Vanity Envy in the Custom Home

Ultra-luxurious bathrooms are a must-have for homeowners who aren't on a budget. It's not uncommon for customers even in lean times such as these to splurge on the vanity.

November 01, 2008


The centerpiece of this Hydrology bathrooom is this Lalique faucet paired with a Kallista sink.
Photo by Nick Bajzek

Ultra-luxurious bathrooms are a must-have for homeowners who aren't on a budget. The sink and vanity, says custom builder Lambert Arceneaux, who heads Allegro Builders, a design/build firm with an interior design and architectural in-house division in Houston, is where it all comes together. It's not uncommon, he says, for customers even in lean times such as these to splurge on the vanity. The homeowners' inspiration to do an opulent vanity area often comes from one or two elements they've taken from a magazine. But quite often they have little idea on how to piece together a cohesive look.

Calling Specialists!

Custom builders who have a client without a specific vision can find a firm to help them out. Hydrology, a high-fashion bath art showroom and consulting firm in Chicago, focuses its creative talents on opulence that borders on the surreal. It's the type of company whose catalog features 24-carat gold sinks. The company has contributions from international artists including Jaime Hayon, Ross Lovegrove and Claudio Silvestrin.

Signature Piece

Arceneaux says one custom piece, such as a handmade lavatory vessel sink or a rare-quartz countertop, can make all the difference. Natalie McAllister, Hydrology's vice president of sales and marketing, says the company's latest project was a luxury bathroom for Chicagoan Alan Matthew's condominium. Matthew and the firm decided on a pure quartz bathroom countertop from Majestic Gemstone coupled with a Lalique faucet and Bambou Clear Crystal knob. Besides helping Matthew choose the products, McAllister adds, “We assist in product selection as well as ensuring all the components and systems will work together.”

That, McAllister says, can be the tricky part. “We also have a full-time technician that we confer with and will send to job sites in the event oversight on more technical installations is needed,” says McAllister. Arceneaux agrees. “One of the toughest thing when you're doing work with rare stone tops and vessel sinks or custom faucets is making sure they all work together,” says Arceneaux.

“To be perfectly honest, we find ourselves moving the vales in the walls almost every time,” says Arceneaux. “We try, but there are just so many parts that have to work together.”

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