Bathrooms now are a high-tech haven

The Mirror 2.0 is a looking glass that The Mirror 2.0 is a looking glass that responds to motion and voice prompts to do things like provide news and weather updates, display your favorite e-book or dim the lights. Photo Credit: Yanko Design

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When East Islip's Jerod Palagi wakes up in the morning, he hits a remote control to turn on his shower, an ioDigital Vertical Spa by Moen that has been preset to his desired temperature and water pressure. So all he needs do is tumble out of bed. "I know it's ready," says Palagi, showroom manager of Green Art Plumbing Supply in Freeport and Southampton. "I don't have to wait for it." The unit, which starts at $1,300, also allows him to release 125-degree steam and turn on special, "healing" lights.

And when a Wall Street financial whiz arrives at her historic house in Southampton Village, she soaks the week's cares away in her tub while watching the latest stock quotes on her Seura mirror-inset TV, installed for her by Hamptons Technology Experts of Southampton.

The bathroom has become a haven of high-tech innovations. While catering to every creature comfort, these spaces can offer the ultimate in convenience and customization, allowing digital control of everything from water pressure to music volume through a smartphone or touch screen.

Here's a peek at some of the other latest powder room gizmos.


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GROOVING

* For your listening pleasure, Kohler makes StereoStik, an audio add-on panel designed to snap onto mirrored cabinets and provide audio from a radio or MP3 player; $199.

* Sound System speakers provide high-quality audio that can be hidden inside a cabinet and are calibrated to offset such sound-unfriendly materials as tile and glass. They're from Duravit, a forward-thinking manufacturer founded in 1817 in Germany's Black Forest; $2,850.

* Green Art Plumbing Supply in Freeport and Southampton sells lots of speakers by Aquabrass that can be set into tile and can be controlled with an iPod docking station; $300.

* Forget rubber duckies -- the VibrAcoustic tub keeps you entertained by "turning your entire tub into a speaker," says Green Art's Jerod Palagi, so that "sound therapy ripples through your body"; $3,200.


TVs

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Just because you need to touch up your makeup doesn't mean you have to skip hanging out with Hoda and Kathie Lee. No high-tech bathroom would be complete without a TV. Or two. Seura's mirror-inset screen lets captains of industry (and the rest of us) watch the stock market report while brushing teeth or applying blush. Its waterproof Hydra TV enables you to scrub a dub while checking out acts on "The Voice." In the Sagaponack home of a hedge funder, Crescendo Designs recently installed a 26-inch TV in a floor-to-ceiling mirror ($12,000), but can accommodate television monitors up to 85 inches.


LIGHT, ACTION, CHROMOTHERAPY

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* With "chromotherapy" as a new bath industry buzzword, color may be vying with Valium to affect mood. WaterTile Ambient Rain by Kohler is a shower ceiling panel with 44 LED nodes that can be combined to produce over 16 million color combinations to put on light shows that would have wowed Timothy Leary. Scenarios range from a bright color palette to soothing patterns and even nature-inspired scenarios, from sunsets to clouds; $3,793.

* The Moxie showerhead sports colored speakers in hues such as chartreuse to evoke a "sense of youthfulness" and blue for "serenity"; $199.


SHOWERS

* For clients with large shower windows facing fabulous views, Crescendo's Mike Brody installs glass that can fog up to obscure the less-than-proper view the neighbors might otherwise see. For those who want to enjoy the view while showering, there are reverse shades that rise to cover unmentionable body parts. Fog glass is $4,000 for a 3-by-3-foot system; shades are $9,700

* The RainBrain by Hansgro lets you micromanage your shower by setting the water stream from spray to cascade or alternating hot and cold; $4,750.

* The Aquavolo Duetto showerhead by Jaclo switches between a rain shower and waterfall stream; $3,900. Expensive, yes, but not all futuristic fixture prices are out of sight.

* The HydroRail, with a rain head and handshower, can be installed without accessing in-wall plumbing for $199.

* The Vedana by BainUltra turns your shower into a spa by providing five "wellness experiences," including light therapy (to regulate the production of serotonin and melatonin) and thermotherapy (basically a sauna, said to boost the flow of oxygen in the blood). It also provides chromotherapy, aromatherapy and sound therapy; $7,495.


KING OF THRONES

* Toilets today can do just about everything but sing and dance. The Numi by Kohler senses your approach and gets to work to open the lid, play music and turn on foot and seat warmers. A built-in bidet also dries and sanitizes, and for those who go bump in the night, it incorporates a night light; $6,200.

* You can turn your own toilet into a bidet with the Toto Washlet, which has a heated seat, cleansing wand and dryer; $1,700

* The FreshSpa Dual Temperature Bidet by Brondell is an attachment that fits under an existing toilet seat and works off your home's plumbing to turn it into a bidet for under $100. Available at The Home Depot.


TAPPING IN

* Touchless faucets are a boon for germaphobes. The Addison faucet with Touch20.xt technology features a proximity sensor that signals water flow when your hands get close; $348.

* No more fooling with hot and cold taps to get the optimal temperature. With the Artemis faucet from Graff, an LED light ring glows red or blue to indicate degree of hot or cold; $3,528.

* Why measure only your weight when the EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale can calibrate muscle and bone mass along with body fat and water content?; $99.

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