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Monday, August 15, 2011

Hand towels: where do you put them?

For more inspirational finds, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com


This week I am selecting some of the small but important elements that go into finishing a house – the bath hardware, including the towel bars.  Given that we are nearing the end of a project that has involved hundreds (probably more like thousands!) of decisions, I am grateful for Restoration Hardware – their lines of stylish bath hardware in both chrome and polished nickel finishes have made the selections quite easy. 

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My favorite design at Restoration Hardware is Chatham.  It is simple and timeless, with a nice elegant scale that works well in the new house.

Bath hardware is fairly straightforward, but I have found that the approach to the placement of hand towels is quite personal and is often dictated by the architecture and design of the space.  In general, I have observed that my designer likes to place hand towels on the counter, both in half bathrooms and the main bathrooms.  If there is a strong client preference to hang them on a wall (and the layout and design allows for this), as a general rule she prefers 18” towel bars over towel rings.  I have never really given much thought to this topic, but it has emerged that my husband has a preference for hanging hand towels whenever possible. 
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I looked through my inspiration files, and saw many examples of hand towels placed on counters, similar to the way it is shown in this picture.  This is a good solution for this space - a towel bar or ring could not be mounted on the wall to the left of the sink because of the plugs and light switches. 

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This powder room has hand towels on a tray.  There is room for a towel ring or bar on the wall, but the walls remain clear and uncluttered by placing the hand towels on the counter.

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I am not crazy about where the hand towels are hanging in this bathroom – draping them over the bar in the front of the vanity breaks up its pretty lines.

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Many of my pictures are from magazine features, where some of the necessities of daily life are whisked away or airbrushed out.  This bathroom doesn’t seem to have a hand towel in sight, although to be fair one side of the wall can’t be seen. 

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I love this picture of a sink under a window, via Belgian Pearls.  There is something so appealing about being able to look out of a window when at a sink.  Note the hand towels neatly folded on the counter.  My only issue with this is that in every day use, I suspect that the hand towels might start to look a bit messy draped on the counter.

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Personally, I am a fan of a simple small towel bar if the space and style of the vanity allow for it. 

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Powder rooms often have different requirements than bathrooms attached to bedrooms.  In this bathroom, a towel bar on the wall near each sink makes sense to me. Small towel bars, usually 18”, provide room for a hand towel and a washcloth.  Although harder to find, 12” towel bars are also sold in some lines.  We are cutting down 18” towel bars for a couple of the bathrooms where there is not much wall space – an advantage of having a variety of tools at the construction site.

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In my inspiration file pictures, there are quite a few master bathroom spaces that don’t seem to have a designated place for the hand towel.  Designer and blogger Brooke Giannetti designed this space – I must ask her whether the intent is for the hand towel to rest on the counter or be hidden away. 

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Another example of the ‘hand towel bar free look’ is seen in this bathroom. I assume it was staged for a real estate photo or a magazine shoot, but there are no hand towels to be seen.

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This bathroom is another one of  my favorites, and looking at it with new eyes, I spot an towel bar mounted on the side of the cabinet.  If a hand towel bar is used, there are many who prefer to use an 18” bar rather than a ring.  Architecture by Brooks &  Falotico,  interior design by Boxwood Interiors.

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This is a beautiful bathroom (architecture by Brooks &  Falotico), but what strikes me the most is the abundance of towels in the space. There are towels underneath the sink, on the counter, and on a towel ring.  Interestingly, this is one of the few pictures in my files that shows a bathroom with a towel ring for the hand towel.  This bathroom has paneling, so the more compact design of a towel ring makes sense.  

So, where do you prefer to place a hand towel? Do you prefer placing it on the counter, hiding it away, or on the wall?  If you like the hand towel on the wall, what is your preference - towel bar or ring?


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Monday, August 8, 2011

More sinks on walls

For more inspirational finds, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com

Sometimes I write a post on a topic, and after that point I stop collecting pictures; other times I simply like the topic and continue to collect pictures when I run across them.  Such is the case with sinks on walls.  In Atlanta homes, it does not seem to be the most common thing to have a sink on a wall.  It is much more common to have a sink under a window or on an island. However, I have a sink on one wall in the new house – it will be the clean up sink, and the main sink is on the island. It seemed to work best for our long kitchen space.
The design of the clean up sink was quite a challenge – what kind of faucet should be placed there, what kind of cabinets (if any), what kind of sink.  It took many iterations to come up with the design, but it all seems to have worked out with the exception of the faucet that we ordered.
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When a sink is on the wall, the clearance between the backsplash and the faucet handle becomes a critical design element, so that the handle can have a full range of motion if it is designed to work that way.  When the faucet that we ordered arrived, a Perrin & Rowe single lever design, it became apparent that the handle did not have the clearance to go back all the way (we haves since learned it needs 2.5”).  My kitchen designer and I mulled it over this for a few days.  We like this traditional design of the faucet we ordered, as it is easy to operate for a sink that will be used primarily for dish clean up (a similar bridge faucet is on the main island).  We considered a few other complementary options. But, in the end, we decided to keep this model and turn the faucet so that the handle faces the front.  The gooseneck spout can be rotated fully, so it will be easy to keep out of the way when turning the faucet on, and it actually works similarly to how the faucet in my current house works.  It is all a matter of getting used to it, and it will be nice for my left handed family members not to have a faucet geared towards the right handed world!
Given that my mind was on sinks on walls, here are some new images I have found over the past year for my kitchen inspiration files.
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After solving our own faucet on the wall issue, I saw this picture – this is one of the alternative models we were considering, but ultimately decided to keep the one handle function. Note how the area over the sink is recessed so that there is no issue with someone using the sink and bumping their head against cabinetry.  Source unknown.
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Another interesting sink on wall design – note how the fabric ties onto a large brass bar. There is a sink there, but it is not visible from this angle – it appears to be integrated with the countertop. Also note the use of open shelves above the sink, a design concept that was suggested several times for my ‘sink on the wall’.  For me, I know that that open shelving would not work, so we did not go this route.  Source unknown.
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Interesting how this sink area is tucked behind the stairs! Again, shelving above the sink makes the area more open.  The function of the levers on a bridge faucet work well when a sink is on a wall, as they move forward, not backward. Source unknown.
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A European style kitchen, seen on Belgian Pearls, has a wall mounted faucet.  We talked about this at one point, and we have a wall mounted faucet in the laundry room, but in the kitchen we wanted the one handle design for ease of use.
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Another great wall mounted design – I love how the faucet mounted on a piece of marble that is sized to match the framed items on the wall.  Art in a kitchen is so appealing to me – but I am not sure it would work near a sink in a house with kids! Source unknown.
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Another great sink on a wall design, architecture by Ruard Veltman via House Beautiful.  I would love to see what is going on in the sinks – is it one big trough or is it separate sink bowls? The large artwork is striking, and the sprayer handles almost translate like sconces, the way they frame the art.
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Art seems to be a favored choice with a sink on a wall – I love the design and scale of the art on the wall, it transforms the kitchen and makes it a much more unique space. Source unknown, via Cote de Texas.
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I should have studied the faucet designs of my inspiration pictures (or measured more closely) before selecting my faucet – it appears that the double handle, single hole design is very common in a faucet placed on a wall. 
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Another single hole, double handle faucet on a wall.  This kitchen is interesting to me – I would love to see the whole thing. I don’t think I have seen too many ovens placed next to sinks – it seems more common to have a pot filler if you need a water source near the oven.
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The thing that strikes me about this image is that the sink could have easily been placed under the window, but the decision was made to place it on the wall.  Perhaps this was done because it would have crowded the sink against the corner, or because the work flow works better in this kitchen to have the dishwasher to the left of the faucet. Via Martha Stewart.
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One of my all time favorite sink on a wall design – it’s clean and simple, unobtrusive, and the combination of the perfectly hung framed series with the asymmetrical design of the wall with the cabinet on the left, and the sconce on the right, has great visual appeal. Architecture by Bates Corkern.
We are still waiting on the backsplash for the area where the sink is on the wall – it is going to be solid slab to match the kitchen counters.  I am enjoying the process of seeing everything coming together in this kitchen that I have been thinking about for almost 2 years!

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Inspiring book

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Although early August is usually the slowest time of year for me, this year is an exception…things are extremely busy with both my current house and my new house.

The new house is starting to take its final form, and it is now apparent that I have over ten built-in book shelves to fill.  Some I will fill with a mix of small pieces of art, interesting objects, as well as books…but there are also a few shelves that will be filled exclusively with books. 

Royal Jewels: From Charlemagne to the Romanovs arrived from Amazon this week, and is is literally (and figuratively) a jewel…the topic is over 800 years of history of European royal jewels, and the book carefully documents the history of royal jewels through the ages, with stories and images of the royal jewel owners woven throughout.  The book contains many beautiful images of the jewels themselves (over 300 pictures) and paintings that depict the royal jewels (with the accompanying history of the jewels) adorned by their owners.  The book is a unique addition to any book collection, and is both engaging and easy to flip through.

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To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here – come see the brand new art and scupture items in the store!
To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
Twitter: @TTIBlog
To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store.

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