the spoiling of a bottle of JoLo causes me much distress. And is that tartan-y looking bottle some effort by Burberry? Again, I sleep easy.

Tara said...

Fun post with exceptionally good photo capitons - particularly loved "niches of steamy doom". I hope our friend Thomas is reading considering last time I saw a pic his whole collection was in the bathroom.

I really hope you get that new boiler and bath soon because it's the small regular pleasures in life - like a long soak with book and wine - that make all the dffierence.

Oh and yuk at the bathroom colourscheme of aggressive peppermint walls and opporessive bottle green ceiling. Looking forward to before and after pics. You have such a flare for redecoraing/remodelling.

Vanessa said...

Hi Carol,

Shocking, isn't it? I think that you can be excused for having those cologne bottles in the bathroom if they are specifically being used as a bath product.

Having a nice time here, thanks, but the weather is truly abominable. We are hoping the rain will ease tomorrow so we can walk a stretch of the coastline. xx

Vanessa said...

Hi Blacknall,

It seems we are in the minority in terms of correct perfume storage - I have also been that 'batty person' keeping bottles in the fridge, although they are taking their chances currently in the cupboard under the stairs, and a shady corner of one bedroom. The fridges just looked plain wrong in the house after I had decorated.

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

I can understand your preoccupation with box ownership and retention, even though I am not as scrupulous myself about a perfume's history, and just tend to hope for the best. And I must say I was that soldier with perfume having gone off by a window - my Estee Lauder Intuition had definitely turned when I was struck by perfume mania in 2008. I hadn't worn it in ages, but at least I threw the bottle away when the penny finally dropped, and didn't try palming it off on anyone else. ;) Later I bought a replacement bottle and decided I didn't care for it any more after all...

Vanessa said...

Hi annemarie,

Your bathroom sounds lovely, and just the sort of place to while away an hour with a good book and a drink. I am afraid I can't comment on whether bath oil is more robust in terms of its resistance to the hostile atmosphere of a bathroom, but maybe suspension in the medium of oil gives it some kind of protection. I did keep Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily bath oil on the edge of the bath for a while, come to think of it - not four years, admittedly, but some time - and it was the correct scent till the end.

And yes, that is indeed a Burberry bottle next to the J-Lo! Good spot, and I shan't lose too much sleep about that one either.

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

Glad you liked the captions, and you are quite right to mention that our very own Thomas has been a little bit lax in his own perfume storage habits, hehe.

Yes, I have soldiered on with semi-functioning bathroom for nearly two years now - never knowing from one day to the next if the water will be hot or at best lukewarm - so the time has probably come for a major refit. It is perverse to spend my 'rainy day fund' when I have no work on, but I am taking it as a sign to slot in another home improvement project while I have the time to devote to it. And I was planning to take 'before and after' pics, and definitely will now you have brought them up!

Sarah Waite said...

Hi Vanessa,
A scent crime indeed! I had two safely stored bottles commit top note suicide on me recently and I'm just a little bit excited about the fact I can put them out on display now. Is that wrong? I am a little gutted that one of them was Dior's Escale Aux Marquises as it was a favourite summer time whiff for me. At least I can stare lovingly at the 'quilted effect' bottle now and try to remember the magnificence of blood orange and spiced goodness inside..

Vanessa said...

Hi Sarah,

So sorry about the demise of your two bottles, especially the Dior perfume, but I guess the silver lining is, as you say, that you can now enjoy its wonderfully tactile contours. ;)

Lady Jane Grey said...

O.K., so now I can admit that I do read and drink in the bathtub... (but I still have to paint it blue and green ;-) )

Vanessa said...

Hi Lady Jane Grey,

We have another person who enjoys luxuriating in the bath... ;)Your planned colour scheme sounds nice - go for it!

Natalie said...

You should have a category titled "Quintessential Bonkers" and this post should be in it. :) I love the use of "all to do" and that shot of your legs in the bathtub!

Vanessa said...

Hi Natalie,

Haha - I am not sure I am qualified to judge my own "Quintessential Bonkers" posts, though you might well be right that this bathroom one should be in there. On a completely unrelated topic, this one on Belgian traffic jams I would also tentatively put forward for consideration...;)