Faucet 'control stem' orientation? Help w/ Decision

kashmiNovember 18, 2011

We need help deciding how to install our faucet. I know this must sound simple minded -- or that I am overcomplicating what should be a straight-forward decision, but ...

Among the reasons pushing for our kitchen update was our intense dislike of having a tiny space between our former drop-in sink and the wall behind it (that rose up about 4 inches before the window started). So we now have a bow window at countertop height. Yipee! And we have runnels on both sides of the sink. Yipee, again!

BUT, I can still envision water getting behind the faucet to the wood in the window as we reach to turn the water on and off with wet hands -- with the bow window, we only have about 4" behind the faucet (before the window) and neither of us is meticulous about wiping up things.

So, I've been thinking about orienting the faucet handle in a direction other than parallel with the sink -- as it would normally be installed (see pix below of "normal" orientation).

From Newer Kitchen Reno Ideas

Instead, I've wondered about installing the handle IN FRONT of the faucet. DH wonders about water hitting our hands each time we turn it on or off, however.

From Newer Kitchen Reno Ideas

So that led to the idea of orienting the handle at an angle. Or would this just look weird? Like we made a mistake?

From Newer Kitchen Reno Ideas

Ideas? Thoughts? Has anyone installed a faucet with the handle oriented in a different or unusual direction? If so, have you been happy? Would you do it over again?

The faucet is not installed and the pull out portion droops down a bit because it is just stuck inside the main section for picture purposes. The faucet is KWC Ava (ordered last week on a promo that provided a free soap dispenser!).

Thank you in advance for ideas and help.

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Kashmi, that is such a beautiful counter!

Aside from your hands always being in the line of fire (water, actually) when turning on and off, wouldn't the front orientation also cut into your access space over the sink and/or collide with large pots/pans?

I think the angle does look a little askew.

Maybe just remember to mop up the extra water?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:26AM
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I would do it the first way you have it there. You risk crashing pots into it any other way. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:27AM
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We have ours oriented at an angle a little in front and to the left. I wanted it on that side so I could turn the water on with my left hand as I held something in my right. The orientation was also due to a design flaw on my part-if it were installed parallel to the sink (on the left) I wouldn't be able to turn it on completely to hot because there wasn't enough clearance. Here's a pic:

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:31AM
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I turned my faucet to the side to avoid dripping all over the counter. I have had no problems with crashing things into the faucet, and find it greatly reduces the water dripping behind the faucet. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:47AM
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ps, I should have added my faucet spout turns so readily it is easy to just move it out of the way before turning the faucet on and off, and within days it became the unthinking norm to do so.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:00PM
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Linelle & jgopp: good points about the collision risks! Something I had not considered. (And, @linelle: thanks for the countertop comment. We still smile when we walk into the kitchen!)

Leela4 & mabeldingeldine: thanks so much for the pictures. Your arching faucets are so graceful. The pictures will give me "ammunition" when talking with the plumber and DH this afternoon. I really want to minimize the water behind the faucet to the extent possible/reasonable. I'll also check to see how readily the faucet spout swivels. That was a good tip.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 1:44PM
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Fori is not pleased

I'd put it on the front or the side (I like it on the left because I'm right handed--that's the hand that is gunky or full). The more organic shaped faucets look fine turned part way but I don't think yours will.

Then get a Tapmaster so it doesn't matter. :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:57PM
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face it front. Try it out. You'll see whether pots touch it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:59PM
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I had a Grohe K4 and faced the handle to the front (perpendicular to the sink) for the very reason of not wanting water behind. It worked very well, never bumped a pot (yours doesn't look like it extends over the sink?), and all drips went into the sink yay!

I was able to reach behind the water flow to the handle no big deal, so no wet(ter) hands and you should be able to tell via your mockups if you can do that as well.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:42PM
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Fori: Your point is well taken. The faucet is quite linear.

So I'm strongly leaning toward installing it facing the front, as Davidro1 and Mtnfever suggest -- especially since the handle does not invade the sink space and faucet extends far enough to make it possible to reach behind the water flow.

IMHO this is a great idea, but so far family members are not so convinced. "No one installs faucets that way!" "It would look stupid to do that!" Sigh ...

Depending on the outcome, there may be a tapmaster in the offing!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:30PM
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of course it looks "whatever", when you have a mental model in your head that doesn't concur. Once they like it positioned in front, you will be seen as someone so smart you almost invented a patentable new thing.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:51PM
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I had them the handle on the right when my faucet was installed...but if I had it to do over, I would put it in the middle in the front. I think David is right, you will get used to it once you've lived with it awhile. (I've been meaning to find out if ours can be changed w/o ripping the faucet out...we have a Kohler Vinnata.)

Yes, dripping all over the counter is a major issue with the handle on the side, btw (at least in our kitchen!)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 10:52PM
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My Hansgrohe faucet went in on Monday. Because the handle would have hit the wall behind it if it was installed with handle to the side, the handle had to be placed directly on the front. It took me about 2.5 seconds to get used to it. Now, I think nothing of it. I love not having drips on the counter, and it's not awkward at all.

I wouldn't do sideways just because I don't like funky angles.

Sorry I don't have a pic. With the move, I can't even find a pan to cook with and have seriously no clue where the camera cord is.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:41AM
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Breezy: Thanks for the confirming experience report. But most of all, thank you for taking the time to post, given all the moving hassles. May things get better sooner rather than later.

Buehl: It's good to know that "water all over the countertop" is not just a local phenomenon -- and that you have considered this same modification. You are the GW kitchen guru, after all!

Davidro1: Yes, indeed. Our mental lens certainly conditions our view of our world. As my favorite anthropologist -- who likes playing with language -- had this to say on the matter: "Material culture makes culture material.... when culture is insinuated into our physical landscape, our housing, and its furnishing, the premises of our existence are also the premises of our existence." [Culture and Consumption, Grant McCracken] I just love that last phrase.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 9:19AM
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I mounted mine (Kohler Vinattas) front-facing so the hot would be left and cold would be right. Side-orienting scrambles the H/C/operator relationship and is not new-user friendly. And it is demonstrably less ambidextrous.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:01AM
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Casey: Genius! You are quite right. In the parallel-to-the-sink position, the blue/cold indicator is to the back with the red/hot indicator toward the front. Turning the handle front-facing, as you say, unscrambles the H/C relationship. Perhaps the best argument yet.

As an update, I've been showing these responses around and the "right" decision may yet be made! A nice benefit of this forum: educating family members as well as oneself.

Again, thanks to all.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 1:19PM
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Yup! Casey's right! I didn't like all the water on the deck when my faucet handle was to the side, so I moved it to the front as well. It was an easy adjustment, since it is in the center, to keep my elbow bent.
My smaller model faucet @ the bar is turned to the right and when I use it, I must "think" about where hot & cold are. HTH.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 4:48PM
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