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Home Series: Luxury Amenities

For the homeowner who has everything, this is luxury you can use


What will they think of next? It’s anyone’s guess, but there seems to be no end to the creativity of home product manufacturers. If you can wish for it, it’s probably already available, or at least percolating in some inventor’s imagination.

Here are some nice home “perks” — luxuries large and small.

A Bath That Stays Warm

Today’s large, deep soaking tubs take a bit of time to fill, and often the water cools before you have a chance to sink into the suds. Among others, the Wisconsin-based Kohler Co. has developed BaskR technology to heat tub surfaces around the user’s neck and back, for enhanced relaxation.

"When we immerse ourselves into a bath, we want to be surrounded by warmth," says Ann Roever, business director for Kohler bathing products. "The Bask heated surface allows bathers to recline onto a warm surface that complements the warmth of the bath water."

Three temperature settings enable bathers to customize the surface temperature to their comfort preference. Using a 110-volt power system allows the bath to work with standard outlets and uses no more energy than a standard light bulb. Many Kohler tubs now offer this option. See them at a local bath products dealer and enjoy.

Your House Smells Great

Many retailers know that if their stores pass the nose test, customers will linger longer.

So Prolitec, a maker of commercial air quality systems, branched out with a division called Air/Q, developing systems to enhance the air with pleasing scents. This technology has moved into the home, and consumers can purchase whole-room, and whole-house air freshening systems. The units, which retail for $250 and $699, respectively, disperse tiny amounts of a refreshing scent. 

According to Barbara Hanson, director of marketing, Air/Q is light years beyond candles, sprays or diffusers that aren’t evenly distributed in a room and can contain environmentally unfriendly volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Her company’s technology uses micro-droplets of fragrance that float in the air for up to 14 hours; dispersion is uniform, there are no “hot spots” of super-concentrated scent and no messy residue; and the system is flameless, and safe.

Scent is delivered via a cartridge placed in the Air/Q appliance, which converts the liquid into droplets and then disperses it; cartridges ($50 for room-size; $60 for the whole house unit) can be replaced as needed. The company employed two extremely well-known and respected fragrance designers for its extensive palette of aromaseverything from florals to such appetizing scents as coffee, lemon and vanilla. 

heated driveway
A heated driveway melts snow before it even has the chance to stick.

Hot Property

Our snow shovels have gotten something of a workout this season, so why not exchange them for a heated driveway? Just as under-floor heating keeps your bare feet toasty on a cold day, a radiant heating system installed beneath your driveway surface melts any ice and snow that forms in a storm. No more waiting for the plow service, firing up the snow blower, or sore muscles from shoveling; it’s even possible to heat walkways, for a hazard-free path to your door.

This fix is not inexpensive; a long driveway can cost thousands. But, if you live on a sloping site and need to come and go easily, no matter the sleet, snow and ice, this one’s for you. Contractor SnowMelt Inc. has been in the business for over 30 years and works throughout the tri-state area; check the company’s fact-filled website for all the details. 

There’s an App for That

Appliance maker GE has announced the availability of a new series of wall ovens that can be controlled remotely by a smart phone app, with more appliances to be remote control-enabled soon. Just imagine being able to start dinner while you’re watching your son/daughter’s basketball game. BrillionR wall ovens are priced between $2299 and $3799 — not inexpensive, but very convenient. Now that’s a luxury you can use!

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