High-profile architects often lend their talents to the design of consumer goods. Just as often, those goods end up costing an arm and a leg. At prices ranging between $100 and $300, the Michael Graves Collection provides a striking line of bathroom fittings within reach of the average consumer. The bath suites include shower valve and head, tub filler, and vanity faucets, as well as a towel bar and ring, soap dish, bud vase, toothbrush holder, and tissue holder. Finishes include chrome, matte chrome, and stainless steel, with solid, colored glass, and metal handles in ergonomic egg and star shapes. Delta Faucet, 317/848-1812, www.deltafaucet.com.
One of these racks can transform an ordinary shower into a highly functional business unit. Not that you can't still have fun in there. The Aviva Dispenser Plus Shower Basket is one among many models made to dispense liquid soaps and shampoos in measured amounts, and look good doing it. Give one to clients as a parting gift; it's a lot better than a magnet. The basket version costs $40; other prices vary by model. Better Living Products, 800/487-3300, www.dispenser.com.
Two Heads Are Better.
The manufacturer of this shower head proclaims it "difficult to categorize." Hmm... how about "way cool"? The Freehander All-in-One Shower System abandons traditional styling in favor of unlimited adjustability. Both heads rotate a full 360 degrees on an arm that pivots 180 degrees. A tension system allows readjustments without having to loosen or tighten anything. The unit requires no special plumbing and can be either bracket-mounted or installed at the end of a hand shower hose, as either a new or replacement installation. A retail price of $395 is suggested. Grohe, 630/582-7711, www.groheamerica.com.
Talk to your plumber about those 1/2-inch supply lines. This tub filler has a ceramic valve said to be capable of a thundering 17-gpm rate at 60 psi. The faucet is designed for 3/4-inch fittings but ships with 1/2-inch npt adapters for bathers in less of a hurry. The deceptively graceful lines of the Plymouth Roman Tub Faucet come in several metallic finishes, starting at $318. The top-of-the-line finish shown, brushed nickel and polished brass, costs $382. Danze, 877/530-3344, www.danze-online.com.
Low-volt halogen lamps provide brilliant illumination but burn dangerously hot. Xenon-filled lamps deliver close to the same light without generating as much heat. And while the oily touch of a human hand means early death to a halogen lamp, xenon lamps are not so fussy. Fully dimmable Xenon Low Voltage Light Strips are a good choice for undercabinet, overcabinet, interior cabinet, task, and cove lighting. Standard socket spacing is 3, 4, or 6 inches on-center; custom spacing is also possible by ordering strip cable and lamp sockets separately. Strips are ordered in whole-foot lengths only, may be shortened in the field, and cost $5.65 per foot with sockets 4 inches apart, $7.10 with sockets 3 inches apart. Pegasus Associates, 412/269-0773, www.pegasusassociates.com.
What do you call a light fixture that matches the bathroom trim? Suite. Single-, two-, and three-light bar fixtures are available in the same two design themes — star and egg — and three metallic finishes of Delta Faucet's Michael Graves Collection. Single-light fixtures start at $75; triple-lights top out at $204. Progress Lighting, 864/599-6000, www.progresslighting.com.
Watt's the Difference.
Your grandma hated it, but this isn't your grandma's fluorescent. The 79033-98E Four-Light Fluorescent ceiling fixture uses four 13-watt, instant-start bulbs to crank out an aggregate 3,440 lumens for bright, ambient illumination. And if this model isn't suitable, there are many other styles in this energy-saving line. This one carries a $218 suggested list price. Sea Gull Lighting, 800/347-5483, www.seagulllighting.com.
Lower the Low-Volt Lighting.
Counterbalanced adjustable pendant lights provide versatility above a kitchen island or so-called workstation. Lowered for prep work or raised for a social buffet, the light is always right. The Glass Companions line includes a choice of 11 glass shades in various shapes and colors, and metallic finishes include platinum, nickel, chrome, and brass. All fixtures in the line have integral 12-volt transformers and use 50-watt xenon lamps. The model AP-3RE shown lists for $575. WAC Lighting, 800/526-2588, www.waclighting.com.