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🚽 Potty Mouth

Yeah, toilets are an odd place to start on your plumbing selections for sure, but have we done anything NORMAL and glamorous? Heck no!

We are REAL PEOPLE and the toilets in our current home (though they have lasted the 26 years we've been here) have been something we've said all along we would change next go around.

When we gutted the row house downtown for our daughter/rental property, Rob was THRILLED to install all new high-rise elongated toilets. The "golf ball flush toilets" (American Standard, Champion 4) were all he would talk about after doing his own research.

Yes, we could certainly go with more fancy toilets with more bells and whistles, but we wanted a work horse that would stand up to kids, future grand-kids, etc. and not break the bank before we started since we have 5 bathrooms!

Because... who really wants to spend more on a toilet than we have to? We wanted some other things for WOW factor... toilets were for function only.

Funny side story: Caitlin and I attended a learning event held by Ferguson prior to our formalizing our selections and it was being sponsored by American Standard, so we then reached out to both the rep and to our contact Lee at Ferguson to try to beg for designer discounts on these toilets since we were basically a walking billboard for them. LOL! Thanks to both of them, we were offered some price breaks to get them into our home.

Insider Advice

When you are selecting your plumbing fixtures, there are always a few things I advise folks to think about when considering HOW to make your selections. Just a few basic rules I've developed over the years with all my customers who are generally trying to find a way to squeeze in a lot on a budget.

The areas to spend money = the areas that you use the most/are the most visual to everyone

Some folks like to upgrade to widespread faucets in the master bath. In some cases, this is almost double the price, so be careful how/where you do this. Then if you upgrade further to a finish to an oil rubbed bronze, champagne bronze, or matte black... you add on even more $$$.

Final Advice: If you're considering any upgrade finishes, the three areas to consider them first will typically be your kitchen, your powder room, and your master bath.

Secondary baths are a great area to consider using finishes and fixtures that can save you a little money and still provide a great design and function.

Instead of a widespread faucet, go with a 4" centerset or even better, a one hole faucet. These are very trendy right now and come in a variety of cool designs. (The one to the left isn't our chosen fixture, but is close!)

Chrome is a finish many of us see as a lower end home finish and for years got a bad wrap (see top example picture to the right).

Though the price of chrome does tend to be the least expensive alternative still, the polished chrome finishes of today are much improved (fewer water spots and finger prints that the old chrome presented) and on the right fixtures, they look a lot more upscale than the fixtures we all used to see. It's the perfect finish to use in secondary areas to save a little money.

I also like to advise folks to consider adding a handheld showerhead to each bathroom. You can always do this later but this ole gal would rather have a handheld in each shower/tub to use for cleaning than the old way we used to do it: a plastic cup! I'd rather have a handheld than any of the other fancy stuff. But, as always, that's us... no nonsense.

For us, we worked with the amazing Sarah Califano at Thos. Somerville who helped us to narrow down our selections

... and again, reached out to the Kohler Reps to afford us some "showroom" discounts since our home will be functioning as a walking showroom for their product with our customers. Here's how we elected to break down our selections:

Our Decision


I had fallen in love with the Kohler Tournant Faucet for our kitchen. To me, that is exactly the WOW factor I wanted at my window sink and it was love at first sight in the showroom when I picked it for another customer for their kitchen.

The chrome and black contrast is PERFECT! The sink itself is the biggest, deepest single bowl, stainless steel sink I could find, which fits our lifestyle just perfectly.

Powder Room

We selected a faucet that we were going to use in EVERY location in the house. This was a multi faceted decision but the best part was that it ultimately saved us money because we were electing to use a one hole fixture in chrome... two ways to save and the style was perfect for us and our design farmhouse concept. We chose the Moen, Belfield One Handle Bathroom Faucet. Our powder room is really tiny. To make it feel a little larger, and go along with our old farmhouse feel, we chose to go with a wall mounted Kohler, Kingston sink.

Master Bath

We didn't elect to make a giant master bath, but we are trying to make the most of every detail in the space so the WOW factor is created with details rather than scale. The first thing you will see centered under the window is a Kohler Iron Works Historic claw foot tub in matte black with a white interior with shiny chrome faucet. We did chrome on all of our fixtures for it's reflectivity and cost savings! WIN/WIN. Back to the handhelds, we aren't doing anything fancy in the shower.

We stayed with our Moen, Belfield trim for the shower but we wanted a nice big handheld for our shower head... nothing else. Some may say it's "not designer-like" to forego the usual shower head, but as always, I don't fancy myself typical at all. Practical is where I like to live!

Bath 2 | AKA: Second Floor Master | AKA: Guest Room Bath | Bath 3

We stayed with our Moen, Belfield trim in these bathrooms too, with a big handheld. We elected to go with an acrylic shower floor in Bath 2 location for ease of cleaning. And for Bath 3 we are doing a typical fiberglass tub/shower. Outside of the mbd studio, we don't anticipate our second floor getting a lot of long term traffic.

MBD Studio Powder

Rob will be making the vanity for this space but we selected a super cool square vessel for the sink and our standard faucet here. We'll be adding to our uniquely mbd design with all the other details in this space.

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