We have been talking about plumbing fixtures with the team for some time, but I finally got the time to post model numbers and images of what we’ve come up with so far. Orders have not been placed yet, so some may change, but for now we are looking at the set below:
Modern & Affordable Kitchen Plumbing Fixtures
Ebay SS Square Undermount Sink [$275]
This sink is our only ebay purchase in the plumbing list. It’s tempting to buy more from ebay, but in keeping with our case study, we are trying to stick to off the shelf items that anyone could purchase. We felt confident going to ebay for the kitchen sink as there always seem to be an abundance of quality, modern kitchen sinks for an affordable price on the ebay. While you may not be able to find the same one you did 12 months ago, there always seem to be suitable replacements at any time. This particular sink is perfect for our homes and would easily cost 2-3 times as much at retail from a brand name supplier. Notice I am not linking to the exact item. Please don’t buy all the stock before we can place our order. Thanks.
IKEA Kitchen Faucet
We are down to the following two choices for the kitchen faucet. Both are from IKEA. This is the wife’s favorite option as it has an extendable spout that makes cleaning large pans and the sink in general much easier. Nobody seems to like the more industrial HJUVIK which we currently have in our flat and I prefer. It’s a bit pricier at $250 and I understand the desire to have something a bit sleeker, so I will concede.
This faucet almost looks identical to a high-end brand name faucet that we put in a previous rehab in the neighborhood. The difference is this one is a fraction of the price from IKEA. I prefer the design of this faucet but feel like functionality of an extenable spray attachment may win this battle. This one almost looks like it wants to have an extendable head on it, but alas, it does not.
Modern & Affordable Bathroom Plumbing Fixtures
Duravit Vero #070445 [$277]
This sink isn’t the cheapest option out there, but the beauty of it is that it stands alone. The sink comes with a wall mount and also accepts a faucet, so there will be no additional costs associated with a vanity. We are leaning towards leaving the space below the sink open and clean. This will allow the owner to install their own storage system or leave it open if desired. We’ll get into more bathroom details on a later post, but we also plan to have a recessed vanity above the sink that will be flush with the wall while allowing for additional storage.
Low-Flow Bathroom Faucet
We have chosen the low flow version of this Grohe bathroom faucet that is rated at 1.5 gpm (gallons per minute). This faucet gets us both style and LEED points at an affordable price. Since the faucet meets both the US EPA WaterSense specifications and has a flow rate of only 1.5 gpm, it makes us eligible for 2 LEED points for achieving “very high water efficiency” on our checklist. This is an easy extra point tha will not cost us any premium over a standard faucet.
Dual Flush Toilet
Kohler K-3654 Persuade [$250]
This two-piece toilet has a sleek, European feel to it. We were all very impressed with the price as well. Who says low-flow plumbing fixtures have to cost a premium. Bravo Kohler. Bravo.
This guy also qualifies us for the maximum 2 points in the water efficient commode category. The single flush is rated at 0.8 gallons while the double flush will result in 1.6 gallons of water efficiently dispelling of your dirty work. Average this together, taking into account that single flushes occur more than twice as often and double flushes and we reach the 1.1 gpf average needed for 2 LEED points.
Kohler Archer 5′ Bath K-1123 [$326]
Affordable and modern bathtubs are tough to find. There are many designer tubs that look amazing but cost a fortune. After that comes a whole bunch of plain old ugly bathtubs that have a reasonable price tag. We struggled with this item for a while and ultimately had to bring in “the Money” to solve our dilemma. She quickly found a very suitable option from Kohler for less than $400 that had the squareness we were looking for. This tub is a drop-in so we will need to build a frame for it, but in the orientation we have the tub placed in the bathroom, this was inevitable. We are looking into the possibility of using plywood for the exterior finish of the frame with an industrial waterproof coating to tie into the theme of the second floor. Note that the tub is shown in gray simply so it will show up in the image better. The final tub will be white to match the toilet and sink.
I wish that IKEA would make bathtub hardware. They don’t so we have tried to spec out a reasonable option from Kohler’s Stillness line of fixtures. In the end we will spend more on the tub filler than the tub itself but this is also a key part that we do not want to malfunction. Skimping on this could mean a painful repair bill down the road from replacing a hard to reach component. ISA found a really cool bath filler (I forget what exactly) that had the handles mounted on the wall and a simple framed hole mounted in the ceiling above the tub where the water would fall from. This was really tempting, but the extra plumbing required didn’t jive with our budget. We are hopeful to get this into a future project though.
As far as the low-flow fixtures go in a LEED house, the shower head is by far the most important. There are a lot of poor options out there that will leave you dissatisfied in your once pleasant morning cleansing ritual. If the right shower head is not spec’ed, the homeowner is likely to replace with a standard flow shower head which will defeat the whole purpose of trying to save water in this area of the home. Either that or they will curse your name daily as they take showers double the length they once knew and now only dream about.
Anyways, we did our research and Jet-Stream apparently makes a low-flow shower head that actually works. The simple design and budget price work perfectly in our homes as well. The 1.5 gpm flow rate once again qualifies us for the max 2 points in the water efficient shower head category. There is a 3 for the price of 2 deal on all shower heads on their site, so someone on the team will be testing one out shortly as well. These guys also sell $6 aerators that can turn any faucet into a 0.5 gpm faucet that will save 75% more water than traditional faucets.
Shower Valve & Trim
Not a whole lot to describe here. This lever will match the Stillness fixture on the bathtub next to our shower area. We would love to have matched these both with the sink faucet, but the matching Stillness faucets are prohibitively expensive.
Well, we hope you like our choices. If not, feel free to voice your opinions and suggestions in the comments below. This is also a key area where upgrades will be offered in the future for those that want to splurge on fancy fixtures.
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