a peek inside the fishbowl

25 Jun, 2012

Reno #33 – What’s up with plumbing fixtures?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno

First of all, did you know that Urban Barn has a neat little online room planning tool on their website? You plunk in the dimensions of your room and drag and drop furniture that is properly scaled. It’s fun. TOO FUN. I was playing around with our master bedroom so I could determine if we could fit a chaise lounge in there. (Note that the windows and doors are for placement only. I didn’t measure them out properly and I also didn’t bother adding the three small windows over our bed.)

This is my family catching me in the act of an afternoon snooze:

Mockup of the master bedroom

It’s great way of virtually rearranging your furniture and seeing what works best.

So our assignment this past weekend was to nail down some of the plumbing fixtures. We even had a list. I secretly hoped that we’d be able to get everything at one store, but this was not to be. (WHAT WAS I THINKING.)

Truth be told we suffered a bit of sticker shock, and I was reminded AGAIN of how much I gravitate to expensive things even if the price tag is no where to be seen. Why am I like this?

At the Electrical and Plumbing Store in Bell’s Corners I liked one of the most expensive shower sets in the entire place. It was $3600. Behold:

A shower set for the wealthy

What’s the saying? Champagne tastes on a beer budget? That describes us pretty well, but I think if we saved some cash in some other areas we can put it towards a similar shower we love (although not that pricey).

For example, this is the kind of sink we’re looking at – a white oval undermount. Turns out that it costs $88.00 pretty much anywhere you go (Preston Hardware, Lowes, Rona, Home Depot). A good deal, right?:

bathroom sinks, white undermount

We need two of those for the vanity in the family bathroom, and these are the faucets we are thinking of pairing with them (from Lowes):

bathroom faucets

Kitchen sinks can cost an arm and a leg. I really liked this one from Preston Hardware:

Bosco sink

… but as it turns out you can get pretty much the same thing at Home Depot for a lot less:

Plain old sink

We haven’t shopped for toilets yet but that’s next. I’m going to check out Westend Plumbing today because they carry Toto. We have a Toto toilet (it runs about $500) and it is – in my experience – a superior toilet. (I once wrote about Toto toilets here, THAT’S how much I like it.)

Out biggest issue this weekend was choosing a shower head set and the kitchen faucet. Why is it that everything seems to be either very cheaply made or really expensive, with not a whole lot in-between?

After MUCH painful deliberation, this is what we picked out for the kitchen at Lowes. (In fact, Mark had pretty much given up at this point):

Kitchen Faucet

It’s a Delta touch model. I’m pretty excited about it. (FYI you can get more information and watch a video all about our new faucet here. Note that we did not choose this because it looks like “a graceful flower, heavy with the morning dew.” Ha.) We had a Delta faucet before the reno and we never had an issue with it. Go Delta!

Still on the to-buy list is a faucet for the new bathtub (which we picked out long ago at Boone). We need a wall-mounted set and I’d like it to have a hand-shower attached to it. Something like this might be nice but I haven’t seen in anywhere in Ottawa yet. (And can we get it for under $500? Ugh.) As for the shower, we are still undecided about what we’re buying. I would really like something old-timey that fills the space nicely but not have to pay nearly $4000 for it. I want it to be well-made, something that will last as long as we’re in the house. It seems that where plumbing is concerned you get what you pay for. What do you think?


7 Responses to "Reno #33 – What’s up with plumbing fixtures?"

1 | lala

June 25th, 2012 at 9:41 am


I have found Lowes to be consistently higher priced than the other two big boxes. I bought my last faucet off of ebay because no one in town had anything like it.

2 | andrea

June 25th, 2012 at 9:53 am


Ebay is a good option, but I prefer to see it in person.

I think what’s interesting to note is that many of us assume that the big box stores will be cheaper but it’s not necessarily the case. And I just looked up the price of that Pilar faucet at Home Depot… they have a chrome version with no soap dispenser and it’s $475.

3 | Leah Eustace

June 25th, 2012 at 12:40 pm


We have the same Delta faucet in our kitchen. We love it, but be glad you don’t have cats: it turns on every time they brush against it (which is ALL the time). We couldn’t figure out why the faucet was turning on in the middle of the night, until we caught them in the act. Busted!

4 | andrea

June 25th, 2012 at 12:47 pm


Haha! Leah! So you should be glad that it has an auto shut-off feature after 4 minutes. :)

5 | Caroline Ives

June 25th, 2012 at 2:28 pm


We bought the Delta touch when we renovated our kitchen and it still makes me excited. Yesterday I was covered in muffin batter and was able to wash off using my elbow. Delta sometimes has money back coupons on-line as well.

6 | A Green

June 26th, 2012 at 3:37 am


I just tried the urban barm room planner. Thanks for recommending it. It’s really useful.

7 | melissa

June 26th, 2012 at 7:56 pm


Love the shower fixture — it’s these types of details that will make it all worthwhile and which will set your home apart from others. Now that you have seen it in person, can you not try to find it online?

I’m also in the midst of a renovation and am surprised by the lack of selection within a mid range price point. As such, I’ve had to rely on a lot of online shopping in order to achieve the look I’m after within my budget. For plumbing I’ve ordered from vintagetub.com with much luck. Just thought I’d share…

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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