Faucets That Function
Modern faucets deliver high style without sacrificing function. Here are the features to shop for when selecting your kitchen's most fashionable fixture.
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You've probably seen the commercial: A well-dressed couple meets with their architect. Without a word the woman reaches into her bag and pulls out a sleek, polished nickel faucet and says "Design a house ... around this."
While you might find the notion extreme, it may not be far from reality for someone creating their dream kitchen. Today's faucets aren't just a delivery system for water to the kitchen sink, they're a style statement.
Whether it's a gleaming high-tech spout you clipped from a glossy magazine or a timeless bronze fixture you coveted in the showroom, the faucet you choose can inspire your entire kitchen. But this particular sink fixture isn't just about appearances, say experts. It needs to meet the demands of your cooking and cleanup needs and make life easier. Otherwise, that fancy looking faucet could wind up as an expensive and frustrating design disaster.
A kitchen faucet can cost anywhere from $50 to more than $1,200, depending on the materials used and the finish you want. But most plumbing and design experts say that for a quality faucet that lasts 10 to 20 years, you should start your search in the $300 range.
"Faucets are like shoes" says Marc Schlesser, chief designer at MyHome (www.myhomeus.com), a full-service design firm in New York City. "You get what you pay for — and if it's cheap, it won't last."
Schlesser advises consumers renovating their kitchens — or just looking to update the faucet — to visit a kitchen design showroom as well as the chain home stores to compare the products and "feel the difference." A good fixture should have substantial heft and the best materials even in the details: the latest ceramic disc valve rather than plastic to control water flow, and a heavy-duty woven sprayer hose instead of vinyl.
Here's more of what's on tap when shopping for kitchen faucets today, with a few tips from the experts:
If you want to cook like a chef, you may need to dispense water like one, too, with commercial-style fixtures.