FRESH ART PHOTOGRAPHY
Fittingly, the W.C. at the Novel Neighbor offers plenty of reading material.
When people ask Holland Saltsman if her book store, the Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves, has a public restroom, she's always delighted to show them the way — and then watch their reaction.
First their eyes light up. Then they often summon a friend: "You've got to see this bathroom!"
In what will surely not come as a surprise to any of those delighted patrons, the Novel Neighbor's powder room has just been named one of the ten best in the nation by Cintas, which hosts an annual "Best Restrooms" contest
. Members of the public can vote in the contest now through November 1.
The competition is stiff. The Novel Neighbor is up against the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, a Dr. Who-themed restroom at the Brooklyn saloon the Way Station, and Coca Cola Park, the home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, which features a "urinal gaming system."
But the Novel Neighbor's heart and sense of w
himsy make up for its lack of fancy gadgets or fancier architects. Pages from old books are plastered on the walls, with a framed poster dating back to relief efforts following the Joplin tornado proclaiming, "We are neighbors no matter the distance." No wonder visitors are swooning.
The two-year-old store took over a space previously used by an architecture firm — "all sage green and grays," Saltsman recalls. She brightened it with red and yellows, but the bathroom was a bit tricky — a faux-wall and partial carpeting made any attempts at redecoration seem awkward.
But then a visiting friend from Colorado seized upon the piles of discarded books the store was using for children's art classes. "We are going to find six bottles of Mod Podge and we are going to do this bathroom," she told Saltsman. The two friends got to work on their DIY decoupage project, and the rest is history.
Will it be named the greatest in the U.S., providing a Hollywood ending for a literary-minded loo? That's all up to you. Cast your ballot today on Cintas' site
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