Bathroom Faucets — Shopping With Katherine Chia

Architect Katherine Chia usually spends her time thinking about buildings and interiors, but lately she has turned her attention to smaller design. Her company Desai / Chia Architecture, which she runs together with her husband Arjun Desai, has developed a range of bathroom fittings.

First came the Recess Lav, a space-saving unit from AF New York that combines a sink, countertop, backsplash and medicine cabinet in a single piece of cast resin that can be embedded in a wall between the studs. The unit, which was awarded the Good Design Award in 2010 by the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Center for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Research, “grew out of a discussion about the limitations of a small bathroom, especially in an urban setting,” said Dr. Chia, 45, said.

“It’s very New York,” she added.

This year AF New York presented the Surface series by Desai / Chia, an elegant bathroom system with a sink, shelf, medicine cabinet and bathtub.

However, a Desai / Chia faucet is still in the works. For the time being, when Ms. Chia is designing a client’s bathroom, she has to turn to others to provide this item. Fortunately, there are a number of models that she likes.

“We tend to have clean lines and compact units,” she said. “Things that have well-designed shapes won’t be out of date or out of date and can stand the test of time.”

A faucet with these virtues is the neat Meta.02 single lever model from Dornbracht, which Ms. Chia admired in the Blackman showroom in Chelsea. Not only does it look good, she pointed out, it works well too. “If you want to mix the water and change the volume, it’s just a one-handed movement.”

For a faucet with separate hot and cold handles, she liked Dornbracht’s MEM, which had a spout with the profile of a rectangular bar. “It’s a bit square” than most faucets, she noted, and “more sculptural”.

At the Architects and Designers Building in Midtown, she stopped at the Davis & Warshow showroom, where she selected the Lefroy Brooks Mackintosh, a “clean and classic” faucet that might appeal to someone who has a pared-down desire for a traditional look.

In the Hastings Tile and Bath showroom, she admired several versions of the minimalist Vola, designed by mid-century modern architect Arne Jacobsen. “This is our number one choice in many cases,” she said, particularly the 121 wall-mounted model which “keeps the counter completely clean and clear”.

And at a nearby Waterworks store, she decided on the Highgate faucet. “I like the simplicity for a traditional faucet,” she said.

But it also had a personal appeal: “It reminds me of the tap in my grandparents’ sink.”

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