About 10 years ago, an unusual idea came to Stephanie Wirkkala while she was working as a graphic designer for a high-end toilet maker.
"They made these $3,000 toilets that looked like lions," she said. "But they used the standard toilet bolt covers that were on other toilets."
The bolts secure the toilet to the floor and to the sewer pipe underneath it.
The standard bolt covers just didn't fit with the sumptuous look of the royal commodes her client made, but Wirkkala soon found out that in the world of toilets, one toilet bolt cover fit all. So she decided to decorate some bolt covers for herself and her friends by gluing silver and gold beads to a cap.
"They all loved them, but they weren't practical," she said.
For one thing, they couldn't be cleaned easily, and for another, they would have been impossible to manufacture and bring to market.