10 February 2009

All good things must end: my last post on faucets for a while

Fixtures, fixtures everywhere but what does it mean and what should I pick? Well, what it means is that there are a bunch of manufacturers who make a bunch of finishes and the one you should pick is the one you like. I have a strong preference for Kohler fixtures. They make a high quality product at a price point that's a value proposition. A Kohler faucet is not a faucet you'll be replacing any time soon. They are as sound mechanically as they are beautiful too.

So here are a couple of fun facts I got from my pal Sarah the product manager at Kohler. 

Brushed nickel is the number one selling finish for kitchen faucets.

Chrome is number one on baths.

A new finish has a ten year run rate. By that I mean that when Kohler introduces a new finish, they expect it to remain in production for ten years. Though exceptions to that ten year rule abound. Chrome and nickel have been consistent best-sellers since the 1930s and oil rubbed bronze has been in production for the last 15.

As an aside form me, expect oil rubbed bronze and its kin to be the next ones forced into retirement.

What's making a strong come back are warm gold tones. And that's designer speak for brass. You heard it here first kids, inside of five years all the cool kids will be sporting brass faucets and cabinet hardware. Again. Ugh. I never liked it much the last time around, but who am I to buck a trend? So here's a run down of some of Kohler's cool fixtures and finishes.

Never use harsh abrasives or lime-dissolving chemicals to clean a new faucet of any kind. On a faucet with a living finish, the heavy duty cleaning stuff will remove your hard won patina. On consumer-grade faucets, a thorough clean with the big guns will damage the clear top coat and end up reducing the life of the finish. Remember, a soft cloth and a mild detergent are your plumbing fixtures' best friends.

This is the Antique in  faucet in Brushed Nickel

This is the Purist in Polished Chrome

This is the Clairette in Stainless

This is the Devonshire in Brazen Bronze

This is the Devonshire in Oil Rubbed Bronze

This is the Finial in Vibrant French Gold

This is Memoirs in Polished Chrome

This is Pinstripe in Polished Nickel

So your options are seemingly endless, but know that a quality faucet will last forever. So remember that when you're considering your finish options. Forever. Hmm.

So thanks to my pals at Kohler for all the good information. I now know more about faucet manufacturing and finishes than I ever thought existed. If you ever have a question about this stuff, just shoot me an e-mail. I'm sure I'll be able to answer it.


  1. I love the Brazen Bronze finish -- and you know, the Vibrant French Gold finish isn't TOO bad. At least it isn't as bright and brash as the shiny brass of the 80s (and 90s!)

    I've been wanting a copper faucet for the kitchen for years -- I don't know why there aren't more copper options out there. It's such a warm & wonderful metal.

    Kelly (one half of DesignTies)

  2. I agree with you Kelly, I love the look of copper too. It shows up with varying degrees of verdigris in the really high end of the market now and I think we can expect it to start showing up in its patina-d and polished forms over the next couple of years as the warm tone thing starts to catch on. It wouldn't surprise me in the least of copper finishes become the new oil rubbed bronze. Frankly, oil rubbed bronze has had its day in the sun already and is starting to fade out.

  3. Those Kohler product development people are a class act. I got to hang out with them when Bill Sofield was introducing his line for Kallista at KBIS (we did the mosaic cherry tree wall behind his products in the Kallista booth), and each one was nicer and more knowledgeable than the next. I have a lot of respect for their product line.

  4. I agree on all counts. I cannot state loudly enough how helpful they were in my research for this series. That Cherry Tree was yours? It's burned into my memory --beautiful work, just beautiful.


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