Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wall mounted faucets

I was recently in a store looking at bathroom faucets, and overheard a designer sigh and declare that she was ‘over’ wall mounted faucets. I thought this was an interesting statement. Was this the personal reflection of a person who is immersed in design day in and day out, or does it reflect the fact that wall mounted faucets are something that have been overdone? Quite frankly, I never even realized that they were ‘in’! I rarely notice plumbing fixtures when looking at magazines or visiting homes, so I really have no perspective on this.
One of the first times I actually recall seeing a wall mounted faucet was when I saw this beautiful powder room in a newly built home – just a few years ago. My eye was mainly caught by the window over the sink, an unusual and charming feature, but I also thought the wall mounted faucet on a carved piece of marble was a great way to handle this space.

Last year’s tour of Houston houses, as seen through the eyes of Cote de Texas, had quite a few striking examples of wall mounted faucets. The houses were all rustic European style; this one was dubbed ‘the Provence house’ by Joni.

image_thumb%5B38%5D[1] image_thumb13[1]
These wall mounted faucets were from ‘the Octagon house’ on the same tour. Note the use of concrete sinks.

Recently, the blog ‘If the Lampshade Fits’ posted this picture (via House Beautiful), with the simple caption ‘your thoughts please’. The comments are hilarious – I recommend a visit to the post. The controversy had more to do with the iron gate in front of the mirror; the wall mounted faucet received quite a bit of praise.

My all time favorite powder room, designed by Jim Howard, has a delicate wall mounted faucet that works beautifully in the space. When Jim gave me a tour of this home, I couldn’t resist trying out the faucet – I really haven’t seen too many wall mounted faucets in person. I love the fact that the plumbing is completely hidden, and the sink appears to be carved out of a single piece of stone.

Jill Sharp Style - Powder Room[1]
A powder room by designer Jill Sharp Brinson; Jill custom designed the sink base. Image via Limestone and Boxwoods.

I recently came across a great article from Coastal Living, featuring the beach house of designer Kay Douglass. Note how the faucets are mounted to the mirror. I wonder how deep those sinks are? One thing that needs to be evaluated when using a wall mounted faucet (or really any faucet) is the splash factor.

I like the ‘wow’ factor of using a wall mounted faucet for a powder room.

A great sink and wall mounted faucet, from a house designed by architect Bobby McAlpine, with interiors by Susan Ferrier. Image via House Beautiful as seen in Nest Egg.

I love this powder room, from one of my all time favorite houses, a McAlpine house in Nashville that was featured in Veranda a few years ago. I saved the picture for the mirror, but the wall mounted faucet is spectacular.

The beautiful new sink in designer Brooke Giannetti’s (of Velvet & Linen) weekend home caused quite a stir in the blogosphere when she unveiled it.

Brooke’s powder room re-do was inspired by another one of my all time favorite powder rooms, from John Saladino’s Villa. Upon looking at this picture a bit closer, I noticed that the control for the faucet seems to be on the counter.

Here is another view of Brooke’s powder room – and sure enough, the control for the water is on the counter! Beautiful. Click here to see more.

A home featured in Veranda in 2008, with architecture by Steve Giannetti and interiors by Madeline Stuart, featured a beautiful sink with a wall mounted faucet.

Designer Phoebe Howard uses a wall mounted faucet in a beach house. It is interesting how many of the wall mounted faucets are used with vessel sinks. Perhaps these are styles that naturally work with one another, or perhaps it is because of the ‘splash factor’ of a wall mounted faucet.

Although the wall mounted faucet style seems to be most common in bathrooms and powder rooms, I have seen it in kitchens as well. This picture has been in my files for years. I never really looked at the faucets before, but I think I would actually like this set up - a separate faucet for hot and cold, and a sprayer. I tend to use either hot or cold in my kitchen faucet, rarely warm.

This is Monet’s kitchen at Giverny (image via Veranda) – I immediately noticed the wall mounted faucet in the large sink. It appears as if this style has been used for over a century!

One of my favorite architects, William Hefner of Los Angeles, has the most beautiful and inspiring kitchens in his designs. This kitchen is as beautiful as it is functional. The area along the wall appears to be the cleanup zone, with a sink and dishwashers flanking the sink, and storage for plates and cups in the cabinets above. I love the look of the wall mounted faucet on the wall here, but I do wonder if I would like the function. One of those knobs next to the sink must be a sprayer. What do you think? Would a wall mounted faucet in the kitchen work for a secondary sink?

I love this little wall mounted faucet in a butler’s pantry. Note how the marble goes up to provide a great backdrop to the faucet. Image via Nest Egg.

And finally, last but certainly not least – the laundry room of one of my readers. When my designer suggested that we use a farmhouse sink in the laundry room, I immediately had a point of reference because of this lovely space. My reader was worried about how the wall mounted faucet would work in the laundry room, and thought that her children might not be able to reach it, but she says that it works great!

So, readers, what do you think? Are you ‘over’ wall mounted faucets – or are you just discovering them? I think they are beautiful and special when used sparingly in a house. I have a feeling that a wall mounted faucet is going to end up somewhere in my new house.

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  1. As a designer I learned never to say "never" and I think these wall-mounted faucet are perfect in these applications. Personally I like the mix which I think makes for a more interesting house.

  2. Have never really thought of them before! Do not have a single one in my own home...but after viewing this impressive collection, I have to say...I love this idea!

  3. I guess I have noticed them, but never gave them much thought. but I really like the look of them, especially over farmhouse or large sinks. I think that is a timeless look. (However, I am pretty much over vessel sinks.) Love the William Hefner kitchen, and your reader's laundry room is fabulous.

  4. Essentially my thing about wall mounted faucets is that when there is a plumbing issue, there is no easy fix! But that is me, always the practical one!

  5. All these photos are so pretty. The one thing I have noticed is that you rarely see a wall mounted faucet in a poorly designed space. Anyone who take the time to install a wall mounted faucet usually has a fantastic room to go with it!

  6. All the photos you have selected are beautiful. They have had longevity and will be around for even longer. Yes, you should have at least one in your house!

  7. I think it adds some farmhouse charm to so many of the spaces you featured! But I would think you'd need an excellent craftsman to install properly.

    I would LOVE to have a wall faucet over the stovetop (what a luxury!) and even after reading some designer's comment that it was an extra cost that didn't add any value.

  8. I really do think they are lovely. There is something very romantic about the water pouring out like a fountain.. I think they are perfect for a vanity room, and beatiful over the farmhouse sink..


  9. I love the wall mounted faucets, especially Saladino's powder room, it has the timeless look.In design anything is possible and every rule can be broken as long as you're comfortable with it.

  10. who knew!? I actually love the iron gate... but i see how it coudl make someone feel as if they are in jail... but still...

  11. Thank you for all of these wonderful comments! I hadn't even thought about the plumbing aspect - good point. Perhaps this is why they are more frequently seen in new spaces or spaces where the room has been gutted.

  12. I love the look of wall mounted faucets; the installation seems to give instant history to a room. In fact, the home that I named my blog after features several. Here's the thing, wall mounted faucets do make plumbing issues a little more challenging. I would be interested in hearing from some people who live with them, because I do *LOVE* them.

  13. I'm all over it! Although I don't have any wall mounted faucets, I enjoy the look. Love the kitchen image with the black sink.

  14. Terrific post and full of great inspiring images (as always!).

    I use wall mounted faucets in renovations and new construction and I think if the surrounding space is done well, this look can be timeless. I do really prefer tile or stone on the wall however for practical purposes. Unless it's a showroom or a Showhouse or a room that doesn't get much use. Splashes and drips on paint drive me a bit crazy.

    I installed one in our powder room in French gold though our house is on the
    streamlined/modern side and I think it's a great detail and certainly not a look I am "over" (or my husband would be rather unhappy!).


  15. I adore the look of a wall-mounted faucet, but agree that there can be plumbing issues. Depending on what is directly behind the faucet (other side of the wall), sometimes it's not too big of an issue when something goes wrong. But imagine having to rip out and replace or reinstall a beautiful splash if a valve goes bad! So, the best answer is to back the plumbing wall up to a room that is drywalled. Plumbing is then easy to access and repair if problems should arise. Suzanne

  16. I think they are charming and provide an element of detail rather than your typical counter-mounted faucet which you would expect to see. The designer you overheard must just be trying to sound so cool that she is "over" them!

  17. I still love them and wish I had spent the extra money in my own powder to incorporate one.

    I do think they look best on slab stone or marble and you must spend the extra to make sure all the pipes are in equally luxurious materials..ie: same as the fixture.

    Vessel sinks, I am more torn because of size and splash issues.

    An amazing collections of images!!!

  18. Not over wall mounted faucets - in fact, I plan to use one in a powder room as it saves so much space. I will say, I'm a little over vessel sinks. A little. And, sadly, that McAlpine faucet is a favorite (as you know since you identified it for me) but has been discontinued. Such a hated word.

  19. only you could write about a faucet and turn it into poetry.


    they are so not "over." Gawd, give me a break. I hate designers like that.

  20. I am learning so much from the comments! I hadn't really thought about the space saving aspect or the plumbing aspect. The plumbing aspect actually eliminates one of the location options for me, but makes the other space I was thinking about an even better choice (for space savings too).

    I would be interested to hear whether they are a pain to use in real life - occasional use, I can see, but not sure about every day.

  21. I'm sure you can guess my answer... I love wall mounted faucets. When I saw John Saladino's powder room, I thought it was perfection. It was so unexpected. I had the same reaction when I saw the bathroom that Madeline Stuart designed with Steve.
    We used wall mounted faucets in our master bathroom as well as our powder room and haven't had any plumbing issues (or splashing issues) yet, but I'll keep you posted.
    Thank you for including our work in your post. It is always a honor!


  22. Thank you for including me in your post!
    I am still MAD for this look -
    I often use tub spouts over sinks, mixed with whatever handles fits the vibe. By using the tub spigot depth, it gives you a little more flexibility with where you can set the sink!
    I also am a crazy girl and often have the plumber spin the sink so that the overflow holes are visible and under the faucet/handles - I love how it looks!

  23. Love wall mounted faucets, afterall they were done a long time ago in homes, I remember my grandmothers farm house and it had one so how can they be OVER. It sounds as if the designer was trying to make herself sound on the cusp of design, too funny!! I have one in my master bdrm and I love the function and the look. It is on top of mosaic tile that covers the entire wall. I do not regret it at all. great post!! Kathysue

  24. I like the space saving and the sink cleaning ease of wall mounts. Plumbing isn't so good. Wall mounts are very familiar in the shower and tub. In our big shower, you've got to remove sheetrock to replace the fixture. In our other, we have an access panel in the closet. I think if the fixture is heavily used, you need easy access to the guts. You might want or need to replace your fixture.

  25. Oh I love this post! The powder room that is your favorite is mine too! I saved it in my inspiration file when you first posted it. I just picked out wall mounts for my kids' bathrooms and am so glad to read the comments about the plumbing concern.

  26. My initial reaction to that designer's comment was to roll my eyes. Wall-mounted faucets aren't new; they were actually fairly common in early 20th century kitchens & baths. I have a vintage sink with backsplash that has holes for that type faucet. Personally, I think they are timeless. Some types can give instant "age" to a room, while others make a room more modern. And yes, they can make plumbing repairs difficult, so never pick a cheap faucet. Choose the best quality you can afford.

  27. Oh all the images are so beautiful. Makes me want to move in one of them immediately! Great post.xo

  28. I am more "over" vessel sinks, than the wall mounted faucets. I love the look of the wall mounted faucet when it is mounted on tile or marble backsplash, especially the farmhouse sink in the laundry room featured. I am way too practical to install a wall mounted faucet in my house because of splashes and access to plumbing would be an issue.

  29. They're great in a small space to save room on the counter for a bigger sink. Keep in mind that in an existing house they are costly to install and in a new house -this is a decision that needs to be made early on. It needs a different plumbing riser than a typical sink faucet. Beautiful collection of images :-)

  30. Many years ago I learned: do not go - there is not. Much is a matter of imagination, contemplation, idea and possibility.

    Thanks for this beautiful images and inspirations!

    Greetings and beso


  31. I love the look and I think it's a great solution when space is tight or when you're using a vessel sink. I also love this look with a bathtub (but maybe this isn't as common? noticed you didn't feature any...).

  32. I remember visiting Giverny the summer after I graduated from college, when I explored France on my own for a month. Thanks for the memory (and oh, all the wall-mounted faucets are dreamy, although I was focusing more on the stunning sinks they are attached to!)

  33. I do like the look, but I wonder about the clean-up factor as well as the splash factor.

    Beautiful pictures. Now I have to go check out the post at If The Lampshade Fits!!


  34. I have never noticed them at all!

    Personally I don't like the "separate knob faucets". They may look cute, but if it's not practical, I don't want it. Double the work to turn on the water? It's a step back in evolution (HAHAAH)!

  35. WOW! I love them all....couldn't bring myself to pick just one....but the garden urn is especially surprising....love that! smiles.

  36. I adore wall mounted faucets. I am working with a client right now and we are considering a wall mounted faucet because the space is so limited. I really like the marble and soapstone backsplashes.

  37. Have you ever done a blog entry on pillows? I am trying to find some interesting pillow designs and have realized that often it is very difficult to see pillow details in blogs or magazine articles. Love your blog. Ellen

  38. I love all of these bathrooms! I'm not sure I would have noticed a common denominator if you hadn't mentioned it. Yummy!


  39. Loved the iron gate over the mirror! Talk about OUT OF THE BOX! What a creative point of view! LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT! Thanks for sharing!!!!

    Best regards,
    Reynolds Still

  40. I thought I was over them, but I find lately I've fallen back in love with the idea. At first I thought it was a 'trendy' thing but so many of your images here are so timeless it makes me think that maybe this is a 'new classic' concept. Go for it.

  41. Thank you for stopping by AtticMag. I totally agree with your comment about the "warm" white kitchen.

    I had just been to catch up on your blog yesterday and read this post, but didn't comment. Enjoyed reading the comments on the powder room mirror. I actually really like it and wouldn't mind having one (as long as I could get to it to clean!). From the looks of the picture, the house carries it well.

    I think wall faucets are great, but also see they can sometimes has the trendy look - depending on the bowl they are paired with. I wouldn't want one in the MBath, DH would make a mess, but love them in powder rooms and mudrooms.

  42. I love this post. I think the best feature about mounted faucets, besides its antique and natural look, is the extra space of counter top.

    I love all these beautiful images.

  43. I've had a wall mounted faucet before and it did splash- I think that it's important to think of the depth and also draining.

    That said, I love the pictures you posted.

  44. You are the theme queen! What a varied selection of styles. Interesting question - I haven't noticed these much in homes, but EVERYWHERE in restaurants. Not really opinionated either way, but I do have one big gripe: they're so often mounted too far back from the bowl!!! Don't make us splash everywhere, or crame our fingers up against the wall to get them wet! Measure, measure, bathroom designers.

  45. Great post! It just goes to show that anything well done in a classic way will be in style forever. Even Vessel sinks( I can't believe I said that.) I don't thing wall mounted plumbing fixtures will ever be "out".

  46. The decorator most have been one that only wanted to deal with the latest and newest look. In the right place the classic look of the wall mounted can be great. For the person who looks to have only the newest look wall mounted may be out.
    My Mother always said things either wear out or ugly out. Your goal is to never have to live with ugly.
    My ugly may be your beautiful or your beautiful my be my ugly. Classic will stand the test of time but it is not for everyone.

  47. I love these wall mounted faucets, such gorgeous photos!! I definitely agree with you that these faucets are great when used sparingly such as in powder baths.

    I just added you to my bloglist:)

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. We have a wall mounted faucet in our 19th century log house---in the kitchen. We like it!

  50. Wow, so much banter about wall faucets...I love it! I use them a lot in my work. It eliminates all the 'gunk' around the bottom of the faucet. I find it interesting that many people have commented about their traditional feel. I tend to use them in modern applications. I think they are quite versatile. The wall mount works so well with vessel sinks (which I think might be 'over'?!) If people are concerned about the plumbing, I usually provide an access panel... if it's in a master suite, many times the backside is in a closet.

    A wonderful variety of photos... I posted about Brooke's bathroom too! I like her use of table lamps in a bathroom.

  51. I don't think they will ever be out...And you have shown why!

    David @ Ashfield Hansen Design

  52. I think they really 'soften' the look of an often utilitarian sink area. I posted on Friday about a restored farmhouse in Puglia that's now a small boutique hotel. The rustic travertine marble sinks in the bathrooms have beautiful old wall faucets fitted over them & are undoubtably the feature of the room. I think the Designer who uttered those dubious overheard words is eating them as I write!
    Millie ^_^

  53. I am SO not over them! I have so many of these pictures saved in my files because I love the look. I also like the way wall mounted faucets almost always incorporate the surrounding materials. Like the soapstone going up the wall or the vanity designed around a faucet.. I wouldn't want to see these everywhere in a home but I do think it makes a statement and provides an interesting twist on something that could easily be boring. Great post! xoRH

  54. I love wall-mounted faucets. And I love vessel sinks. I LOVE the antique looking ones with grand mirrors. I'm so bored of regular sinks. However, I've never used a vessel sink so that might change my opinion.

    The Washington Post had an online survey, "Are these decor trends tired?" The most tiresome one was vessel sinks at 35%. Everything else (granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, dark paint colors) was 13%-17%. However, 17% said they loved all of the items.

  55. We are putting in wall-mounted and have learned a few things:
    1. Unlike deck-mount, you don't get shut-off's by default. Request them specifically! These are the little valves in the cabinet that shut off the water so you can do repairs.
    2. You don't get a drain pull when you use wall mount. You pretty much need to use a plug or a push-action stop for the basin. That means you are reaching into the water to drain.
    3. Most wall-mounts actually require a significant distance from the top of the basin and can demand am 8-10" backsplash (if you build it that way) With a 30" cabinet + a 10" backsplash, your medicine cabinet is actually getting high up! You will notice that many people use a tilted mirror with wall-mounts.

    I still love them, but hope the info helps.

  56. FABULOUS POST.... each one is so amazing... love these. have a wonderful week... xx

  57. Great post...I usually find wall mounted faucets a bit utilitarian, but from viewing all your pics the ones I like are integrated into the bowl design with a lovely back splash of the same material as the counter. Adding one wall mount could add variety to one of your sinks--although they seem a bit more apropos to laundry or kitchen, in my opinion. By the way, I have posted another blog post and would appreciate any help in getting readership beyond my friends and relatives! Thanks for any advice you could give! http://graciousinteriors.blogspot.com/2010/04/pass-it-on.html?spref=fb

  58. OK...since we can be "over" things--I am really over grain-bag pillows. Once Restoration Hardware and other retailers have knocked them off, can the real thing ever have the same impact? Not for me.

    Wall mounted faucets however often have a practical value...making a sink work in a narrow counter...a practical reason should not be confused with mear fashion.

    Sharon in Santa Barbara

  59. definitely not over them. I would still love to have one.

  60. I personally think that Wall mounted faucets, if done right can be a timeless element. I love all your inspiration pics.. great finds.

  61. I think they are very old-world and have been around a long time - I like the look, but I am a little tired of the crazy vessel sinks - maybe if they were at a proper height I would not mind - I find them so hard to get my hands into on the ones I've used (I'm 5'5") - mounted too high for me. But the faucets are great - I do like that it removes the plumbing and enables different sinks and not having to even have a surface really to mount faucets.

    Interesting and thought-provoking post! I will likelynever build a new home, so will only day dream...

    xo Terri

  62. I love all of these images. Thank goodness that my computer has enough storage so that I can file these away! I love Brook's powder room. She has great style! Glad I stopped by!


  63. Yes I like the wall mounted ones, however must agree with Terri on the maintenance bit. If the pipes or general structure breaks, leaks or otherwise, due to heavy or frequent useage, then a wall mounted unit creates more work & cost.

    That said, I would probably still go for a wall mount - at least in my kitchen! Otherwise an extended splash back also works a treat.

    xx Charlotta

  64. such a thoughtful and beautifully compiled post with wonderful examples of wall mounted faucets -- the first is definitely a favourite, and intrigued by the Bobby McAlpine / Susan Ferrier example -- the sink is quite fantastic!

  65. love your blog.
    how high should the faucet from counter should the faucet be mounted?we have a 36"high vanity and planing on a unter counter sink? thanks, mira

  66. I think the collection of photos of wall mounted faucets is great and just what I needed to think about. I have a question, some of the sinks have back splashes and some are just the painted wall. I have installed a new set and would love to omit tiles, but could be dangerous with water splashing. Any thoughts on this, thank you, Alice


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