Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Selection - Basin

If there was one item that made one display home bathroom look like another, it was the basins. They were all fitted with two out of the four popular basin choices: square/round semi recessed, under-mount or round inset basin. 

$99 oval basins from
The Bathroom Outlet.
By now, you would have gathered that we want our house to be a little bit different to the standard cookie-cutter houses pumped out by the builders during the boom. Bathroom basins are one of the places where you can do this without obliterating you budget (assuming you do your homework and shop around).

When looking for a basin, one of the first things you notice is that the cost fluctuates greatly. A white ceramic vessel basin can cost as little as $90 and peak around $700. If you want something special and imported from Italy, you can easily pay over $1000. I found the majority were between $250-400, assuming you were not shopping in a boutique bathroom store.

Alpe White WT4 pedistal
basin from Reece.
When choosing a basin, a few questions that need to be answered:
  • How will you use it? For example, in a powder room where you are simply washing your hands, a shallow basin is perfectly adequate. If you are shaving, washing your face, cleaning your teeth, you may want to consider a deeper basin;
  • How will it be mounted? Do you love the look of pedestal basins, wall mounted ones, semi-recessed, vessel, under-mount, etc;
  • Do you want your basins to match? Some models of basin are made in different sizes so that you can have larger ones in your bathroom/ensuite and have a smaller one in your powder room; and,
  • What else should I consider? If you are looking at materials other than ceramic, you may want to consider whether the material is easily stained by hair dye, teeth whitening solutions, etc.
Glass basin from
Bathroom Warehouse
Once you have chosen your basin, there are another set of questions, depending on the style of basin chosen:
  • Is the plumbing located in the correct place? Wall mounted and pedestal basins may require different plumbing to a more traditional vanity mounted basin;
  • Is the vanity deep enough? This is especially important if the house was originally designed with semi-recessed basins. Semi-recessed basins allow for more space in small rooms because the depth of the vanity can be smaller. For example, the standard vanity depth on our plans was 500mm in the bathroom and powder room, but 380 mm in the ensuite! Do not assume all of your vanities are the same depth;
  • Where are you going to mount the taps? Depending on the answer to the above and your style of basin, you may need to mount your tap ware on the wall if the vanity is not deep enough for both the basin and the tap ware; and,
  • What else needs to change? As an example, if you move your tap ware to the wall, you may need to increase the height of your splash back, unless you are intending to mount it on the mirror.
Vessel basin and mixer
from Reece
These are only a few of the questions you need to ask yourself when selecting a basin. I am sure you will come up with many more to suit your particular situation.

If you are supplying your own basin for a builder to install, I do recommend taking a technical drawing of both the basin and the tap ware to your meeting, so that the builder can see exactly what they are installing and whether they foresee any issues.

For those who live in Perth, Western Australia, there is a lovely store called The Stone Super Store. What I love about this store, besides the excellent customer service, is its ever changing stock and its brilliant pricing.

If you want to buy a basin for your new home or renovation, I definitely recommend looking at their website, then going to see the products in their show room. It is worth telephoning or emailing their friendly staff before you come to check that they have a particular item on display, especially if it is a new or large item (e.g. a bathtub).

After looking through countless bathroom stores, we chose a Shanxi Black "Dianna" granite vessel basin from The Stone Super Store. I think it will go well with our black/white/silver colour scheme, and the rough-cut edge definitely gives the basin a bit of character. I cannot wait for them to arrive, so that I can share a photo with you all.

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