Design Expert: Bathroom Bliss
Technology that enhances the bathroom experience
Can you imagine a world where you would never again have to argue over who didn’t flush the toilet, or who left the seat up? Well, imagine no more. If you forgot to flush, there is no need to run back because you can do that now from your phone app, even though the toilet likely did that on its own after you left the room. Just like the shower turned off after you asked it to. The home automation craze has asked to visit your bathroom and boy, did they make some changes while they were in there! Let me fill you in so you know what to expect.
The automated temperature of the room isn’t so surprising. Many are familiar with Nest and Ecobee for remote temperature control. It doesn’t matter if you are in your own bedroom, or halfway around the world, you can adjust the thermostat from your phone app. These thermostats learn your behaviour and warm up the bathroom before you arrive. Smart thermostats now connect with products like Nu Heat, which warms the floor tiles and shower bench before you arrive, and gets the towel warmers rolling so you don’t even have to think about it. The whole system “talks” to the weatherman, so it is always aware of the seasons and the outdoor temperature. The room will be cooled in warmer months and the floor heating turned off completely. It is intuitively set up for energy conservation and complete comfort.
Light and sound can also be controlled remotely in the bathroom. There are whole home systems that allow you to remotely adjust the house lighting, or you can ask an electronic personal assistant like Alexa or Google to do it for you. Lights on or off, dimmed or brightened; all possible with a simple command. “Alexa, increase the room light by 50 per cent; tell me my schedule for the day and play my favourite morning playlist,” thanks to systems like Sonos with Wi-Fi-enabled speakers. Place one in the bathroom and listen to your “get-ready” music in just the bathroom, or throughout the entire home. You simply launch the app, then set your favourite music to begin your day.
DIGITAL & DUAL FUNCTION
The newest answer to “who left the toilet seat up” is going to be: The App! But no one will ask anymore. The newest Numi toilet by Kohler, not only lifts the toilet cover, it warms the toilet seat. You can select an interior light colour along with the music most suited to you. If you stand to use the toilet, you simply tap your toe and the seat also lifts up for you. On the other hand, if you’re going to sit, then feel free to use the foot heater to keep your tootsies warm while you sit. Naturally, you will want to have a bidet when you’re finished, although historically, they are not really popular in North America. The bidet is built into the toilet with adjustable spray heads. You can adjust the spray locations, pressure, temperature as well as the same adjustability with the drying process. When you leave the bathroom, the seats and cover will close, the toilet will flush and be sanitized with ultraviolet lights. The Numi will leave you feeling brand new, and your guests might be spending even more time in your powder room.
Moen has created a shower system that works with voice activation. The “U by Moen’s system connects with Google’s helper, Alexa, so when you’re ready to shower, you simply ask her to start your shower so the temperature is perfect when you get there. More specifically, you can ask for “Sally’s” shower—the U system customizes shower preferences accordingly. It understands how you like to shower as opposed to how your partner likes to shower. There is a digital display in the shower for “live adjustments,” which controls a maximum of four values. If you like the body jets at the same time as your rain head, the U system has got you covered. Now don’t worry if you get distracted after you ask for the shower to start. The auto shut-off system understands if you were delayed by a face time call. You can operate it from the app on your phone, if your partner is still asleep or just get Alexa to do it for you. You don’t have to touch anything but the shampoo and your own hair.
Many companies have touchless lavatory faucets so you don’t have to wash your hands and touch the faucets just after you’ve cleaned them. Now you don’t run the faucet with an app, but with the wave of a hand for on and off. When it comes to using a towel to dry your hands, we still recommend you do it “old school” with a hand towel. In fact, you are still going to have to brush your own teeth and comb your hair with no digital assistance at all…at least for now. Check back here next year when all that may have changed.
Extensive experience in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Principal of design firm Grafus Design Build, Glen Peloso is frequently in the media as design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and CHCH Morning Live, a contributor to Global Morning News, Breakfast Television Toronto, past series with HGTV and the Food Network, along with Radio and Blogs. Reporting on design trends from around the world, his work has been featured in various print publications throughout North America. Twitter: glenpeloso Instagram: glenpelosodesigner