Feature Article /
Apr 20, 2020

15 Shower Systems That Help Create a Bath With a Spa-Like Feel

Brizo Jason Wu for Brizo Shower Components Walk In Bathroom
The shower system is the anchor in the spa-bath of today.

The large, walk-in spa shower is one of the most important features of a master bath these days, and such spaces need more than the typical fixed showerhead and control valve.

"Larger showers are in,”  Pleasant Grove, Utah-based CK Builders writes on its blog. “When you go through the bother of getting home renovations done, you want to know you will get great results from them and will love what all is done for you. When you get a huge shower put in with the bathroom remodel, you will enjoy the space more than ever. A huge open shower is very much on-trend, and so is a large bathtub. Some trendy designs even put the bathtub in the shower.”

Interest in larger showers has been growing stronger and stronger for some years, as homeowners seek to create bathrooms that make their homes feel like they’re at the spa. No surprise then that designers see the most interesting ideas and innovations that cater to that space.

[ Related: 9 NEW BATHTUBS FOR HOMEBUYERS, CLIENTS WHO STILL WANT THEM ]

Fantini USA Acquafit Shower System

Fantini USA

The Acquadolce Dream Showerhead is a collection of multi-functional showers that offer the highest multi-sensory and space comfort, the company says. Offering a ceiling-mount set up, it offers 168 anti-limescale rain jets, a waterfall function, mist blow, white RGB LEDs, chromotherapy in four colors, and a 'Feel' color program: Dawn, Leaves, Sunset, and Night.

 

 

The 2019 National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)trend report confirmed the rising interest in large spa-like showers among designers, consumers, and manufacturers. The report, which surveyed more than 500 kitchen and bath designers and other industry experts, found that 20 percent of respondents believe new offerings in showers and shower surrounds were some of the most interesting products on the market.

In showers, NKBA designers pointed out solid-surface walls, touch controls, curbless and no-door designs, wet rooms, and architectural shower doors as growing standouts in the category. Other noteworthy products included controls for water temperature and leak detection; steam control; app-enabled control over radiant floors or digital shower valves; and color therapy for showers and bathtubs. Respondents also expect smart temperature control to be the fastest growing bathroom technology segment over the next three years (57 percent), followed by water conservation technology (48 percent).

[ Related: 8 WINNERS OF THE BEST OF KBIS AWARDS 2020 REVEALED ]

Kohler Awaken three Spray Wall Bar Shower Kit Polished Chrome

Kohler

Awaken is a three-spray wall bar shower kit that creates a luxurious two-outlet showering experience, the company says. It comes with a showerhead and handshower with a HydroRail-S column and ribbon hose. The unit offers three distinct sprays--wide coverage, intense drenching, or targeted. It’s rated at 2.0 gallons per minute.

 

The quintessential spa-bath is marked by modern design that is, at once, warm and organic. Carosella Design Build in Haverford Township, Pa., writes that a “walk-in shower with a frameless glass enclosure or an open doorless shower–both provide a welcome sense of expansiveness. A rain head fixture mimics the gentle caress of a warm summer rain shower, while body sprays and a handheld shower direct a more forceful flow of water to specific areas of your body.”

"When it comes to selecting shower faucets for a spa-bath, the options are wide open. There are many emerging technologies surrounding showers,” Brian Zdgiebloski, director of architecture for builder and developer EYA in Bethesda, Md, says. “In recent years, we’ve seen the development of digital touch pads where you dial in what shower components you want to run and at what temperature and velocity.”

[ Related: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CUSTOM, SEMI-CUSTOM CABINETS? ]

Moen Annex Brushed gold shower only

Moen

The Annex shower pipe allows homeowners to select and use the showerhead and handshower of their choice. It installs without disturbing existing tile or having to change the height of the showerhead. Offering 2½-inch adjustability between the shower rail and wall, Annex installs easily against any surface with up to a 1-inch offset. Moen says the mounting system meets ADA pull-force requirements, up to 250 pounds. It comes in five finishes (Brushed Gold is shown).

 

If you’re interested in old-school plumbing sans smart features, product availability is deep and wide, too. The fixed showerhead is still the most popular of all showering options, Moen says. “The benefit of these showerheads is that many can be adjusted for different types of water delivery to suit any mood,” the plumbing giant says. “Plus, many consumers are adding two fixed showerheads—creating a shower built for two—or a shower that can provide great front and back coverage at an affordable cost.”

For a change of pace, designers can give their clients a rainshower, the fastest growing category of showers, Moen says. “Since most rainshower showerheads are gravity-fed, they can have a ‘drooping’ water pattern, similar to a watering can,” Moen explains on its site. “Often they don't provide enough water pressure to even wash the shampoo from your hair.”

Designers looking for a fancier rig can select old-timey exposed systems, body sprays, and shower columns with multiple features, or shower pipes that can be customized in a variety of configurations. Some years ago, Kohler introduced an ingenious retrofit shower pipe that allows homeowners to convert a fixed showerhead to a custom system without breaking into the walls. “HydroRail shower columns turn your shower into a spa-like retreat without having to go behind the wall to reroute plumbing or change out the valve,” Kohler says. “The column mounts to existing plumbing. This means you simply remove the old showerarm and replace it with the HydroRail shower column.”

[ Related: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CUSTOM, SEMI-CUSTOM CABINETS? ]

Lenova Thermostatic Pressure Balance Shower Valve Bath installation shower black marble tiles.

Lenova

The modern concealed offers a solid stainless steel rainfall showerhead with Touch2Clean soft rubber nozzles, two adjustable body jets, and a three-way solid brass diverter.

 

When considering a shower system for your bathroom, make sure to check with your clients if they prefer chrome-covered plastic handshowers and showerheads or those made from metal. Obviously, plastic parts are lighter in weight and do not cause much damage if they are dropped in the shower, but metal parts, such as hoses and heads, are more flexible and will last longer.

Another good tip for designing your shower is locating the controls in an area where the user may turn on the shower without getting wet. “If you have noticed, most controls are located in a place where you’ll have to walk inside to turn water on or off,” Sebring Design Build writes. “This means that the initial burst of cold water will get you wet. An ideal location is setting controls in a place that can be accessed without having to go under water. Consider setting controls outside your shower area.”

American Standard Spectra Shower System Wall Bar polished chrome
 

American Standard

Spectra Versa is a three-in-one Shower System that allows everyone in the family to enjoy a personalized shower, the manufacturer says. It has a rain showerhead and a 4-function hand shower that easily switches between both with the push-button diverter. It’s designed for hassle-free installation using existing plumbing.

 

Grohe starlight chrome shower shower No showerhead

Grohe

The Euphoria 18-inch retrofit Shower System is ideal for retrofit or renovation. It installs easily and quickly, replacing the existing shower arm with no need to alter any in-wall plumbing. Once installed, the unit uses a quarter-turn diverter lever (located at the bottom of the shower bar) that switches water flow from showerhead to handshower or users can have both outlets on simultaneously. The product comes in StarLight Chrome.

 

Signature Hardware BAUDETTE EXPOSED PIPE WALL MOUNT SHOWER WITH RAINFALL SHOWERHEAD

Signature Hardware

The Baudette wall-mount shower with rainfall showerhead offers an old-timey vibe that’s an antidote to modern smart faucets. Featuring classic cross handles and an exposed pipe, the unit is made of solid brass and extends 18 inches. The riser pipe can be adjusted by cutting on site.

 

Hansgrohe Raindance E Showerpipe 1 Jet 2.5 GPM

Hansgrohe USA

The Raindance E showerpipe consists of a showerhead, handshower, and thermostatic shower mixer. An integrated safety glass creates a place to hold personal items, while the integrated volume control/diverter offers two functions.

 

California Faucets StyleTherm Shower Fixture

California Faucets

The StyleTherm thermostatic shower system offers independent volume control and ultimate safety for those who previously found such amenities outside their means, the company says.  Besides the ability to dial in exact temperatures, StyleTherm requires no diverter valve to toggle between shower applications, such as showerhead to handheld shower. Each shower application is operated via dedicated volume control, allowing for flexibility to use individual applications independently, or in concert with one another. Various finishes are available.

 

Vola FS3 Freestanding Showerpipe with handshower glass wall bathroom

Vola

The FS3 freestanding thermostatic shower with hand shower is designed for creating a modern, minimalistic bathroom. It comes in stainless steel as well as up to 19 colors.

 

Watermark Designs Elan Vital Thermostatic Shower1

Watermark Designs

Part of the Elan Vital collection of industrial-style products, this wall-mounted exposed thermostatic shower with handshower set uses parts that are reminiscent of commercial ball valves and plumbing unions. It’s rated at 1.75 gallons per minute.

 

Crosswater London Waldorf Exposed Thermostatic Shower Set Metal Lever Handles

Crosswater London

A modern interpretation of the Art Deco style, the Waldorf blends geometric design with softened lines. It features an 8-inch rain showerhead with EasyClean nozzles, an integrated volume control, thermostatic cartridge, and a Fluhs volume control cartridge. The thermostatic valve senses and controls the actual water temperature and blends hot water with cold water to ensure constant, safe temperatures, preventing scalding. A plug at the bottom of the valve is removable for addition of handshower or tub spout.

 

Brizo Jason Wu for Brizo Shower Components Walk In Bathroom

Brizo

Part of the brand’s Jason Wu for Brizo Bath Collection by the renowned fashion designer, the line includes a wide variety of products that allow homebuyers to assemble a custom shower system. Products come in Matte Black, Matte Black/Polished Chrome or Matte Black/Brilliance Brushed Nickel.

 

Danze parma shower components

Danze by Gerber

The Parma collection of shower products include a wide variety of components that can create a customized shower. Trim pieces are constructed of metal and offer a finishing process that will resist rusting and corrosion, the brand says. Pieces include a thermostatic valve trim, volume control trim, shower arm, shower head, handshower, body sprays, and wall supply elbow.

 

Antonio Lupi Vela Totale Shower Column

Antonio Lupi

The stainless steel Vela shower column offers an elegant profile featuring a continuous profile that elegantly blends the vertical section of the column and the horizontal section of the head slightly tilted upwards to amplify the range of rainfall, the company says. Vela comes complete with a thermostatic mixer, command handle with two-way diverter, and hand shower with hose.

Nigel F. Maynard

Nigel F. Maynard is the Editor of PRODUCTS. 

@ @