Why high-end bathrooms in New York City are so low-tech

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As a Bolster Specialist in Manhattan, I get to visit lots of homeowners each month and have the great fortune of seeing their homes before, and after, a major renovation. One of the things I've noticed recently is just how little technology finds its way into the bathroom design plans of our high-end customers.

Compared to other areas of the house, the bathroom is decidedly low-tech and usually counts shaving outlets and halogen vanity lamps as its most sophisticated technologies.

Why is this so?

Our founder and CEO was quoted in MarketWatch recently saying: “There is something very calming about not being reachable... In a 21st century home filled with technology, the bathroom is still living in the 19th century”.

He has a point– with our ever increasingly connected world and constant distractions, our bathrooms represent a place of sanctuary away from our various devices and the people who appear on them. The privacy surrounding what we do in there offers us an invisibility cloak of sorts– It is after all one of the few places around the home that us adults can go to successfully lock ourselves away without being disturbed, even by our own children!

There are of course counterexamples to this: many high-end hotels have bathroom walls with built-in TVs so you can channel surf while bathing and some company CEOs have been known to have built-in phones installed in their showers so they are reachable 24/7. These are however extreme cases and most high-end consumers seem uninspired to replicate the conveniences hotels offer nor do their jobs warrant taking a shower while packing a device.

And what of our habit of reading near water? We all instinctively know that reading is a better way to get our knowledge than from the TV or internet because it forces us to use our imagination (its also been proven to improve cognitive abilities, increase attention spans and help develop sympathetic social skills) but this doesn't explain why we all have magazine racks next to the loo and why every erudite person I know takes a good book to the bath, pool and beach.  

One explanation is that our electronic devices are just not designed to be near water and we feel protective of them (plus slightly wet pages give a book that "I've been read" feel).

But another more interesting explanation is that water, and by association the bathroom, plays a critical role in not only the rejuvenation and nourishment of our bodies at the start and end of each day, but also offers us a tranquil hideaway to rejuvenate and nourish our minds and personalities.

Food (and water) for thought.

This blog post was the inspiration for this article on BrickUnderground.com.