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November 17, 2017

You like to be on that "cutting edge", don't you? And, I bet you're concerned about the environment too? Well, have I got a bathroom décor idea for you... bamboo!

You might be surprised to learn that bamboo is actually a grass. In fact, if it gets started in your yard, watch out! It grows fast, spreads out, and is difficult to reign in. But in the wilds of many countries, that is exactly what makes it a wonderfully abundant and renewable resource. A mature plant can be harvested after only three years. That takes the stress off of depleting hardwood trees which can take decades to replace. In fact, bamboo grows so fast that under certain conditions, some species can be watched growing by as much as three feet a day!

Besides being a quickly renewable resource for products, there are side ecological benefits from simply growing bamboo. When planted on hillsides, its root system of rhizomes below the soil will check erosion. It's not as resilient as a cactus, but because it doesn't require much water it will grow in drier climates. It only needs a few nutrients, so it will survive in poorer soils where other vegetation won't grow. It even leaches heavy metals out of the ground, so years later the soil is refreshed for other plantings. It's naturally resistant to most pests and diseases, so no potentially toxic chemicals are needed to enhance its growth. And, it can be cut each year if necessary, and still it will regrow just like your mowed lawn.

Bamboo has worked its way into many aspects of our life. Its use originated in the Orient. Primitive peoples used the stalks as building material, to make hunting weapons, and even knew enough to use the leaves as a tonic for everything from asthma to fatigue. Eventually it was used to make utensils, paper, furniture, and spun into clothing.

The uses for bamboo continue to expand today; and many are for the home kitchen and bath. Bamboo flooring is rivaling traditional hardwoods for its contemporary look and water resistance. Countertops of bamboo add a very distinctive look to any kitchen or bath. And now, vessel-style sinks can be installed in baths as one of the most elegant, eye-catching items created from bamboo.

Vessel sinks always draw attention, but bamboo is in a class of its own. Most models display an attractive pattern of blocks in progressive layers throughout the basin. The amber and brown tones vary in their intensity as they dance through each, one-of-a-kind bowl.

The integrity of bamboo is seen in the construction of each vessel sink. Bamboo strips are first lined up and glued together; then pressed for an extremely tight bond. Successive layers of secured strips are fixed upon the previous layer, but in the opposite direction. The bowl shape and drain hole is cut from the resulting thick block to reveal a stunning, mosaic-like pattern. Finally, it is sanded by hand and sealed with a premium varnish, resulting in a very dense, water-resistant vessel ready for years of use.

Maintenance of a bamboo sink is minimal. Washing with a solution of mild soap and water is sufficient. Over-the-counter abrasive cleaners must be avoided. To restore any lost luster, a wipe down with tung oil, or any other water-resistant finishing oils, can be done yearly.

If you like the look of hardwoods, the mystique of Asia, or just want to take a tiny step toward bettering the environment, you need to consider bamboo.