High-tec bathrooms let you experience a relaxing spa treatment in your own home
Slick and high-tech, the Scuretto walk-through shower by Treesse includes a crisp LED light embedded in the Cristaltech shower wall and roof. It includes overhead and hand-held showers and optional Bluetooth and coloured lighting experience. From £6,576
Our lives are immersed in technology, and as Wi-Fi-linked fridges and apps become standard, so the bathroom is next in line for an exciting digital makeover. From high-tech showers to hands-free taps and coloured lighting, the innovative, efficient and time-saving plus points of today’s tech-savvy gadgets are now riding high on the bathroom radar.
VitrA’s wall-hung V-Care toilet is packed with technology including a sensor that opens the lid when you approach. It has a heated seat – with remote-controlled, adjustable temperature – a washing and drying function (so no need for toilet paper) and automatic air purification. It’s £1,992 for the Comfort model
As Joel Fry, designer at West One Bathrooms, says: ‘Everyone is a little scared of technology but we have incorporated it so much into our lives already, it is only natural the bathroom is the next room. Touch-screen shower controls, shower heads with light therapy and intelligent toilets are just an example of what’s out there. Technology in the bathroom is soon to be the norm.’
Digital bathrooms don’t have to be super modern looking, Belgravia Digital lever shower demonstrates. It has a built-in thermostat for accurate temperature and LED lights that flash red if the water is heating up or blue if it is cooling down. Switch between shower head and headset (or between shower and bath with the overbath model) with an optional remote control to turn the shower on before entering the room. Priced at £1,167
Digital mixer showers might be a good place to start. This latest innovation offers consistent thermostatic temperatures, reliable flow, one-touch controls plus optional extras such as eco settings, a pre-programmable menu and a remote control. They use a digital processor – the nerve centre or ‘brains’ of the shower – which can be situated away from the showering area in the loft or airing cupboard, for example. You might want to seek out an installer who is experienced in this type of product and if you are looking at a shower head with jets, mist, lights and massage sprays then you need to think about your water pressure, especially if you live in an apartment building.
Transform your bathroom into a luxurious spa retreat with Dornbracht’s LifeSpa concept which focuses on products for a healthy, holistic lifestyle. Pictured here is the Horizontal Shower, £5,780; Foot Bath, £663 and hot and cold water dispenser, £651
Sensor, touch-free taps, lighting and toilet flushes have moved on from the commercial sector to become sleek, stylish and practical technologies for the home too. But one piece of bathroom kit that is set for big things, is the new generation of shower toilets, from the likes of Geberit, Laufen and Roca. ‘Most recently, we have seen the height of luxury emerge from Japan and the U.S. with intelligent toilets starting to appear in homes,’ explains Rodrigo Moreno Masey, founder of architectural firm Moreno Masey.
‘Built around the notion of ultra hygiene, smart toilets will open and close, sanitise, wash and flush automatically and touch-free, all under the gentle glow of a futuristic light. Advanced coatings promote cleanliness and include deodorisation.’ It’s a far cry from the humble WC, especially as these new smart toilets do away for the need of toilet paper (great for the environment) and even offer remote-controlled, heated seats for the ultimate convenience.
Indulge the senses with Bodylove, a plug-and-play sauna and steam room from Effegibi. The unit can be fully customised to include a sauna, steam room and relaxation area and built to fit any space. Priced from £20,000 at C.P. Hart
If you want to dip your toe in the digital sector, try an intelligent mirror. These cool bathroom additions include a whole host of clever tech including low energy, LED lighting and built-in, heated demister pads so the glass remains steam-free plus with wireless Bluetooth technology.
Roca’s In-Wash Inspira is a smart toilet combining cleaning and drying functions from a remote control or side panel. The toilet works by an infrared presence sensor so it can’t be accidentally activated and has a handy LED night light. Priced at £2,398
WHY DIGITAL IS THE WAY FORWARD
•Touch-free sensor taps and lighting systems are efficient and a really hygienic, inclusive option for all members of the family, from children to the elderly.
•High-tech bathrooms are eco-savvy too: digital showers can often include water-saving, eco settings and timers while sensor taps only use water when it’s needed – great for the purse strings in the long run. Look out for water-conserving toilets too that can significantly reduce water usage and water recycling technologies that use shower water to flush the toilet.
•Digital technology is often multifunctional, so spot-on for the compact bathroom. Think mirrored cabinets that double up as speakers, shower controls that also fill the bath, showers with built-in lights and TVs that have a mirror finish for when
you’re not watching them.
•Even if you prefer a traditional style bathroom, there is technology to suit, with classic style fittings and fittings on show with the modern ‘brains’ hidden away.
•Digital showers don’t need to be overcomplicated either, and there are simple, user-friendly designs on offer with push-button controls featuring clear symbols (so you don’t accidentally switch on the overhead shower instead of the handheld!)
The Angelo light-up mirror has a built-in Bluetooth-enabled speaker so you can listen to tunes from your smartphone or tablet. With LED lights either side, it is also fitted with a demister pad so the mirror never steams up. It costs £312 from Real Stone & Tile
Q&A with Annabel Williams, designer at Ripples
I’m a technophobe – where do I start?
Luckily technology for the bathroom is becoming more user-friendly. The thermostats for underfloor heating now have a touch screen and an easy user interface but can also come without these functions, looking more like a boiler switch. Digital taps and showers will need to be installed by both an electrician and plumber; many won’t have come into contact with these fittings so it would be worth investing in a good installer aware of the product. Aqualisa has an easy-to-use interface with a sleek design which may be the next upgrade for the technophobe.
Does technology work for the small bathroom?
With compact bathrooms, you have to be more considered with positioning, so don’t position a TV above a basin if you don’t have enough room – maybe place this within the shower instead or choose one with a mirrored front. Cifial’s shower lights up as water passes through it meaning it is solely run on water pressure and not electricity, gaining you eco points while you shower. Also look out for mirrors with integrated speakers, taking away the need for a separate speaker.
Sleek and minimal, Laufen’s Cleanet Riva shower toilet is operated by a simple rotary button on the side of the bowl or via a touchscreen remote control. It also features an LED night light and automatic shower head rinse before and after every use. Priced at £3,990 from Ripples
Can I recreate a Turkish steam bath at home?
From polished plaster walls to steam technology, it is very easy to recreate this at home. Consider where the bathroom is sited within your home – a steam room will require a generator which will need to be positioned ideally in a loft space. Another consideration is space; a steam room could also double as your shower but it will need to be fully enclosed and be at full height. Will two people want to use the steam room at once? We sell some very easy-to-use control panels which can be controlled remotely by Wi-Fi so you can turn on the steamer 20 minutes before you get home and get straight in without waiting for it to steam up.
Are there any eco plus points with the high-tech bathroom?
Rimless toilets are not only cleaner but more efficient than traditional WCs as they use a direct flush that washes the water around the basin. Similarly, smart basin taps, which work from a sensor, will turn on and off from your movement, reducing wasted water, and many digital showers feature an eco-setting which will reduce the amount of water passing through the shower head, sometimes by up to 25%. Another way would be to swap bathroom overhead lighting to LEDs – they are more expensive than halogens, but last up to 13 times longer, so need replacing less. Upgrading your radiator to dual fuel will also mean you can turn on your towel radiator separately to the central heating, and so heat the room without the need for the whole hot water system.
For pure luxury in the bathroom the Fusion bath series by Treesse is one to consider. Featuring the ‘ghost system’ by Marc Sadler, so-named because of its concealed whirlpool jets, there’s also discreet lighting that can be set to one colour or programmed to scroll through the spectrum. Available in a range of shapes and sizes plus built-in or freestanding. Shown is the Fusion 230 measuring 230x180x67cm, from £11,600
Article by: Lara Sargent