Bonnie, SH and I took the Kohler factory tour this morning. If you like toilets and like factories and happen to be in the Milwaukee area, I highly recommend this free tour where they even give you a bottle of water. If nothing else, it will help you understand why nice bathroom and kitchen fixtures cost so much.
It did not, however, help me understand how toilets are designed -- we did not go to the toilet R&D center, which would I would have loved to see. (Why do you have to flush twice sometimes? Can't someone do something about this? Why can't I flush certain female items? Honestly. We can put a man on the moon, etc, etc.)
I love the wall of toilets and sinks.
What we did see is how vitreous china (no, I do not know what makes 'vitreous' china different from regular china and no, I am not going to look it up because they promised no pop quiz) is molded, glazed and fired, how cast-iron bathtubs are molded, enameled and fired, and how fixtures are molded and coated, all of which was very cool to me as I am a total factory nerd and love to see things being made.
My sister and I took a quick run through the Design Center on our way back from Medford and she had no hesitation about jumping into this tub.
In my past life, I was a process improvement person and data queen for a manufacturing company. This tour is probably the only time I knew something that SH did not: I know what lockout/tagout is and what NCP is and I knew what the charts that the guide*, bless his heart, did not give me enough time to read, meant. SH has seen computers being assembled but that is not the same thing at all as red-hot molten iron being poured into a die with a sand core or brass fixtures being dipped into chrome or a toilet being unmolded. Not that we did those things where I worked, but we still had big machines and a lot of danger. I even had my own steel-toed boots.
In the spirit of helpfulness, I looked for places where my suggestions would be welcome. After all, I substantially improved the inter-plant credit hold process at my old company. Surely I can come up with something at a toilet-making plant. But the only suggestion for improvement that I would make based on my two-hour tour is that ironically, they need more ladies' rooms.
I heart this sink. I heart this color. I would have this sink in my house in a second if our bathroom were not white and blue.
* Our guide was a sweetheart. He had worked for Kohler for 42 years and retired in 1996. He had a strong Milwaukee accent and would say, "OK den. We can't go over dere no more by dose guys. So."