I’m considering redoing our downstairs bathroom. It’s time. This is the bathroom that sees the most action, mostly in the form of muddy handprints on the towels and walls, Lego people jammed in the drains, and those mysterious footprints near the ceiling. I don’t even ask my kids about that anymore. Sometimes it’s easier not to know.
You would think that remodeling a bathroom would be an easy thing, because everyone knows what goes in there: You’ve got your commode (that’s a toilet where I come from), your sink, your tub or shower, and, so you don’t leave the house with food in your teeth, a wall mirror.
“Le Miroir.” (Vimeo)
I thought I’d do a little online research, maybe a reconnaissance mission to the local Home Depot, and I’d be on my way to a new bathroom. How much could toilets have changed in the years since we moved into our house?
Never ask a question unless you are prepared to be blown away by the answer; that’s my new motto.
While I am up to date on my communications technology, I’m still stuck in the 20th century, bathroom appliance-wise. According to my research, we have recently been witness to a whole new era of technological improvements that will no doubt revolutionize the way we … see a man about a horse, as it were.
I, myself, am highly suspicious of products like these, because you know what they say: It’s all fun and games while you’re testing these products in the lab, but no one’s going to be laughing when the interactive toilet starts taking pictures of your behind and posting them on Facebook. Because you know that’s exactly what will happen if you make it angry.
This got me wondering if the companies that develop these bathroom fixtures from the future really do any marketing research. Gadgets are cool, no question, but does the average consumer really need all these high-tech toys in a room where the primary purpose is to come out cleaner and lighter? My guess is no, so as a public service, I will be taking a look at some of the products that came up in my research and presenting a more real-world take on how they might be seen by the typical consumer.
Delta Touch2O Smart Faucet: The only real innovation in faucet technology since the last time I remodeled a bathroom is the hands-free thing, where you reliably produce a cleansing stream of water by holding your hands delicately right under the faucet … uh, moving your hands closer to and then farther away from the faucet … hmm, waving your hands furiously in front of the infrared light while jumping up and down … you know what? Those things never work. I’m going to go with a faucet with a handle, by gum. The Delta Touch2O has a handle and … wait a minute. You can touch this thing anywhere and it will turn on. What’s the point of the handle, then? You can’t reach a little farther?
Kohler Purist Chromatherapy Tub with BubbleMassage: Colored lights create ambiance by turning a soothing bath into a rainbow of colors, and the cushioning bubbles gently massage you into a state of bliss. Or you can play an awesome prank on your kids by telling them it’s bath time and then turning the bubbling water blood red.
Oral-B Smart Series with Bluetooth connectivity: Sit right over here by me and let’s wonder why someone might actually need Bluetooth connectivity for her toothbrush. Technically not a big appliance, sure, but I would like to take this opportunity to say that the day I need an app to tell me whether my tongue is clean is the day you need to promise me that you’ll come visit me in The Home.
Cybertecture Touchscreen Mirror: This mirror actually encourages people to touch the mirror to get the weather report, read email, surf the web, and so on. OK, now they’re just getting on a parent’s nerves. Do they have any idea how much time we spend trying to get fingerprints off the mirrors? All this can be yours for a mere $7,726, but don’t forget to work a lot of Windex into your budget.
Kohler’s Numi Toilet: Americans are apparently toilet barbarians compared with the Japanese, who have automated their trips to the john to the point where the self-opening and closing seat actually massages you, warms you, erases odors, plays music and cleans up after you.
Not to be outdone, the Kohler Company has come up with the Numi, which features a self-opening and closing lid for the more squeamish among us, a deodorizing system, a heated seat, a bidet with adjustable controls and — wait for it — a built-in speaker system with a docking station. Because you’ll be in there for a while, so why not charge your device while you’re reading the latest Sports Illustrated? Multitasking in the bathroom is sexy, and Kohler knows it. Even if the design itself is not.
One product that never quite made it was the Toto interactive talking toilet. In addition to providing all the usual services, the Toto came with a series of buttons that could tell you the news, read you stock quotes, and provide daily affirmations. You read that right. Hit the right button and you could start your day knowing that “Your bottom is as lovely as ever.”
Because if you can’t believe your toilet, who can you believe?