Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Final Bathroom Design

After many hours spent poring over Houzz and Pinterest, shopping tile stores in Chelsea, and comparing samples, I've decided that the bathroom in our 1940s mid-century apartment is going to be a modern take on the classic subway tile bathrooms of the era.

The floor will be a hex - but not in the traditional marble or black and white. Heath Ceramics handcrafts a half hex mix in up to three colors of your choice. I chose shade, shade light and chamois, inspired by my "inspiration" bathroom, by architect Mark Reilly:

The wall tile will be white beveled subway tile.

The shower tile will be a contrasting dark gray subway:


The tub will be a deep soaking tub - the Kohler "Tea for Two" - undermounted with a statuaria marble surround, sort of like this:

For the sink, the Kohler Kathryn caught my eye with it's clean classic lines and beautiful art deco legs:

But when buying a console sink, I learned that you actually have to buy all the pieces shown, separately. The sink top is one item. The undermount bowl is another item. The legs, another. The faucets, too, of course. Plus, you need to buy the drain, and the trap - and the trap is exposed so it has to be a "pretty" one. When I added up all the parts to this sink, the price tag came to about $4k - OUCH! Talking myself down from that ledge, I focused on the negatives. For example, I would have to match the tub marble to the sink marble and I'd be bound by whatever the Kohler marble looked like. First, how would I match it? It's not like I could cart the marble sink top around to all the marble fabricators in Queens. Or chip off a sample to carry around. Second, the Kohler marble might not be a marble that looks good large, like on the sides of a tub.

What I really wanted, I realized, was the Kathryn legs under a plain white porcelain basin. So I called the good folks at Kohler to see if I could use the Kathryn legs with any of their other porcelain basins. The guy I spoke with hedged quite a bit. He said he couldn't recommend using the legs with a sink top not designed for the purpose. He kept suggesting that I order the legs and frame and have my contractor read the specs. After a few repetitions of this advice, I realized it was a wink wink - that while he couldn't recommend it (and have Kohler be responsible if anything went wrong), my contractor could probably figure something out. 

In my mind I had already made the leap from marble console to porcelain console. And a quick web search turned up this beauty - The Mason Console Sink - from Signature Hardware for just $600.

It is 30" wide, where the Kohler is just 24", which means it is going to take up a few more valuable inches in my 5x9 bathroom that could be used for storage. However, I'm confident that for way less than the $3,400 I'll be saving on the sink, some clever storage solution will present itself when the time comes.

It was a leap of faith - I've never purchased from Signature Hardware before and there is no bricks and mortar showroom where I could view the sink ahead of time - but I ordered the Mason sink. And it arrived amazingly quickly, about four days later. I have yet to open the box, but I will do it this weekend if the floor refinishers are out of there in time, and I'll report back on the quality.

On a personal note: This was my very first delivery to our new apartment -- and can I say how much I love our doorman and porters who received the shipment for me AND held it until I got home from work AND helped me up the elevator with it? 

For us apartment dwellers in cities like New York, receiving packages while we are at work can be a real roadblock when renovating. But our new home is in a "full service" building. This is my first brush with the convenience of having a doorman. I'm a convert.


  1. Sally, I'm so jealous! LOVE the tile choice for your floor and your shower dark grey!!

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  3. Oh, thank you, Allyn! For seconding my choice of the floor. It's a bit of a splurge coming from health ceramics in california and all handmade. But Henry isn't daunted by the installation guide they sent. And I really think it will be that defining thing that takes the traditional and gives it a modern spin. I will invite you to see it as soon as it's in!

  4. HI! So, I'm wondering how the Mason sink has worked out for you! I am in this very same dilemma. I absolutely love the look of the Kohler sink, but simply cannot afford it. I was thrilled that you had a found a great looking sink at a reasonable price. Let me know your thoughts!

  5. Hi Monica, The sink is a steal at the price. It's beautiful in person and rivals more costly models. And Signature Hardware had quick delivery, great packaging, and excellent customer service (this isn't a paid endorsement). I can wholeheartedly recommend this product. I just love it. Here's a photo:

    1. Yea! I'm so glad to hear such positive feedback. Thanks for letting me know! It looks great!

  6. Last year I decided, after much thought, that I definitely wanted to remodel my bathroom. A colleague of mine suggested I contact the team at Classic Kitchen and Bath in Illinois. I was very pleased after the first call. What I admire the most about their team is that they truly enjoy what they do and they took the time to customize designs to my desire. To date, I stand in my bathroom and look at it with awe. Visit their website today or call 630-515-9151. I highly recommend them to everyone considering kitchen and bathroom remodeling.