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Kitchen & Bath


Modular Options. If no single cooktop arrangement seems to satisfy, why not assemble your own? Homeowners can decide whether to break up the cooktop into separate stations around the kitchen, assemble a monster array of all six Integrated Cooktop modules, or combine two or more most-used modules to suit space and cooking requirements. Modules include two-element gas or electric burners, a steamer, deep fryer, grill, and multifunction (wok) burner. Gas burners include a high-low, dual-flame option for searing heat or fine simmering control. Estimated retail prices vary by dealer and region but should run between $1,000 and $1,600 per module.


Wolf, 800/332-9513,

All-Business Burners. Vertical panel controls return to the cooktop in the Metro Professional Gas Cooktop. The slide-in­style top comes in 30- and 36-inch widths, with a stainless-steel finish and four to six burners or a burner-and-grill combo. Dual-head burners with inner and outer flame rings supply variable, even output from 450 to 15,500 Btus. Optional no, low, standard, or high stainless backguards leave wall and island options open. Stainless-steel splashback panels in 30-, 36-, and 42-inch heights continue the professional styling up to the matching 500- to 900-cfm vent hoods. Suggested retail prices range between $4,155 and $5,595 (cooktop only).


Heartland Appliances, 800/361-1517,

Chameleon Cooktop. Optional removable griddle and wok ring accessories add versatility to the Preference line of cooktops. Five models flesh out the line, from 30 to 46 inches wide and with four to six burners. The SGM464GG features one 14,000-Btu, one 12,500-Btu, and two 8,500-Btu sealed gas burners, and a 10,000-Btu grill burner. But don't even think of specifying this top without an appropriate vent hood; a 54-inch canopy with a minimum 1,100-cfm blower is the word. Continuous two-burner grates and instant flame re-ignition are standard features. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $1,290. The hood won't come cheap, either.


Dacor, 800/772-7778,

Fire in the Hole. The tick-tick-tick sound of electronic gas burner ignition always makes me a little uneasy, like a bomb's about to go off. Especially when the flame doesn't happen right away. The Designer Series DGSU cooktop features electric spark ignition that lights the burner at any setting. And if unexpectedly extinguished, the burner relights automatically, a feature found on most of the cooktop brands covered here. The DGSU comes in 30- and 36-inch models, with four and five burners, respectively, and a range of 950 to 14,000 Btus. The standard finish is stainless steel; other finishes, including black, white, biscuit, and a couple of shades of gray, as well as a brass trim option, are available at higher cost. The cooktop lists for $1,200 to $1,600.


Viking, 888/845-4641,


Strictly Squaresville. "A minimalist square shape is the hallmark of all the furnishings and ceramic products in the Starck 3 bath collection," according to the manufacturer's press release. Before you comment on your own shape, rest assured that the wall- and floor-mount toilets in this renowned architect's design line force no compromises on human anatomy. The line includes a dozen wash basins, available in 19-, 22-, 24-, and 26-inch widths. They can be mounted in the countertop or on a pedestal or hung on the wall. Spare in form, these fixtures are intended to complement both commercial and residential settings.


Duravit USA, 888/387-2848,

Child's Play. Twelve thousand diapers: $4,000. Toilet-training book, video, and anatomically correct doll: $69. The Bambino toilet: priceless. If you're remodeling the children's bathroom, this high-quality miniature potty could make your reputation. It consumes 1.6 gallons per flush and is made of solid porcelain with a glazed trapway, just like Big John. Rough-in can be from 8- to 12-inches on-center. The Bambino costs $330; the seat cover, sold separately, costs $45.


Capizzi, 866/250-8833,

Complete Experience. The Washlet S300 upgrades an average toilet to a complete sanitary experience. Features include a thermostat-regulated heated seat, a soft-closing lid, and a docking station that makes the seat easily removable for cleaning. An auto-extending bidet wand provides front and rear, aerated, warm-water personal cleansing. Mild air drying is also available at the touch of a button. All functions are operable by wireless remote control. The piéce de résistance is a catalyzed disk fan said to quickly eliminate odor. Hats off to the engineer who vetoed the voice chip option. The S300 lists for $1,200 and is not compatible with all toilet makes and models.


Toto USA, 770/282-8686,

Stainless Suite. Given a high-rise steel pipe mount, the Metaal toilet, with its exposed P-trap design focus, would make an interesting bar stool — and eliminate the need to leave your beer unattended. On the other hand, it almost looks ready to spring into Matrixlike action. Obviously, this fixture suite (matching basin available for $1,810) is for a client seeking that upscale-yet-unconventional bathroom experience, or maybe just a little extra attention. The price is $3,160; the top-mount elongated toilet seat ($360 to $480) and outsourced concealed tank (by Geberit) are not included.


Acorn Engineering, 800/591-9050,

Waste Abhors a Vacuum. Some sensible people ask nothing more (and nothing less) of a toilet than a reliable, quiet flush. The Vacuity's tank-within-a-tank design induces a vacuum upon flushing, bringing the brunt force of atmospheric pressure to bear upon the delivery system. A 10x12-inch water spot and 2-inch-diameter glazed trapway help maintain bowl cleanliness. The Model 4200 elongated retails for around $200 in white.


Briggs, 800/627-4443,