Review & Rating
Footnotes:1. Kallista will, at its election, repair, replace or make appropriate adjustment where Kallista inspection discloses any such defects occurring in normal usage within five (5) years after installation....."2. Rarely asked for.
This Company In Brief
For design that pushes the frontier of contemporary styling combined with the legendary reliability of Kohler engineering and manufacturing, you should take a look at Kallista.
Kallista was established in 1979 in San Francisco by Anthony Pontin and Norman Bell to design and sell premium sanitary wares. It was acquired by Kohler a decade later and positioned as Kohler's upscale designer bathwares company.
Unlike Kohler-branded decorative plumbing products, Kallista is not part of Kohler's Kitchen & Bath Group, but belongs to the Kohler Interior Group along with Ann Sacks Tile and Stone, two upscale furniture companies and a high end lighting products company.
The faucets are sold primarily by decorative plumbing showrooms and through interior decorators. There are a few on-line sources, but don't expect these faucets to appear any time soon on Amazon or Wayfair.
Kallista is a design company. It designs and engineers faucets, but does not manufacture them. Manufacturing is done by Kohler's Kitchen & Bath Group, but a few faucets are still manufactured by a French faucet company located in Picardy. Until a few years ago THG made most if not all of Kallista's faucets, but according to Adam Horwitz, Kallista's president, most of that manufacturing has been moved back to the U.S.1
The same is true of Kallista's ceramic products. A few years ago many, if not all, of Kallista's toilets, bathtubs and sinks were made by a Turkish manufacturer, Ekom Eczacibasi Dis Ticaret A.S., an ceramics manufacturer that sells its own VitrA brand of enamelwares in the U.S. This relationship has now ended. Today, according to Mr. Horwitz, all Kallista vitreous china products are manufactured by Kohler. This does not necessarily mean that they are manufactured in Wisconsin. Kohler ows over 50 manufacturing plants around the world, including factories Mexico, China and Indonesia. Of its 30,000 worldwide employees, only 5,500 are in the U.S.
Some of Kallista's collections are designed by its creative in-house design group. But, it also looks outside the company for inspired design. It began pairing with well-known, mostly American, designers and architects around the turn of this century to produce some unique collections, including
Kallista collections include faucets, sinks, and showers, and also the accessories that go along with them, even cabinet hardware in some instances, for a completely coordinated look. Kallista designers will also happily point you to matching tile from Ann Sacks and complementing furnishings from either of the upscale furniture companies included in the Kohler Interiors Group: Baker or McGuire Furniture.
The faucets can be extensively customized. Many include the option of precious and semi-precious stones embedded in the faucet. Customization may add a number of weeks to the lead time, however.
Kallista faucets are available in any of sixteen finishes including antique silver and sterling silver, PVD Nickel Silver and PVD polished gold, along with the standard polished chrome, brushed nickel and bronze. A handy chart published on the company web site displays the finishes available for each Kallista faucet and indicates whether the finish is standard or special order for a particular faucet.
Whatever finish you select, you usually can have the same finish applied to towel bars, tissue holders, robe hooks and so on, for a totally integrated look.
Kallista's faucet warranty is far below the "lifetime" warranty that is the standard in North America, but is typical of faucets made for the very upscale buyer which is Kallista's target market. Similar anemic warranties are offered by the company's competitors.
The company's customer service is capable and responsive, as one would expect of a Kohler company, easily passing the tests we conducted over the past 14 months with no down checks except hold times that sometime exceeded our maximum limit of 5 minutes. Moreover, Kallista customer service has a reputation for often going beyond the minimum necessary. One reader reported that when she asked for a replacement part under warranty, Kallista sent her that part and the other parts needed to totally rebuild her faucet. That, folks, is service.
Kallista also seems very relaxed about its warranty time limits. We have received a number of reports of Kallista agents going above the call of duty to take care of problems even when the 5-year term had long expired. This largess is not consistent, however. We have also gotten reports of customers who were not extended the courtesy.
Kallista has no Better Business Bureau file which usually means that the BBB has never received a complaint about the company — an enviable record. Kallista has not, however, been accredited by the BBB, which means it has not undergone the rigorous BBB vetting. It should consider accreditation.
These are not faucets for the budget minded. They are aimed at up-scale buyers who do not mind paying for uniquely beautiful fixtures or those of more modest means who want just that one sinfully luxurious item for their new bath. If you belong to either of these groups, you should give Kallista a careful look. We are quite confident that the style and craftsmanship of these faucets will not disappoint, nor will the longevity and reliability of Kohler-engineered and -manufactured mechanicals and ceramic cartridges. The one downside is the company's skimpy 5-year warranty. It could be much stronger as befits the quality of the faucets.
Faucets comparable to Kallista include
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Kallista faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.