As a luxury pick for a powder bath, shallow, almost trough-like wall-mounts in unique materials are on the rise. Integrated pieces that incorporate the sink in the countertop are also gaining momentum. "The variety out there is astounding," adds Neilson.
The explosion of choice in sinks and faucets has been answered by the boom in faucet finishes. Eric Goldman, national sales manager for THG USA in Coconut Creek, FL, reports that his company has over 100 different finishes now. "We can pick any combination and do anything we want," he says.
"A huge increase in [the number and scope of] choices offered is the new trend," asserts Detgen.
According to Dorval, the number one selling finish in showrooms today is the stainless steel/brushed nickel category. Specialty finishes are also making their way to the mass market, she notes, citing her company’s Aged Pewter and Matte Chrome finishes. This is indicative of the trend away from reflective finishes towards more muted, warm finishes that coordinate with the overall warming trend in bath colors.
"Consumers love the more subdued, softer look," adds Detgen. "In addition to brushed nickel, darker, more earth-tones are being shown and gaining popularity."
While Riley agrees that chrome is still the tried and true finish, distressed finishes seem to be gaining ground.
"People are looking at [oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel] as alternatives to chrome," agrees McClain.
In the niche market, Rohl sees antiqued gold and gilded brass as an up-and-comer. Danze has recently introduced a satin black finish in two of its faucet lines, and THG has just debuted a new luxury finish, the very exotic-sounding rhodium.
Is the "living" finish that changes color over time on its last leg? According to manufacturers surveyed, the answer is an emphatic yes. The majority believe that consumers want faucets that will look exactly the same five or ten years later.
"[They] don't want to look at an oil-rubbed bronze faucet [five years down the road] and it's almost turned black," says McClain. "People have seen [the PVD] technology get better, so they're thinking, 'Why did we ever want a finish to change color over time?'"
In terms of faucet style, it appears that just about anything goes. Manufacturers do agree that people are willing to splurge on unique and better designed products more so than they have in the past in conjunction with the growing trend of creating the "destination bath."
"The more time people spend in the bathroom, the more they want better products," Goldman further stresses.
While the contemporary market continues to see a rise in cylindrical and rectangular shapes, the clean lines of European styling are gaining ground in traditional designs. Riley is seeing traditional faucetry that has a bit more elegance to it. "Traditionally based," she explains, "but definitely high-end. We call it glamour or tres chic. It comes from the '40s. It's old-style glamour."
"Mid-century design is very popular right now," agrees Dorval. "Controlled organic forms are also popular."
"We do see more contemporary designs mixing with traditional motifs," says Detgen. "And [there's] an increase in what we call Euro-style contemporary, especially in larger, metropolitan areas."
Rohl calls it like he sees it. "Transitional."
Goldman agrees. "I'm finding…the [majority] of the market looking for traditionally styled faucets with an emphasis on the Art Deco period influences.”
He also sees a growing percentage of the market leaning towards a very clean, minimalist and contemporary product design. Detgen adds, "[We're seeing] a larger scale in faucets. Two-handle faucets are a hallmark of a more decorative treatment, and are replacing single control, even in builder's models."
As vessel bowls uniquely shaped under-mounts migrate from the occasional-use bath into the master bath, the diversity of styles in wall-mounted faucets is growing as well. "Consumers like them because they don't have to clean around them," says Riley. "But elongated single mounts are still popular for vessels."
Dorval says the company's new wall-mount "provides a distinctive aesthetic look to the room. Its traditional styling and unique finish options combined with a vessel sink provide a unique setting."