Restoration Hardware Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 4/28/21
15 Koch Road, Suite J
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Learn more about faucet warranties.
This Company In Brief
Restoration Hardware, Inc. started in business as a company selling vintage hardware for residential restorations. It has now been recreated as just "RH", an upscale home decor retailer selling through its own website, through catalogs, and through over 100 retail stores of various kinds.
It offers very little actual hardware among its wares but does sell some unique upscale faucets for the bath assembled in the U.S. by Brashtech, Inc., Masco's metal fabricating company that also makes Newport Brass faucets. It does not sell kitchen, bar, or prep faucets under the Restoration Hardware brand.
At one time the company provided a limited lifetime warranty on its faucets. It no longer does so. The company does not have any form of written warranty on its faucets.
The legend is that frustrated at being unable to find vintage hardware to restore his old house in Eureka, California, Stephen Gordon founded Restoration Hardware in 1979, expanding its one store to over 70 stores by 1999 using capital raised at an initial public offering in 1998.
The rapid expansion eroded the company's profitability. It was rescued in 2008 when it was bought out and taken private by Catterton Partners which, by closing stores and increasing catalog and internet sales, boosted earnings to the point that it could again be taken public as Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc. in November 2012. The Delaware company now trades on the New York Stock Exchange. It reported a net income of $276 million on sales of $2.6 billion in 2019. Mr. Gordon is no longer active in the management of the company.
The primary operating entity is Restoration Hardware, Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc. Other subsidiaries include RH US, LLC which owns most of the intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, etc.) of the related corporations, Restoration Hardware Canada, Inc., Restoration Hardware International, Inc., and Michaels Furniture Company, Inc., all of which are headquartered at the same Corte Madera, California address.
Although the company started out as a seller of vintage decorative hardware, it has de-emphasized hardware and become more a furniture and decor accessories store – an upscale combination of Pottery Barn and Pier One – under the guidance of CEO Gary Friedman. Decorative hardware is no longer its core business. In consequence, the company has largely outgrown its original moniker, Restoration Hardware, and is busy rebranding itself as merely "RH" – a process that is still ongoing.
Mr. Friedman worked his way up at Gap and later became the CEO of up-scale retailer of Williams-Sonoma. He joined Restoration Hardware in 2001 when it was near bankruptcy and is widely credited with turning it into one of the nation's most successful high-end furniture retailers.
RH still sells through retail stores, which it calls "galleries", mostly on the coasts, and is in the process of building more of its upscale stores. As of the date of this report, it owns about 70 galleries, the majority of which are in California, and a dozen or so outlet stores, usually located in outlet malls.
It also sells over the internet and through catalogs. Its catalog is so large at over 2,500 pages and 15 lbs. that it had to be divided into separate "sourcebooks". It is down from 3,300 pages at 17 lbs. in 2014, over five times larger than the largest-ever Sears general catalog which topped out at 605 pages. Because most recipients of the mailed catalogs will not order anything, catalog experts have calculated that the cost to the environment of generating one order is 340 lbs. of paper. One would expect the environmentalists to complain loudly about that, and they have.
RH maintains six websites, two primary sites: www.rh.com and www.restorationhardware.com, and three special interest sites: www.rhbabyandchild.com, www.rhteen.com, and www.rhmodern.com as well as a separate Waterworks website, www/waterworks.com.
Unlike retail sources such as whose in-store private brand faucets are merely assembled collections of ready-made faucets bought from various faucet manufacturers, the faucets offered by Restoration Hardware are designed for, and exclusive to Restoration Hardware.
The Lambeth collection was designed by Jonathan Browning Studios. We don't know where the the other six collections were designed but suspect that Brasstech (see below) had a major role in the process. The faucets, without exception, are creative and visually stunning, designed with a keen eye for style and refinement.
Fewer than a dozen basic sink faucet designs are offered, but these basic faucets are expanded by providing a variety of handles and spouts to give the faucets a variety of looks. The Lambeth collection, for example, includes eighteen variations. Styling typically reflects the late 1800s and early 1900s forms that easily fit late Victorian and Arts & Crafts or Art Deco baths.
Some collections are more modern, reminiscent of the Bauhaus school of design and suitable for post-war modernist decors, and at least three, Lambeth, Spritz and Sutton, are contemporary enough for any modern bath.
Collections include more than just faucets. They typically contain shower systems, lighting, mirrors, cabinet hardware, and accessories such as towel bars, shelves, hooks, shower and bath baskets, and tissue holders. The collections are intended to enable a buyer to outfit a bath with coordinating components.
Faucets are for the bath only. RH does not offer kitchen, prep, or bar faucets. Faucets and most other decorative plumbing fittings are reasonably priced – in line with luxury fittings from other decorative plumbing companies. Coordinating accessories, however, can be a little pricey.
The company also sells
RH also sells They are sold through design studios in the U.S. and U.K.
We expected to see Waterworks faucets and other wares showing up in RH stores as stand-alone collections, but that has not happened. Waterworks has been kept a separate company with its own website and retail outlets.
The company catalog says that Restoration Hardware faucets are assembled "in Germany from U. S. components". Not true. In fact, the faucets are assembled in California (which, for the benefit of RH catalog writers, is not now and never has been a part of Germany) by Brasstech from faucet components obtained primarily from five large Chinese manufacturers.
Brasstech is owned by Masco, a holding company that also owns Brasstech is Masco's general brass fabricating subsidiary, manufacturing faucets and other decorative hardware items sold under the products for other divisions of Masco and for outside companies like RH.
Very few, if any parts in an RH faucet are made in the U.S.
Brasstech also handles the company's parts and technical service – a call to Restoration Hardware Technical Support (1-866-417-5207) actually puts you in touch with Brasstech support – a smart move since Restoration Hardware is spared the chore of inventorying, cataloging, and distributing faucet parts, and its sales representatives don't have to learn about faucets.
Restoration Hardware's association with Brasstech has caused some confusion. The fact that Brasstech assembles and finishes the Newport Brass line of faucets has led some to conclude that Restoration Hardware sells Newport Brass faucets. Not true. While it appears that Brasstech does the actual design, prototyping, and assembly of at least some Restoration Hardware faucets, the two lines are distinctive with no overlap that we can find.
RH faucets are equipped with ceramic disk valves made by Flühs Drehtechnik of Lüdenscheid, Germany, world-renown for its precision machining. Flühs (sometimes spelled Fluehs for English speakers) valves are heavy-duty products with an established reputation for leak-free reliability.
The company calls its furniture and hardware collections "curated", usually a term applied to museum collections of similar or related objects, but it seems to apply here as well. The original design vision was provided by Stephen Gordon, supplemented by on-again, off-again, CEO, Gary Friedman.
RH offers its faucets in nine finishes. Two of these, polished and satin stainless steel, are available only in the Spritz collection. Our favorite by far is polished chrome – by which we mean brilliant, hand-polished chrome. Next in line would be polished nickel, then satin nickel, aged brass, and bronze. Unlike some bronze finishes that are meaning that they will react with the environment and will discolor and stain over time, RH bronze is a permanent finish that will not discolor or stain with normal care.
Faucet finishes are applied using four basic technologies: electro-plating, physical vapor deposition (PVD), powder coating, and lacquering. To no surprise whatsoever, no one at RH was able to tell us what finish method or methods were used on RH faucets. Very much to our surprise, Brasstech was also unable to identify the finish methods.
Chrome and Polished Nickel are . Polished and Satin Stainless Steel are not given a finish. The "finish" is the material from which the faucet is made. Satin Nickel is a . Burnished Brass is a lacquer coating over the brass material of the faucet. All of the remaining finishes appear to be .
Electroplating is the traditional method of finishing faucets. It is a durable, scratch-resistant finish that has given good service for well over 100 years. PVD finishes are the newcomers to the industry, barely 30 years old. They are brutally strong, something on the order of 10 to 20 times more scratch-resistant than polished chrome. Powder coatings are much less robust, usually described as "semi-durable", requiring more care than electroplated or PVD finishes to maintain a like-new appearance. They are about as durable as the finish on your car.
For more comprehensive information on the finishes used on faucets, go to Faucet Finishes
At one time RH provided a limited lifetime warranty to the original buyer of its faucet that guaranteed the faucet cartridge against leaking and defects in the manufacturing process. It no longer backs its faucets with a written warranty of any kind. According to a person we spoke to in the company, it will take care of any problems with a for an unspecified period of time – one person said ten years, another was not sure. A vague unwritten promise like this, however, is not worth much. It does not constitute a warranty that is enforceable under law. We don't put much stock in it.
Shipping is not free, and charges can be steep for a faucet. Standard shipping charges to U.S. addresses used to be a flat 10% of the purchase price and increase with the price of the total order – in no manner reflecting the actual cost of shipping.
Shipping is still based on total price but is banded to price ranges rather than being a flat 10%. This usually results in a charge of slightly more than 10%. Shipping on a $700.00 RH faucet would be $80.00, on a $10.00 order, $4.95, or nearly 50% of the purchase price. To Canada, shipping is even higher – roughly 20% of the purchase price.
We have never seen shipping charges calculated like this on a faucet. Most shipping charges are based on weight and size, not price. Restoration Hardware has no free shipping, unlike other sellers that will ship for free after a specified minimum price point is reached.
Technical support, handled through Brasstech, is very good, sometimes excellent but never lacking. And, since parts inventory is handled by Brasstech, getting parts is not a problem. If you have a technical issue with your Restoration Hardware faucet, we suggest that you call Brasstech technical support directly at the number listed above. If your issue is a warranty claim, it will be ultimately handled by Brasstech, but you will have to initiate the claim with customer service, and customer support for non-technical issues can be problematic.
The company promises superior customer service:
"Restoration Hardware strives to achieve the highest level of service in our industry. Our goal is to provide our customers with the best possible customer experience. To this point, if we make a mistake, we'll fix it. You can expect nothing but the best in quality and service."
But, it does not deliver.
The actual customer experience with the company indicates that RH still has a way to go to reach its promised quality of after-sale customer service.
While service problems are not as severe as in the past, they have not been completely corrected. Our most recent tests of RH's customer service produced marginally favorable results, and the Better Business Bureau, which formerly rated the company poorly, now rates RH an A+ on its scale of A+ to F for its handling of 66 customer complaints reported over the past three years.
Reviews of the company's service by customers during that same period are, however, overwhelmingly negative, according to the BBB. Most relate to failing to issue refunds and refusal to accept returned merchandise even when the items are defective or not as described in the company catalog.
Our experience is that customer service agents tend to assume that any problem with a faucet is the customer's fault and must have been caused by faulty installation, abuse, or mishandling. It takes considerable discussion with customer service to arrive at a satisfactory resolution.
When we compare Restoration Hardware customer service to a company that offers top quality support, like the vast difference between first class and other class customer service is very evident.
Faucets comparable to those sold by Restoration Hardware in quality if not in style include
Our bottom line on Restoration Hardware faucets is that, absent a written guarantee by the company, we would under no circumstance purchase any of these faucets. We suggest looking to the faucet companies listed above as an alternate source of good quality faucets that are guaranteed in writing for the lifetime of the original buyer.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have had experience with Restoration Hardware faucets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.