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Bath Fixtures: Don’t Overcome Style Constraints, Celebrate Them!

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When you live in a house with its own specific architectural identity – whether it’s an historic movement, like Arts & Crafts or Mid-Century Modern or Victorian, or just a strong shape/color theme in a more modern home – you don’t want the most functional parts of the house to clash with your design vision. Sometimes that can be hard: you might have to pay an enormous amount of money for period-style modern kitchen and bath appliances, or have custom items made, or go the other way and get something neutral that neither celebrates nor (hopefully) detracts from the thematic or symbolic elements of your home’s design.

With a bit of hunting, though, you can find something that fits both stylistically and functionally – but you may not be able to see these items at your local big box or plumbing fixture store. The internet has allowed us to discover small resellers and brands that we might not otherwise be aware of; I found Maykke recently, and they fit the bill for both historic and modern homes on a number of different levels.

Want a clawfoot tub or other traditional-style tub made with modern materials (as opposed to having an older, heavy cast-iron tub sandblasted and recoated – a very expensive proposition)? They’ve got you covered – a brand-new, contemporary-material and finish tub in a classic style will cost you less shipped & installed than refinishing your reclamation yard find will. And Maykke’s come in the slightly wider, longer, and deeper sizes that today’s customers prefer. Their modern freestanding tubs, in acrylic and other materials, are also surprisingly affordable, extremely sturdy, and come in a wide enough range of styles to not just fit into but actively work with the design of almost any bathroom.

The same goes for bathroom faucets. A lot of companies have pretty limited ranges available, but Maykke’s stock range from very traditional, almost transparently-utilitarian styles to well-designed (and built) fixtures that straddle the line between Craftsman/Prairie and modern. I was also happy to see not just the usual fingerprint-friendly stainless, but brushed nickel and other finishes as well.

Maykke has more than just plumbing fixtures, though. A friend had considered having his contractor build custom bathroom cabinets for several thousand dollars – and found a modern bathroom vanity design he liked even more available in just the right size from Maykke for half the price! Again, the styles ran the gamut – wood-based designs for rustic, traditional and Japanese-inflected rooms, as well as basic, straight-ahead early American designs, some in wood and others in acrylic or MDF. Mirrors, sinks and other accessories in a variety of shapes and sizes are also fairly-priced and available shipped pretty much anywhere.

So don’t limit yourself to the stock of a local chain or omnipresent online retailer; stretch your legs a bit and explore – you’ll be impressed with what you can find, both in terms of good prices, excellent build quality, and sophisticated design.

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