Archives for posts with tag: Philippe Starck

How embarrassing to notice that I’ve taken almost a month between posts.  Things really do move in a geological time frame here at the Stone House.  I didn’t go away for the holidays, and the only event of note was the Boxing Day open house I put on for friends and neighbors.  I ordered in two sides of American smoked salmon from Mackenzie, which were fantastic – I think I liked the gravlax style even better than the plain – roasted a couple of grass-fed beef tenderloins for sandwiches, put out various cookies and cheeses and so forth. I don’t eat beef, but my little dog certainly does, and I’m hoping the fact they were grass-fed means that the cattle had a nicer, more natural life before they became, um, tenderloins.  Literally my closest neighbors here are cows.

This berry trifle recipe was a big success – some of the comments say to make it with a pint of whipping cream rather than a quart, but I say, go for the full quart.  I used frozen berries, and they worked beautifully:  Berry Trifle by Tyler Florence.

This punch was very popular too:  Pomegranate-Champagne Punch by Martha Stewart.  I made it with Freixenet – I think you would have to be crazy to put real Champagne into a punch, though of course Martha’s minions claim they did.  It was lovely and zingy and indeterminately fruity, and reminded me of the church basement punch of my childhood – but in a very good way.

Anyway, back to the bathroom!

The decision to use the Philippe Starck bathtub initially led me to plan for the whole bathroom to be very Euro and modern.  I was thinking of using the IKEA Höllviken sink, which I still think is great:

ikea hollviken sink

image from

This would of course go with a modern, single-hole, lever-handle faucet.  I especially like the Kohler Purist with the attractive little curve to the handle (there is also the same faucet with a straight handle):

Kohler Purist faucet, K-14402-4

Kohler Purist faucet, K-14402-4, image from

The sink would require a new vanity, which would probably be dark wood…  I was having thoughts about glass tiles, until I found out how much they cost…  Something was holding me back, and I think it was that, although this bathroom would have been neat, fashionable, and a huge improvement, it would have been a little banal. It also would have been a departure from the essentially traditional style of the house – such a departure, I think, can be OK in a bathroom, but is something to think about carefully.

So there was something of an impasse before I found “the” sink.  I am an eBay queen; I live in a rural situation and do a lot of shopping on line.  I can’t remember what search turned this thing up, because it wasn’t what I’d been looking for, but as soon as I saw its photo, I knew that I had to have it, and that all plans would be rearranged to accommodate it.

I present to you the Kohler Artist Editions Imperial Blue™ design on Vintage® self-rimming lavatory, which, as Kohler puts it so well, “offers a striking focal point portraying the traditional strength and wisdom found in the Ming Dynasty porcelain vase that served as its inspiration.”  How could I resist a Ming dragon in my bathroom sink?

Kohler Ming Dragon sink

photo source:

The list price for this sink is just shocking:  strictly for the One Percent.  The price I paid on eBay was much better, though still a jump up from IKEA.  But what price total, killing glamor?

The dragon sink seemed to call for a more traditional style of faucet.  Of course, I wanted something similarly luxe and unusual that could stand up to the fabulosity of the sink.  After much research, I decided I liked this faucet sold by Rohl, in the polished nickel finish:

Rohl Cisal faucet # AC51

photo source:


It is from their Cisal line, which is manufactured in Italy.  The deciding moment in favor of this faucet came when I closely inspected this photo on Flickr, taken by a fellow Hotel Eden bathroom enthusiast… what style of faucet do you see there, next to the sink?  (Note also the wall phone installed next to the toilet, no doubt for answering those super-urgent film production questions.)

Through diligent Googling, I was able to find the faucet at around half price.

So now I have a bathroom sink whose retail price is a measurable percentage of what I paid for my entire house.  Incidentally, happy Year of the Dragon!


Before I begin, let me say that I’m not immune to the irony of spending what I think of as big money to refurbish a functioning bathroom when Vali Myers, by the evidence of my own eyes, lived the most joyous and creative life imaginable above Positano with no plumbing whatsoever, drinking and washing from a pure mountain waterfall and answering “the call of nature”, I believe, off a cliff.  However, the motto of the ancient Greeks, Know thyself, is still useful, and the truth is that, while my heart admires the wild and bohemian, the rest of me is firmly rooted in the bourgeois and loves plumbing, endless hot water, privacy… In the midst of our wonderful, wine-soaked afternoon at Vali’s, inevitably I had to take a pee, and I wandered so far from the compound in search of a private spot that I almost slid off the mountain and only saved myself by grabbing a fortunately-placed bush.  What a way that would have been to go.

I bought my house, here in upstate New York, back in the summer of ’02 and, at the time, intended immediately to make some improvements to the downstairs bathroom.  Of course, I didn’t get around to it.  I’m acutely aware that my tenth anniversary of owning the house is coming up soon, and I would like to have things looking better by then.

First, let’s take a look at how things are.   The floor tiles, when I bought the house, were real terracotta and pretty charming until, within a short time, they started to loosen and break.  Eventually I had them taken up and replaced by dark-stained pine.  Much discussion ensued over how best to seal the wood.  I actually bought a gallon of latex polyurethane but became so intimidated and irritated by the conflicting instructions of the manufacturer, versus local advice, that I decided – against ALL advice – simply to use a beeswax based wood conditioner instead.  The floor has been in place for around a year now; it does, of course, require occasional re-polishing, but it looks better every time I do it.   Perhaps disaster awaits, but for now I’m very pleased.

The biggest source of discontent has always been the tan plastic shower surround.  Behold:

Its tub is far too shallow to take a nice bath.  I could never decide exactly what to replace it with – certainly something white, but which?  Everything affordable at the local big-box stores seemed to be either shallow as well, or just ugly – Jacuzzi jets, strange decorative contours, etc.

In February 2010, I found my answer.  I had traveled to the Berlinale film festival as part of a film’s production team (the film was, incidentally, directed by my traveling companion of the Eden Hotel – perhaps some of that Fellini genius rubbed off on him on our one-night stay).  We stayed at the Movenpick Hotel – director and two co-producers in one room – this is independent film, not Hollywood – and all fell in love with the bathtub, which was gleaming white acrylic, simple, rectangular, and oh, so luxuriously deep.  It turned out to be a Philippe Starck design for Duravit and, astonishingly, not an impossible dream in terms of its price.  Besides the excitement of premiering the film, I think that tub was the best thing about Berlin.  The Berlinale is prestigious but also enormous and overwhelming, and the weather was utterly grim.  Teams of men with jackhammers had been set to work clearing ice from the sidewalks, because at some point the city had run out of salt.

So, having discovered the dream bathtub, my design direction was clear:  something rather Euro.

Bathtub # 700092; photo from