Wednesday, December 13, 2006

house: it's taps for me

Chicago Faucet wrist blade handlesPerfection has been achieved in faucet handle ergonomics: the Chicago Faucet blade-style taps that you see in hospitals and bathrooms for the disabled improved accessibility. But they aren't especially modern.

Dornbracht Tara tapsI knew of Dornbracht , their contemporary classic is the Tara line with cross-shaped handles. But the cross shape looks uncomfortable and is unreadable — you can't tell if the faucet is on or off. They look good even when the taps aren't aligned perfectly, but that benefits plumbers, not owners.

Then I found Dornbracht's Tara Classic, also from Sieger Design but with a single handle. It has some of the ergonomic benefits of a blade handle (you can turn them on and off with your wrists) and a beautiful design. The pulls in the house are satin stainless, but for plumbing we went with chrome because the matching accessories are only available in chrome. Dornbracht has a "platinum matt" finish for handles that is irresistably beautiful even though it doesn't match any other finish in the house. Here they are.
Dornbracht Tara Classic w/ platinum matt handles on Toto Supreme sink
(The sink or "lavatory" as builders call it is a Toto Supreme wall mount with SanaGloss, a glaze that really works to reduce build-up and make cleaning easy. We have a pair of them side-by-side.)

The bathtub has a nest of Tara Classic fittings. (It's a Toto six-foot bathtub, alas not available with SanaGloss.)
Dornbracht Tara Classic w/ platinum matt handles on Toto bathtub

In our downstairs guest bathroom Tara Classic wouldn't work as well because the taps are mounted in a mirror, also that floor has a less refined feel. We chose Kohler Stillness instead. The design is OK but lacks the clarity and tactile pleasure of the Tara Classic. You can tell the look of Stillness came first.Kohler Stillness taps in mirror

Grohe Atria fussy faucet designThe Tara Classic is such an obvious design, yet nobody else has come close to it aesthetically. This Grohe Atria is similar but way too fussy, its handle pokes out the other side for no good reason. Delta makes a crazy tap unit with similar handles that looks like a V-twin engine. Dornbracht taps cost hundreds of dollars each, yet the Chinese aren't making cheap knockoffs of them, they're making copies of ugly boring designs.

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