Bowled over: Those who think a toilet’s just a toilet can flush that notion

A top-of-the-line Kohler Numi can cost up to $5,100—but that’s a small price to pay for a throne with illuminated panels and speakers for your favorite tunes. Photo: Kohler A top-of-the-line Kohler Numi can cost up to $5,100—but that’s a small price to pay for a throne with illuminated panels and speakers for your favorite tunes. Photo: Kohler

If you’re the type of person who’d like to drop five grand on a toilet, you are living in the right age indeed.

Toilets have come a long way, and these days features include advanced water-saving flushing systems, hands-free flushing, self-opening and closing lids, self-cleaning bidets, drying wands, heating elements in the seat and foot area, ambient lighting, built-in speaker systems, Bluetooth connectivity and deodorizers.

“Modern toilets offer an unrivaled range of sophisticated features to enhance the bathroom environment,” says Trish LeDuc, manager of the Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Charlottesville.


Manufacturers have for years been looking for ways users can save water when flushing, and municipalities like Charlottesville are happy to reward the effort.

The city’s offered a $100 rebate on all WaterSense toilets, a distinction given to those that are 20 percent more efficient than the maximum usage standard of 1.6 gallons, since 2012. And according to the American Water Works Association, toilets account for about 30 percent of indoor water usage, meaning there’s serious money to be saved on your utility bill.

Top-of-the line toilets these days all offer dual-flush options, contingent on the waste, meaning the less offensive of your byproducts can go down for as little as 0.8 gallons per flush.


There’s nothing new about bidets. In fact, they’ve been around for centuries. But they’re back in a big way, according to Ferguson spokesperson Zsavonne Perryman, who says the company’s seen a nationwide increase in the number of bidets and washlets purchased in the past year. That’s driven largely by products from manufacturers like Kohler and DXV that feature adjustable controls for temperature and water pressure, as well as more discretion than they’ve offered in the past.

“Many customers are looking for products that aid in better hygiene. A growing number of luxury hotels are including bidets and other amenities in the bathroom,” LeDuc says. “Customers enjoy the experience of using a bidet abroad and want to bring that experience to their own home.”

And toilets are cleaning up after you in ways that go beyond a simple spray of water. They’re deodorizing the backside and drying it, as well.


Everything’s connected these days, so why leave the bathroom bowl out in the cold? With easy-to-use Bluetooth technology, toilets are capable of connecting to your smartphone and streaming your music collection, FM radio stations, podcasts and more. Some even have the ability to download and store tunes in the wild event you ever find yourself on the toilet without your phone.


Modern toilet features like built-in speakers, lighting around the bowl and heated seats and foot rests take the ordinary act of micturation and make it a miracle. Some toilet lighting cycles through various hues depending on the time of day and season, and heaters can be temperature controlled vents or ambient.

Toilet tech

Bring your toilet into spec with the rest of your smart home with these savvy sanitary centerpieces.

Kohler Numi The world’s most sophisticated (and expensive) toilet leaves no convenience undelivered. With a touchscreen remote and docking station, users can enjoy a motion-activated cover and seat, a self-cleaning bidet wand with integrated air dryer, a deodorizer that pulls air through a charcoal filter, heated seat and foot rests, illuminated panels and speakers for your favorite music.

DXV AT200 Ringing up at nearly $5,000, DXV’s AT200 offers an automatic open/close seat, deodorizer, 0.92 or 1.32 gallons per flush, air dryer, heated seat, bidet, nightlight and a motion-activated sensor. And, of course, it’s all driven by remote control.

American Standard Studio For those who want a modern, functional toilet but don’t need to fly the space shuttle from the throne, American Standard’s two-piece Studio should do the trick. The touchless toilet flushes automatically and features a “concealed trapway,” which gives it straighter lines and makes it easier to clean.—S.G.

Posted In:     Abode,Magazines


Previous Post

In studio: A look at last semester’s review at UVA’s School of Architecture

Next Post

Bigger size, bigger style: Refreshing how Scarpa looks —and works

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to

Leave a Reply

Notify of