The Beauty And Artistry Of Decorative Plumbing

Posted on | August 25, 2014 | No Comments

The beauty of plumbing fixtures has come a long way from the utilitarian days when function always won out over form. Today they have become a wonderful way to add functional artwork to kitchens and baths. To find out more about the interesting details of some of these special and unique offerings, North Carolina Design spoke to Ed Burleson of Guilford Plumbing Supply in Raleigh. A second-generation business, Guilford Plumbing has been a respected source for quality plumbing fixtures since 1975, and Ed has been involved in the business for over 20 years.

Images Courtesy of Guilford Plumbing Supply ©

Ed recognizes that once in a while, a product line comes along that features exceptional, one-of-a-kind artistry – and knows it must have a place in the Guilford Plumbing Supply showrooms. Native Trails is one such collection. According to Ed, the company was developed by CEO Naomi Neilson Howard, with a focus on sustainability, while product design mixes a contemporary look with ages old techniques used by skilled artisans.”

Guilford Plumbing has a strong commitment to those in the design, construction and plumbing industries. “We’re proud to supply the trade with quality products at affordable prices,” Ed asserts. “Each item we provide is something I wouldn’t hesitate to put in my own home.” He notes that the company is equally committed to meeting the aesthetic and functional needs of homeowners. “Every one of their homes is unique to their specific tastes, and it is fun and very rewarding to help them achieve their overall vision.”

Guilford Plumbing’s emphasis on quality and authenticity has Ed particularly excited about Native Trails. Knowing Naomi personally, he explains a bit about where her inspiration comes from. “Her stepfather was from Mexico,” he notes. “She would travel the countryside with him in search of unique artisans. When she found someone really talented she would incorporate their work into Native Trails, and give them an opportunity to grow their business and become successful. She really is focused on giving back to that community.”

One of the line’s most distinctive signature pieces is the hammered copper farmhouse sink, which is crafted from raw, unfinished copper that’s meant to patina over time. The most incredible thing about it is its detailed craftsmanship – it’s hand-hammered using more than 30,000 strokes. Another exceptional and eye-catching piece is the barrel sink. “These sinks are made from actual wine barrels that have been cut down and reassembled to achieve the right fit,” Ed affirms. “They make a great accent for a powder room, and are perfect as bar sinks.”

In some ways, Native Trails is as much about innovation as it is about preserving the past. They have developed NativeStone™, a material crafted from jute and cement that’s used for sinks. “It’s really beautiful, surprisingly lightweight, very durable, and extremely stain resistant,” remarks Ed. “It also comes in several different colors.”

The superior quality, high level of craftsmanship, and respect for materials Native Trails offers is something that Ed really stands behind. “I love that these are truly custom products that come from artisans,” he notes. “They seamlessly incorporate artistry and craftsmanship with innovation. They’re made from materials like recycled copper and wood, so they’re sustainable. And they represent the values that all of us need to have if we want to make an impact in our community, both locally and globally – doing the right thing with materials, borrowing ideas and innovations from other cultures, and making world trade work.”

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