Design-coordinated collections eliminate the time and guesswork required to perfect a bathroom’s overall design.
Many homeowners have looked at a bathroom’s basic fixtures—toilet, lavatory, basin or sink, shower or tub—as individual products. But the concept of a “suite” of similar designs has been around a long time. Design-coordinated collections eliminate the time and guesswork required to perfect a bathroom’s overall design. For many, it instills a sense of confidence that everything goes together.
Interior designer Diana Schrage of the Kohler Design Center says “plumbing products had similarity of shapes all the way back to the beginning when fixtures first came into the home. Further refinements continued to emerge
and distinct styles began being offered.” Kohler Co. is a Wisconsin-based global leader in its four core business groups of kitchen and bath, interiors, global power, and hospitality and real estate. In its product groupings, a bathroom suite includes tub, shower, toilet and one or more lavatories. It also offers bath “ensembles”— design packages with fewer products and without a bath.
Gray Uhl, director of design for American Standard, a leading North American plumbing goods manufacturer, says his company has been providing “complete ‘suite’ solutions for the bathroom for over 100 years. It is one of the few companies that has always provided the necessary faucets and fixtures needed in the bathroom. This allows American Standard to develop components that work well together.”
At American Standard, a suite usually includes bathroom sinks, toilets, faucets, accessories and tubs. “It may also include furniture, shower base and enclosures, mirrors and medicine cabinets or lighting. It depends on the uniqueness of the style or design theme to determine if you need to use the total collection,” says Uhl. “The faucet and accessories serve as the ‘jewelry’ that provides the trim and finish accents that tie the whole collection together. This may even include a toilet trip lever in a matching style and finish.”
If you’ve decided to incorporate a bathroom suite, there are several steps to consider. Proper permits and meeting code are foundation basics. Next, determine whether it will be a DIY project or installed by a professional. Almost
all of the components in a suite can be handled by competent DIYers as a weekend project. American Standard offers innovations, like its Speed Connect faucet drain,
that can make the job go quickly. A homeowner can decide whether to tackle installation of a new tub or shower based on his ability. If he does not feel confident about his ability, these are projects for a local plumbing professional.
Next, set a budget, which will “help to determine how many of the components of the ‘suite’ you can comfortably incorporate into your plan,” says Uhl. Prices for American Standard “suites’ can range from roughly $500 to $2,500. “With what you invest, you save time and the effort it takes to be assured of great performance and a professional-looking result,” he notes.
Schrage says Kohler’s suites range from a “very competitive entry level all the way up to high end.” TOTO bath collections range from the upper-mid to luxury level, says Lenora Campos, Ph.D., manager of public relations for TOTO USA, Inc.,
the world’s largest plumbing products manufacturer.
Campos suggests homeowners review bathroom suite products and determine the design statement they prefer. Uhl advises picking “a style that fits your home and lifestyle,” noting that the great thing about a suite is that the individual parts can work great on their own but are guaranteed to work together.
“The age and style of the home should be coupled with the homeowners’ personal taste” in choosing a suite, says Schrage. She notes that homeowners should also keep in mind that the upgrades, such as switching to a high-efficiency toilet, can save thousands of gallons of water a year.
There is a large variety of great options available to transform a bathroom into a well-coordinated retreat. From hands-free technology and waterfall cascades to LED
illumination in the TOTO Neorest II Luminist collection and Kohler steam shower options, there are some amazing products.
Homeowners choosing a TOTO bath suite will first have to decide if they prefer a traditional, contemporary or transitional design. “TOTO is perfecting Transitional design, a new aesthetic that merges elements of both Modernist and Traditional design to create products that have the richness of history combined with innovation, new materials and an uncluttered aesthetic,” says Campos. She says TOTO’s new Aimes Bath Collection and its sister suite, the new Legato Collection, are “prime examples of TOTO’s design prowess in this innovative, eclectic aesthetic that gives homeowners a heretofore unseen ability to develop a unique sensibility for their bath space.”
Kohler’s choices range from the highly distinctive design of its Escale® suite, “conceived from the form of a sail in the wind and Japanese ceramic tableware design,” to the Bancroft®, inspired by the “traditional elegance of early 1900s American design.” Among the choices, homeowners may find such features as wide, double-pivot, slow-close shower doors; a steam option for the shower; overflowing lavatory and bath designs; lavatory size variations on a theme to accommodate space needs; and low-threshold shower entrances.
American Standard’s suite concepts capture design spirits from contemporary to classic. Its choices, particularly the Heritage suite, are suggested to work well in both large and small bathrooms.
Credit: Renovate with Tommy Mac