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Have you ever noticed how car colors change from year to year? You can’t just say you want a red car: this year’s red might be “apple” or “fire engine” or “baboon butt.” They don’t quite look the same, either, so you might like last year’s red but not this year’s red.

Well, unless you’ve tried to replace something in a bathroom you might not know that the same thing applies there. I first became aware of this 35 years ago when I tried to replace a toilet seat. After fruitlessly searching at one store after another, I finally found a grizzled old counter clerk who said “Oh, you want ‘faun.’ They only made that the one year.”

He wasn’t joking. Lucky me. The old toilet seat, the toilet itself, and the sink were all “faun.”

Fast forward to the present, and see me replacing a toilet seat again. This time I thought it would be easy. The toilet seat was oak, with brass fittings. I went to the nearest big box store and bought one. I knew it was not the finest quality, since the “solid wood construction” consisted of compressed bamboo with an oak veneer, but that’s what they had.

After about a month the veneer started to peel. I figured that it must be a fluke. I could have gotten the big box to replace it, but I couldn’t bring myself to return a used toilet seat to some poor minimum wage clerk. While I was pondering what to do (i.e., forgetting about it) my wife lost her patience and bought a new one. I noticed immediately that the hardware was chrome. Since the rest of the bathroom was brass, I decided to return it and get one with brass hardware.

Too late! In the month or so that had elapsed, brass fittings had completely disappeared. All you could get was chrome. On top of that, the display model (which had presumably seen little use) was already peeling.

A quick trip to a bathroom boutique, home of the $12,000 bathtub, confirmed that an oak seat with brass fittings would be a special order item, with a very special price.

Amazon to the rescue! I found oak toilet seats with brass fittings at a reasonable price, and they were solid oak with a piano finish. A piano finish means you can see your face in it (in a toilet seat). It’s the best looking piece of wood in the house. Now I have to upgrade the cabinetry to match — if I can find oak cabinets with brass fittings.