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A toilet that really hangs in there

by: Submitted Photo, Geberit Concealed Tank and Carrier Systems is shown here in the Stafford house’s bathroom for its exercise room.

Estate homes have one thing in common: the uncommon. So when Liz Murray was asked to design the bath spaces for the exercise room and pool house of a family's 10,000-square-foot home in Stafford, she offered them an uncommon idea: the concealed, wall-hung toilet.

'I had been familiar with Geberit products ever since I graduated from design school,' said Murray, who lives and works in Lake Oswego. 'Because I traveled throughout Europe and was familiar with Geberit - for example, besides homes, many German and Swiss hotels use the Geberit concealed tank system - I had many ideas to draw from.

'The client was looking for new ideas, and I brought the concealed wall-hung toilet idea to their attention. My client, who preferred European design, instantly fell in love with the entire concept of taking the toilet 'off' the floor.'

The 'Concealed Tank and Carrier System' is from Geberit North America, part of the Geberit Group, a European market leader and global provider of sanitary technology. Located in Des Plaines, Ill., Geberit North America markets concealed installation systems for residential, wall-hung toilets as well as bath waste and overflows.

The Geberit concealed installation system technology enables designers like Murray to create unique spaces for their clients by lifting the toilet off the floor and allowing greater flexibility of placement in the bathroom.

The tank's in the wall

'There is no question about it being a more sleek design; with no tank sitting there, exposed,' Murray said. 'A toilet tank continually fights with designs. Geberit solved that problem by putting the 'tank' in the wall.'

'The 'tank' is actually a one-piece, integrated gravity-flush tank made of high-density polyethylene,' said Neal Van Zante, the contractor who brought Murray's design to reality and who did the entire remodeling project. 'According to the manufacturer, Geberit, each tank is individually leak-tested for reliability and reinforced to prevent collapse. We look at details like this, not only as a point of differentiation for our customers, but to know that the designs stand up to use.'

In addition to leak-testing, the Geberit tank and carrier system is insulated to prevent condensation inside the bathroom wall.

'That's very important, no matter where you build but particularly here in Oregon,' Van Zante said. 'We've had absolutely no issues with the Geberit concealment of the tank. In fact, the clean look . . . the adjustability of the height . . . how easy it is to clean around the back and below the toilet, it all makes so much more sense than having a traditional toilet on the floor.'

The plumber who installed the fixtures concurs. 'We've done about 20 of them,' says Jeff Seyles, of Seyles Plumbing, also a Lake Oswego business. 'They are solid, they are clean and good looking in the bathroom. For tight spaces, it's just the thing.'

The access to the tank is through the actuator flush panel, which controls the flushing on the wall. Geberit's design was engineered for performance, and for quick, easy maintenance should the need occur.

'Then there's the hygiene'

'There is just more flexibility for designers,' Murray says. 'And then there's the hygiene.'

Murray, Van Zante and Seyles all agree that raising the toilet off the floor promotes better hygiene in today's residential restrooms 'It's just easier to clean the floor,' Van Zante says. 'In fact, nothing is touching the floor on this design. It's remarkable.'

'The installation is a little different, I have to admit,' Seyles says. 'There's a little more time involved with the rough-in work. But the trim is just like a regular toilet, and once you do a couple, even the rough-in takes little more time than a traditional install.'

According to Seyles, there is no special training required, either. 'If we had questions, we just called the company, and they gave us the answers,' he says. 'The wall-hung toilet is just what the folks around here are looking for.'

The owners of the Stafford home asked to remain anonymous, so they will remain unidentified.

These toilets, said Murray, 'have come down quite a bit; they're less than $1,000 now.'

Of course, she adds, 'They're not for your run-of-the-mill home.'

'It's a really great European concept that's catching on in the United States,' said Murray. 'I've been using them in my designs now for quite a few years.'

There are two in this project - one in the exercise room and another in the pool house.

No hesitation on Geberit

'An estate home is luxurious, but achieving luxury can be as simple as pushing the design of the everyday toilet,' Murray adds. 'This estate's additions bring a level of luxury to these rooms because of the concealing of the tank on a toilet.'

Some of the additional benefits of the Geberit system include: (1) bowl rim height adjusts from 15 inches to 19 inches; (2) a 16-gauge structural steel-tubed frame rated to 880 pounds without damage to the finished wall; and (3) an anti-siphon fill valve designed for short refill times minimizes the noise of the flush.

'The look was classic traditional,' Murray said. 'The Geberit design works extremely well with the tile, and we knew we wanted that type of installation. We have worked with Van Zante for over 10 years, so when Neal was awarded the project, he called on me for the design.'

Murray says it was because it was Geberit that she had no hesitation in recommending the design.

'I've been familiar with Geberit for years,' she says. 'When I knew it was a Geberit product, it instantly gave me the confidence to recommend it to my client.'

For more information on the toilets, contact Geberit North America at 2100 South Clearwater Drive, Des Plaines, Ill. 60018, or call 800-566-2100. You can also visit Geberit North America at geberitnorthamerica.com.

To reach Liz Murray Interior Space Planning and Design, 15450 S.W. Boones Ferry Road, PMB 720, Suite 9, Lake Oswego 97036, call 503-201-8117 or e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

And Van Zante Construction can be reached at 503-636-2218 or mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .