fixating on fixtures: plumbing

Lots of plumbing fixtures in the house. One choice (and purchase) we've already made is the kitchen faucet, a Kohler Karbon (or what I prefer to call [in my best robot voice]: "Robot. Arm."):

Damn thing's expensive as hell, but we got it for a steal on Ebay after the banking crisis (hopefully from a former banker!).

Although "Robot. Arm." has a spray function, you have to fight with "Robot. Arm." to get it to spray where you want (and the "Robot. Arm." usually wins...), so we may need a separate sprayer. It's hard to find a good Modern sprayer that's sold separately, but this Fusion one might work (if I look partially askance after drinking a bottle of whiskey and riding the merry-go-round for an hour):

But I'm not 100% convinced (or even 32%). 

This one here, associated with the Blanco Purus I (but not sold separately), makes me breathe heavy:

and seems a more appropriate companion to the "Robot. Arm.". Perhaps we can get it as a part? hmmm... We're currently living without a sprayer and the world hasn't ended, so perhaps we can continue to live without one (insert bride response here).

And should we have a soap dispenser? Or is that too much crap sticking out of the countertop, especially if it's not all the same exact style?

Maybe this one by Blanco fits better:

Methinks a Modern "third party floater" may be the way to go.

The other thing we're thinking about are "chicken hands" levers something we saw on HGTV. These are levers that go under the cabinet in front of the sink and allow you to turn on the sink without using your hands (like after hacking on a chicken [or a spouse...]):

The one(s) above are made by the good folks at Foot Faucet! Tried to find some nose operated faucets, but failed. Such is life.

As far as the sink is concerned, wethinks white, squarish, and under the counter. A single basin looks cool, but as far as living-in-the-real-world goes, we're two basin folks. Here's a nice two basin sink from Blanco:

This sucker can be had for $450 (builder has us allowanced at $350).

And here's a nice garbage disposal flange by Kohler for the sink:

On to the bathrooms!

There's not a faucet that jumps out head and shoulders above all others, although consistency's sake calls for "Robot. Arm." bathroom faucets:

But at a grand a pop, we're talking $4,000 just for bathroom faucets. That ain't gonna work, especially since the allowance sweet spot is at $155 a faucet.

This Moda is kinda neoplastic nice:

but at the ridiculous price of $1,610, it loses it's (initial) charm! (But it's still nice!)

This Moen Level is fairly nice looking:

and has a nice price: $168. However, the taper on the handle bothers me a wee bit. And the downward angle of the spout reminds me of (STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THESE) a flaccid weewee. Not that you would want one that looked like a non-flaccid weewee (unless you like to neti). Truth be told, I prefer my faucets like this at half mast. 

This Danze Sirius is pleasantly neoplastic (and you know I loves me some neoplasticism):

but it comes at a price: $300.

The bride is a little fixated on wall mounts having seen the b-rooms at Lamberts here in Austin, so we may be getting wall mounts (need to keep the bride happy [see chicken hands discussion earlier]).

Wall mounted faucet that bride likes at Lamberts.

mmmmmm and a mmmmmmm (and a mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm). This Graff is beautifully blocky:

But not beautifully priced ($770).

And OMG this Graff is stunning (yes, it comes in chrome)!

With an equally stunning price ($640). If price were no object (and I had any hope of convincing my bride this was the way to go), this would be our faucet.

This Vigo faucet is a possibility:

and the price is right: $90! But why the heck did they emblazon their name on the faucet? Are we subsidizing their advertisement budget? 

Here's another Vigo:

Kinda neoplastic and also a nice price: $120.

And here's a Vigo version of the Moen shown earlier:

No taper on the handle, all for $113. But it's still got that flaccid thing going.

This Fresca Sesia is kinda cool:

and at $210 it isn't too bad cost-wise.

The builder recommends Kohler (he's a big fan of Kohler) and Grohe (which has some high-design/low cost options). Let's see what these folks have for us...

This Grohe Essence is kinda fine:

and is available (on sale) at $160. (half mast!)

Ultimately, don't know what we'll do. If we go sticking-out-of-the-counter, we'll probably go with the Grohe just above. Sticking-out-of-the-wall? I think we need to get Sirius.

Now, on to shower and bath fixers.

Digging Kohler's Loure series for shower and tub controls. Here's a control for the master tub ($220 + valve at $70):

and here's the associated ceiling mount bath filler ($252):

That's right: With this get-up the tub would fill from a spigot in the ceiling! That's tasty!

Although we're partial to a ceiling deal, this faucet by Aquatica (who also does municipal wastewater treatment):

is rather de Stijl. Can't find a price for it, so I suspect "The rent is too damn high."

 Here's the full get-up for the master shower from the tub control above ($290):

For poopers, we insist on dual flushers, which greatly limits the choices. Fortunately there are some cool dual flushers out there. Along those lines, we can't wait to sit on one of these babies by Kohler ($284):

If money was no object (and I could convince the bride that a square toilet works as well as a round one), I would love to have one of these blocky Duravits ($880):

I'd poop in that baby all day long!

For the bathroom sinks (at least in the master and guest), we're digging the look (and price: $120) of Kohler Verticyl:

For the half bath, we're thinking a stand alone hang-off-the-wall sink. This Caroma version is blocky and nice ($253):

I like how the drain assembly below is covered up by white porcelain. 

For the guest tub, I reckon a Kohler one will do (looks like we're a bunch of other Kohler stuff...), which comes in at $455:

but then there's this American Standard (porcelain on steel) for $236:

And now for the tub in the master bath. We have 78 inches to work with here. And we are going to splurge on the tub for the master. Scary splurge. The dream is the Napoli tub by Victoria + Albert:

$3,300 and 75 inches (leaving a total of 3 inches at the sides). (gulp). At one point we were convinced (I've laid in it: It's comfy.), but now that we're getting close to writing the check, we're not so sure.

These standalone modern tubs come in two basic materials: acrylic and engineered stone. They come in real stone too, but we're talking ten grand (so we're not talking). The acrylic tubs just feel cheap as breakfast tacos. Have you ever checked out the repro claw foot tubs at Home Depot? Yuck. And they're still pretty darn expensive: $1,500 to $2,500. The Napoli is made from firmer, more solid EnglishCast: "finely ground volcanic limestone mixed with resin".

To be honest, I'm not sure what the hell "volcanic limestone" is. In fact, there's no such thing (limestone is sedimentary, not volcanic. Whilst laying in the tub at a local sales center, a sales lady named Houston came over (Texans are fond of naming their children after Texas towns; sadly, I've yet to meet a Mobeetie) to inform us that the tub was made of volcanic limestone. I couldn't help but point out (politely...) that there's no such thing [sometimes being a geologist is another way of saying "Party's over."]). 

And then this tub requires, literally, a "Special Drain":

There's a similar tub by Aquatica ($3,100; Aquastone synthetic resin, 66 inches):

which is kinda (and perhaps too) eggy. Plus, I was in an electronica band once that had a track on a compilation called "Aquatica", so the tub is vaguely nostalgic (and nostalgia is dangerous at my age...). 

Aquatica also makes a tub suspiciously like the V + A tub above ($3,000; Aquastone synthetic resin):

Given a general blocky theme, perhaps a blocky tub would fit better. This blocky beauty by Aquatica is rather nice ($2,470; ):

and has a lower price ($2,470; 66 inches; acrylic). However, not sure it makes a whole lotta sense to slide a blocky tub into a blocky alcove (insert sound of hand slapping forehead: " I coulda just put in a regular ole tub and saved a mint!!!").

Here's one, again by Aquatica, that is a fusion of the previous two:

I can't find it anywhere for sale, so geesh. (check out that hawt faucet on there!).

And finally, towel warmer, anyone? Check out this beauty by Aquatica for (ahem) $2,570.40:

Its gorgeous but two pay grades above us. Howz about this one for a mere $3,617.60:

However, this one (if we get a towel warmer) is more our speed ($400):

It comes in a larger version, but also a larger price ($664):

Or there's this one from Myson at $700:

Cold towels, anyone?

And lastly, let's not forget the lowly laundry room. Here's a nice sink by Corstone ($170):

But if that's too boo-schwa-zee, there's always this ProFlo at $60:

which claims to be made of high impact fiberglass/crushed stone.

Faucet? How about this Kohler for $60:

So let's grind on the adding machine for the next hour, shall we? Add this, add that, carry the four, grunt three times and, if we just add up the stuff the builder accounted for, we get $5,250. That compares pretty good with the builder's allowance of $4,725 (the architect had $4,650). However, our actual total is $7,778 (a three grand difference!). The builder didn't include fixtures for the master tub, a tub for the upstairs bathroom, or a sink and faucet for the laundry room. And then we'd like a garbage disposer, a foot faucet, and, for the time being, a towel warmer. Take off the chicken foot and the warmer of towels, and we're still at seven grand. 

Lesson here: Choose early and don't leave stuff to an allowance to decide later. And note that I'm not picking on the builder here: He did a "quick and dirty" estimate to see if the house, as designed, was in the budget ballpark. Now we're (ahem) refining...


  1. I have the Verticyl sink (two of them, actually -- the rectangle in the front guest bath and the oval in the back guest bath). I'd rethink it for your master, though. It's tiny for everyday use.

    In lieu of a towel warmer, have you considered a radiant floor? (Costs more than the low-end towel warmers but should be far less than the high-end ones.) If you go that route, let's talk about the installation. It was one of the hiccuppiest parts of our house.

    What's the finish on your Karbon? I have a nice Kohler sink strainer flange thingie (not for the disposal) that I'm not using.

    1. ahhh: good point on the sinks. We've lived with midget sinks for years, but we shall measure to be sure...

      Haven't considered a radiant floor, perhaps in part due to your hiccups (red [sic] the blog...). We've never had issues with cold floors (hardy feet, perhaps?), which is prolly the big reason we haven't had a radiant floor high on our list.

      The "Robot. Arm." is chrome. And proud of it.

  2. M'kay...but there's nothing nicer on a cold winter day than a toasty floor (which you can enjoy regardless of whether you have just finished showering).

    Unfortunately, our floor was installed (the first time) by the only person who worked on our house about whom I have anything bad to say. I'm confident an installation done by pretty much anyone else -- third graders, inmates, my 92-year-old grandmother -- would be just fine. The only reason I suggested that we talk if you go down that road is that there is apparently a cork underlayment that can be used to insulate the slab so more heat radiates up (we didn't learn about the underlayment until it was too late).

    1. Just rechecked those sinks: yer right, they're on the small side. Need to find another sink.

      We figure we'll stop by your place on those cold mornings to enjoy your floor. Hope you don't mind Cookie Monster pajamas. And do you have good coffee? ;-)

      Keep the comments coming: You're helping us out!

  3. You may locate out that not having one is like having a kitchen without a range. Not actually but you will surely appreciate the extra sink region for those holiday dinners.