Sakamoto-san suggested we take a look at the some major washroom and bathroom makers to get a sense of grade and quality of bathroom we would like as these are going to be the 2 most expensive rooms in the house. And as a friend suggested , “you only want to build this once”, so best to explore all the options.
TOTO Showroom (Shinjuku): 5/30/2010 1-3pm:
We walk-in and mention we want to do a “kengaku” which basically means we want to walk around and browse and grab all the catalogs. This is usually a 2 floor showroom but unfortunately the floor dedicated to the kitchen is closed for renovations.
Toto is renowned for their toilets and they have an impressive line up. They also have an extensive choice of bathroom storage. The special high-end section is a sight to behold, but well outside our price range.
I was not impressed by the system bath units area . They looked and felt like plastic. There’s a area where you can choose the materials and design a mockup of the bathroom.
Although the main kitchen area was closed, Toto did make available 2 types of system kitchen units. We liked the Cuisa line. What really impressed us was the storage units within the drawers.
INAX Showroom (Shinjuku): 5/30/2010 3-5pm:
This is a much larger and more impressive showroom. The first floor are the kitchens and they hit you with a great range of styles suit all budgets.
Not as comprehensive as TOTO but the price is slightly lower. The SATIS lineup is probably what we are going to go with.
You can tell INAX got it’s start in the tile business because it’s a lot more present in all the models of the system bathrooms. For a similar price to TOTO looks like you get better materials. Another INAX win.
So is this a clean sweep? We were really impressed by how easy it was to choose all the various options and configurations. Both my wife and I considered the Grandpiasse Luxe I-Gate style kitchen to be the best design. You can have a 2.70 meter counter with a seated counter and storage on that same side. I feel in love with this design. So INAX takes the prize here again. I think TOTO needs to rethink their showroom strategy because there was nothing that made me feel attached to any of their products.
YKK AP Showroom (Shinjuku): 5/31/2010 11am-1pm:
Since we went on Monday the place was practically dead and we had the whole place to ourselves. I thought this was going to be the least exciting visit and it turned out to be the most informative in terms of health and energy. First, health because I learned a lot about airflow and how to design for natural wind circulation to prevent “Sick House” Syndrome. Second, energy because double paned windows save lots on heating and cooling bills.
YKK’s main competitor is TOSTEM which we have not yet had the chance to visit yet. However, Sakamoto-san mentioned that the difference is very marginal and YKK tends to be slightly cheaper overall.