The Sweet Outdoors

The Joys of Dining Al Fresco

Okay, so now we are well into July and in our last post, we talked about kitchen sinks. Today we’d like to have blog class outside – and by that we mean in an outside, open-air kitchen. True, in New England the seasons are shorter, BUT….if you are lucky enough to be able to create a kitchen-area that is partially covered to protect appliances and guests from the elements, you really can enjoy cooking and eating outdoors for at least three seasons.

What will you need? Glad you asked!

Obviously, the first thing you’ll need is a good grill – no point in dining outside if you have to cook everything inside! We like this Weber grill – the Spirit – it’s compact but packs a big BTU punch. It doesn’t take up a lot of room either, which might be a consideration for those of us with smaller patios.

Weber's Spirit Grill

While dining al fresco is still happening (before the weather restricts parts of the country), the next step is to ‘decorate’ your outdoor space. This is the not-too-expensive portion of today’s blog. We don’t think anyone needs to spend tons of money on the decorate elements. So here are some fun ideas to enhance your outdoor space.

Stone Forest's Tea Lights

First, we’d like to show off some sweet tea light pebbles. Sturdier than most tea lights, these are crafted from stone, which ensures that they will not blow off the table!

How about some playful and colorful table settings? You can go in so many directions as far as plates, but we always like to bring on the color and pattern! We were drawn to this set from Kohl’s:

Colorful Melamine Dishes

Melamime is very sturdy – and dishwasher safe. These fun beauties ought to last a pretty long time. Mix and match with interesting linens and/or ‘silverware’ (quotes were used because we are not talking about real silver unless you want to.)

Okay – now we’re getting somewhere. We’ve got tea lights and table settings and grills – perhaps the addition of some lanterns or string lights? These low lumen lights add just the right amount of atmosphere to a backyard. They seem to transport you to another place and time; romantic and festive at the same time.

Lighted Paper Lanterns

Ready, set….enjoy!

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A Kitchen Sink Primer

You’d think that because it’s summer we’d all be BBQ’ing every day. You might think that, but you’d be wrong. The kitchen and the sink still get a hefty workout in the summer; vegetable scraping, watermelon cutting, ice cube tray filling – the list goes one. There are so many choices for sinks now that you should never feel stuck with a sub-par stainless steel sink from your local big box store. We don’t mean to be rude but even stainless steel sinks can be elegant. We’re not kidding!  Here is a breakdown of some of the materials used for kitchen sinks and the pros and cons:

Stainless: 16- versus 18-gauge

The ‘gold standard’ for sinks, stainless sinks aren’t going away anytime soon. They remain the most popular material for sinks and a well-made stainless really should last a lifetime. You don’t need to worry so much about the gauge – 16 or 18 won’t make much difference. It’s when you get up to 22-gauge that the metal becomes more prone to denting and vibrating, and less able to handle a garbage disposal. Keep this in mind: the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. If you are worried about sound-proofing, ask your installer to add pads on the exterior’s bottom and sides.

Kohler's Profilic Series Stainless Steel Sinks

Enamel: Colorful and Easy to Clean

These sinks, sold in two versions (enamel-on-cast iron or lighter, less expensive enamel-on-steel), are available in many colors and are easy to clean. The downside to enamel is the chip-factor; drop a heavy pan and you might just chip the sink which in turn can cause the metal underneath to rust.

Kohler's Whitehaven Enamel Apron-front Sink

a very hard and durable ceramic material that looks almost identical to enameled cast iron.

Pros: Non-porous and resistant to acid, alkali, and scratches; relatively chip-resistant; durable, especially compared to other sink materials.

Cons: Limited sizes and colors; not “friendly” on dropped dishes; susceptible to stains without proper care; can crack or chip over time; expensive.

Rohl's Fireclay Curved Apron-Front Sink

Solid Surface: Sleek and Seamless

If your counters are solid surface, you do have the option of maintaining the ‘line’ by using a solid surface sink, however as far as durability, testing has shown that solid surface sinks might not hold up as well; they are prone to scratching from sharp objects.

Swanstone Quartz Undermount Sink

Copper sinks are always a striking design element, and the beauty of copper is that it’s rust-resistant and antimicrobial, making them a great choice for the kitchen. Just be sure to select a high-quality copper sink that is at least 99 percent pure copper — a small amount of zinc may be added for strength. No harsh chemicals needed for cleaning – just soap and water. Copper is considered a living material, so any striations or discoloring (which would be very slight) just add to the beauty of the sink.

Stone Forest Copper Farmhouse Sink

And finally — some other considerations when shopping for sinks:

Double or single-bowl

Double-bowl sinks let you soak a pot in one bowl while you rinse in the other. Just be sure that at least one of the bowls is wide enough to fit large pots or roasters. Sinks that are rectangular shaped are standard; D-bowls have a curved back and offer more space, front to back.

How deep should a sink be?

Bowls are usually 6 to 12 inches deep. The deeper ones reduce splashes, but depending on your height you may find it uncomfortable to reach the bottom of a very deep sink. Remember that undermounted sinks will be up to 1 ½ inches lower than a top-mounted.


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Take it Outside Fellas…That Shower We Mean

Ah the wonders of showering outdoors – something that here in New England we really only get to enjoy for a few precious months during the summer. True, there are some people who follow the European habits of cold showers and jumping from a hot tub to a cold shower. We are NOT those people. Showering is not an endurance sport – at least not to us. But there is no denying that experiencing an outdoor shower is something that everyone should try at least once (hopefully many more times.)

So in honor of Father’s Day, and well, just in honor of the warm weather which is finally upon us – we are showcasing some of the coolest-looking outdoor showers that we’ve seen.

Bob Vila Outdoor Shower

An outdoor shower needn’t be overly designed or fancy. All you really need is access to plumbing, a good stainless steel showerhead (or some type of protection from extreme weather) and someplace to hang your towel and put your soap!

Another Bob Vila Shower - Rather Rustic and Simple

See? Those two Bob Vila examples are so simple – yet they get the job done.

Kohler Outdoor Shower Designed by Jeff Jordan Architects LLC

This shower is a bit more private and it has almost complete coverage while still being ‘outdoors.’ The best of both worlds!

Poolside Shower From MGS

Of course if you have a pool and need to enforce the ‘Please shower before entering’ – this set-up gets the job done and makes it easy to jump right in.

Swedish Style Outdoor Shower

And finally, a shower set-up that takes its cue from the Swedes; one part nature and greenery, one part teak wood – add a simple shower system and Voila!

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

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Process Not Products…Bathroom Renovation and What to Consider

Welcome to June everyone! It’s the month where most New Englanders can safely count on temperate weather (rain notwithstanding the temps should remain above freezing now!)  While many people and almost every store are focusing on outdoor products, here at The Ultimate Bath Store we remain happily ensconced in the waterworks happening inside! If you’ve been thinking about a bathroom renovation, now is a good time to start the process. Unlike kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations are shorter (not always easier due to plumbing) but as with any renovation, steps must be taken and plans put into action. This week’s blog goes into detail about the things you should consider when planning and then implementing a renovation.

Just kidding - this is from a Poconos Honeymoon Hotel

We much prefer this bathroom:

Traditional Master Bathroom - Still Very Luxurious

Okay, so we still like to dream big….

So here are some of the important considerations you need to consider when beginning a bathroom renovation:


So far, in 2016, the ‘average’ cost of a bathroom renovation was in the $9k range. Most homeowners spend between $5,647 and $12,957. Of course these costs could be higher or lower depending on your choice of products; for example, buying and installing a new bathtub can cost as little as $400 or go way up to $20,000 depending on your choice of tub (and boy do we have some spectacular tubs!)

Take a look at Kallista’s inspiration gallery for some ideas:

Kallista Pinna Paletta Series

Once you’ve figured out your budget; remember that unforeseen elements can always come up, so we recommend you add 30% to your ‘lowest’ estimate, just in case.


Like your budget, time has a way of expanding (or contracting) due to forces that we cannot always control. If you’ve got a contractor who is acting as your general contractor (meaning he/she is overseeing all of the subcontractors, like the tile installer or electrician), the least amount of time a renovation might take is a week – but consider that rare. The average amount is more often 20-30 days. That’s right, it could take a month to do a complete renovation. Some things just cannot be rushed. Products have to be shipped and installed, wiring has to happen – especially if you are moving things around or installing more downlights. Tiling of walls and floors does not happen in one day. Think of your installers as artisans…shouldn’t they be taking their time? We think so!

Hidden Issues!

Oh, we hate to break it to you, but if you live in an older home, there might be all sorts of problems hiding in your walls. We are not trying to frighten you – we’re not talking about ghosts. Well maybe the ghosts of a bad wiring job, or sloppy plastering and caulking and poor ventilation. Do it right the first time and your renovation will last much longer! A hidden flaw does two things; slows the renovation and possibly adds costs.  Again, working with an experienced contractor will make anything that arises a minor bump instead of an emergency situation.

Do You Know What ALL Of These Wires Are For?


You’ve probably heard the phrase, “measure twice, cut once,” right? This is the golden rule of renovation. If you are working with a showroom, please PLEASE make sure you have the measurements of your bathroom with you at all times. And for good measure, if you can, have your contractor take the measurements as well – to double check yours. This way when you come into our showroom and start looking at vanities and shower enclosures or tubs you will know exactly how much room you have. Want a double vanity? You don’t want one delivered to your home only to find out that it’s way too wide. Unlike sofas which can be cut in two and put back together, a vanity (with marble top for example) is fixed.

Need We Say More?

At this point, if you are reading this and thinking, “we should speak to professionals,” we agree! A seasoned bathroom designer can save you thousands in mistakes. Thousands. That’s all we are saying. That and the fact that we have such people in our showrooms. We do – we say so right here: Our staff features industry experts with extensive design and product knowledge and they are available to work with you as a resource in making your vision a reality! Carry on and keep reading!


Thinking that you can DIY? Have you watched any HGTV shows? Sure it’s fun to get the sawzall and do the demolition but when it comes to plumbing and electrical wiring – we prefer to leave that to the professionals. Really. Once again, here is where we ‘strongly recommend’ that you (a) ask us before you ask your brother-in-law, or (b) ask someone you know who has just finished a renovation and IS HAPPY with their contractor. Referrals are important, and nothing against your brother-in-law but….’nuff said.

The NKBA website is a treasure trove of information about what it takes to be a professional bathroom (or kitchen) designer, and it’s a great place to start to gather information. But again – this is what we do for a living — so please feel free to come in and just talk to us. We are here to help!

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Can’t We All Just Relax?

A Kohler Spa Setting

Looks lovely right? Well, this spring, all of us at The Ultimate Bath Store would like to encourage everyone to SLOW DOWN! Ask anyone and they will tell you that they wish they could take the time to go to a spa, or even take 10 minutes to just ‘chill out.’ Well we are here to tell you that (a) you should, (b) you don’t need to go to a spa to do it, and (c) there are many ways to give your existing bathroom a spa-like feel. Sit back and relax as we explain:

Let’s break down some of the elements that you’ll need:

  • Aromatherapy (candles, oils, something to put the oils into)
  • Warm towels (we wrote about towel warmers last year)
  • Great slippers and a great bathrobe
  • Scented shampoo or body wash or body scrub

You can get great slippers and bathrobes just about anywhere – you know the ones we are talking about (we found these at Zappos)

Soft and Comfy Spa Slippers

Now here are some items that also help:

  • Fog-free mirrors
  • Great pulsating showerhead or
  • Great bathtub – maybe like this one:

    Kohler Soaking Tub

Some extras:

  • For the tub – a place to put your wine/beer/water and book/video
  • Bath pillow

For either tub or shower:

  • Music! Here are some speakers from Kohler that we think will do the job:

    Kohler's SoundTile Shower Speakers

    Engineered in close cooperation with Polk Audio, the water-resistant speakers offer high-performance sound that complements the DTV+™ Digital Showering System. Their low-profile design makes them ideal for mounting in a wall or ceiling.

  • Video – we’ve got to go with ThermaSol again! Their Tranquility system (part of their ThermaTouch controller system) will sooth you with 9 pre-programmed scenes meant to calm and rejuvenate even the most tired of us!
  • A great shower seat! ThermaSol has what we think is the best on the market

    ThermaSol's Brazilian Walnut Folding Shower Seat

    So what are we saying here? We are saying that you can go ‘all in’ and design your perfect spa environment from scratch or you can use a few extras to help make every day a spa day.

Posted in Uncategorized, bath accessories, bathroom design, bathroom furniture, kitchen & bath industry, showers (heads, values & controls), steam, tubs | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

April Showers Bring May Showerheads

BRIZO Shower with Multiple Body Sprays

Every season seems to bring with it upgrades in products, and bath products are no exception. Shower technology continues to advance, and we, the homeowners, are the lucky recipients of these advancements. Upgrades in water pressure, pleasurable extras and higher-end design are just ripe for the picking! Let us help you by giving you a rundown of what’s new in shower technology.

Explore your options.

When it comes to showering, it’s mainly about the water and how you want to target it to suit your style. Once you explore the possibilities, you can combine the components in a variety of ways to accommodate every family member or houseguest. For this post, we are going to focus on the equipment: the showerheads and the various bodysprays or handshowers available. Next time we’ll discuss other bells and whistles like audio and video (yes!)

Delta H2Okinetic® Technology Showerhead

There are really only two technical terms you need to know about showers: Pressure Balanced and Thermostatic Control Valves, and here is a quick definition of each.

Pressure balance valves have been around for a while; this technology is how your shower keeps from turning hot or cold when someone flushes the toilet (remember those days?) However, thermostatic…

The purpose of a control valve is to control setpoint temperature. A pressure balance shower valve addresses temperature flux only due to inlet pressure changes. You’ve addressed only one potential, indirect risk. There are some, albeit rare, circumstances, such as simultaneously occurring changes in inlet temperature and pressure, where a pressure valve could expose a bather to greater danger. A direct response to output temperature changes is the only way to provide the highest level of bather safety.

A thermostatic control valve prevents dangerously high output temperature regardless of input and outlet variations and demand variations. See how easy that was? Here are some other terms you should become familiar with.

Multifunction showerheads deliver a variety of spray options and a range of intensities, from pulsing blasts to gentle mists.

Kohler Multifunction Showerhead

Bodysprays offer a variety of different experiences based on your personal preferences. Some types save space by discreetly blending into the wall, while others are adjustable for a range of intensities. Many bodysprays provide targeted relief for arthritis, sports injuries or just everyday aches and pains.

Kohler Bodyspray

Rainhead showers mimic the luxurious drenching of a summer downpour for a soothing experience.

Brizo Rainhead

Handshowers offer all the functionality of showerheads and allow you to direct the flow of water right where you need it. Slidebars allow users of varying statures to move the handshower to the position that works best for them.

Brizo Handshower

Once you’ve decided on your components, digital shower controls allow all family members to save their individual showering preferences for temperature, water flow, lights and more, all at the touch of a button.

Brizo has a number of innovations that help with maintain the perfect water temperature – which we think is an important feature. The Brizo medium flow custom shower is based on an ingenious valve. The TempAssure thermostatic valve (see there’s that term again!) measures and monitors the temperature of the water, automatically adjusting the water mix to maintain a more precise water temperature. Once set, you can rely on a constant temperature, plus or minus 3.6 degrees, no matter what otherwater demands occur in the rest of your home. Love that!

Here are some useful links to brands that are more than happy to help you build the shower system that suits you best:

Kohler‘s How To Shop for Showerheads and Sprays

Delta Faucet’s Showerheads and Bath Fixtures

Brizo’s Shower Systems

Next time…it’s all about creating a true spa-environment at home!

Shower on folks!!

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The Grand Illumination – Bathroom Lighting Comes of Age

Corbett Lighting's Alibi Bathroom Sconce

When was the last time you looked at the lighting above your medicine cabinet/mirror? Do you still have the 3-light bar across the top that you had when you moved in?  When we are not obsessing over toilets or vanities or sinks, we look up and wonder, “what’s new in bathroom lighting?” Good question right?

The reality is that a LOT is up in bathroom lighting. You are no longer relegated to using those same boring (sorry) 3-light over the medicine cabinet light fixtures that were installed when your parents were children.

You can still use one but odds are good that (a) it may now use LEDs, and (b) it will NOT look like it’s been there since the 80s. Like the Conway, from Hudson Valley Lighting:

Hudson Valley Lighting's Conway

Hudson Valley Lighting’s Conway wall sconce provides a hint of unexpected sparkle and glamour with its dramatic, textured glass globes. Supported and backed by solid edged handsome metal plating, Conway’s petit 5 ¾” height makes it ideal for smaller spaces, such as a foyer, bath or powder room. Offered in one-, two-, three- and four-lamp versions, Conway accepts 50-watt G9 Xenon bulbs. The metal components are available in brushed bronze and polished chrome finishes.

Aside from lighting from above, people tend to forget that bathroom sconces can be more than just decorative.  When choosing lights for your bathroom, keep in mind that the better the lighting, the better you will look – trust us – nobody looks good poorly lit.

Corbett Lighting's Bijoux Sconce

The choices are plentiful; you can glam up your bathroom very easily by choosing sconces that have a bit of sparkle to them, or you can bring a bit of old Hollywood glamor back. If your bathroom is an ode to clean and crisp contemporary design – fear not – there are a plethora of choices!  Are there rules? Not really – this is one area where personal choice is really the only rule. The sconce above is named Bijoux, and it too is from Corbett Lighting. We love that the backplate is mirrored – this helps make the space look bigger and it adds some very subtle high-end touches.

Today’s post has a bunch of our favorites; ranging from subtle to WOW! These fixtures are all from Hudson Valley Lighting, or their sister company, Corbett Lighting. Enjoy!

Corbett Lighting's Big Bang Sconce

The sconce above, wisely named Big Bang, is an exuberant piece from Corbett Lighting —offered as a pendant or sconce and it infuses color and warmth and seems a perfect addition to any interior. Characterized by a vintage-type sunburst design that glistens with multi-colored cut-glass jewels, Big Bang is peppered with amethyst and clear tones. At the center, an oversized smoked glass diffuser anchors the piece, which is accented with a silver leaf finish.

At the beginning of this post, we chose to use Alibi, which is another ‘glam’ sconce — here is the description from Corbett Lighting – we couldn’t have said it better:

Alibi is a flirtatious sconce that instantly draws the eye with its sparkling beveled block of clear, hand-pressed Venetian glass. The design is complemented by an iron bezel frame finished in hand-applied gold leaf. Behind the thick glass diffuser is a candelabra light source reflecting against its stainless backplate. Two vertical rows of Italian glass tears suspend another Venetian gem beneath the main sconce, creating an interesting diversion. Alibi is ADA compliant for a variety of residential and hospitality configurations.

But what if your taste runs to cleaner, crisper contemporary? They’ve got you covered!

Hudson Valley's Hartsdale Sconces

Hudson Valley Lighting takes vanity lighting in a more dramatic direction with the Hartsdale Collection.  With glass etched to mimic bark, and then reflected in the base below, the Hartsdale is both contemporary and somewhat organic – a unique twist.  Available in single sconces or double, or with up to 4 arms or full vanity lighting, the Hartsdale is elegant without being too showy.

And for those who prefer simple, elegant and contemporary, may we suggest Auburn from Hudson Valley? Available in Satin or Polished Nickel or Old Bronze, and in different sizes, this fixture works for a number of bathroom styles.

Hudson Valley Lighting's Auburn

We hope we’ve convinced you to take a look around your bathroom and see how easy it is to give yourself an illumination upgrade!

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Design Trends We Are Seeing….

We’ve recently returned from the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, which takes place in New York City every March. The show has grown to include a very large Kitchen and Bath area, which they called reFRESH and yes it certainly was refreshing! Trade Shows are a great way to see what brands are working on and to get a taste of the trends that we can then bring back to you.

Here are a couple of trends that we spotted:

  • Organic Design – say good-bye to sharp edges, we saw a lot of bath products that had sensuous and more organic shapes. Everything from tubs to lighting seemed to be curvaceous.
  • Softer finishes – last season, polished copper made a bit of a comeback, but this season, soft is in – as you can see with a lot of brushed gold and in Kohler’s case, French Gold. Lovely!
  • Thin remains ‘in’. Gone are the days of thick ceramic pieces in the bath. Manufacturing techniques have improved and it’s now possible for brands to create wafer-thin vessel sinks and even the pedestal sinks don’t look as clunky. And fear not – the ceramic themselves are very durable. We love this for bathrooms that are somewhat smaller – any time you can cut down on the profile of the products in the room without sacrificing the beauty or details, that’s a win-win!

So here are our picks for product styles we saw in New York City. Of course in May, we’ll be headed to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) where we will see really far-out contemporary products – we can’t wait!

Kohler Iron Plains Wading Pool Vessel Sink

This vessel sink from Kohler actually hits upon TWO of the trends: it’s both organic in shape and thin!
With its gently curved, organic shape, the Iron Plains sink combines distinctive style with the extreme durability, strength, and vintage soul of KOHLER enameled cast iron. This above-counter sink features a dual-color design that lets you choose your own combination of top enamel color and underside paint color for the perfect look.

Kallista has some amazing vessel sinks – very decorative, and our current favorite is this one:

Kallista Qing Liu Elliptical Vessel

Quig Liu Decorative Vessel, designed by Robert Kuo

● Hand-cast solid bronze
● Exterior detail resemble ribbons or cascading water
● Generous bowl provides ample washing space
● Above-the-counter installation
● Coordinates with traditional and transitional Settings


Here is Kohler’s French Gold finish on a faucet. You can see how much ‘softer’ this finish is than polished gold.

Kohler's French Gold Faucet Finish

In the meantime, here in Boston – this is the beginning of Design Week. If you are interested in design (which we assume you are if you are reading our blog), you have a host of excellent things to do over the next week.!april-7/ck4f

Go and look – educate yourselves on all things design! Then report back to us about what you saw and loved (and even what you saw and hated!)


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Let There Be Light, And Sound, And Even Video

ThermaSol's Serenity Light, Sound, Rain Head w/Chromatherapy

It’s the little things that help create a great working bathroom. A helpful light here, an electrical outlet or USB port there. These touches of technology help transform the bath into a convenient space that’s just as “plugged in” as the rest of one’s smart home. But if you really want to up your bathroom game, you need to think bigger – like Multi-colored Chromatherapy light bigger! We’ve mentioned ThermaSol before – when talking about their steam shower generators and easy-to-use controls. Well, this past year they’ve put their years of experience into a new collection of products that helps automate the home spa experience.

ThermaSol's ThermaTouch Control System

Their ThermaTouch 7-inch built-in LCD touchscreen brilliantly codifies ThermaSol’s steam shower technology in one state-of-the-art controller. In addition to controlling steam shower features such as temperature and duration, users can control Tranquility, a new visualization and sound effect experience used in conjunction with the Serenity Light, Sound, Rain Head module, which produces high-intensity full spectrum light and high fidelity sound. Built-in Bluetooth® compatibility, audio settings (including volume, treble, mid-range and bass), stereo output and an Ethernet connection are also integrated into ThermaTouch, as powered by Android™ technology. Next time you are in our showroom – we encourage you to check it out. Aside from the many other benefits of steam, chromatherapy, aromatherapy and ThermaSol’s Tranquility will have you wanting to invite others over to experience your new ‘luxury home spa.’

Ronbow Contemporary LED Mirror

The right lighting is of the utmost importance in the bath. Perfect illumination is needed to shed light on your morning routine or beauty prep procedure. Ronbow has a number of LED Mirrors and Medicine Cabinets which use motion sensors on the bottom to even more easily turn the lights on and off. The style here (contemporary) has 3 mirrors: on the front and back of door, and in back of the cabinet.

If your bathroom wall does not allow for a built-in medicine cabinet, here is Ronbow’s Contemporary LED Mirror, which has LED strips on either side. As with the Medicine Cabinet, you just swipe your hand underneath the mirror to activate the LEDs.  Where have LED mirrors been all of our lives?

Ronbow's LED Medicine Cabinet

Did we mention USBs? Ronbow’s new Signature Series, a diverse collection of luxurious and globally trendsetting bathroom products designed by the world’s premier designers, artists and design firms, provides a variety of innovative features. The NOCE collection shown here is reminiscent of iconic 1960s vintage style with a modern, functional twist. At the center of the collection is the NOCE vanity, inspired by mid-century modern furniture, featuring a hutch and integrated LED mirror – to create a freestanding showpiece for the bath. In addition, the collection includes matching wheel cabinets, side cabinets and two variations of vessel basins. The main furniture pieces are offered in two finishes: American Walnut and American Walnut with Sabbia Beige drawer/door fronts and sides, both with Glossy Black wooden legs. The vanities are finished off with tops made of 3/4″ thick Wide White TechStone™. Other features include integrated electrical outlets, USB ports, woven drawer liners and German manufactured hardware.

They had us at USB ports!

Ronbow's Signature Series NOCE Vanity

Ronbow Signature Series NOCE

And finally, we mentioned these in passing in our last post, but we wanted to go into a little more detail in this technology post. The much maligned toilet seat cover. Really, it gets a bad rap – if it gets a rap at all. They always seem to loose, they are known to slam at the most inopportune moments and frankly, they are the cause of an awful lot of marital arguments: Up or Down!!

Kohler Purefresh Toilet Seat

Of course technology has gotten around to these as well, and the easiest thing to do is to find a toilet seat with what is called ‘soft close.’ As the name implies, this ‘technology’ keeps the toilet seat from falling and slamming; instead it closes more slowly and quietly. Ahhhh…already I’m less stressed. Of course Kohler being Kohler didn’t think that was nearly enough of a change to help save marriages so they went a step or two further. Behold the Purefresh™ elongated toilet seat. This little beauty helps in oh-so-many ways: Purefresh combines a carbon deodorizing system that neutralizes odors and a built-in freshener that releases a light scent. This battery-operated seat also includes Nightlight illumination so you can safely locate your toilet in the dark. Unique Grip-Tight bumpers hold the seat firmly in place and prevent shifting. This slow-close seat features technology that prevents the seat from slamming and simplifies both cleaning and installation.


Have we convinced you to up your bathroom game?

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Spring Awakening

There is one product in everyone’s home that is used quite a bit but spoken about very little – except by people like us. We are talking about toilets. That’s right – the one product in your bathroom that is a silent sentry; when it works well, no one pays it any attention but when it doesn’t – look out! Here at the Ultimate Bath Store, we think of ourselves as the champions of this much-maligned product. So with that in mind, let’s see what’s new in the world of contemporary toilets.

What should you look for in a toilet? Though most toilets look the same, there are some things that we recommend you look for; not the least being a toilet that is WaterSense approved. WaterSense is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program designed to encourage water efficiency in the United States through the use of a special label on consumer products. It was launched in June 2006. Most manufacturers adhere to the standards set forth by the EPA but you should definitely look for the WaterSense label when shopping. By using water efficient products and practices, consumers save natural resources, reduce water consumption, and save money. Here is where the rubber meets the road, as far as what WaterSense means to you:

Are 20 percent more water efficient than average products in that category.

Realize water savings on a national level.

Provide measurable water savings results.

Achieve water efficiency through several technology options.

Are effectively differentiated by the WaterSense label.

Obtain independent, third-party certification.

Kohler's New Veil Toilet

Moving on from water-saving, the other differences in toilet design come down to whether or not you want a one-piece toilet or two-piece.

How To Shop For Toilets

Here is a bit of information on the difference, from the Kohler website:

One-piece toilets integrate tank and bowl into a seamless, space-saving design that is easy to clean. Some low-profile models can be installed under a vanity extension when space is at a premium.

Kohler's Reve One-Piece Toilet

The toilet above is Kohler’s Reve one-piece, WaterSense approved toilet:

The unique design of the Rêve collection adds a sculptural element to the bathroom. With geometric lines and contemporary styling, this one-piece Rêve Comfort Height toilet delivers a bold design along with substantial water savings. The dual-flush toilet activates with the press of a button, offering the choice of .8 or 1.6 gallons per flush. At the high-efficiency .8-gpf flush setting, you can save as much as 6,000 gallons of water annually over a traditional 1.6-gallon toilet.

Two-piece toilets feature the traditional design of a separate tank and bowl. Two- and three-bolt installation systems provide a sturdy, level connection between the tank and bowl, making installation easy.

Kohler's Cimarron Two-Piece Toilet

The toilet above, Kohler’s Cimarron (also WaterSense approved) has a number of cool features: it’s a touchless toilet with the no-touch flush for your home. Just hold your hand over the tank sensor to activate the flush. No handle to touch means fewer germs to pick up or leave behind. This Cimarron toilet features innovative AquaPiston technology, a patented flush engine that delivers a fast, powerful, and virtually plug-free flush. A 1.28-gallon flush provides significant water savings of up to 16,500 gallons per year, compared to a 3.5-gallon toilet, without sacrificing performance.

Okay, so you’ve decided on whether you’d like a one-piece or two-piece (sort of like choosing a bathing suit right?) – but here is one other design element to keep in mind and it’s called ‘Easy Height.’

Look, we are all aging, it can’t be helped but what can be helped is making it easier for our older leg muscles. Easy Height toilets, as the name implies, are taller – not noticeably so but enough that when you sit down you do not need to lower yourself into a crouch. Trust us – you’ll appreciate this as you age.

Comfort Height toilets, approximately 2 inches taller than traditional toilets, make sitting down and standing up easier. Toilets that measure between 17 and 19 inches in height from the floor to the top of the seat are considered Comfort Height toilets, whereas traditional toilets measure below 17 inches in height. Many Comfort Height toilets are also ADA-compliant when installed per the applicable guidelines.

The Cimarron toilet above is an Easy Height toilet. Here is one other from Kohler, their San Souci Touchless Comfort Height toilet:

Kohler San Souci Comfort Height Toilet

The San Souci one-piece toilet offers a sleek, contemporary design combined with KOHLER touchless flush. Just hold your hand over the tank sensor to activate the flush. No handle to touch means fewer germs to pick up or leave behind. This toilet features innovative AquaPiston technology, a patented flush engine that delivers a fast, powerful, and virtually plug-free flush. A 1.28-gallon flush provides significant water savings of up to 16,500 gallons per year, compared to a 3.5-gallon toilet, without sacrificing performance.

The top of the line toilet (shown at the beginning of this post), is Kohler’s Veil series, which has all the bells and whistles….including a heated seat (ahhhh) and an automatic deodorization system. Right? Everything!

It seems as though toilet technology has thought of everything – you don’t even need to TOUCH the toilet to get it to flush! If only they had built-in night lights — if only – but WAIT! Of course they do!! Kohler (and other manufacturers) now have night lights, using LEDs built right into the toilet seat covers! Brilliant (pun intended).

Kohler's Night Light Toilet

Nightlight runs automatically on a seven-hour cycle so you don’t have to worry about leaving it on during the day or turning it on every night. With just the push of a button, you program the first cycle, and the Nightlight will activate at the same time every night. The slim, low-profile toilet seat runs on four “AA” batteries for up to six months, so you don’t have to deal with messy cords or wires that add clutter in your bathroom.

Except for perhaps bringing you reading material, we proclaim toilets to no longer be plain and boring!

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