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So why did I feel the urge to buy a spare toilet seat?
Dennis Wyatt’s bathroom complete with black toilet seat with black seat.

I have a spare toilet seat.

You read that right.

It’s not a toilet seat whose color or design pattern struck my fancy one day promoting me to decide I had to have it and simply haven’t gotten around to replacing my existing one.

I bought it to serve as a spare.

It has everything to do with my putting a lot of thought into the remodeling of my bathroom back in 2010.

My house is a classic California flat top with a slight roof pitch. Built in 1953, it is among the few that have a small crawlspace. It consists of 988 square feet with a quasi-open space floor plan with two bedrooms, one bathroom.

As such a lot of space wasn’t devoted to the bathroom. It is 9-by-4½ feet. There are walk-in closets in new Manteca tract homes where the “his” side is larger.

Oddly enough the lack of an attic — even flat tops with a “pitch” the ceiling is the bottom of the roof — made the bathroom seem smaller despite the white walls and light colored flooring. It has to do with the optics given the highest point of the ceiling is as high as the bathroom is deep.

At this point someone reading this is probably going, “omigod, he only has one bathroom!”

That is a remark a number of people that are inside my house for the first time often make as if it was akin to having a urinal in a restroom shaped like a clam shell.

Rest assured as a person living by myself I get along fine with one bathroom. I even could appreciate the family that lived in the house before I bought it in 2008 was able to make it work with two parents and three kids.

The first years of my life my family’s house was the same size of my current home with two bedrooms and a bathroom and we managed with two adults and three kids

The assumption that everyone lives in a home with at least two bathrooms came back to bite me.

While I was having my home remodeled — kitchen upgrades, new electrical panel, ceiling fans throughout, new exterior doors and other minor changes throughout — the guy in charge called me at home with some “good news”.

They were ahead of schedule so they went ahead and tore out the toilet, bathtub, bathroom vanity, and flooring. This was on a Tuesday. The folks that were going to build a new shower complete with pony wall as well as tile plus install stone flooring weren’t going to start on it until that Friday.

I asked what I was going to do about going to the bathroom until then.

The guy — who had been in my house for eight straight days as well as installed new flooring in four of my rooms a year prior — simply told me I could just use my other bathroom.

When I told him that was my only bathroom, there was a silent pause.

He then said — and I kid you not — “that’s right, I forgot, it’s just that everybody has two bathrooms.”

The funny thing I never wanted to remodel the bathroom or the kitchen. One of the reasons I fell in love with the house was the tile work — including the splashboard — in both the kitchen and bathroom were not only original but in immaculate condition. So were the cast iron tub and cast iron kitchen sink.

Even though I made an offer on a Monday with a pre-approved loan the ready estate agent representing Wells Fargo would not call off a crew that was coming in on Thursday to rip it all out as well as carpet the beautiful hardwood floors and paint the walls.

I was told the bank was anxious to sell it as it was a foreclosure but they had been unsuccessful because a series of buyers that liked the looks, the open ceiling, and the almost floor-to-ceiling picture window in the front room — thought the bedrooms were too small. So their solution was to tear out part of what made the house appealing in order to hook a buyer. Despite my agent asking repeatedly to hold off a few days until the loan was processed, the other agent said he would not stop the work unless I had cash in hand.

Two days later the crew came in and ripped out the 1950s magic. A day after that, my loan got its final approval. Three days later Wells Fargo said they were ready to close escrow.

What I got was cheap Formica counters in the kitchen, a joke of a sink, a fiberglass shower-bath tub combo that wasn’t installed properly, a toilet that also wasn’t installed correctly, ugly upgrade tile in the kitchen and new linoleum in the bathroom that was installed with part of the subfloor missing.

Since Wells Fargo did improvements that were less than stellar it voided the “as is” provision in the foreclosure sales contract I first signed. My agent Carol Bragan caught that little detail as well as the subfloor issue. That’s why I believe you’re insane trying to buy a home unless you have a professional expert looking out for your interests.

After several weeks of Carol wrangling with the Wells Fargo agent over sloppy fixes by what ended up being two handymen the changes they made were functional. That said I no longer liked the looks of either the kitchen or bathroom.

After six months of driving everyone around me crazy trying to figure out what to do when I decided I wanted to remodel, I zeroed in on a look that revolved around the colors of black and gray with a sans doors approach to closets, bedrooms and cupboards.

The masterpiece was the bathroom. I chose a medium-dark gray tile pattern for the shower wall, the pony wall with a glass panel on top separating it from the rest of the bathroom, as well as a tile version of wainscoting on the remaining walls.

I had a stand-up custom vanity built and painted black with a black tempered glass bowl sink on top. The walls and ceilings were painted a deep gray while the floor employed dark gray tile. The bathroom door had an almost full-size fluted glass panel.

And the toilet was black.

It took two weeks for Home Depot to locate a black toilet from the deep bowels of their distribution center network and ship it to me. However the search for black toilet seats wasn’t as easy. When I finally found a black toilet seat I already had possession of the toilet and it was about to be installed. So I splurged and ordered a backup in case something went wrong in the future and I could no longer use the seat while being forced to settle for a white seat while searching for a black one.

That was 12 years ago. The spare black toilet seat is still in the box in my laundry room.

And while I’d do it all again, you might want to heed my advice. If you think black cars are next to impossible to keep clean you haven’t seen anything until you have a black toilet flushed with Manteca’s notoriously hard water that comes from some of its wells.

After going through two pumice stones in the first six months and seemingly spending more time cleaning the toilet than using it, I settled for a less than shining black look.


 This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at