George’s Pipe & Plumbing

Best Bathroom Fixtures, September 2005

Plumbing fixtures may be the most utilitarian of household objects, but they can also be the most lavish. They must hold water, yet at their best they can be sculpture that soothes and stimulates. Though other Los Angeles-area plumbing emporiums have their strengths (Ferguson, with seven outlets, maintains a terrific selection), George’s Pipe & Plumbing in Pasadena is where architects, designers, and savvy civilians seek Bain Ultra air baths and Dornbracht lavatory sets as avidly as Flaubert sought le mot juste. Founded in 1956 as a union plumbing contractor, George’s offers not just an array of creamy fixtures and gleaming faucets but well-informed service. In fact, owner Rick Brandley, the 49-year-old nephew of the eponymous George, started here when he was 12 and has put together a staff of 17 that functions as a veritable plumbing faculty. George’s makes a point of carrying local products. Among its lines are California Faucets from Huntington Beach, L.A.-based Altman’s, and Rohl, a Santa Ana distributor. Not that George’s slights international concerns. Faucets from THG and Herbeau also occupy coveted shelf space in the 2,500-square-foot shop. Later this year, when George’s moves to 7,000-square-foot digs two blocks away, it will stock the Toto Neo Rest, the Lexus of toilets. The $5,200 fixture boasts an automatically opening seat, and it washes and air-dries your business end. “It’s the first new thing in toilets since Thomas Crapper invented them,” says Brandley.