Can we find a low-flow, centerset faucet with retro style for Amber’s time capsule pink bathrooms? Amber has been longing for her own little piece of retro real estate for years and now she and her husband have finally found it — a 1960 house complete with two original pink bathrooms. Amber doesn’t want to change much (she’s taking our tips to Go Slow with any major renovations), but because she lives in an area that has water usage restrictions, she must replace both of the bathroom faucets with low-flow faucets before the city will turn on her water. The sinks in both bathrooms have single-hole centerset faucets — and Amber wants our help to find replacements for that fit the style of her vintage bathrooms.
I’ve written you before, always lusting after the beautiful original bathrooms people post on Retro Renovation. Well, guess what? My husband and I are buying a new house, and it is everything we have dreamed of — a one-owner home built in 1960 with almost everything original and in great shape. And it has TWO pink bathrooms! However, where i live, we have an ordinance mandating that all houses built before 1993 be upgraded to “low flow” fixtures before the water can be turned on. The shower heads and kitchen faucet are fine (they were upgraded at some point) but I have to replace the toilets and bathroom faucets. I am not so upset about replacing the faucets because personally I don’t like the style of the existing ones (and I’m not even sure they are original – they look more 1970s/80s to me).
I am sad about having to replace the pink toilet – but c’est la vie. Thanks to your site, I found the Kohler Wellworth and I think that’s what we’ll choose. I’m interested in advice on what to use for the faucets, though. I saw the posts about Strom Plumbing and Elements of Design, but I think I will need to have an “all in one” instead of separate faucet and handles, since that’s what is there now. Pictures are attached. Would love any advice you or your readers can offer!
Kate and Pam’s ideas for a retro style single hold bathroom faucet
Amber, for your 1960s bathrooms, we think that a simple, chrome, single-lever handle faucet would be appropriate. And Pam says that heck, she doesn’t really have a problem with the acrylic orb handle — it’s retro — although it’s more difficult to manipulate and clean. Aesthetically, any of these bathroom sink faucets would look good, we think:
- Grohe Eurosmart Single hole 1-handle low-arch bathroom faucet in Chrome — $99 from Home Depot
- Grohe Sway Starlight Chrome 1-handle single hole bathroom faucet — $151.95 from Lowe’s
- Grohe Start Starlight Chrome 1-handle single hole bathroom faucet — $99 from Lowe’s
- American Standard Ceramix 1-handle monoblock bathroom faucet — $289 from American Standard
- American Standard Seva single hole 1-handle low-arc bathroom faucet — $95.97 from Home Depot
- Delta Classic 4in single-handle low-arc bathroom faucet in chrome — $62 from Home Depot
- Moen Zarina bath faucet — $ 160.32 available at Menards
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Meanwhile, we totally agree with Amber that the sinks in both bathrooms do not appear to be original. Nor is that vanity in bathroom #2. Very 1980s, we agree. Amber, if you think that down the line you may Retro Renovate the sinks — take them back to original style — we recommend that today, you spend the least amount of money you need to on the replacement faucets. For this — we recommend that your first purchase be a subscription to Consumer Reports, which does the best job that we know of in researching and then calculating cost/value of house fixtures. Heck — Pam says that when she was doing her bathroom and kitchen renovations, she researched pretty much all her purchases using Consumer Reports. She did not make *every* decision based on their recommendations, but she did depend on their research as another great input.
Another thought: If Amber thinks she may replace her sinks in the future — with one that may take a different configuration of faucet — a quick and easy fix for now might be to get an inexpensive screw on faucet aerator — like this Neoperl Faucet Aerator from Amazon.com. She will need to check with her county regulations to see if this will be an acceptable fix and will allow Amber’s water to be turned on — but this solution could be the most inexpensive and allow her to live in the bathrooms a while before deciding if she would like to keep or change her current bathroom sinks.
Many of the low-flow faucets are marked with the EPA’s Water Sense logo to show that they meet the EPA’s guidelines for water saving faucets. All of the above faucet choices were marked with the Water Sense stamp of approval except the Grohe models above — however they do have maximum flow rate of 1.5 GPM — which meets the requirements for a low flow faucet. Bottom line — double check to make sure that any faucet you choose meets the flow requirements for the county you live. Since we’re on the topic of saving water — American Standard has a nifty water savings calculator tool to help you see how much money installing a water saving fixture in your bathroom can save you per year.