Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pedestal Sinks: Small Profile Sinks that are Big on Style

Pedestal sinks and the iconic clawfoot tub were common fixtures of bathrooms at the beginning of the 1900’s. Like clawfoot tubs, early pedestal sinks were originally constructed of cast iron and had a porcelain exterior but by the 1920’s pedestal sinks were being made of china. In the years that followed, the floor space dedicated to bathrooms grew larger and this made way for the introduction of cabinet style vanity sinks. Consumers preferred the added counter space and storage of cabinet style sinks and soon cabinet style sinks overtook pedestal sinks in popularity. After years of absence, however, pedestal sinks have once again become a popular bathroom fixture. Small size and corner pedestal sinks are stylish choices for small bathrooms and half-bathrooms. The rediscovery of the pedestal sink has not only lead to the reintroduction of vintage Victorian and Art Deco style pedestal sinks but also the introduction of new sleek modern design pedestal sinks. Now that there are so many different styles of pedestal sinks available, finding the right pedestal sink may seem a little overwhelming. However, there are several considerations that will further narrow your search criteria:

Pedestal Sink Size
Your vision of the perfect pedestal sink should be placed within the context of its surroundings. If your bathroom is small, the bowl of the pedestal sink that you select should not be too large as to create tight spaces. There should remain 30" of clearance in front of the sink’s bowl for standard installations and a miniCheck Spellingmum of 15" of clear space from the edges of the sink’s bowl and any sidewall. Conversely, the pedestal sink should not be too small, both in overall height and bowl size, as to appear out of proportion relative to the size of the bathroom.

Available Pedestal Sink Faucet Options
Pedestal sinks do not require a specific type of lavatory faucet. Faucets that are too large or elaborate may look inappropriate atop the slim profile of a pedestal sink. The reach of the faucet’s spout should not extend too far into the often smaller bowl sizes of pedestal sinks. The same general technical rules of matching the configuration of your faucet to the configuration of your sink also apply. Specifically, the faucet and sink’s centers must match. A sink’s centers is the distance between the center of its leftmost and rightmost faucet holes. This measurement is also known as its spread or center-to-center distance. Faucets are designed to accommodate one or more of the common center-to-center distances. A sink's centers becomes a limiting factor in your pedestal sink search if you already have a faucet or at least have your heart set on a particular faucet.

Configuration of Water Supply Lines
Many prefer the aesthetics of having visible water supply lines extending below the pedestal sink's bowl. For this type of installation, stylish sink trim kits are used to match this plumbing to the finish of the sink’s faucet. In addition to asthetics, exposed supply lines also allow the addition of shutoff valves to be installed in easily accessible locations. Straight supply lines can be used if the pedestal sink’s centers line up with its water supply rough-ins. The ability to use straight supply lines not only creates a clean symmetrical look but also can make for a simpler installation.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Skirted Cast Iron Bathtubs: Creating Head-Turning Looks with this Fashionable Freestanding Bathtub

Choosing to add a freestanding bathtub is a good first step for those wanting to create a unique look for their home’s bath. Unlike traditional built-in tubs that often offer little aesthetic value to bathroom design, freestanding bathtubs are the eye-catching centerpiece of the bath. Freestanding bathtubs are typically outfitted with clawfoot faucets and showers where the supply lines and drains are exposed rather than hidden behind bathroom walls. All of this chrome, brass, nickel or oil rubbed bronze plumbing adds to the freestanding bathtub’s appeal. Further, freestanding bathtubs are offered in three types (clawfoot, pedestal and skirted) and each type is available in a seemingly endless array of style and size combinations.

Skirted freestanding bathtubs may not get all of the marketing exposure as the more popular clawfoot bathtubs and pedestal bathtubs but their distinctive shapes are sure to draw a lot of attention in your bath. Skirted bathtubs are cast iron tubs that sit within a decorative wraparound metal skirt. In my opinion, these tubs are excellent alternatives to clawfoot and pedestal tubs for vintage themed bathrooms and are often even better suited aesthetically for a variety of other bathroom themes. Since this is a blog and blogs are where one’s ideas are shared, I provide my thoughts on skirted tub choices for various bathroom themes:

Skirted Bathtub Choices for Vintage Bathrooms
Clearly clawfoot tubs and pedestal tubs are not only the most logical choice but also the most appropriate choice for vintage themed bathrooms. I recommend vintage bathrooms with specific period themes remain true to the time period when selecting the type of bathtub. For example, classically styled clawfoot bathtubs should be used for Victorian themed bathrooms and pedestal bathtubs are appropriate for Art Deco style bathrooms. However, skirted tubs like Cheviot Products’ Balmoral skirted dual bathtub provide a unique look for bathrooms with general, less time period specific, vintage themes.

Skirted Bathtub Choices for Rustic Bathrooms
Skirted slipper and double-end bathtubs are excellent choices for master baths of rustic themed homes or vacation getaways. Rustic style home interiors offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Thus, interior design is not only rustic but also welcoming. Today’s rustic style is infused modern sophistication in place of the more campy approaches of the past. Completed with oil rubbed bronze faucets and plumbing, skirted bathtubs offer an understated sophistication that works well with today’s stylish rustic settings. I like Sunrise Specialty's Dakota skirted slipper bathtub for rustic bathrooms because of its simple and custom paintable metal skirt.

Skirted Bathtub Choices for Country and French Country Bathrooms
Country themed bathrooms can take two forms, one that is highly traditional and one that is more rustic. Once again, the skirted bathtub is uniquely suited to become the centerpiece of both of these variations of country themed bathrooms. Country cottage and traditional style French country bathrooms are typically bright with walls either painted in a palette limited to light colors or adorned with white or light colored wallpaper featuring with floral or toile patterns. Country cottage and traditional French country favor white porcelain fixtures with nickel or brass plumbing while rustic French country themed bathrooms feature the use of dark more earthy tones paired with darker rich colored accents. Bronze and copper sinks are common fixtures with copper or oil rubbed bronze faucets of rustic French country style bathrooms. Sunrise Specialty's Eiffel tub with the riveted steel skirt is well suited for traditional and rustic country bathrooms because its unique strap accented skirt can be left white or painted to match the bathroom’s d├ęcor.

Skirted Bathtub Choices for Modern Spa Bathrooms
One of the latest design trends is to bring the relaxing qualities of the luxury spa into the everyday bathroom. This minimalistic approach to design defines the modern bath as clean and uncluttered. Along with a nature-inspired palette of light colors; modern spa style bathroom design places a premium on open spaces between bathroom furniture and fixtures. Cheviot Products’ Iris double-ended skirted bathtub with chrome plumbing is a smart choice for modern style bathrooms. The Iris freestanding bathtub sits in a sleek metal skirt that is not only ideal for today’s spa-inspired bathrooms but also simple enough to adapt to future style trends yet to be defined.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sign of the Crab Adjustable Bridge Faucet: A Flexible Bridge Faucet That Adjusts To Your Sink

Sign of the Crab recently introduced new adjustable bridge faucets. Not only are these faucets handsome additions to the Sign of the Crab catalog of bathroom bridge faucets, they are tremendous problem solvers for old home enthusiasts restoring antique sinks.

Antique bathroom sinks often only have two faucet holes. Originally, separate hot and cold taps were used with these sinks. The sink bowl was filled simultaneously from both taps to obtain warm water. As we discussed a couple of years ago in the Shop 4 Classics Old House Blog post "Bridge Faucets: Bridging The Gap", bridge faucets became popular because they mix hot and cold water to deliver warm water from a single center spout yet they only require two faucet holes. The limitation with ordinary bridge faucets is that they have fixed centers. An ordinary bridge faucet is a great option if the faucet holes in your antique sink are 4", 8", or 12" as there are plenty of bridge faucets for those standard hole configurations. Unfortunately, that is not always the case with antique sinks. The spread between the faucet holes in antique bathroom sinks often do not match modern standards.

Sign of the Crab's new adjustable bridge faucet has a jointed bridge that allows it to adapt to unusual faucet hole spreads. The valves (i.e. faucet handles) swing forward as the spout swivels back. As the valves rotate forward, the spread between them is reduced. The smaller model adjusts from 6" centers down to 4" centers and anywhere in between. The larger model will adjust from an 8" spread down to a minimum 6" spread. The versatile adjustable bridge faucet can also be installed with the valves rotated behind the spout. This will extend the spout's reach over the sink bowl, however, it can make the handles more difficult to reach.

The jointed bridge of the adjustable bridge faucet confers instant Victorian era style. The flexibility of its variable centers allows the faucet to adjust to even the most unusual faucet hole configurations. The Sign of the Crab adjustable bridge faucet and other bridge faucets are available at Shop 4 Classics.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Antique Doorbells:Ringing in Your Home's Period Style with Vintage Doorbell Buttons

One of the many the great qualities of Kansas City is the diverse architecture of homes. The Strawberry Hill neighborhood features quaint Victorian homes and occasional larger Queen Ann style homes. The Mission Hills area includes an eclectic mix of various style homes including large Gothic & Greek Revivals, Italianate and Tudor mansions. The Brookside, Rockhill Gardens and Waldo neighborhoods are known for their Craftsman Bungalows and Tudor style cottages. The style of homes within these neighborhoods reflects the time period or periods in which its homes were built. Some historic neighborhoods represent almost exclusively one type of house, commonly Tudor cottages and Craftsman bungalows, which indicates that the neighborhood was begun and completed all within a given period. Others include a variety of styles indicating that the neighborhood took shape over a longer period of time or experienced later home construction resulting from subdividing land of existing properties.

Regardless of what your house looks like or where it’s located, getting to know the style of your home is a rewarding activity that can begin with a Google search or visit to your local public library. Print and online historic home style guides provide the architectural features associated with each style period. Style guides also typically place the period in its historical context and describe inspirations and influences that helped define the style. This new found knowledge of your home’s style will aid in making smart choices prior to starting any decorating or renovating project. For example, home hardware style popular during a period often exhibits similar design features of the identifying architecture features of homes of the period.

The doorbell is a good example of an often used and highly visible piece of hardware that can become an inexpensive way to demonstrate your understanding and appreciation of your home’s period style. Vintage inspired doorbells are available in a wide array of period styles. Consider doorbell buttons with Greek Key, Ribbon and Reed or Egg and Dart patterns for homes with Classical Revival themes. Victorian doorbell buttons are often richly embellished with Eastlake style or Victorian scroll designs. Rustic and handcrafted looking Craftsman doorbells and artistic Art Nouveau doorbells are smart choices for your Arts and Crafts bungalow.