Multi-generational design is the hot trend at home

Changing family dynamics highlight the need for form and function

Changing family dynamics highlight the need for form and function

November 09, 2009|For METRO SOURCE

Multi-generational design is one of today's fastest growing trends in the housing industry. As more and more people understand the benefits that smart planning affords to those of all age groups and abilities, a demand is being generated for products that combine style, safety, beauty and comfort with practicality and versatility. In fact, it's what good, smart design should be.

Multi-generational design has applications throughout the house, but it is particularly important in the bathroom. A well-thought-out bathroom can easily accommodate the needs of young children, older adults and those with disabilities. And while there are many practical considerations that play an important role in the design process, including safety, space, comfort and ease of use, being "sensible" doesn't mean the bathroom has to look utilitarian. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Smart design has always been a hallmark of MTI Whirlpools, whose designs are based on the premise that form must follow function. Toward that end, while style is of paramount importance for MTI, it must simultaneously be thoughtful, not allowing versatility and functionality to be sacrificed. From low-profile shower bases to easy-entrance tubs, MTI has a wide variety of products that allow homeowners to enjoy a bathroom environment that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is universally functional.


Accommodating Showers

As the profile of the American family evolves to embrace a wide spectrum of ages, and needs, the principles of multi-generational design become increasingly important, especially in the bathroom.

MTI offers an extensive assortment of shower bases and frameless shower enclosures with the multi-generational family in mind. Just one of 7 different seated shower bases, the Jeu d'Eau can even be equipped with whirlpool jets for bathing young children or for an adult foot bath.

MTI also currently offers over 50 shower bases in different sizes, shapes and materials. Some are constructed of Engineered Solid-Surface material, which is a mixture of ground minerals and high-performance resins that are liquefied, poured and then hardened. These "molded stone" bases feature a low-profile, multiple-threshold design for versatile installation, great looks and easy entrance. These bases are high in both design and function.

Sensible Tubs

A luxurious tub is the centerpiece of any well-appointed bathroom. Comfort and practicality need not be sacrificed when designing a bathroom for multi-generation use. MTI has an amazing collection of over 150 tub designs from which to choose in all sizes, shapes and styles. And if you require a tub that can provide easier entry and exit, 17 models are only 19" high or less.

Two particular models, the Metro 1 and Metro 2, boast a clean, contemporary design and feature a generous front deck that is 11 inches wide, which serves as a transfer surface, allowing the bather to sit down on the edge and then turn into the tub instead of climbing over the edge. A coordinating contemporary tub surround has been designed just for this model. This handcrafted piece of furniture complements the tub and provides additional storage and decorative display space recessed in front under the wide deck area. The use of a transitional design enclosure will enable the Metro to integrate with a more traditional setting.

Little Things That Make A Big Difference

Regardless of the size and style of tub selected, there are a number of modest enhancements that can be made to add significantly to the bath environment, making it more multi-generationally sensitive. For instance, safety and security can be increased for all members with the addition of grab bars inside and/or outside the tub.

Available in a variety of sizes, materials and finishes, these grab bars are designed to be both decorative and functional. While providing cosmetic accent, properly positioned grab bars are a low-cost, preventative addition that people of all ages will find helpful. Other popular additions for consideration include:

o Hand-held shower. This handy device can be used to rinse the body while bathing, and it also makes hair-washing easier.

o Neck Pillows. Soft, durable vinyl pillows are available in a variety of shapes to provide neck support, comfort and relaxation.

o Neck Jet Pillows. These pillows offer the additional benefit of an incomparable neck massage by using two high-quality micro-jets of a whirlpool system.

o Radiance. This patent-pending innovation from MTI applies radiant heat technology to acrylic bath tubs to warm the interior surface of the bath for neck, shoulders, back and bottom. It provides an even distribution of warmth to eliminate the shock of a cold tub and increases relaxation during the bath.

o Virtual Spout. This high-flow tub filler takes the place of a traditional spout. Not only does it contribute to a very clean appearance, but it also eliminates the usual filling spout as a possible source of injury.

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