high-tech elements support a number of
contemporary-ornate details, including a Baroque mirror
hanging above a customized double vanity and a
two-person tub and shower. The project challenged design
and build specialists to minimize any visible material
PHOTO BY DAVID BADER
A bathroom makeover in Wauwatosa is a testimonial to
the notion that high-tech encompasses craftsmanship as well as
Interior designer Heather Scott of Delafield-based Bartelt. The
Remodeling Resource says both played a significant role in the
six-figure project — a master bath and walk-in closet renovation
occupying just under 500 square feet of a 2,600-square-foot, 1920s-era
“This project challenged everyone involved,” Scott says. “My client was
inspired by places she and her husband have traveled. She pushed the
envelope with her vision.”
Realizing that vision took two years, as Scott’s client absorbed the
first meetings and ideas before moving forward.
“My client was focused on what she wanted,” Scott recalls. That included
details reflecting specific taste, particularly in how to accommodate
the homeowner couple.
separate tub and shower were created, and each accommodates two people.
The tub also needed to meet expectations — not with a whirlpool, but to
keep water heated for long soakings. A specialized liner and in-wall
heater combination takes the water that flows out, reheats it, and sends
it back to the tub.
Large sheets of porcelain tile, which encase the oversized shower, were
cut and mitered to custom fabricate a curb and floor, providing a
seamless and grout-less look while allowing for a proper slope to the
barely visible drain.
Tech and craftsman details abound throughout the room, including two
programmable thermostatic shower valves and shower heads, heated
porcelain floors, a heated multifunctional bidet toilet seat and a
multilevel countertop crafted with an ogee edge. The mahogany vanity
cabinetry was custom layered with a stain and silvery metallic paint.
Other features — like subtle touches of silver and gray and polished
chrome faucets — enhance the monochromatic color scheme. Vanity storage
drawers with special inserts allow hot grooming tools to be set inside
and out of sight. A Baroque-style mirror is situated above the vanity,
and a whimsical bubble chandelier hangs over the tub. A wall next to the
tub is fashioned from water jet glass and Calacatta Gold marble,
creating an ornately airy Venetian design.
“A desire to create elegance ruled most of the detailed decisions,”
“We did not put in all the new technology that is available, and that
was by design,” the interior designer adds. “When you want a place to be
elegant, sometimes less is more.”
The project also included a walk-in closet
renovation — a thoughtfully designed space that functions as an
extension of the brand-new master bath.
PHOTO BY DAVID BADER
Trends in High-tech Kitchens and Baths
The bathrooms and kitchens of tomorrow have arrived with
ever-evolving technology that provides even more options. And the
smartphone was the tipping point for technology.
“I think the first thing that came along was the ability to control your
thermostat through your phone,” says Judy Kimble, corporate product and
marketing manager of First Supply’s kitchen and bath division, which
includes the Kohler Signature Store in Wauwatosa and Gerhard’s Kitchen &
Bath Store locations throughout the state. Smartphones can also perform
security functions, control various appliances, and even feed one’s pet.
Jessika Mische, of the Kohler Signature Store in Wauwatosa, says much of
the new technology is fitted for bathrooms and aims to foster a spa-like
experience. Hydrotherapies in soaker tubs include air bubble massage,
jets for a deeper feeling, and chromatherapy, in which programmable
colors address physical and psychological conditioning.
Bluetooth-enabled sound systems and their ability to enhance moods
through music are popular too, Mische says, and the bidet, an option
that migrated from Europe years ago, can now be combined with a toilet
to save space.
Both Mische and Cheryl Cincotta, manager of Gerhard’s Kitchen & Bath
Store in Delafield, point to wave technology, from touchless faucets and
soap dispensers to shower heads that pinpoint the exact type of spray to
suit your needs, as an emerging trend. Our experts say steam showers
—and their healthful benefits — are fast becoming a favorite too.
In kitchens, expanded lighting options include installing flex LEDs to
illuminate darkened cabinets and corners, and heating flooring is now
much more accessible — and feasible in almost any space. Bluetooth and
wave technology further enhance convenience and comfort.
“A lot of that technology consumers have seen in commercial settings, so
they are familiar with it, which makes it attractive,” Cincotta says.
“They see the benefit and want it in their own homes.”
To personally experience the technology options available, you can visit
showrooms. Then consider whether a new improvement is for long-term use
or to enhance resale value, and remember that technology continuously