Posted in Bath tubs, Bathroom Faucets, Bathrooms, Faucets, Luxury Baths, Plumbing, Shower Heads

What she said…

I just read a post from the great Saxon Henry about her experience visiting American Standard. So eloquent and witty, she said exactly what I felt and thought about our recent tour of American Standard’s Design Center, but the difference is she has the writers knack and I do not. I will sum it up ever so clumsy by nodding my head and agreeing, “Yup, what she said.”

So without further ado, let me  point you to Saxon Henry’s post.


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Posted in Bath tubs, Bathrooms, Plumbing

Kitchens and Baths in Hotel Residences

More on the lawsuit of the ugly kitchen: I must tell you that I am intrigued. Since I cannot bring you photos (yet) of the Ikea Kitchen that has become the center of a lawsuit at the Gramercy Park Hotel, whereby an Icelandic couple is being sued for putting IKEA kitchen cabinets in their swank co-op located at 50 Gramercy Park North I decided to take you on a photo tour of hotel bathrooms that were voted best hotel bathrooms by Oyster Hotel Reviews.  Tacky or Tasteful: You decide.

The Loft Room at the Gramercy Park Hotel, New York City
The bathroom vanity area, decorated in black marble, dark wood and retro 70’s accent lighting. An ode to Studio 54 perhaps? Careful with that first step into the shower. I think I may get a headache looking at those lamps. Rates: $389.00 per night

Did somebody say luxury? I don’t care how luxurious the toiletries are with their ginger infused soy milk shampoo and shea rice-milk conditioner. Note to traveler, bring flip flops to use in shower. I would not want to put my bare feet on this shower floor. 

Affinia Shelburne Hotel

There is nothing really spectacular here other than the vanity looking clean and updated. Good lighting. If it weren’t for the backlit round mirror and magnifying mirror, this bathroom ranks as an average updated bath. 
Rates: $256.00 per night

Bathroom at The Deluxe Room, The Peninsula,  Beverly Hills

Better. An older suite, classic lines. Lighting is good. But wait…is that a mirror in the shower??? Good heavens, ugly bodies need not book this room unless you don’t mind being confronted with your own nakedness in the mirror while showering.
Rates: $506.00 per night. 

Good to see they have a separate room for the loo. But wait…is that a phone right above the TP holder? If ever you want to call me from the loo, I will put you on hold. Indefinitely.

Clean shower. Flip flops not required. 
Rate: $506 per night. 
Note: has to say that the Peninsula is “One of the best hotels — if not the best hotel — in the entire L.A. area, much less Beverly Hills, the Peninsula bills itself, accurately, as an “exclusive oasis.”
Bathroom in the Deluxe Double Room at the Mandarin Oriental, New York
This is a jazzy bathroom space. Flat screen tv. Big walk in shower with multiple shower heads. Rain head, body jets, hand-held shower. A little small, but young, fresh & swanky.
Bathroom in the Deluxe Double Room at the Mandarin Oriental, New York
Rates: $710.00 per night

The Plaza  Midtown East, New York City

The Plaza’s bathrooms have enough space for twin 24-karat-gold-plated sinks and a partitioned-off toilet with its own window.

 A full-size soaking tub and shower have intricate mosaic walls, and the thick Mascioni Turkish cotton towels and robes (available in both adult’s and children’s sizes) don’t disappoint. Do you feel pretty? 
Rates: $677 per night.

Bryant Park Hotel  Midtown West, New York City

This bathroom has the edge. Outfitted in a combination of white and tan marble, with a minimalist rectangular sink, a large soaking tub, and a wonderful rainfall showerhead.
Rates: $300 per night. 

Trump International Hotel And Tower  Upper West Side, New York City

Red marble and gold fixtures. Tasteless. This is when less would have been more.   Rates: $556.00 per night


The Alex Hotel  Midtown East, New York City

Jail Cell or Bathroom. If it wasn’t for the LCD TV, I wouldn’t have known the difference. 

The Standard New York  West Village, New York City

Oh no you didn’t…separate the tub/shower with a clear pane glass window from the seating area.

A voyeurs delight. Rates: $322 per night.     

The Standard New York  West Village, New York City

Freestanding tub in the middle of the room. The views of the Hudson are the thing. 

Rates: $322 per night.  

Photo below from 101 hotel, a boutique hotel, situated in the heart of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.  The owners of the hotel,  Designer Ingibjörg S. Pálmadottir and Jon Asgeir Johannesson are the same couple who are at the center of the lawsuit for installing an “ugly” IKEA kitchen in their Gramercy Park apartment..

Double Room, 101 Hotel, Reykjavik  

Eclectic mix of materials. Claw foot tub and Modern furnishings.  A little cluttered and lived in looking for a hotel room.

Standard Room. 101 Hotel, Reykjavik, Iceland.  

 This room is bright and has warmth to it. Good mix of materials. 

101 Hotel, Reykjavik, Iceland.  

Nordic coolness. Modern, light, fresh. 

Young. Daring. Fun. 

What’s wrong with this? Is there any Ikea in here?


Posted in Plumbing, Shower Heads

More Shower Power

Think “going green” always means sacrificing comfort? Think again. JACLO’s exclusive line of low-flow showerheads and handshowers save water and energy without compromising performance. Their secret? An innovative low-flow regulator, as opposed to restrictors, that keeps the pressure and flow of the water strong. The technology lowers the average rate of gallons-per-minute from 2.5 down to an impressive 1.75 – nothing to sneeze at when you consider the average household uses over 22,000 gallons of water per year in showers.

And if you don’t want to sacrifice aesthetics for ecology, JACLO’s low-flow technology is available in over 30 showerhead and handshower models in styles ranging from traditional to contemporary. The regulator also works with all available shower sprays and strengths – full rain, massage, full rain massage, Nebulizing mist®, and Nebulizing mist full rain. Turns out less really is more.

JACLO®, an industry leader since 1961, is the leading manufacturer of decorative plumbing products and advanced shower solutions. They continue to inundate the market with highly-stylized shower systems, faucets and decorative accessories that marry steadfast durability with seamless style. Available at over 2,500 dealers nationwide, JACLO’s products create luxurious fully-coordinated bath suites that exude the finishing touch. Implemented in numerous high-end hotels and residences across the country, their product lines provide a superior experience that enhances daily rituals and defines elegant living. Given their wide range of product and dedication to detail, the company is well-equipped to meet the needs and growing demands of its customers with unparalleled efficiency.
Visit JACLO on the web at

Posted in Kitchen Faucets, Plumbing

I have a new found appreciation for Plumbers and the rates they charge.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend! Long weekends are so wonderful, it’s like getting a little mini vacation.

Today, I helped my brother ( I read the instructions) install a new Pilar Touch 2O kitchen faucet by Delta. I’ll blog more about this week with tips and comments. Bottom line: We love it! It’s terrific. Look ma, no more chicken hands on the faucet.

We got it in and it works great, but I certainly see why plumbers get paid the big bucks. It’s not just the process of installing a new item, it’s dealing with cruddy old parts, rusted angle stops and other detritus that they are prepared to deal with that a novice is not. So anyhow, it’s a beautiful thing to complete a project from start to finish even though it took us all day while a plumber would have done it within a couple of hours.

Posted in Bathroom Faucets, Lavatory sinks, Planning, Plumbing, Sinks, Working with a Kitchen Designer

Lead times: How soon do you need it?

There are times when I scratch my head in disbelief when do-it yourself remodeling types do not plan out the project details. Here is my “fly-on-the-wall” experience with a moral at the end of the story.

This weekend I was in a plumbing store with a client, helping with her plumbing selections for an upcoming project. What happened next placed me in a suspended state of disbelief.

A lovely woman walked into the store and explained she needed a lavatory sink and faucet and another faucet for the kitchen. Nothing too unusual about that.
The sales person proceeded to ask the customer the usual questions:
S: Are you looking for a self-rimming sink or under-mount?
C: Self-rimming.

S: Ok. Do you have a preference for wide-spread faucet or single faucet mounted on the deck of the sink or on the counter?” Do you know what your new counter surface will be yet?

C: New granite top. White self-rimming sink. Single hole faucet style mounted on the sink

S: Ok, great we have several options we can look at.”

S: Next, is this for new cabinetry or are you replacing an existing sink and counter and keeping the cabinets?

C: Existing.

S: Alright, do you know what are the existing sink dimensions?

S: “‘What’s that? your existing cabinet is 15 1/2″ front to back?” What’s that? Oh, It’s for your boat?
Oh, I see. Hmm, would you mind if I made a suggestion for an undermount with the single faucet mounted on the rear left or right and not centered. Or we could look at some stainless steel bar sinks that could work. Self rimming sinks with a faucet mounted on the porcelain are just not made that small. We can check the catalogs, but I am pretty sure it is a tall order to fill, I can think of two or three small sinks that may work.

C: No, no, we have that style now, and I really don’t like it at all. I really want to change the style.

S: “How soon do you need it?”

“I am running out of time, I have the granite fabricator coming this Monday and need to get this done today.”

When the customer said she needed it by Monday, the salesperson could have been a deer struck in headlights. That was Saturday with a customer looking for a specialty item she could take with her or have by Monday.

There was a line of people needing help and this customer insisted on going through all the catalogs to prove to herself that the salesperson indeed did not have a sink in stock that met her requirements.

Ideally, when planning a remodel, the cardinal rule is to plan in advance to have all the components on site or in stock ready to ship to you.

Lead times: Not all plumbing stores stock inventory. The specialty plumbing stores carry thousands of models from the plumbing manufacturers they buy from and most will have a lead time from as short as two weeks and as long as 6 weeks for special order items. Chances are, unless you walk into a big box store with product on the shelf ready to buy, there is little chance you will be able to walk away with it the same day.

Check ahead: Not all competing stores carry the same stock. One store may stock Kohler and another down the street may stock Grohe. Call in advance, save yourself the aggravation and wasting gas and time driving all over town. Ask the store manager or head of the dept. what brands they stock or that you can get within the week. Sales people should be able to help you over the phone with these basic questions. Check with your plumber where he buys from. Industry insiders are the best people to ask.

Getting the best service: Don’t abuse a salesperson’s time on the phone. Yes, that’s right. To get the best service and best price keep your questions over the phone, simple and direct. Most will not be able to quote prices, but will be able to take care of your general questions. Ask your salesperson what’s the best time to come in. They want your business, but if you need more handholding in product selection and need to look at every catalog and get a price on multiple styles, showing up during prime time hours means they have to hustle to take care of several customers and cannot focus on you alone. Most salespeople are knowledgeable and want to help. If you find yourself in a busy showroom, write down model #’s. Tell the salesperson you are working on a large project and have several things you need to order. Ask if they can fax or email a quote back to you. If you are willing to be flexible, you can get a lot more in the way of service and probably a better price.

Unfortunately, waiting till the final hour before the plumber arrives, can lead to some very unhappy compromises in your selections.

Better idea yet, if your request is for the unusual and your taste is very selective, your best value is hiring a designer to begin with. A designer has the capability of sourcing out custom features and will be able to recommend the best showrooms to find product. In addition, a designer may be able to recommend a much more efficient floor plan, so that you are not at the mercy of unusual dimensions.

There was more delays in her selection process. Most all the faucets had a red and blue dot indicating hot and cold and she needed one that did not have that. A few more customers came and went, not able to stick it out waiting for service. While the salesperson, (poor chap- he did the best he could in the limited amount of time he had), went off to assist another customer, I felt a little sorry for this lady’s predicament. I whispered quietly to the lady looking for the unusual sink, “that is a very uncommon sink, have you tried a specialty plumbing supplier that carries sinks for marine and rv equipment?”

Answer: “Oh, I didn’t think of that! I had no idea it would be so difficult.”

Moral of the story: When you fail to plan, plan to fail.

Posted in Plumbing

Enviro Tip of the Month

Did you know that over 1 trillion gallons of water leaks from US homes each year? A constantly running toilet can waste more than 200 gallons of water every day.
Here is a great little video on How to Stop a Toilet From Running. You can watch more videos and get more tips from

How to Stop a Toilet From Running — powered by
For more tips to be water wise contact

Posted in Counter tops, Plumbing

Can I add a garbage disposal to my farmhouse sink?

Over at The Daily Tubber they are discussing garbage disposals. Ok, so who really wants to talk about garbage disposals you may ask? But the truth of the matter is that the garbage disposal plays a large part in convenience and practicality in the kitchen.

I had a client call me saying the sink was vibrating something awful every time she used the garbage disposal in her stainless steel sink. Garbage disposals come in varying horse powers. Most households can get by just fine with 1/2 or 3/4 horse power. Could a heavy duty garbage disposal be too powerful for your sink? The torque of a powerful disposal can loosen the clamps that hold the sink in place. Check with your plumbing store and your plumber to make sure your garbage disposal will be compatible with your sink.

In the case of the vibrating sink, it turns out that the clamps that holds the sink in place came loose due to a garbage disposal that was too powerful and not compatible with her sink. She was able to replace the garbage disposal for another and has not had a problem since. Purchasing a garbage disposal based on highest price or the most horsepower is not the best way to judge it’s value or compatibility with your sink.

Another cautionary note with garbage disposals is not to rush the job. Installing an under mount sink, granite tops and hooking up the plumbing all in the same day is a recipe for problems later. If it is done all in one day, chances are the weight of a heavy disposal will pull the sink away from the counter top eventually. The epoxy that bonds the sink needs to set for at least a day before the plumber comes in to hook up the garbage disposal and fixtures.