Recently, Huntington Beach, Calif.-based California Faucets introduced StyleDrain, a square-shaped residential drain that's designed with hidden screws. “Consumers are frustrated with the limited selection of lackluster, industrial-style drains available,” Jeff Silverstein, the company's president, said in a release announcing the product. “A gorgeous, richly designed shower with an unattractive and clunky commercial drain didn't sit well with us.” Available in 30 finishes, the drain's shape creates a cleaner look and makes tiling easier. The company also claims that the design makes water flow more efficiently.

Not to be outdone, Quick Drain USA of Frisco, Colo., has developed a linear shower drain with a crisp design and a subtle presence in the bath. Available as a door or wall drain, the product is available in seven lengths ranging from 24 inches to 48 inches and can be used with any tile size.

design on a dime?

Specing any or all of these exciting new products doesn't require much—except maybe a quick check for code compliance. When it comes to details, proper installation makes all the difference. Having skilled contractors execute your instructions separates brilliant touches from mediocre measures; it also prevents inexpensive details from becoming costly distractions.

Of course, some details will be simple and cheap to install, whereas others (reveals around doors, for example) can add up fast. “Sometimes you think [a detail] should cost less,” Walker says, “but nine times out of 10, it costs more.” There are reasons why that's so, however. “Compared to casing out a door with trim, [a reveal] isn't necessarily cheaper, because it takes more work,” Brown explains. And yet, it's a small price to pay for perfection.