Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vintage Bath Design and Clawfoot Tub Ergonomics

There's more to planning a vintage bath than simply selecting fixtures, faucets, flooring, and paint schemes. A good vintage bath design considers usability. Clawfoot tub ergonomics should ensure that the vintage bath is not only aesthetically pleasing but functional as well. A well planned bathroom optimizes free space, or clear space, to fit the people who will use it.

Clawfoot Tubs

The free area on the entry side of a clawfoot tub should extend 30" and span the entire length of the tub. Allow a 1" gap between the tub rim and adjacent bathroom walls around the perimeter of the clawfoot tub. The gap will make the rim easier to grasp for entry and exit of the clawfoot tub. Additionally, allow 3"-4" for plumbing at the faucet end of the tub if the clawfoot tub faucet is mounted on the tub wall.

Bathroom Sinks

Bathroom sinks in a well planned vintage bath floor plan should have 30" of clearance in front of the sink. If the sink is placed near a corner, allow a minimum of 15" of clear space between the center of the sink and any sidewall.


Toilets should have at least 30" of clear floor space in front of the bowl. If the toilet is installed near a corner, allow a minimum of 15" of clear space between the center of the toilet bowl and any sidewall. Toilet paper holders should be installed slightly in front of the bowl but within reach of a person seated on the toilet bowl. The toilet paper holder should be installed 26" above the finished floor.

The free space provided for each fixture does not need to be dedicated to a single fixture. The clear floor space can, and normally will, overlap. Period bathrooms are generally small but a well planned vintage bath will allow for clear space that makes the room more accommodating.

NOTE: In some areas, building code may dictate free space. Always check with local officials to be certain your project plans are in compliance with local building codes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brushed, Matte and Satin Nickel Bathroom Faucets: What is the Difference?

Occasionally we get questions about the differences between brushed nickel, satin nickel and matte nickel finishes. The short answer to this question is that there really is no significant difference in the finish. All three names describe brushed nickel finish. This finish is created by brushing polished nickel to arrive at a frosted, far less lustrous finish. This type of finish is generally referred to as satin or matte finish. Thus, all three names are appropriate in describing this unique finish.

So, why does Shop 4 Classics use all three names on its website? The answer is that Shop 4 Classics currently offers five brands of bathroom faucets and the name used to describe this finish varies depending on the brand of faucet. Strom Plumbing describes its brushed nickel clawfoot tub and bathroom faucets as having a matte nickel finish. Belle Foret brushed nickel bathroom faucets and Elizabethan Classics brushed nickel clawfoot tub faucets are described as having a satin nickel finish. Brushed nickel bathroom and clawfoot tub faucets from Sunrise Specialty and Cheviot Products are described as simply having a brushed nickel finish. All that said, each brand's version of brushed nickel can vary slightly and so we recommend purchasing all brushed nickel products from the same brand if you would like an exact match on their finish.

Regardless of what it is called, brushed nickel finish is a low maintenance finish compared to polished nickel, chrome and brass. The brushed finish hides scratches, fingerprints, and water spots far better than the more lustrous finishes. However, the cleaning and care of brushed nickel faucets is similar to that of brass, chrome or polished nickel faucets. Abrasive and harsh chemicals should be avoided in favor of cleaning with simply water and mild dish soap. Similarly, a soft cloth should be used instead of coarse scratch-pad sponges like Brillo pads or steel wool.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cast Iron Floor Registers and Air Return Grilles: Decorative Vent Covers that Turn Blah to Beautiful

Once a highly decorative piece of home hardware, modern vent covers, unfortunately, now have similar aesthetics as the accompanying furnace or air conditioner. Today’s builder’s-grade vent covers are typically made of pressed steel, painted a muted shade of gray, and offer absolutely no decorative qualities. Upgrading all or select vent covers with decorative cast iron heat registers and air return grilles is a quick and easy way to add style to your home’s floors, walls and ceilings.

If you are considering black cast iron floor registers, we recommend Reggio Register’s Victorian or contemporary square grid style cast iron floor registers. Reggio Register’s offering of vent covers are known for their quality and wide range of available sizes. Although some of Reggio Register’s cast iron grilles are offered with attached louver assemblies, many of their grilles require separate louver assembly inserts in order to control air flow. We’ve found that their louver assembly inserts work very well for most applications.

Reggio Register offers matching wall and ceiling air return grille vent covers in both their Victorian and contemporary square grid styles. Wall and ceiling air return vent covers have screw holes to secure the grille in place. Reggio Register also offers their wall and ceiling air return vent covers in lighter weight aluminum. An added attractive feature of Reggio Registers aluminum grilles is that they are available in gray which can be painted by the home owner to match the color of their walls and ceilings.

Currently, Shop 4 Classics is offering 5% and 10% discounts on qualifying vent cover orders.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Strom Plumbing Tuxedo Acrylic Slipper Tub: Styling In Black & White

Shop 4 Classics is continually looking for antique reproduction and vintage-inspired products for our customers. It is a new year and in the next few months you will find many new items on our website. Like a master of ceremonies at a fancy New Years gala, the Tuxedo acrylic slipper clawfoot tub steps into the spotlight to introduce these new products. It is the first of the new 2011 products from Strom Plumbing by Sign of the Crab.

Dressed up like a million dollar trouper, the Tuxedo slipper clawfoot tub is fitted with a shiny black acrylic exterior and a glossy white acrylic interior. The two tone Tuxedo acrylic slipper bathtub is 60" long and 32" wide. It proudly stands 25" tall (33.5" at the tip of the slipper backrest). The Tuxedo slipper tub is available with 7" center faucet holes in its rounded tub rim for deck mounted clawfoot tub faucets or without faucet holes for bathroom wall mounted faucets or freestanding clawfoot tub faucets. It includes classic ball & claw tub feet in your choice of six popular finishes. All Shop 4 Classics clawfoot tub prices include free shipping and residential lift gate service and are discounted so you don't have to be a well-to-do strutting up Park Avenue to afford the Tuxedo acrylic clawfoot tub. While it could have been named after the Oreo cookie, the police car, the penguin, or a television from my childhood; we are sure that you will agree that "Tuxedo" seems most appropriate for this classy black and white slipper tub.

Planning an Art Deco bathroom remodel for 2011? The jazzy Tuxedo tub will have you "puttin' on the ritz" in Fred Astaire style. Following suit, Art Deco clawfoot tub faucets from Strom Plumbing will be available at Shop 4 Classics in the next few weeks. Check back often for more announcements.

Save 10% on your clawfoot tub with the Shop 4 Classics TUB10 coupon code. Enter TUB10 in the promo code box in your shopping cart to apply the 10% discount to your order of a clawfoot tub, faucet or shower, supply lines, and drain.