TOP TRENDS FOR LUX­URY BATH­ROOM SINKS.

Un­der­mount sinks and wall-mounted faucets trend­ing up­ward, ves­sel sinks los­ing out

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Richard A. Marini rmarini@ex­press-news.net | Twit­ter: @RichardMarini

While the kitchen sink is de­signed for clean­ing pots, pans, fruits and veg­eta­bles, the bath­room sink is usu­ally re­served for per­sonal hy­giene. So while most bath­room sinks are smaller and shal­lower than their kitchen coun­ter­parts, they also tend to be more stylish and bold, with artis­tic flour­ishes, more var­ied col­ors and other touches that bet­ter re­flect the home­owner’s per­sonal tastes.

Su­san Cox and her hus­band, Ted, re­cently had the master bath in their home south of Bo­erne com­pletely ren­o­vated. Af­ter re­plac­ing the or­ange, brown, black and (yes, re­ally), red bath­room tile with more neu­tral col­ors, they re­vamped the dual van­i­ties with light-col­ored gran­ite, in­stalled un­der­mounted sinks and re­placed what she called the “lit­tle bitty” spout with a curved-neck model that more eas­ily lets her oc­ca­sion­ally wash her hair in the sink.

“I’m very happy with the new look, the new de­sign,” said Cox, who is re­tired from the med­i­cal field. “It’s so much more brighter now. I can see into the bath­room with­out hav­ing to turn on the lights.”

Bath­room sink trends, in­clud­ing the basin it­self, faucets, van­ity and coun­ter­tops are al­ways com­ing and go­ing. Here’s a look at what’s on the up­swing and which are head­ing down­ward:

Trends on the up­swing

Un­der­mount sinks: Un­like tra­di­tional drop-in sinks, which sit in a cutout in the coun­ter­top and have a vis­i­ble lip around the edge, un­der­mount sinks hang from below, so there’s no rim be­tween coun­ter­top and sink. The re­sult is a mod­ern, stream­lined look, an eas­ier-to-clean sur­face and a lit­tle bit of ex­tra counter space.

Un­der­mount sinks tend to be more ex­pen­sive to in­stall than drop-ins, due to the added ex­pense of pol­ish­ing the in­te­rior edge of the coun­ter­top. They also re­quire faucets to be in­stalled through the counter or the back wall.

“These sinks work best with non­porous coun­ter­top ma­te­ri­als, like gran­ite, mar­ble and man­made quartz,” said Mark Burns, owner of Bo­erne Kitchens and Baths. “Fig­ure to spend about $150 more for an un­der­mount sink, com­pared to an equiv­a­lent drop-in.”

Wall-mounted faucets:

Emerg­ing from the wall be­hind the sink, wall-mounted faucets are in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar for their clean, open, more lux­u­ri­ous ap­pear­ance. And it’s not just their good looks mak­ing them pop­u­lar. Be­cause there’s no hard­ware in the way, these faucets make the area be­hind the sink eas­ier to clean.

In­stalling a wall-mounted faucet may take some ad­vance plan­ning, how­ever, and it will be more ex­pen­sive com­pared to the easy in­stal­la­tion of a drop-in sink with built-in faucet.

Plumb­ing be­hind the wall may have to be added to or moved, for ex­am­ple, and holes cut through stone, tile or an­other wall ma­te­rial.

“We in­stalled wall-mounted faucets through a mir­ror re­cently,” said Jana Valdez who, with her hus­band Ar­mando, owns Haven De­sign and Con­struc­tion. “Talk about mea­sur­ing twice and cut­ting once!”

Curved neck faucets: This trend, bor­rowed from the kitchen de­sign that makes it eas­ier to move large pots and other items un­der the faucet, is mak­ing its way into the bath­room — but at a lower alti­tude.

“While a kitchen faucet might raise up 8 to 9 inches,” Burns said, “in the bath­room you’re look­ing at 4 to 5 (inches).”

New col­ors: Meet what man­u­fac­tur­ers are call­ing an­tique gold. Soft, sub­tle and, yes, rich-look­ing, this is not your grand­mother’s ’80s brushed brass.

In ad­di­tion to an­tique gold, other up-and-com­ing col­ors, ac­cord­ing to Valdez, in­clude matte black for both faucets and cab­i­net hard­ware. The color pro­vides both tran­si­tional and con­tem­po­rary baths a dra­matic punch, es­pe­cially when used as ac­cent pieces against, say white or off-white walls and van­i­ties. For a more tra­di­tional look, satin and brushed nickel faucets are also in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar. Satin nickel has more lus­ter than brushed but both hide wa­ter or dirt well and are com­pa­ra­ble in cost. So choos­ing be­tween them is a mat­ter of taste.

Fur­ni­ture van­i­ties: For high­end bath­rooms, the fur­ni­ture look — mean­ing legs vs. tra­di­tional square or rec­tan­gu­lar boxes with toe kicks — is a must-have. Styles can vary from the or­nate to con­tem­po­rary and while ready-made, fur­ni­ture-style van­i­ties are avail­able, con­sid­er­a­tions such as size and style mean these van­i­ties must of­ten be cus­tom or else semi-cus­tom made. Which costs more than what’s you’ll pay for a ready-made van­ity sold at a big box re­tailer.

For ex­am­ple, a cab­i­net mea­sur­ing 48 inches wide would cost about $2,000 to de­sign, fab­ri­cate and in­stall — and that doesn’t in­clude the cost of the sink, faucet and coun­ter­top, ac­cord­ing to Valdez.

Float­ing van­i­ties: at­tached to the wall so they ap­pear to be hov­er­ing above the floor, look sleek and ef­fi­cient, which is why they work best in con­tem­po­rary baths, as op­posed to tran­si­tional or even tra­di­tional bath­rooms. Float­ing van­i­ties also free up floor space and make clean­ing un­derneath them much eas­ier. Adding lights to the un­der­side of a float­ing van­ity can make a smaller bath look larger.

Trends on the down­swing

Ves­sel sinks: These sinks, which sit on top of the counter or are par­tially re­cessed, are quickly los­ing their pop­u­lar­ity, ac­cord­ing to Valdez. When they first ar­rived, they were seen as a dra­matic ad­di­tion to the bath­room, but their short­com­ings soon be­came ap­par­ent. They’re more dif­fi­cult to clean than an un­der­mounted sink, tend to be “splashier” than more tra­di­tional sinks and their flared side take up more counter space than tra­di­tional sinks.

Adding an 8-inch-tall ves­sel sink to a stan­dard 36-inch-tall van­ity also raises the sink to an un­com­fort­able height for many peo­ple, es­pe­cially chil­dren.

“We’re still see­ing them in pow­der rooms that don’t get as much use, es­pe­cially for home­own­ers who want some­thing dra­matic to im­press vis­i­tors,” Valdez said.

Wa­ter­fall faucets: Also called open faucets, these fix­tures have a bold de­sign that mim­ics how wa­ter falls in na­ture. The con­cept is avail­able in ev­ery­thing from con­tem­po­rary de­signs to old­timey, wa­ter pump-like fix­tures.

So what’s the prob­lem? The open de­sign of the spigot makes them hard to keep clean.

“You’ve get wa­ter de­posits on the sur­faces where the wa­ter runs out,” Burns ex­plained. “So you’ve got to wipe them down con­stantly. And no­body wants to have to do that.”

In other words, don’t go chas­ing wa­ter­fall faucets.

Ves­sel sinks are los­ing pop­u­lar­ity as a master bath fix­ture be­cause they’re hard to keep clean, take up counter space and can be too high to use com­fort­ably.

Matthew Nie­mann Pho­tog­ra­phy

Emerg­ing from the wall be­hind the sink, wall-mounted faucets are in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar for their clean, open, more lux­u­ri­ous ap­pear­ance. They also make the area be­hind the sink eas­ier to clean.

Delta

For a more tra­di­tional look, satin and brushed nickel faucets are also in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar.Satin nickel has more lus­ter than brushed but both hide wa­ter or dirt well and are com­pa­ra­ble in cost. So choos­ing be­tween them is a mat­ter of taste.

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