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Plumbing fixtures

January 25, 2022
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My family appreciates plumbing. Dad worked for American Standard in the plumbing division for many years, doing a wide variety of jobs. My brother, Mike’s, chosen career, not job, more of a calling I think, was as a plumber. Our collective attention to plumbing fixtures extended to discussing the brand and style of restroom fixtures while at restaurants when we were kids. Doesn’t everyone?

Selecting plumbing fixtures for our project is not being done lightly. And I’m expecting and need many helpful suggestions from family experts.

This classic poster by American Standard (literally) elevates the all-knowing plumber. Is he thinking, with his slightly raised eyebrow: ‘You dare to question my authority?’ Watch out for that wrench! He seems ready to knock some philistine’s heads.

We will be purchasing new pieces, like faucets and toilets, to keep with current codes, and to fill in what we can’t find. Tom’s soaking tub, which will have its own tub room, is still being conceived. It will be glorious! However, there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate salvaged items in our project. Like most things, older items tend to be more durably made, and to us, more interesting. The EPA reports that over 75% of construction waste ends up in landfills! The fact that these things usually come at a significant discount doesn’t hurt our bottom line, either! Win, win. Here are a few that we have collected, and some we’ve passed up. It may not always seem like it, but we don’t take home everything we see.

We’ve collected some vintage tile that will look great with this sink. More on that later.

This pedestal sink is larger than most new ones and in terrific condition. This came from our favorite salvager, Regan.
Here’s an ad that shows the sink in its compete form. We don’t have the pedestal base, or most of the faucet, so that will take some creative design.
This advertisement shows the sink in its proposed habitat with associated ‘modern’ plumbing fixtures.

Every apartment I lived in had a window in the shower. Was this an early way to exhaust the steam? It didn’t work and the window was always water damaged. My apartments had very similar medicine cabinets, lighting and tiles, which were terrific.

It was manufactured by Monument Vitreous, in Trenton NJ, patented in 1911, similar vintage to the BAB. Same home state as me!

American Standard used to manufacture their porcelain products in Trenton, too. Many years ago, I toured the Trenton factory with Dad- fascinating! The dried clay fixtures were strategically loaded onto rail-car-like carriages and wheeled into enormous kilns for firing.

An undermount porcelain Toto sink was found at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore- great source for building items, if you don’t mind digging through a lot of random stuff. Deals to be had!
A pair of Kohler “Inscribe” cast iron vessel sinks which are planned to be installed in the guest bath. These came from another favorite salvage place- ReFab. These guys are pricier that other salvage places but they are much more organized and occasionally have sales.

This not-for-profit’s proceeds go to a worthwhile cause, https://www.refabstl.org/about, so we can usually rationalize the extra expense.

A Kohler undermounted black enameled cast iron sink came from an acquaintance’s renovation. It is a little over 18″ in diameter and about 8″ deep. I like the idea of having a sink in my dressing room/closet and this one should work well.
Here’s the back side with my sneakers for scale. Watch the toes- this sucker is heavy!

Here are some we didn’t bring home:

This pair of moderne turquoise fixtures, though eye-catching, don’t fit our plans. Good luck finding a matching replacement toilet seat!
And this donation to the alley with the mismatched seat went to the dump, which seems appropriate. Hopefully, no one used it in the mean time.
This one at ReFab was so close to being an option- under-mounted sink comes with a black granite counter top. But- the sink is not in the center or entirely off to one side. It looks like a mistake. Couldn’t do it.

There are a few other fixtures that are stored in the basement that may or may not make it upstairs, but we have most of the sinks we will need. We have them all measured and documented in our drawings. Whatever we don’t end up using will be sent back out into the salvagers circles.

Good news, a contractor called me back today! And, we have insurance! That mystical plumber-guy is looking out for us!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2022 10:53 am

    Nice post

  2. mike thomas permalink
    January 26, 2022 7:28 pm

    my place in a 2 Family flat had the same pedestal sink you pictured. The house was built in 1932. When my rental unit lost all semblance of a working sink and it was replaced the pedestal was filled with concrete…CONCRETE! It may be difficult to find a complete set.

    • Sue permalink*
      January 26, 2022 7:46 pm

      Why in the world…? Well, that seems to fit with the crazy things we’ve seen.

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