Oil Rubbed Bronze fixtures in a *contemporary* style?

jacobseMarch 5, 2010

We've picked our tile, vanity top granite and cabinets for our guest bathroom remodel, and our primary task for this weekend is deciding on plumbing and lighting fixtures and accessories. The earth-tone colors were leading us towards thinking the dark browns of oil-rubbed bronze would look great for the fixtures. But our style is modern/contemporary/sleek (we have stainless steel and brushed nickel in our kitchen and other bathrooms), and most of the ORB products we've seen have more traditional designs. We could certainly make things work with the stainless/nickel look, but before we fall back on that, we want to see what's available in our style in ORB. So if anyone can suggest companies which have good quality products in a contemporary style in ORB, I'd appreciate the names or links or pictures. Thanks!

-- Eric

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In my experience, ORB fixtures tilt designs into a Rustic, Outdoorsy, Asian or Old World vibe, and stainless or brushed nickel fixtures tilt designs toward the Modern and Industrial. If your house and design preference is truly 'modern and sleek', it is my own opinion that an ORB finish (even in a starkly simple shape) would be a mistake.

I have learned the hard way that a better 'color match' is FAR less important in a room than a 'feeling match'.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 10:10AM
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Schulter makes a nice square drain in Oiled Rubbed Bronze and I believe Dallmer does as well.

A contemporary design scheme and layout should not be affected by Oil Rubbed Finishes. If your picking the classic looking faucets this will change your look but when it comes to fixtures there are so many to choose from.

Are you doing these renovation with permits? If so you are limited to approved fixtures - if your not then the sky is the limit. Source out the best local company with a showroom and seek out the advice of their senior designer. What you are looking for is not overly requested so you may have to order in your pieces.

Good Luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Cantu Hardware - here in Vancouver

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 10:40AM
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Thanks, sweeby. Your comments helped crystallize what I think we had been drifting towards thinking after initially thinking ORB brown color would look great with the color scheme in this room.

It would actually be a lot easier for us if we go with stainless/brushed nickel, because there are so many of the contemporary styles in shower/tub fixtures, lav fixtures and light fixtures, in those type finishes.

Hmmm, that's odd... a remodeling decision which actually makes our choice easier, not harder? Now that doesn't happen to us very often! LOL. :)

-- Eric

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 8:24AM
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Cifial has 3 different dark finishes. Weathered, distressed bronze and rough bronze. All are gorgeous and worth looking at if dark is your first gut instinct.

Here is a link that might be useful: cifial

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:37AM
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That is my all-time favorite faucet Julie! I helped a friend renovate her master bath and she used these faucets. They're just as gorgeous in person... I found the shower set highly disappointing, but the sink and tub fixtures are to die for.

Eric - If you want modern, these faucets won't fight it, but IMO, they also tilt Rustic, Outdoorsy and Asian.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:43AM
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That is the rough bronze finish. The more contemporary fixtures in the weathered finish would look fantastic. It's not an oil rubbed bronze look, just a really dark brown.

We went with stone mountain fixtures in distressed bronze. What was disappointing about the shower set?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 11:41AM
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    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 11:45AM
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"What was disappointing about the shower set?"

In the faucet you posted, it's the combination of the incredible 'Rough Bronze' textured finish and the somewhat extreme shape of the tall faucets that (IMO) makes them an extraordinary work of art. The showroom where we first saw this fixture had a few other sets in different finishes - not the same at all. Not even close... I'm posting another photo below in polished chrome.

What bothered me about the shower was its very 'ordinary' shape. Instead of mirroring the faucet's fabulous elongated trumpet shape, the shower head is a very traditional little bell. B O R I N G! Not only was it glaringly inconsistent in styling, it was horrendously expensive. But the real 'insult' IMO was the issed opportunity to do something fabulous.

Here's the chrome faucet and the shower:

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 2:14PM
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Julie, thanks for posting the pictures and pointing me to Cifial!

I agree with sweeby that the first one you showed isn't the right style for us, but the second one (the Techno M3 lav faucet) could certainly work for us. It's unfortunately difficult to judge the color and finish on a computer monitor - I'm taking your word that they're brown and not black! ;) My wife and I have a day of shopping planned for tomorrow, and I hope one of the showrooms we're planning to go to (they're on the Cifial dealer list) will have something in that finish so we can decide if we like it. I do still get sweeby's point that sleek, modern design doesn't fit too well with an oil rubbed bronze that's supposed to convey age, but an even non-weathered finish (even though Cifial calls it "weathered") seems like it could do the trick. But I need to see one to see how it hits me.

Aside from finish/color, how are Cifial products quality-wise? We were looking at a Hansgrohe shower head and a Grohe faucet for both their style and quality, but I don't know anything about Cifial other than recognizing the name. And while I like how that Techno M3 line's look is carried through the tub spout and shower controls, they don't have much to choose from the in the way of shower heads -- the Techno M3 seems to offer only a single-function rain head, and we were thinking we wanted a multifunction head (the Hansgrohe Raindance 150 Air is an example of one we liked). Can you mix in someone else's shower head if you get Cifial for everything else? I would think that would look bad, unless I could find something in a pretty similar brown color and style, which seems unlikely. Or would you get the Cifial lav faucet but switch to a different brand/color/finish/style for the shower/tub fixtures? (The sink and tub are on opposite walls, so you won't see them side-by-side.) I would think we'd want the same line or at least similar looks for all the fixtures -- is that wrong? Thanks for all the design help!

-- Eric

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 8:41AM
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Sweeby-I see what you mean. I didn't realize that Cifial used the same shower head shape across so many different styles.

eric- I can't vouch for cifial just yet as we're a few weeks away from installation. I can say that my plumber was impressed with them. They are HEAVY and from what I saw while inspecting the box contents, all parts seem to be well made and nothing feels cheap and flimsy. Cifial has a limited lifetime warranty.

The weathered finish as described on Cifial's website under warranty: "Weathered Finish:
 This finish is known as a "living finish" and will take on unique characteristics based upon its environment and frequency of use.  Natural highlighting occurs where the product is handled. Other surfaces may darken or patina. This is to be expected and is part of the beauty of the aged look.  Clean water spots with a soft damp cloth only. The use of any type of abrasive or extensive rubbing will cause the finish to "wear", removing the dark brown surface.  Occasional application of a light household oil can help maintain the darker look, if desiredÂ.but care should be taken not to rub too hard when applying."

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 10:09AM
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" Can you mix in someone else's shower head if you get Cifial for everything else? I would think that would look bad, unless I could find something in a pretty similar brown color and style, which seems unlikely. Or would you get the Cifial lav faucet but switch to a different brand/color/finish/style for the shower/tub fixtures? "

Yes, you can mix another manufacturer's shower head with Cifial shower fixtures, if you can find a head you like in a finish that's close enough.

Or, you can switch manufacturers entirely for the whole shower, which is what my friend did, thereby minimizing the visibility of any finish differences.

She used the Cifial rough bronze fixtures Julie posted for her tub and sinks and switched to Danze for her shower and body sprays.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 2:30PM
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Sweeby, in this bathroom, there is only a tub with shower, not a separate tub and shower. The vanity sink and toilet are on one wall, the tub alcove is the opposite wall.

So I'm trying to figure out where to draw the line with mixing different products. We like the Cifial Techno M3 faucet Julie pointed out, and it has a nice matching tub spout. We could use their matching pressure-balanced valve trim (I was leaning towards temperature-balanced, but their temperature valve trim doesn't have a diverter for the tub that I can see). But we don't want the matching rain (only) shower head.

Now Grohe makes one of their shower heads we'd be okay with in an ORB finish:

I haven't seen them side-by-side, but I'm pretty sure the Grohe and Cifial browns are not an exact match -- so would you mix them on one wall or not? Would it be better to do all Grohe on the shower wall, and use the Cifial faucet on the sink? Does a company like Jaclo, which offers about 18 different finishes on many of their products, have a better chance of matching Cifial or Grohe?

Thanks again for all the good advice and help!

-- Eric

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:00PM
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Quick bump. Today is Decision Day -- we've got to decide on brown or satin nickel and choose & order our fixtures. So any responses to my last round of questions in the post above would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for all the help.

-- Eric

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 1:05AM
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eric, i am also going to go with cifial faucets, etc (tho with traditional styling and polished nickel finish). i am wondering if you were able to find out any info on the thunderstorm shower head that cifial makes...this is the shower head i am considering, tho it's really hard to find reviews for cifial products.
i would think that if the colors of faucets are pretty close, that you should be able to get away with mixing brands. i haven't looked at any brown finishes that closely, so i don't know how much they really vary tho....

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:22AM
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Busybee, sorry, but I haven't seen much about Cifial, so I don't know about their showerheads. The one which comes in the Techno M3 line we're looking at is a fixed rainshower head, and that's not what we want for the tub/shower, so we haven't really considered it. That's why I'm looking at mixing and matching. (Grohe makes their Rainshower Rustic multi-spray head in oil rubbed bronze, so that's my leading contender at the minute for a shower head from a better-known company in a color that might blend okay in the room with that Cifial faucet and possibly tub spout.)

-- Eric

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:57AM
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If it were me, I'd make the tub & shower fixtures all the same, and the vanity fixtures all the same.
So if it's Grohe you like for the shower, use Grohe for the tub as well. Then stick with Cifial for the sink. The two are far enough apart that an inexact match won't stick out.

If it were me, I'd still choose a stainless or brushed chrome finish over ORB, just for the 'Feeling over Color' issue though. I've been burned on that more than once, and learned the hard way...

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 10:21AM
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