25 February 2008

Oh vanity of vanities; my bathroom

This is the Memoirs Suite by my friends at Kohler(http://www.kohler.com/). For the last couple of years I've been specifying plumbing fixtures for the higher end of the market but I'm working on something right now that's on a more resonable budget. It's interesting to recommend things that I could afford instead of things that I admire but probably would not buy for me. Probably wouldn't? Who am I kidding?

Anyhow, I've been reviewing some of the new stuff that Kohler's been putting out and they have really turned that brand into something great from an aesthetic point of view. I'm a pretty die hard modernist when it comes to things that I like, but I rarely get the opportunity to advise people in ways that appeal to me as well. One of the things that makes me a designer is that I can set aside what I like and instead show people what they like. That said, the bath fixtures for the project I have in mind are going to be Kohler all the way.

Even though the fixtures in the suite above are pretty traditional, they are clean and classic and I'd nearly forgotten how much I like the entire Memoirs collection. What's great about selecting fixtures from a collection by Kohler is that you can buy an entire suite. That is; the toilet, lavatory, faucets, etc. will all share the same design. Although they aren't giving anything away, Kohler represents a good marriage of beauty, quality and price. They have a lot of value, even if they aren't going to be the cheapest thing out there. When it comes to plumbing fixtures though, you do not want the lowest-price stuff. Trust me on that. The $100 toilet on an end cap at Home Depot is a heartache in a box. Don't do it! Sometimes, it costs too much to save a couple of bucks.

Kohler's also introduced the Persuade toilet. Even though it's not part of a suite, it is a dual-flush toilet that retails for under $400. All hail Kohler for that. From what I can tell, it's their only dual-flush model. It is the tip of an iceberg though. Dual-flush toilets will be standard issue within the next ten years, mark my word.

Kohler has been buying up a bunch of high-end brands in recent years and they've been using the higher-end stuff they own to bring up their flagship brand. Kallista (http://www.kallista.com/), Barbara Barry (http://www.barbarabarry.com/), Walker-Zanger (http://www.walkerzanger.com/), Ann Sacks(http://www.annsacks.com/) and Baker (http://www.kohlerinteriors.com/) to name a few are all held under the Kohler flag and it shows. Ann Sacks tile is a eye-poppingly beautiful as ever yet a lot of Kohler's sinks show a definite Sacks-ian influence. I was surprised to see this toilet seat on Kohler's website, things this well-made were once the sole province of luxury brands, but not any more.

You can spend more money that what you'll find through Kohler, but I doubt you find more value in consumer-grade plumbing fixtures.

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