There’s an old Kohler commercial from a few years back which sums up bathroom design perfectly. A woman walks into a high-end design studio and talks to an architect. The architect begins explaining, in a rather vaguely European accent, all of the projects his company has been involved with. The punchline comes when they sit down in the architect’s office and he looks at the woman and says “What can I do for you?”
The woman response by pulling a Kohler bathroom faucet from her purse and says “Design a house around this.”
The truth is when it comes to bathroom design the lavatory faucet is the single most important fixture. Not everybody always takes a shower every day but I certainly hope everybody washes their hands when they’re done with the bathroom. Not only that but it’s the single biggest domino in the entire decision-making process.
When I meet with someone regarding their bathroom design, often times they want to jump right into the shower first. What the customer does not realize is that every faucet has matching shower components. But if we change the bathroom faucet style we will most likely also change the shower faucets. What I encourage all my clients to do is to start with one room select the products then move to the next.
OK I get it I need to pick a lavatory faucet first. What kinds are there?
There are really only five categories of bathroom faucets. Widespread faucets have the handles 8 inches apart. Center set faucets have the handles 4 inches apart. Single handle faucets have just want to handle usually on either the top or the side of the faucet. Wall-mounted faucet’s are mounted on the wall some have one handle and some have two handles. The final category is tall vessel faucets.
Widespread faucets tend to do well with big countertops where a smaller faucet would just look tiny and alone. Many customers use widespread faucets in their bathroom design to present a more stately appearance.
If I’m being honest about center set faucet’s and then I have to say over the last 12 years I only think I’ve sold them a handful of times on a residential remodel. Usually when I sell these I’m selling them as a replacement for something that’s already there, or possibly a commercial installation.
Single handle faucet’s are the baby brothers of the widespread faucets. Given that they are so much smaller in appearance single handle faucets tend to fit best on petite vanities and are commonly found in secondary bathrooms.
Wall-mounted faucets are super cool and can be either very traditional or very modern depending on the models selected. While they are typically used for vessel sinks, they can be used with drop in or under-mount sinks well. Just make sure to order the rough valve, drain and the trim. Most wall mounted faucets ship the valve and drain separately. You’ll need both to install it.
Vessel Faucets can come in almost as many shapes and sizes as vessels themselves.You have both single and double handle options, and as many heights and finishes as you can think of. Just remember, these usually don’t come with a drain either, so order the drain with the sink.
Next up in the series, we will be exploring shower technology.