Luxury Custom Home: Choose Plumbing and Appliances Early

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When you are designing the blueprints of your luxury custom home, plumbing and appliance decisions may not be top-of-mind. However, plumbing and appliances need to be chosen very early on.

Details about Blueprints in another blog, Blueprints – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know (Part 4)

Once you have chosen your appliances and plumbing fixtures, a plan for outlet and rough-in locations can be established. Your builder will need to know the size, weight, energy requirements (gas, electric) or any other manufacturer specifications to ensure your products are working at their best. Some items, such as a steam shower will need an access panel to allow for future maintenance on the motor. You may also plan for cabinetry fronted appliances for a seamless, custom look.

Choosing fixtures early in the planning/designing stage will help with the budget and will influence decisions made later on.  At the initial design selection meeting, we work with our clients to choose plumbing and lighting fixtures. Our clients can find it overwhelming to remember what was chosen weeks prior. When those decisions are made at the same meeting, our clients said it was easier to stay focused.

How to Choose Fixtures and Appliances

Choosing many items at the same time doesn’t mean everything needs to match. For example, in a small space like a powder room, the plumbing and lighting fixtures need to work together. That doesn’t mean “matching.” It is more about ensuring the space reads well put together and reflects your style and needs. These early decisions will point you in a design direction and be your “jumping off” point.  Items such as cabinet style and colour, flooring, and finishing details will be influenced by those initial decisions.

There are many choices when it comes to appliances, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but for function as well – choose function first.  With the plumbing and lighting decisions made, the selection for appliances narrows because of the style choices made earlier. You are more likely to choose a modern-styled appliance line when your fixtures are sleek and clean-lined. Even for those with an eclectic taste, you will be drawn to a certain look.  

Most of us dream of what the final product will look like. These first decisions will get those creative juices flowing and oversights are less likely to occur. With your dream in mind and design support along the way, you are sure to choose wisely.

Choosing Plumbing Items

Types of plumbing fixtures you will need:

  • Bathroom faucets
  • Kitchen faucets
  • Tub faucets
  • Tub: free-standing, jetted, etc.
  • Toilets
  • Sinks
  • Shower fixtures: steam, aromatherapy, lighting

It’s your custom home–make it your own luxury home spa with items such as large soaker tubs, walk-in showers, a gas fireplace, or a therapeutic bath (which you can read about in our blog, Luxury Home Spa).

Tips for Choosing Plumbing Fixtures

The type and number of plumbing fixtures and appliances you choose will affect your blueprints very early on in the design process: you will need to plan for water supply, space and energy needs for each item. Consider the space you have and the layout when making your selections and know that making changes later could be difficult and expensive.

Toilets, sinks, faucets, and tubs all come in a wide range of options and price tags. Visiting a bathroom showroom will help you decide which items you want for your home. Showrooms allow you to try out the faucets, shower systems, see the tubs and fixtures close-up, and visualize these essentials in your space. Ask questions from the experts–they will help guide you through the selection process.

Before you make your way down to the showroom, here are some things to consider when choosing plumbing fixtures:

Showers: A shower can be a main event in the bathroom. You can have rain head/waterfall showers, steam, body sprayers, hand-held units, aromatherapy, color therapy, and even multiple shower heads so the shower can be enjoyed by more than one person at a time.

Sinks: Sinks can be a focal point in the bathroom, you can make a big statement here, keep in mind function is the priority. Deeper sinks with arching faucets are more useful for daily use, while a shallow, stylish sink may be better suited for the powder room.

Toilets: The amount of toilet options may surprise you. They are available in many styles, colours, options and finishes, making the decision a bit more difficult than you may have thought.  Space is a first consideration and because of this issue, toilets are available in different depths. If you are really space-challenged, a wall hung toilet (where the tank is inside the wall) is a great option.  

Have you ever thought about your toilet height? Toilet manufacturers have designed taller toilets which are called “Comfort Height,” this allows for greater ease when sitting down; however, a small step stool may be needed for your little ones. Even toilet lids are available in a slow-close and easy-clean option.  

Faucets: Faucets can accentuate your style and decor; however, you want to choose ones that combine beauty and durability. Some manufacturers offer mix and match options – faucets with many interchangeable options such as finishes. This allows for a more customizable selection.

Tips for Choosing Appliances

As with plumbing fixtures, it’s best to visit an appliance showroom to help you choose appliances for your luxury custom home. It also helps to research the brands to get an idea of what they offer. For example, some brands offer top-of-the-line quality with cutting edge technology (with prices to match) while others offer standard appliances at more reasonable costs.

Here are some appliances you can incorporate into your dream home:

  • Ovens/Range (built-in, wall oven, standalone, convection, dual fuel, or steam ovens)
  • Cooktops (induction, electric, gas)
  • Dishwashers
  • Built-in Coffee Systems
  • Indoor Gardening Systems
  • Laundry Machines – pedestal drawers
  • Range Tops, Hoods, and Fans
  • Warming Drawers
  • Microwaves
  • Beverage Fridge
  • Wine Fridge
  • Fridge/Freezer

You won’t need to choose small appliances like toasters and tea kettles at this stage; however, you will need to plan for the energy needs (outlets) of these items.

In our experience, most clients have a favorite brand or have some idea what they are looking for.  Our suggestion is to make an appointment with an appliance expert to see all the options that are available.  What you need to know before going to the store is your budget, space requirements, and function. Let the experts fill in the blanks for you. They’ll tell you why you should choose one model over another one. Once you have a short list of what you want, check the reviews and find out what your best options are.

Deck Heaters: Gas or electric? If gas, you need a natural gas and power hook up.  If electric, plan where you want to have the heater and ensure there is an outdoor electric outlet.

Make Plumbing and Appliances a Priority

Just like a house of cards, each decision of building a custom home affects the other stages. How will yours stack up?  When you choose your plumbing and appliances early in the design process, the build will go much smoother and you will feel settled knowing another item is off your list.

As with lighting, plumbing fixtures and appliances are important to your day-to-day life and will make a big impact on your home’s style and functionality. Do your research, enlist the help of both design and product experts to ensure that your home not only looks beautiful, but also works with your families needs for years to come.