65
  • Emailarticle
  • Writecomment

Luxury Baths: Wellness Combined with Technology

By PAMELA DITTMER MCKUEN
We needn’t travel far to escape the chill and chafe of winter’s ferocity. We can retreat to the soothing waters of our bath. There, in shower or tub, we shall luxuriate. We shall anticipate the flowers of spring. But first….
  
Bathing today does much more than cleanse—it’s a personal experience that enhances well-being and stimulates the senses, says David Kotowsky, president of Hydrology, a purveyor of fine bath fixtures and furniture in Chicago.
  
Wellness combined with technology is a major theme for master baths and home spas, he says Wellness combined with technology is a major theme for master baths and home spas, he says.
  
Take, for example, the HydrologyPool ™ collection, which affords a healing soak through five therapies borrowed from ancient healing methods: applied heat, light, aromatherapy, sound and pressure. Turn on any features, turn on all features, for a customized aqueous journey.

Kohler’s Fountainhead VibrAcoustics™ bath promotes deep relaxation through technology-based sound therapy. Four original compositions integrate music, vibration and light, and are designed to bring your breathing rate into alignment with the beat. “As a plus, you can hook up your own sound system if you want to rock out while you’re in the bathtub,” says William Collins, senior designer at The Kohler Store in the Merchandise Mart.
  
Feeling blue? Seasonal affective disorder got you down? Many tubs offer mood-altering chromatherapy, sometimes as an option. Synchronized underwater lighting colors your bath to suit your aesthetic sensibilities. Choose a favorite hue or cycle through the spectrum. “Warm colors elevate your mood. Cool colors relax you,” says Chicago interior designer Paul Schulman.
  
If your preference is to bathe standing up rather than in recline, consider a shower wall such as the Acquapura by Franco Sargiani for Fantini. Shower walls deliver multiple horizontal streams of water and sometimes an overhead waterfall. They can be installed in existing shower space or as a freestanding unit in a spa room.
  
“Many people install body sprays in their showers to get a similar experience, but there is no comparison to having a full wall of water spraying you,” says Kotowsky.
  
Once again, Baby Boomers are influencing the trends, says Collins. The demographic group has traveled the world and stayed at luxury hotels and spas. Now they are re-designing their homes or moving into smaller ones in anticipation of aging in place, and incorporating the features and amenities they’ve seen.
  
“The interesting thing is that so many of these solutions for
universal design or aging in place really feel luxurious,” he says.
“Years ago they made a home look like a hospital. Now they just make a home easier to use for everybody.”
  
One of those solutions is Kohler’s Elevance™ rising-wall tub, which elegantly removes the challenge from getting in and out of a bath. You’ll recline at normal seated height, and the sidewall moves up and down like a car window.
  
Throughout the marketplace are myriad features and fixtures to
individualize your bath. Many are quite suitable for urban condos or suburban bungalows that tend to be long on charm but short on space   Look for showers with no thresholds, tubs with heaters or waterfalls, tubs that fill from the ceiling, remote-control water-fillers, and
ultra-fast drains.
  
Where to start? Schulman poses the question: What do you want your experience in this space to be? Is it a relaxing respite? Or do you want to be up and out in minutes? The answer will lead you where you need to go.

Published: February 12, 2012
Issue: February 2012 Issue