Posted by Heidi V. Anderson on August 19, 19100 at 13:43:35:
in bathroom design may soon make the bathroom of today look like the
outhouse of yesterday. Toilets, tubs, and scales these days do more than
flush, fill with water, or prompt you to start dieting; they have
additional features that are both practical and luxurious.
One of the most important pieces of bathroom hardware, and
one that is often shunned (you might envy a neighbor�s indoor spa or
lavish shower, but when was the last time you complimented someone on
his choice of toilet?), has undergone some significant design changes in
the past decade. These changes started overseas and are now making their
way to the United States.
�We complain about toilets, but we don�t do much,� says Terry Love
, a noted Seattle plumber (see his
humorous, fictional account of the Bill Gates mansion bathroom tour at http://www.terrylove.com/gates.htm
�Japan has been doing things for a lot longer, and we�re playing a
bit of catch-up.�
Toto, a Japanese company, is a leader in this field (http://www.totousa.com
They have a Zo� Washlet toilet seat that sports features such as an
optional heated seat, automatic air deodorizer, a soft-closing top, and
an aerated stream of warm water activated by remote control. As if that
weren�t enough, Toto also offers the Carlyle toilet, which has a
porcelain �skirt� (making it easy to clean) and proprietary flushing
technology that is both powerful and quiet. Top it all off with a
battery-powered electronic flush valve, and the scene is almost
complete. All that�s left is the Magic John Toilet Seat Lifter (http://www.magicjohn.com
a foot-activated toilet seat lifter and lowerer from Sole Convenience.
Shower & Tub.
The next stop on our tour involves another essential: the
shower. Whether you prefer a brisk, chilly one or a long, steamy one,
the digital home�s shower is a conglomeration of nifty gadgets. Forget
turning on the water and sticking your hand in it to test the
temperature; the thermostatic valve (this one made by GROHE, http://www.groheamerica.com/grohtemp.htm
lets you dial in the exact temperature, which is accurate to within 1
degree. The valve can also be fitted with a pressure control that
regulates water flow in multiple-head showers.
If you like hot showers, you won�t have to wait long for hot water.
The water circulation system circulates hot water through the piping so
that obtaining hot water is nearly instantaneous. The Chilipepper Pump (http://www.chilipepperapp.com
is a simple appliance plugged in under the sink.
Then, there�s the electronics. Want to listen to music or watch
television while you take a long soak in the tub? The J-Allure, a
shower/ whirlpool bath combination from Jacuzzi (http://www.jacuzzi.com/products/showers
), has a built-in AM/FM stereo system and
a CD player with four speakers. Plus, the optional color television has
a VCR, DVD, or Web TV access, and a remote control.