What she said…

June 15th, 2011 § 1 Comment

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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Field Trip to American Standard

June 14th, 2011 § 7 Comments

 Last week, I was pleased to be one of six invited guests of American Standard for a tour of the American Standard Design Center in Piscataway, New Jersey.

American Standard seated shower makes bathing accessable

The design and marketing team at American Standard Brands provided a great presentation highlighting the current trends in designer faucets, fixtures, furniture, sinks & tubs. As a designer, I look forward to attending factory tours because you get to see firsthand the level of detail, craftsmanship and service that goes into your decorative fixtures.  Gray Uhl, Director of Design at American Standards, stated it most eloquently, “When you don’t think about my product, we’ve done a good job.” Maybe more important than style, durability and reliability is what you first come to expect from your fixtures.

So the question on everyone’s mind lately is what does the consumer expect from their decorative plumbing fixtures?  Are we looking at the end of excess or is luxury back? The answer may be a little of both. The American consumer is very savvy and the demand for quality products is a very important factor in deciding which brand to buy.

High style meets functional innovation in the Berwick Collection

Trending now:

  • Contemporary styles are still on the rise. You have to wonder how many ways can a faucet be redesigned? You would be surprised! The design department is always trying out new shapes and ideas, (and I will have to tell you about the 3-D copier in a minute), but some of the most popular shapes that get a thumbs up with test groups are contemporary or transitional styles with more sculptural shapes.
  • Bathing is sinking and showers dominate. Say it isn’t so! But yes, as building styles adapt to a smaller footprint, so it goes with a shift in reducing the size of tubs to accommodate a walk in shower or showers with zero thresholds.
  • You won’t see tubs disappear entirely; instead tubs are being designed smarter. Watch for modular combinations in whirlpool tubs and eco silent tubs. A quiet whirlpool tub? Yes, it is possible!
  • Watch for an increase in freestanding tubs as well.
  • Bathroom collections will continue to have a furniture quality. Toilets have the look of furniture with higher seats, consciously mimicking furniture.
  • Re-purposing design details from the 1920’s with modern performance and ergonomics is a classic that will continue to be popular.

Techie highlights:

If you are a computer nerd like me, you will enjoy hearing about the 3-D copiers. The engineers can draw the shape of a faucet in CAD and send it to the 3-D copier to produce a prototype made out of ABS plastic. I was surprised to see fishing wire is utilized in these high priced copiers. Yes, fishing wire! Of course there is a lot of other high priced gadgetry involved in a 3-D copier. If you were looking to pick one up, be prepared to shell out over $40,000 for one of these machines.

3D copier for faucet prototype development

Mad scientist skills and sworn to secrecy policy:

Part of the fun of touring manufacturing facilities is that you get to see what they are working on that might be top secret. Since I have been sworn to secrecy there are some things I cannot tell you about. Let me just say, these engineers and designers really have a cool gig and toilet humor aside, they really flush out all the details to ensure your bathroom toilets, faucets and fixtures provide durable and lasting performance. You have no idea the level of detail and technological advancement that goes into design and product development and as Gray Uhl said, “When you don’t think about my product, we’ve done a good job.”


Re-purposing 1920's designs with modern functionality and performance

 American Standard Brands is a leading North American manufacturer of a wide range of high-quality building products, including faucets, fixtures, furniture, vitreous china fixtures, cast iron sinks, whirlpool tubs and other wellness products for the bath and kitchen as well as decorative panels. The company currently offers total project solutions for residential and commercial customers; employs more than 5,000 people in the United States, Canada and Mexico; and markets products under well-known and respected brands, such as American Standard®, Jado®, Porcher®, Safety Tubs®, Crane®, Eljer®, Fiat® and Decorative Panels International®. American Standard Brands is an affiliated portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners. For more information, visit www.americanstandard.com

What relaxes you? Music, Light, Sound Vibrations?

July 21st, 2010 § Leave a Comment

Fountainhead Vibracoustic Bath

Fountainhead VibrAcoustic Bathtub

Isn't it about time your tub serenaded you?

Do you remember the last time you were at a spa and felt truly relaxed, your mind and body completely at ease? Wouldn’t you love to recreate that experience in your own bathroom? I saw this working tub on display in a showroom, and literally wanted to kick everyone out, lock the doors and experience the tub for myself. Ok, well maybe not go that extent. But the idea of being fully immersed in a warm bath, lulled by sound and vibrations, short of installing one now in my home, I would be willing to travel to a spa that had one just so I could experience this relaxing tub.

It’s not often that a tub captures my interest but this one does. The Vibracoustic Bath is manufactured by Kohler. It’s called the Fountainhead®. Let me tell you about this tub. Chromatherapy alone doesn’t grab my attention. Jetted tubs are too noisy for true relaxation, but give the tub a deep bathing well, soothing vibrations and hypnotic sounds, now this makes for an interesting tub! Just thinking about this tub is relaxing. The Kohler website states: Soothing instrumental compositions play above water while acoustic vibrations sweep through the water and around the body. Let’s say you get tired of the preset music, no worries, program tunes from your Ipod, and enjoy the music coming from your tub. No speakers are visible, a beautiful thing.


  • 21″ deep bathing well to overflow.
  • Note the clever location of the Overflow in corner. Water overflows into horizontal drain for maximum bathing depth.
  • Preset, original music, composed in collaboration with a renowned sound therapist, engages and awakens the mind
  • Sound vibration envelops the body and encourages your breath and heart rate to synchronize with a slower rhythm
  • Chromatherapy, a repeating sequence of soothing colored lights, choreographed with music provides a holistic approach to profound relaxations
  • Generous, ergonomic bathing well allows you to float freely while feeling safe and secure
  • Contoured head pocket allows bather to comfortably rest his or her neck
  • Two Massaging pulse experience provides a more intensive physical vibration massage that can be varied to the desired level
  • Coordinates with the Fountainhead Suite
  • Organic shape complements simple, spa aesthetic
  • Exposed-deck installation creates a semi-raised appearance

List price*: $7,548.00 and up

Cool looks, new finds or what I love today.

March 7th, 2010 § 3 Comments

Always on the hunt for fabulous finds, check out what is catching my eye. 
I discovered a great new kitchen website called Beautiful Kitchens where I first found this funky glass back splash designed with red circles. It is from www.funkysplashbacks.com.
Heath Ceramics, dimensional tile was just what this kitchen needed.
The tile pattern wakes up an austere kitchen with flat one dimensional surfaces.
Photo credit: Kitchen at the 2009 Decorator’s Showcase house by J. Weiss Design
Here is the same pattern by Heath Ceramics, shown in a matte brown. I have always loved this pattern.
Installation by Ann Sacks at KBIS in Matte Brown using oval shaped tiles. Photo: © Ann Sacks 

The same tile takes on a whole new appearance with a theatrical look. Almost as if a curtain is rising, using 3×9 shaped oval tiles in a custom color. Photo: © Annie Schlechter
This is in the Maritime Hotel, (Matsuri Restaurant), New York City in the Meat Packing District.  
The clean contemporary lines of The Cube collection appear to have no visible seams. 
Found at Wetstyle.com

Are you ready to submerge? As in, get ready to get your body submerged in a deep tub. 
The BC09 from the Cube Collection is 30″ wide, 60″ in length and 24″ deep. 67 gallons. Comes with a Wenge tray.    A drop in tub available in a 1, 2 or 3 wall configuration. Glossy or matte finish.  
Designer note: I do not recommend this as a tub/shower application.  A 24″ depth is awkward to climb in and out of for a shower, especially for people with mobility problems or small children. 

The BC11, from The Cube Collection. 
10 possible configurations available. 
60″ x 32″ x 17 3/4″, 70 gallons.

The BOV02, from The Ove Collection from Wetstyle. 
It’s great that it has a wider ledge to lean sit on and swing your legs over and into the tub. 
72″ x 36″, 65 Gallon capacity to overflow. 

S 1978 Also from the Niche Collection from Wetstyle. 
Clever storage ideas for the tub collections.

Kitchens and Baths in Hotel Residences

March 2nd, 2010 § 3 Comments

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

Gramercy Park Hotel

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: Oyster.com 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?


New Product Watch: Grab Bars in Plain Sight:

December 24th, 2009 § 5 Comments

Grab bars or Safety Bars, what ever you call them, when you think of grab bars, what comes to mind? Utilitarian? Ugly, even? Well the folks at Health Craft Products came out with a new line called the Invisia Collection.

The Invisia™ Collection is based on a simple concept; GRAB BARS SHOULD NOT LOOK LIKE GRAB BARS.

In keeping with this concept, Health Craft Products has designed a series of luxurious bathroom accessories that also happen to be grab bars hidden in plain sight. Great ideas for “Aging in Place” Design.

WTRH-CRP, Wall Toilet Roll Holder, Bright Polish Chrome Plate

Add a touch of elegance and just the right amount of support with the Accent Ring. Corian® shelves provide ample space for toilet roll storage or other items while the discrete hand rail offers trustworthy support.

 ACR-CRP, Accent Ring, Bright Polish Chrome Plate

 A unique and incredibly solid handrail designed to contour circular shower fixtures and provide support when accessing controls.

  CS-CRP, Corner Shelf, Bright Polish Chrome Plate

The Corian® shelf provides a generous surface that can be removed for easy cleaning. The reliable support rail is always within reach to offer a helping hand. 

TB-24-CRP, Towel Bar, 24″/61cm, Polish Chrome Plate

Add a simple yet elegant touch to any bathing area. The 16″ or 24″ towel bar provides ample space to display virtually any towel set while the graceful arc of the integrated support rail creates a functionally superb design element.

For more information visit, http://healthcraftproducts.com/invisiacollection.htm


Oyster Tub By Salvinistile

September 19th, 2009 § 3 Comments

Size: 70.85″ x 42.15″ x 26.60″
Material: Marble
Design By: Architect Carla Baratelli for Salvinistile
Country: Italy

This is more than just design in marble. As shown from their web site, click the photos to link back to more photos from House 8, this is European designed “concept living”. Shapes influenced by nature is a trend we are seeing more of in sinks and tubs.

Great design if you are Michael Phelps, limber enough to move in and out of water like a fish. For those of us who are aging less than gracefully, planning a design with safety factors in mind is critical.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association developed the Bathroom Planning Guidelines with Access Standards to provide designers with good planning practices that consider the needs of a range of users.

Grab Bars: Plan grab bars to facilitate access to and maneuvering within the tub and shower areas.

Tub and shower walls should be prepared (reinforced) at time of construction to allow for installation of grab bars to support a static load of 250 lbs.

Grab bars should be placed at least 33” – 36” above the floor.

Grab bars must be 11⁄4” to 2” in diameter and extend 11⁄2” from the wall.

Access Standard

Recommended: Walls throughout the bathroom should be prepared (reinforced) at time of construction to allow for installation of grab bars to support a minimum of 250 lbs. of pressure.

Grab bars should be placed according to the needs and height of the user, particularly near the tub/shower and the toilet.

Code Reference:

  • Grab bars should be installed at the tub, shower, and toilet according to the following:
  • Bathtubs with permanent seats: Two horizontal grab bars (a1) should be provided on the back wall, one between 33” and 36” above the floor and the other 9” above the rim of the bathtub (a2). Each grab bar should be no more than 15” from the head end wall or 12” from the foot end wall. A grab bar 24” long should be provided on the foot end wall at the front edge of the bathtub. (ANSI 607.4.1)
  • Bathtubs without permanent seats: Two horizontal grab bars should be provided on the back wall, one between 33” and 36” above the floor and the other 9” above the rim of the bathtub (a3). Each grab bar should be at least 24” long and no more than 24” from the head end wall or 12” from the foot end wall. A grab bar 24” long should be provided on the foot end wall at the front edge of the bathtub. A grab bar 12” long should be provided on the head end wall at the front edge of the bathtub (a4). (ANSI 607.4.2)

For More information:
Salvini Stile
Michael Phelps Photo Credit Link

The Ahhh Tub

April 13th, 2008 § Leave a Comment

There is nothing like a deep soaking tub.
At a height if 24″ don’t even think of using this for a tub/shower combination.
This is the ultimate in soaking tubs. Simple & Pure Luxury. The height to the overflow is 19.5″. The interior length 70 1/4″, plenty of room to luxuriate in a tub. It does come in alternate sizes and shapes.
Here is one of my favorites tubs.
The Elise by the brand MTI Whirlpools.

The Ahhh Tub

April 13th, 2008 § Leave a Comment

There is nothing like a deep soaking tub.
At a height if 24″ don’t even think of using this for a tub/shower combination.
This is the ultimate in soaking tubs. Simple & Pure Luxury. The height to the overflow is 19.5″. The interior length 70 1/4″, plenty of room to luxuriate in a tub. It does come in alternate sizes and shapes.
Here is one of my favorites tubs.
The Elise by the brand MTI Whirlpools.

Bath Inspirations

June 18th, 2007 § Leave a Comment

Fabulous bath concepts from around the globe. Here are my favorites and I pay to homage to the Designers and Architects who built outside the box.

To create a dramatic entrance to the bathroom, interior designer Brandi Hagen placed an antique bench seat in front of a large Botanical Beach Grass Lumicor panel. Colors and materials were chosen to create a zen-like simplicity.

Creating a fun space that children actually look forward to using is surely a bath time winner, by Richard Behr architect and Jolie Korek, Interior Designer. Good color choices with Jerusalem Gold Stone and Mosaiac Glass Pebble Accents.
As seen in Trends Ideas

For the art collector. The freestanding Napoli is not just a functional tub – it’s a sculptural installation. Edward Taylor, the president of Victoria & Albert’s US headquarters, says the Napoli’s ultra-contemporary design is the result of more than a decade of freestanding bath development, and is inspired by the pure organic form of an egg. The tub is a 75-inch-long, low-slung ovoid shape that provides ergonomic comfort and cocoons the bather.

Rationing hot water is a thing of the past with the Noritz tankless hot water system. Water is heated as it is used, so there is no chance it will run out. This house was designed by Dick Clark Architecture featured in Trends.

Trends volume 2205
The mixture of limestone tiles creates a light and bright bathroom that is rich in soft textures.

Architect : Robert Baum, LLP, Baum Thornley Architects (San Francisco, CA)

A translucent glass wall provides the central feature of both bathroom and bedroom. The shape of the mirrors was important, given their proximity to the glass, and this form is echoed in the stainless steel basins beneath. Soft focus from Bathroom Trends volume 2205

This bathroom by David Howell Design is created almost exclusively out of Jerusalem Gold limestone.

An entire wall of this bathroom, designed by architect Lindy Leuschke, is tiled in purple, blue and gray glass mosaics. These mosaic tiles add a strong, rich element to the otherwise simple decorative scheme.

This master bathroom, designed by architect Mark Singer of Laguna Beach, California, looks out onto a private courtyard. As well as the shower, the bathroom also features a 3ft-deep, Japanese-style soaking tub that is mirrored by a spa pool in the courtyard.

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