You’ll hopefully have read part one of my recent trip to KBIS, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Orlando here. But I still have so much to share with you. You know me well enough by now, that you know I like to get into the weeds on a trade show report. There are a couple of topics that personally really came into focus relating to kitchens and bathrooms following my visit to KBIS. Firstly, that while kitchen and bathroom renovations are a big investment, you should look beyond trends and focus intrinsically on your lifestyle choices when making a big ticket purchase like this. Secondly that the user experience of the whole family needs to be diligently assessed. There is much to consider and when it comes to the bathroom, but two criteria that address both the points above are ageing in place and healthy living. In fact, health is the new wealth.
We generally don’t talk much about ageing in relation to our homes in the UK, until its absolutely unequivocally necessary, but I think its time we started thinking about it in terms of future proofing. Especially given how inaccessible and inconvenient many homes are for large sections of the population. It just doesn’t seem an exciting or sexy topic though, and maybe, just maybe it reminds us that we’re one step closer to being dead. And that’s a conversation non-starter. Yet, we’re all very comfortable with discussions around anti-ageing creams etc. but the idea of maybe planning our bathrooms so that it’s easier for all users, at all ages, is just too much. Here’s the spin though. Many features that would be good as we grow older are also great for the youngest in our households, yup, toddlers and small children. I came across some products that without a doubt would contribute to a healthier lifestyle and outlook or just make life easier.
First up spotted at the Lixil booth (the parent the parent company of American Standard, DXV, and Grohe) was American Standard’s Spectra collection. The Spectra+Touch showerhead changes spray patterns with a simple touch on the outside ring of the showerhead, making it easy to customize the shower experience, even with wet hands. So what, you might be thinking? But recall how difficult those sliders are on the side of shower head that changes the pressure of the water flow. Now imagine how difficult that is for a child or an older person, now factor in wet hands….. It’s ease of use technology at it’s most practical. So you can have the soft, gentle rain-like feel from their shower head or the high intensity, high-pressure spray in a few taps to the rim. Everyone would be thanking you for that. They also have a “button” version called the Spectra eTouch that does exactly the same thing, a simple tap on the button and you change the pressure between the five spray options.
If health is the new wealth, I know a product I’d like to splash out on. The DXV Drop-In Air Bath with Aqua Moment Waterfall. Can you imagine that water flowing around your shoulders and erasing the tension of the day? A massage from your bath, who’d have thought it possible? The world’s oldest medical literature makes numerous references to the beneficial use of the bath in treating ailments. Genuinely the power of water soothing away muscular pain and relieving tension through the waterfall feature of the headrest. It’s inspired by hot springs and is designed to deliver a “soft veil of warm water” rather than being like a water jet, I don’t know about you, but that sounds heavenly to me.
Being gently massaged by water may seem like a luxury in the bathroom, however a seemingly luxury product I think we should all be adding to our bathroom wish lists is steam therapy. Gone are the days when this needs to be an actual separate room, the technology exists to turn your shower enclosure into a steam experience. I had the opportunity to participate in a “Lunch and Learn” with Mr. Steam while I was in Orlando, which focused on the health benefits of steam. You might recall that a couple of years ago I went to the Aire Spa in NYC with Mr. Steam (here) to experience the beneficial properties of steam bathing for myself. My skin felt hydrated (positively youthful!), my muscles had relaxed, and my sinuses were clear from the NYC pollution – in short, it was rejuvenating. So what health benefits does an integrated steam shower offer?
As many of you know I have a young son and not surprisingly germs and colds are rife in our household in the winter (I blame pre-school!) but did you realise that steam alleviates many of the symptoms related to this – it improves breathing by opening up the nasal passages, the hot mist helps to increase sinus drainage and loosen up a “heavy” chest. One close to my heart with a little one who suffers from asthma and a husband with allergies is that steam can provide temporary relief from asthma type symptoms. Given I started this post about ageing I feel it’s my duty to relate steam’s benefits; increases circulation, may relieve the pain and discomfort from arthritis, promotes deep and relaxing sleep, removes lactic acid from over-worked muscles and increase muscular flexibility….. I could go on. Again its interesting how beneficial these would be to everyone in the family no matter their age. Mr. Steam also has products that combine steam with aromatherapy, chromotherapy and music therapy.
While this all sounds great, you might still be thinking you don’t have the space for this. But you do. Interior Designer Lori Gilder created the below master bathroom in a project, and it shows that it’s very easily achieved. With touch screen operation and stylish low profile linear steam heads by Mr. Steam, it’s all very unobtrusive in the design. As a design professional, there is even a handy virtual spa tool to help configure your clients stand alone shower spa.
Health is the new wealth after all.
Being at a trade show isn’t just about the exhibition stands and seeing new products, there are plenty of really informative and beneficial talks and CPD’s to attend. Aside from the very informative lunch and learn with Mr. Steam I also attended a really great panel discussion about designing with wellness and the environment in mind which included Interior Designer Phoebe Oldrey who talked about holistic design (see her Ted X talk on design here). Also on the same panel was Interior Designer Lisa Kahn Allen, who I met on Blogtour NYC in 2015, who brought me bang up to date on designing with biophilia in mind. So worthwhil,e as I learnt to so much about wellness in interior design.
I was also part of a panel at KBIS on sourcing globally and afterwards, I shared a few thoughts with Editor TV on the benefits of attending International Trade Shows
Coming in KBIS part three:
- Low budget high impact options
- Monochrome and Mixed Metals
- The Hex tale
If you want to know more about the UK’s guidelines for Adaptable design for life you can see find out more here. If you’d like to read my bathroom Trade Show report from Salone del Mobile visit here. Or maybe you’d like some Bathroom showroom recommendations in the UK – see here.
Photography: The photographs of Lori Gilder’s Master bath were provided by Mr. Steam. All other photography is by Mary Middleton for hellopeagreen.com. The video footage of DXV’s Drop-In Air Bath with Aqua Momentis by Interior Designer and fellow Designhound Jennifer Stoner.
This is not a directly sponsored post but for full disclosure see the following. Thank you to Modenus and KBIS for inviting me on this free press trip. While I did not get paid for my time at KBIS, my hotel, airfare and some meals were covered. All words, opinions and images my own.