Our original plan was to be sailing the Greek Isles, counting Olympic deities, drinking ouzo and dancing in happy circles while smashing plates on the floor. Unfortunately, events conspired against us on the home front forcing an abrupt change of direction, and thus it was that we found ourselves standing, not before the throne room of the Palace at Knossos but here, in Wisconsin, contemplating the throne room of the Design Center of Kohler.
And quite a sight it was.
It was 36,000 square feet of pure enchantment, and I found myself falling in love with plumbing fixtures in a way that bordered on the indecent. I wanted to have an intimate relationship with these bathrooms; to whisper sweet nothings to these kitchens whose glamour and beauty surpassed anything I'd witnessed before. I wanted to marry these appliances and whisk them and their magical environments home, where they would transform my world. I was smitten.
Weather it was the baroque beauty of the Marie Antoinette Versailles-inspired apartment, the clever insouciance of a beachy bathroom loft or the cheeky allure of a bejeweled little bedazzler all tarted up for a night on the town, I was lost in a dream of how life was meant to be lived. In full color. With hand painted sinks, fancy fixtures and excellent water pressure.
A group of about six of us stood in awed wonder before a shower, each taking turns to press the button that would cause a waterfall to come thundering down, adding to the eleven jets already shooting forcefully away. Like a small group of Aborigines seeing an airplane for the first time, we laughed and pointed in amazement, fairly clapping with glee. A shower like that could make a grown man cry, cause a woman leave her husband. A child would almost certainly need to take swimming lessons.
Unabashadly kitsch, I found them nonetheless charming for it, the colors as clear and cheerful as the day they were painted.
In the end I chose my two favorites: what I call the Breakfast at Tiffany's Manhattan kitchen, and the ultimate Absolute Zen bath.
And that is what paradise looks like to me.