Ode to the Commode

by Carmen Corbin on February 14, 2012

When planning and designing a new bathroom, we spend weeks (or more) picking out the perfect vessel sink or luxurious shower surround.  The color scheme slowly comes to life as we laboriously pour over paint chips and decide on exactly the right tiling for the floor.  Modern light fixtures, a beautiful mirror and even a new exhaust fan take center stage.  Then, almost as an afterthought, we quickly select a new toilet near the end of the project.  

Even though choosing a new commode isn’t as exciting as shopping for a new quartz vanity, this all-too-important bathroom element deserves a little more contemplation.  

The Best Seat in the House 

Whether it’s tucked away in a private alcove or placed out in the open, the toilet should quietly complement your overall bathroom design.  Top manufacturers such as Kohler, American Standard, Eago and Toto offer a wide variety of products, from basic 2-piece toilets to sleek, 1-piece models.  Low tank toilets are becoming a favorite choice, as are dual flush toilets with separate levels of water power. 

Vitreous china (or porcelain) is the usual material, but latrines can also be found in stainless steel.  If you have little ones in the house, consider installing a lower children’s size toilet in their bathroom.  Higher ADA-compliant toilets with elongated seats are helpful when bathroom remodeling involves the home of disabled or older occupants (they’re even great for taller people!).  For historic homes (or just for fun), ask your contractor about sources for a Victorian style commode with a pull chain and high mounted tank. 

Upscale Throne Amenities 

While gilded seats should probably be reserved for royalty or extreme billionaires, if you have a little more money in the budget, you can afford a few extras.  Amenities such as a soft close seat or an automatic seat opener/closer would be much appreciated, as well as an auto flush feature.  And for those trips in the middle of the night, you can even find toilets with programmable nightlights.

Composting Toilets:  At the other end of the spectrum, a non-electric composting toilet is a good solution for remote/off-the-grid locations such as hunting cabins.  They don’t use any water, so no plumbing lines are needed.

For more ideas on bathroom remodeling or choosing a new toilet, call or visit your local home improvement contractor.

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