Books, Baths, and Beyond 

An evening in the tub with Bungalow Bathrooms

With Americans cocooning furiously, the time is right for a book like Jane Powell and Linda Svendsen's Bungalow Bathrooms (Gibbs Smith, 2001, $39.95). Let Kandahar go blooey and stock prices fall into the toilet -- we'll curl up in our 1929 Art Deco bathtub for a nice hot soak and let the rest of the world go by.

Provided you actually have access to a Deco tub -- and the bungalow to put it in -- the next step in achieving peace of mind is to head for Builders Booksource on Berkeley's 4th Street, especially tonight (Wednesday, November 28) at 7:30 p.m., when author Powell appears in person to read from the volume and to offer restoring/remodeling tips.

"She's got a great sense of humor, " says BB book buyer and events coordinator Amy Wynn of author Powell, an Oakland resident whose latest work is a sequel to her popular Bungalow Kitchens. "When you meet her, you think she's really dry, but she hooks you with her wit. Best of all, she's very realistic about period restoration. She shows all the different levels of work."

Indeed, when creating that Moorish tile nook in your hideaway Arts & Crafts cottage, one can be obsessive, compromising, or points in between. That's part of the fun of rehabbing old houses, of which the East Bay has an abundance. Builders Booksource (1817 4th St., 510-845-6874), founded in 1982, exists to provide info to what it calls "the wonderfully over-educated contractors and design folks of the SF East Bay Area." There, homeowners/remodelers can network with contractors and designers, particularly at one of the store's regular author nights. Wynn estimates that more than two-thirds of any given crowd consists of professionals catching up with consumer trends. "We're the only store that fills the niche for those three groups," she says.

Here's a quote from Powell to keep in mind these long winter nights: "Few would argue that indoor plumbing and all that goes with it is the basis of modern civilization." Shut up and pass the bath salts.


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